Bluebird Grain Farms; Winthrop, Washington
"Ancient wheat varieties have this incredible history in other countries, but we couldn't find many farmers growing them in the US," says Brooke Lucy, who co-owns Bluebird Grain Farms in Winthrop, Washington, with her husband, Sam. After searching for inspiration (and seeds), the couple decided to focus on emmer wheat, also known as farro, beloved by Egyptian bakers in the days of the pharaohs. This past spring they introduced protein-rich einkorn, which they are calling einka, a teeny variety of wheat berry popular in Germany; dating back to about 7,500 BC, it was one of the first species of cultivated wheat.
Each time the Lucys work with a new grain, it takes them years to bring it to market: Once they get their hands on starter seed (often from a university in Germany), they have to plant several harvests, amassing more seeds each time, until they can grow enough grain to sell. Even now, the Lucys only produce enough einka to sell at local farmers' markets and on their website.