Want to know something very few people know? In 2007, before Sunrise Flour Mill was a real business, Darrold and I sold organic, conventional flour at a local farmers market. We were really doing it just for fun… this is where our learning process started.
While Darrold was developing a pizza flour, we were baking and eating a lot of bread products. The more we ate, the more Darrold displayed numerous intense problems, including headaches, lethargy, and intestinal issues so intense that he slept sitting nearly upright for a year.
He saw numerous doctors who prescribed a variety of pills, but to no avail. His symptoms hit a peak after a large pasta dinner and we began to consider that gluten intolerance might be the culprit.
We went gluten-free that day and soon after Darrold was back to his old self. However, we struggled to eat gluten-free substitutes and we missed fresh baked goods. The more we ate gluten-free, the more we noted the long list of ingredients: added sugar, gums, and other additives that seemed very unhealthy.
Darrold delved into the issue of gluten intolerance and discovered that modern wheat is very different from the heritage wheat we ate growing up. This led to discovering Turkey Red Wheat...and it changed everything. So, where does Turkey Red come from… and what makes it so special?
6 Reasons to love Turkey Red:
1. Turkey Red and was grown extensively in Ukraine prior to 1850. It can be traced back to biblical times.
2. Turkey Red is a hard red winter wheat that is good for bread but it can be used for general baking as well.
3. Turkey Red became the foundation of most American wheats and is a major reason that The Great Plains became known as the “breadbasket of America.” It was the predominant wheat grown from North Dakota to Texas from the mid-1800’s to the mid-1900’s...until higher yielding hybridized wheat varieties took over much of the wheat industry and Turkey Red was left behind by most.
4. Many people find this heritage wheat more digestible than modern wheat. Take a peek at some of the comments under each product on our website to see what others besides us think about this flour.
5. Turkey Red is more drought resistant due to its extensive root system, going deep down into the ground to find water there. It survived the Dust Bowl!! Eliot Coleman posits that healthy soil doesn’t need pest control because pests don’t attack healthy plants*
6. Wheat used to grow 4-5 feet tall (modern wheat grows only about 2 feet tall). Modern wheat has a smaller leaf canopy, thus allowing more insects and weeds to flourish. This means modern wheat needs more chemical herbicides and insecticides in order to grow. The tall organic Turkey Red has a broad leaf canopy so it doesn’t need these chemicals.
Our Heritage White Flour, Whole Wheat Flour, and Pizza Flour are made from 100% Organic Heritage Turkey Red Wheat. The Heritage Bread Blend is predominantly Turkey Red blended with another heritage wheat variety. This wheat has changed everything for us and the day we discovered it, we made it our goal to get it into the hands of the everyday home baker. We hope you find Turkey Red as special as we do.
All for now,