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California Farmers Grow Heritage Grains In A “Non-GMO Grain Belt”

July 22, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
The owners of the Weiser Family Farms, north of Los Angeles and surrounded by the Tehachapi Mountains, are determined to bring back landrace grains – e.g., Sonora and Red Fife wheat, Abruzzi rye and French Black oats – to meet the demands of local bakers and brewers. Landrace, or heritage, grains, are hearty and drought-tolerant, grown from a batch of seeds donated to California farmers by Anson Mills of South Carolina. But the future of the Tehachapi Heritage Grain Project is anything but certain, given the current drought conditions. Will next year’s crop survive the dry weather? Will there be a market for small batches of heritage grain? Or for the flour that’s milled from it, and the bread that’s baked from it? The economics of the project are tricky. But Alex Weiser says, ““We’re trying to create our own non-GMO grain belt.”
Amy Scattergood, "Near the Tehachapi Mountains, a family farm looks to a future without GMOs", Los Angeles Times, July 22, 2016, © Los Angeles Times
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