We have sourced some of the oldest landraces of wheat from small projects in Italy and Israel: wheats that go back 3000 years in time, usually locked and grown in small locales, diversified, yet they contain the real taste and memory. These are stepping stones in the journey of wheat, something that started in the Jordan Valley where I was born, and carried all around the Earth. The wheats we chose are representatives of that story: the first Durum to have arrived in Sicily, the first bread wheat the Romans grew, taken to the mountains of Abruzzo and locked into a unique landrace. They are culinary treasures, but more than all they are like forgotten pages in the book of peasant farming, they represent all of our origins. We grow these with small farmers and you too can become one of them.
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Solina - the Gold of Abruzzo
Solina is a bread wheat like no other, among a few traces of the first bread wheats grown in the Roman Empire, brought to help in bread making from the east, it has become locked in the mountains of Abruzzo, where it is now only grown above 750m. “The mother of all wheats” it was called, the flour that fixes them all. It is a white bread wheat that grows tall and golden in the mountains, with the most rustic taste which symbolises the rugged mountains and peasant lifestyle of Abruzzo. Low in gluten and rich in everything else, it is one of the oldest bread wheats in the world saved by the fact that peasants grew it and savoured it as their secret flour. It grows well in colder climates and higher terrain, which makes it suitable to northern climates too.
Timilia or Triminía
Timilia is a Sicilian Durum wheat, possibly the first one to ever arrive in the peninsula. In Puglia it is called Triminía from ‘tre mensile’ – the three month wheat, because it is a Durum wheat sown in spring. It is also called Grano Nero or black wheat, and at times is referred to as Grano Marzuolo – the wheat that is planted in march.
It is a small grained Durum, very old and rich in taste, almost nutty. It is the main ingredient in the black bread of Sicily, and represents a unique stepping stone, as possibly the first Durum to leave the Levant. With our farmers in Italy we grow both the Sicilian and the variety from Puglia which is considered a little bigger and stronger in taste, and is currently only grown by three other farmers.
Russarda Barese is another very ancient Durum wheat. In Sicily its equivalent is called Russello, from ‘Rossa’ in Italian named for its reddish colour. It is a Durum wheat that was thought to have been brought to Italy from Russia originally called Taganrog.
Together with the Timilia it is one of the oldest cultivars in the peninsula, this time possibly representing another route and migration of wheat, one that traveled out of the Levant but instead of going over the sea west, went north to the Balkans and Russia. It is loved mostly for its yellow flour, and was famous for the pasta of Napoli, and for the making of heritage wheat pasta it possibly has no competition, Again the variety from Puglia which is the one we grow is considered the best, even though a similar variety still exists in Abruzzo from older times.