Not surprisingly, finding these varieties and getting to the point where there is enough flour to go round has been quite a story. How do you find the seed to revive and research these long-forgotten wheats?
We have to thank Andy Forbes of Brockwell Bake Association in London for scouring gene banks round the world for tiny samples (typically 10 grams or less) of ‘accessions’ bearing the name of Rouge d’Ecosse. He also identified Golden Drop and Hunter’s as plausible ‘Scottish’ heritage grains.
A total of 13 small packets of wheat seed across the three varieties were germinated under controlled conditions (‘vernalised’) by Mike Ambrose at the John Innes Centre in Norwich and the resultant seedlings brought up to Scotland in March 2013 for growing out on four farms in the Borders, East Lothian, Perthshire and Aberdeenshire. Each year the grain was harvested and re-sown, with the majority being grown at Mungoswells in East Lothian.
It is this grain that we are now milling into flour.