Food Mondays: Ashkum Farm Is Bringing Back Ancient Grains
Spelt, einkorn and emmer were some of the earliest varieties of grain humans farmed in the ancient Fertile Crescent. Though they have been replaced by modern, selectively bred strains of wheat in conventional American farming, these grains are making a comeback as some consumers perceive older varieties of grain as delivering greater nutritional value and lower concentrations of gluten. On this week’s Food Mondays segment, WBEZ reporter and producer Monica Eng talks to Harold Wilken and Jill Brockman Cummings of The Mill at Janie’s Farm in Ashkum, Illinois. They are bringing “ancient grains” like these back into rotation. As a fifth-generation farmer, Wilken used to harvest conventionally himself but transitioned to organic methods in 2002 and opened the mill two years ago.