Red Fife returns to its Otonabee roots

Red Fife wheat, the cultivar of choice on the newly-plowed Canadian Prairies in the middle to late 1800s, was developed in the “Otonabee” area of Ontario, near Peterborough. Now Red Fife is back there – or at least nearby, in Hastings County. Organic grower and miller Patricia Hastings started with one 25-kilogram bag of Red Fife five years ago and multiplied it for four seasons before beginning milling a year ago, harvesting eight tonnes and grinding it with her own stone mill.

Hastings says her flour is in demand. “I had no idea there were so many artisan bakeries in Ottawa and Toronto,” she says.

“I expected it to be a very small market.”

Better Farming - August/September 2009