Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Wheat In Vermont? Times Argus Article

Article published Aug 13, 2007
Wheat is poised for a comeback, driven by demand from bakers and localvores

SHELBURNE - Only 15 Vermont farms grow wheat today. That's a far cry from the 1850s, when 40,000 acres of cropland from the Champlain Valley to Orleans County produced wheat. The shocks of grain on the state's seal attest to its one-time importance to Vermont's economy.

But according to Heather Darby, the University of Vermont Extension's field crops specialist, wheat is poised for a comeback, driven by demand from artisan bakers and the localvore movement.

This spring, Darby won a sustainable agriculture grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to work on reintroducing heritage wheat varieties that were grown in Vermont in the 1800s. She plans to use three cultivars bred by Vermont's premier botanist, Cyrus Pringle, to develop new varieties suited to the state's growing conditions.

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