This has been a great season for growing grain in the Pioneer Valley. Alan Zuchowski recently took time out of his busy schedule to give me a tour of his grain fields at Lazy Acres Farm in Hadley, MA. Several varieties of heritage wheat are already drying in the barns as this summer’s heat created an abundant and early July harvest.
Alan works to reintroduce grain varieties once commonly grown in this area.This season, Alan is growing Red Lamas wheat which as he notes “is the first commercial crop of this variety grown here in a long, long time.” Red Lamas was brought over by British farmers in the 1600’s where it was known as the “King of Wheats” due to its reputation as the finest, and most full bodied flour. Alan started with a tablespoon of grain given to him by the Agriculture Department at UMass, Waltham and it took two years of seed growing to get enough for this year’s crop. Thanks to Alan’s efforts and the support of Pioneer Valley Heritage Grain CSA members, Red Lamas wheat is thriving in this area once again.