This page contains information about the crops I’ve grown for sale and for seed. I offer monthly boxes of grain for home bakers, and wholesale quantities. Please email me at mai@farmermai.com about purchasing.

WHEAT

chiddam2Chiddam Blanc de Mars | Soft white spring wheat

Originally from England, this heritage wheat received greatest reception in France and was documented in 1864. Turn of the century Parisians preferred Chiddam Blanc de Mars for their baguettes. I grew this variety for my mom, my banh mi, who loves French baguettes.

About the 2017 crop: This late Spring planting received a mere half inch of rain, but that didn’t deter this Chiddam from being an excellent crop. This wheat carries a pungent aroma of walnuts, pecans, and honey, which is most pronounced when used as a dinner grain according to Minh Phan of Porridge and Puffs. When milled, “a hint of sage emerges,” says baker Kathy Turk. Bakers will be interested to know that this crop has higher-than-usual protein for a soft white wheat: 11.25%, outside of the typical 8-10% range. This relatively high protein and high falling number, 354, makes it a versatile grain for pastry and bread bakers.

 

witWit Wolkering | Soft white spring wheat

We’ve been deprived of water for years, and now our sources and supplies vary. So, I’m excited to grow this landrace wheat from South Africa that was selected for its drought tolerance. It originates from our Sonora, and I’m replenishing our supply as it becomes increasingly relevant for our conditions. I was also curious about this wheat because Dave Miller said of one batch that it was the best wheat he had ever used. I want to see if he still feels the same about mit Wit.

About the 2017 crop: Proving its purpose, this wheat gave high yields despite growing in drought conditions. This wheat carries a light, bright, and grassy aroma. Lab test showed that this grain has a perfect balance of elasticity and extensibility. This crop also has a higher-than-usual protein percentage, 10.46% and high enzymatic activity with a falling number of 360.


C360_2015-09-30-20-00-13-557

Sonora | Soft white spring wheat SOLD OUT

This is my favorite wheat. It’s a versatile grain can be used for breads, cakes, and salads. So soft, sweet and plump, it can be cooked up like rice or barley as a dinner grain!

Back in Mexico tortillas are almost always made of corn, native to southern Mexico. Sonora was the first wheat variety successfully cultivated in the new world, and was used in the northern Mexican state of Sonora to create the very first wheat tortillas. Naturalized in the dry regions of Mexico’s north makes it well adapted to the hot dry summers of the Ukiah valley.

If you feel particularly adventurous try using it to mill your own giant burrito tortillas. It’s also good for making pastries because of its fluffy, soft texture that gives you the feel of pastry flour with the nutrition of whole grains.

This is what Dave Miller said about my Sonora: “The bread has a nice mellow flavor that I’ve come to expect from Sonora, a taste that I like very much…your Sonora has a more buttery, light flavor.” There, you heard it from the whole grain man himself.

C360_2015-09-30-19-59-35-806Red Fife | Hard red spring wheat

When I lived in Toronto, I noticed sacks of red fife flour in each of my friends’ houses. I had never seen grain varieties specified on flour bags before. This piqued my curiosity, wondering if my friends were flour children of a cult. Indeed, they were in a 35 million person cult: being Canadian. The official national grain of Canada red fife is famous as a bread wheat. It crossed several continents and across the Giant Pond before getting to Canada. It’s experiencing a revival as home-baking and whole grains becomes increasingly popular. Just like Canadian football with its hundred meter fields and Canadian bacon which for some reason goes on pizza, red fife is much like the varieties of wheat you’re accustomed to, but a bit different. Nutty, bold, yet familiar.

IMG_2247California Red | Hard red spring wheat SOLD OUT

In the fall of 2013 I found myself in a lovely California-style home in Los Feliz, California learning how to bake bread. Between dough risings and loading up the wood-fire brick oven, I got to know Mark Stambler. It turns out that he was a key actor in changing the state’s cottage food law to enable more people to sell homemade foods, including his own. Thank goodness because his L.A. Miche is so good! Triple IV is Mark’s favorite grain to bake with, so this crop is dedicated to him. Mark said that the 2015 Harvest California Red is noticeably sweet and smooth.

 RYE


C360_2015-09-30-20-00-48-947Dark Northern Rye SOLD OUT

This one’s for all my eastern European friends who fed me rye bread and crackers on nearly every occasion there was to eat. This grain is used for crackers, bread, and beverages. Spicy, nutty, and a staple. Just like my friends.

SPELT

speltSpanish Spelt SOLD OUT

This ancient grain resulted from a cross of the ancient and wild grains in the Near East. Prominent in diets from the Bronze Age to medieval times, spelt remains popular in northern Spain as an important health food. Its distinctively dynamic, sweet, bright flavor makes a great impression on any palate.

Spelt is sought out for making breads, crackers, beer, and distilled spirits such as the Dutch jenever.

 

 

SEED DEVELOPMENT

Akmolinka | Poulard wheat

Alaska | Soft white winter wheat

Bere Barley

Blu’dur ArcourHulless emmer

Chiddam Blanc de MarsSoft white spring wheat

Foisy | Soft white spring wheat

Ethiopian Blue Tinge Emmer

Maparcha | Poulard wheat

Syrian Wheat | Hard red spring wheat

Tres | Soft white spring wheat

Xinchan Rice | Wheat

Wit Wolkering | Soft white spring wheat

Understanding Wheat

What’s the difference between hard and soft wheat?

Hard wheat tend to have higher protein content and stronger gluten-forming proteins (13-16%) than soft wheat (8.5-10.5%). Thus, hard wheat are better suited for yeasted products and breads with an open, chewy inside. Flour from soft wheat is better for items with fine insides: flatbreads, udon-style noodles, cakes, muffins, biscuits, and cookies.

Red wheat is associated with hard wheat, while white wheat can be hard or soft.

What’s the difference between a winter and spring wheat?

Seasonal labels refer to when the grain was planted. Timing affects the size and strength of the plant, which are important to a farmer. Winter wheat tend to have stronger stalks and smaller heads, while spring wheat likely follow the opposite trend. Spring wheat are less susceptible to diseases, but must be grown where sufficient rainfall is reliable in the early spring.

How does this effect eaters? Winter wheat is typically harvested in hotter weather, which tends to create gluten with greater elasticity (tendency to contract). Spring wheat is harvested later in the year, when it’s cooler and more moist and inclines gluten to have greater extensibility (tendency to move outward).

Find additional resources at CaliforniaGrains.com/Campaign.