Wisconsin's Wheat

Before Wisconsin was the Dairy State, it was the Wheat State, highly specialized in the production of wheat and a top 5 producer of wheat in the decades before and after the American Civil War. The rich glacial soils of Wisconsin produced bountiful wheat crops, supplying a thriving regional market as well as local stone mills found in many locales. Anarchy Acres endeavors to bring back the best part of Wisconsin's wheat past, a past of responsible crop rotation, nutritious old world wheat varieties, and fresh, stone milled flour.

Our primary wheat variety right now is Turkey Red, a hard red winter wheat that originated in the Crimean region of Russia. Although Turkey Red is most closely associated with Kansas, it appears in the harvest records of Wisconsin at the turn of the last century. We are growing Turkey Red using certified seed stock from Kansas State University.

In addition to Turkey Red, we have two historic varieties of Spring wheat. The first variety is Red Fife, which originated in the Ukraine (or possibly the Vistula delta of Poland) and was brought to Ontario by a farmer named David Fife in 1840. Red Fife was then grown in the US by a Wisconsin farmer named JW Clarke in 1860, and the variety was popular for several decades. It makes a strong dough and works well in pizza or bread.

Our second Spring wheat variety is Marquis, a cross between Red Fife and Indian Calcutta wheat which was developed in Canada around 1900. This wheat quickly spread across the Midwest and by 1919 it accounted for 59.2% of all wheat grown in Wisconsin. However, by the end of WWII it was gone from Wisconsin fields. We believe that our 2016 Marquis harvest is the first local crop since that time. It has a similar flavor profile to Red Fife, but milder, and makes a stronger dough.

We are guided by research and experimentation, most significantly by digging into University of Wisconsin Agricultural publications from 1880-1920, many of which focus on wheat from that period. Varieties like Haynes Bluestem, Bacska, Pedigree No. 2, Marquis, Red Fife, and Prelude were grown and evaluated by the UW Agricultural Testing station at that time. Using these sources, we are seeking varieties with interesting flavor profiles that are matched to local soil and climate. In our seed testing plot we are working with historic grain samples obtained from seed banks, and we are in the process of growing out several varieties for marketing in the 2018-2019 growing season. We want to grow and sell the most authentic and interesting grain possible.

Following harvest, heritage grain at Anarchy Acres is carefully cleaned and stored in a humidity controlled environment, awaiting the mill. When an order for flour is received, we bring the grain out of storage and take it to an on-site stone mill we built with imported European mill stones. Our flour, freshly milled on traditional stones, is at peak freshness and our packaging has the date written on it. Millstones, which press the grain's bran, germ, and oils together, make a different flour than modern roller mills, higher in fiber and flavor. Please enjoy our products in good health!