Heritage grains are the grains used by our ancestors. Seed banks all over the world have preserved grains that were harvested back when America was first settled. There are also some farms that have started to grow wheat from seeds that trace their heritage back 5,000 to 12,000 years ago.
Idaho is home to one of these farms that grows a collection of different heritage and ancient grains. Local Teton farmer Jade Koyle and his family are devoted to growing, milling and selling heritage grains. They have been growing their farm and business, The Grand Teton Farm and Mill, for the past nine years making these grains accessible to all.
The most popular grain and oldest on their farm is einkorn.
"It’s back to the basics of wheat, and it’s the first, as far as we know, the first wheat to exist on Earth this einkorn," said Koyle. "Einkorn is kind of like, some people would even say it’s like another type of species of wheat. But it is
Koyle obtained einkorn seeds from a man in Germany back in 2009. He and a friend started blogging about
Koyle said the many benefits of this type of wheat include a high nutrient content and more protein than most store-bought flower. There are more antioxidants in einkorn which causes the milled flour to take on a slight yellow color. He also said it has benefits for people with cardiovascular health problems.
Koyle referenced a study done by a doctor where it was found that einkorn enters the bloodstream slower than other kinds of wheat which could help people suffering from things like diabetes.
“Einkorn contains a totally different type of gluten compared to modern wheat,” Koyle said. He later explained that it contains less gluten than
Koyle said it makes it more attractive to people who have intolerances to gluten.
Einkorn still contains gluten, so it is not deemed “gluten-free.” Those who have celiac disease should still avoid it. Although, Koyle said some have found it as an alternative to the grocery store flour brand.
Despite all of the health benefits that einkorn provides, Koyle likes it for a different reason.
“In my opinion, the best thing about it is the flavor,” Koyle exclaimed.
The Grand Teton Farm and Mill sells einkorn products to high-end chefs all over the nation. Koyle explained they like using einkorn because it adds additional flavor and color to their products.
“People describe it as kind of a nutty flavor,” Koyle said.
Although einkorn is deliciously different in taste, it is also different in how it performs. Koyle explained that einkorn bakes and rises more quickly. It also requires up to 30 percent less water when it’s used in baking.
Koyle’s vision for einkorn in eastern Idaho is to contract with other local farmers. Adding einkorn to a farm's rotation can improve the quality of their soil as well as provide more whole foods for people to purchase.
“It’d be a big advantage to this area if we could bring in different crops,” Koyle said.
Koyle sells his products and provides more information about his crops at einkorn.com. You can also find tips for how to bake with einkorn on that website as well. If you want to learn about the other ancient grains provided by The Grand Teton Farm and Mill visit Koyle’s other website, ancientgrains.com.