Einkorn Harvest 2017 at Paolo’s Farm
Once again, our farmers have begun harvesting this year’s einkorn crops. Yields are lower this year because it has been so hot and dry in Italy for the past few months, and although the grains are smaller, they are beautiful! We planted more than we needed to ensure supply meets our growth, so even though we will harvest less, we will have plenty of einkorn to last until next year. That’s always a good feeling! Although we will pay our farmers more, pricing to you will remain unaffected for all of our products.
My family lives in Italy for most of the year, and my husband and I follow the growing season, but as soon as school is out, we travel back to the U.S. to spend time working at the jovial Connecticut office. This time of the year coincides with the end of the einkorn growing year, and it is customary for me to spend an evening at one of our farms to take pictures of the fields. I am usually in the midst of packing up for the summer, overly busy and stressed, and having mixed feelings about leaving and seeing the children grow up so quickly.
No matter how I’m feeling when I arrive, spending the last few hours of the day alone in the einkorn fields always leaves me feeling incredibly peaceful. My work can be very challenging and I need that time to reflect on the year and think about the future. I think about the significance of giving life back to einkorn and I feel very grateful. It’s already been more than a decade since we planted our first seeds at Stefano’s farm, and standing in acres and acres of einkorn still feels like a dream to me.
Farming is full of surprises, and this year at Paolo’s farm was no exception. When I arrived at the farm, it was about 7:30pm. I parked my car and looked up at the field in rotation where einkorn grew last year. I turned my head to the plot where he planted this year’s crop, and I immediately felt a pit in my stomach. About 70% of the field had lodged, meaning the plants had leaned over and were lying flat on the ground. Since Rodolfo had stopped by a few weeks earlier and saw that all was well, I was taken aback by what I saw.
A call to Paolo confirmed that there had been a heavy rainstorm a few weeks prior, and most of the plants went down, but he also said that the harvest would not be effected that much. Once in the field, I saw that the plants were bent over, but they were still floating high above the soil and not touching the ground. Dry weather is a blessing in terms of the health of the plants, because there is no chance for molds or mycotoxins to form and this is one of the key reasons why I love to grow einkorn in Italy. We’ll save our seeds and store them away until late November when the fields will be planted again. Paolo mixes bay leaves in the seeds to keep pests away, just like his ancestors did.
Although it was 100°F on this late day in June and my cheeks were red, I forgot about the heat as soon as I heard the typical sounds one encounters in an einkorn field. The tall plants always seem to find a way to catch what little breeze is out there, and that rustling competes with the loud chatter of the insects that inhabit the organic fields. I sat down right in the middle of the wheat field, and waited for the sun to get close to setting before taking these pictures. It was so hot, I felt like I could already smell the aroma of freshly baked bread.
Once again, I want to thank all of you for supporting einkorn. We are in this together, and although you were not with me at Paolo’s farm in late June, you really were!