What is Grain of truth?
A collection of people in South Devon dedicated to growing, harvesting and processing Heritage grain in the lowest impact way possible. When we grow grain we choose varieties that were bred before 1780 (the period when modern roller mill suited grain started to be bred). We also use interesting and localised grain or both as is the case with Devon Red Ruff. We grow this grain using a process that is unmechanised and un-synthetic. We love the soil and believe that complemented planting is sufficient, without the need for animal or synthetic additives, and will lead to soil improvements and better crops:
- Legumes – important for maintaing fertility; add nitrogen to the soil. Lucerne and clover are particularly good being deep rooting. Also useful in compost.
- Lupins – excellent nitrogen fixers; deep roots mine nutrients from the subsoil.
- Comfrey and Nettles – use as a permanent stand and harvest for green manure or compost. Comfrey roots penetrate three metres or more into the subsoil, mining nutrients and replenishing topsoil.
We also believe that an important part of agriculture (arable) is people care. If a job can be done by hand then we shall do it this way and we will refer to people and horse/ Ox power before any oil based power. More people on the land is a good thing.
Post harvest we will use machines, to separate the grain from the straw (winnowing), and to clean and mill the grain. We will hopefully be joining with other local producers to bring this equipment to south Devon for collaborative use. Our aim is to mill the grain and make “fresh flour” sourdough bread from it. With the help of skilled local bakers we will produce a series of loaves that will taste of their locality – terrior as the French call it.
The overall aim is to bring the growing of grain and the making of the bread together in a single connected local stream that is transparent and easy for the consumer to engage with. Our wish is to bring to the UK – we are not alone in this and are certainly not pioneering – a sense of grain terroir.
How will we do this?
On organic land we will plant several varieties of grain in monocultures and populations. We will plant this grain with Clovers, Lupins, Buckwheats, Comfreys and a variety of vegetables and fruit. Over a period of years we will develop a research plan and sense of local varieties in conjunction with bakers that both the soil and consumers will love.
Why do this?
- Modern wheat is a combination of synthetic breading and synthetic feeding
- Through breeding the genome of wheat has been altered consequently is less digestible to humans
- The monocultures that arable agriculture is responsible for, wheat being a major contributor to this, have been responsible for bio-diversity loss on a devastating scale, we will work to stop this and reverse it on the land we grow on
- The bread that is made from these monocultures is pappy, bland and poor. Our bread will be structured, interesting and tasty
- Consumers are telling us they need better bread with interesting tastes, we believe that growing heritage grain in the gentlest of ways, processing it locally and making fresh floured bread from it is the best answer to this and to all the other points we have discussed.