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Spelt

     Spelt, due to its unique nutrient contend and balance, is the most popular of a grain group known as Ancient Covered Grains and is related [ probably a grandparent ] to wheat. The kernel after husk removal does look similar to a grain of wheat. It also performs similar when used for baking or cooking, but there the similarity ends. With a distinctive nutty flavor it contains considerably more and additional beneficial nutrients. Most important is the balance of these and also that of its gluten, it is quite different and obviously more in harmony with the needs of the human body. Fact is that a correct balance in soil, food and basically everything is the most vital ingredient for normal healthy function. Spelt appears to have been created for ideal human nourishment.

     800 years ago the famous healer and Nun, Hildegard von Bingen declared Spelt the very best of all grain and that eating it leads to a happy and contend disposition. If that means a feeling of well being, then Spelt enthusiasts agree. It certainly has not had the human breeding interference or "improvement" that modern wheat has, where the main emphasis has been on highest possible yield, now also needing an increasing number of chemicals. The resulting nutrient imbalances are the most likely cause of an increasing number of people not being able to tolerate wheat products , yet these people have no problems when substituting with Spelt. However because Spelt does contain gluten it is not recommended by the coeliac society.

     Research is not able to find a time when Spelt did not exist. Mentioned in the Bible, it was the main staple diet through Europe and eastwards right up to the middle ages when easy threshing and higher yielding wheat from Egypt replaced it. Farmers however continued growing Spelt for their own use. These farming families were known to be exceptionally robust healthy people with the reason for this only becoming apparent, once modern technology to properly analyze our food was available. Now Spelt has become very popular among health conscious people especially in Europe.

     It will always need to be a higher cost grain because of low yield, costly husk removal and consequent weight loss [30-40%]. To make growing organic Spelt a proposition compared to wheat, producers need to be paid at least twice as much. Spelt enthusiasts have in the past even accepted some outrageous prices and have obviously come to the conclusion that good health is priceless. In Europe the husk of Spelt is also believed to be very healthy and to have proven therapeutic benefit in under lays, pillows and cushions. Here the husk is at this stage only used as addition to stock feed mixes as it has a good protein content. We only use an original Spelt strain with very tough husk which gives wonderful protection to the kernel against outside contaminants and pests as well as keeping it fresh. After the Tschernobyl disaster this husk even protected the grain from fall out, it was reported the only grain not showing a radioactive reading at that time.

     Although we fully support the Spelt research by the NSW Department of Primary Industries currently in progress, we are somewhat alarmed about intentions to "improve" Spelt threshing and yield . This could destroy the distinct benefits the tough husk does give Spelt as well as the unique balance of the grain --- a la wheat. We say lets not undertake any breeding interference but rather preserve and perhaps enhance what we have ; John F. Holtkamp