Farming and the food it produces has changed a lot in the past 200 years. Farmers and manufacturers have become increasingly consumed with making cheap food, and, as a result, the grains and produce on your table have changed from what they were in your ancesters’ time.
In the late 1800’s with the development of the railroads, the milling process in the U.S. was changed from numerous local stone mills to fewer large steel roller mills, making grain processing cheaper, and increasing the shelf life of the flour so it could be shipped long distances on the new railroads. This cheaper process removed important vitamins and minerals from the grain, preventing mold growth, but the lack of nutrition was also noticed in U.S. troops during the world wars and caused manufacturers to begin “enriching” flour. The reason so many flours and cereals are artificially enriched today is not because the grain itself lacks nutrients, but because modern processing methods strip those nutrients away.
Following WWII, the “Green Revolution” brought more changes to the farming industry. Access to cheap nitrogen (no longer needed for explosives) allowed farmers to begin fertilizing crops with unnaturally high amounts of nitrogen. The concentration of other minerals in the soil, such as phosperous and potassium, was also increased, and farmers bred plants to adapt to this over-fertilization. Synthetic chemical herbicides, insecticides, fungicides, etc., were also introduced to increase yields and reducing prices. The physiology of the new crop varieties were different from the natural crops that had been grown for thousands of years; and the taste of, and chemical residues left in, them were overlooked.
We’re trying to go back and find the old, good tasting grain varieties that were lost in the scramble to produce cheap and refined foods. We grow them without synthetic chemicals in the fertility levels they traditionally thrived, and then we process them in a manner used hundreds of years ago. We accomplish this by doing everything, from planting to milling, here on our farm.