Weatherbury Farm Grain Tracker
From Planting to Harvest, Obsidian Black Winter Emmer (Whole and Sifted Emmer Flour & Emmer Berries) in the field:
The Obsidian Black Winter Emmer is a variety of emmer that we obtained 12 seeds of at Agritechnica in Germany in 2011.
We started bulking the seed in 2012, by planting increasingly larger test plots. By 2018 we had a 1/3 of an acre planted. That was a unfortunately a very wet year and we lost the whole crop.
In the fall of 2020, we planted a large plot to start bulking our seed back up again. Our first field planting was in 2021, when .613ac of the Obsidian Black Winter Emmer was planted. In 2022, we planted 2.557 acres.
Preparing the field to plant the Obsidian Black Winter Emmer.
After the field is plowed (shown), it is harrowed to smooth the soil.
You can see how rolling the hills we farm are in this photo.
Planting the black emmer seed. The planter also has a harrow to smooth the soil to provide the best possible seed bed.
Emmer emerging from winter. This is the way the emmer looks when we frost seed clover into the grain.
The emmer has certainly grown since March and grain heads have formed.
A look at the contour fields of grain and hay. Emmer is on the left, with a tractor cutting hay on the middle field and Appalachian on the right. Frederick is in the front.
Contour fields are an important part of sustainable agriculture. This practice reduces soil erosion and conserves rainwater.
The emmer has started to dry down.
Emmer Flour in the field.
The emmer grain continues to dry down.
Harvesting our second crop of Obsidian Black Winter Emmer.
The grain remains in the body of the combine while the straw is deposited on the field. The straw will either be used to bed animals or remain on the field to increase the organic matter in the soil.
The emmer was then loaded into a gravity wagon and transported back to the farm where it will be dried, debearded, cleaned and dehulled.
Obsidian Black Winter Emmer Facts 2022
In 2023, Obsidian Black Winter Emmer was grown in Independence Township on 2 fields, totaling 2.557 acres on the farm established by R. Meloy, Esquire in 1829. Meloy was a farmer, grain, stock and wool grower. More recently the farm was a dairy farm and a cattle farm. Weatherbury Farm has farmed this land since 2015. The farm has been certified organic since 2006.
The emmer was planted on October 24, 2022.
Clover was frost seeded into the grain on March 28, 2023. (The clover suppresses weeds, aids in holding up the grain and, eventually provides nitrogen to the next crop.)
The emmer was harvested on July 31, 2023.
At the 2023 Washington County Fair, the sheaf of Obsidian Emmer won 1st place and the jar of Obsidian Emmer won 2nd place.
For an illustrated explanation of how Weatherbury grains become flour, visit the from seed to flour page.
About Obsidian Black Winter Emmer
Emmer is one of the three ancient hulled wheats. Its history dating back 17000 years spans Egypt (where it was used to make bread and beer) and Italy, where it was the food of the Roman Legion and if thought to be the wheat of the bible.
Emmer, like spelt and einkorn, is protected from the elements by a hull which doesn’t come free in harvest (unlike the hulls on wheat which do). The removal of the hull prior to milling requires special machinery. Weatherbury is lucky to have a dehuller, built by Farmer Nigel.
Products Milled from Obsidian Black Winter Emmer
Obsidian Black Winter Emmer is milled into whole unbleached Emmer Flour and sifted unbleached Emmer Flour. Emmer Flour can be used in place of whole wheat flour in most dishes from pie crusts to cakes to pancakes to bread.
Emmer berries (also known as Farro Medio), can be used in everything from baked goods to soups and salads or use like rice in a berry bowl.
Health benefits of Emmer
Emmer contains only 28 chromosomes while modern wheat contains 42. It is high in protein and fiber and contains high levels of minerals, vitamins, anti-oxidants and essential fatty acids.
Emmer is high in protein — 1/2 cup contains between 26 and 40% of the daily fiber requirements. In addition to fiber and protein, it contains high levels of minerals , vitamins , anti-oxidants and essential fatty acids that can help keep you healthy. Additionally, it has a low glycemic index.
To read more about emmer flour and emmer berries, please visit our products page.
More information on emmer and other grains are on the grains we grow page.