Plainsong Farm received the 2017 Biodiversity Micro-Grant to grow and distribute a 1⁄4 acre of heirloom Turkey Red wheat. During the Spring and Summer seasons they prepared the planting area with selective tilling to kill weeds and create an ideal seedbed. In late September the farm had a wheat planting event where 29 volunteers helped to plant 35 lbs of Turkey Red wheat seed by hand. For this event (as well as for their harvesting event in July of 2018) they partnered with Honore Farm and Mill from California. Honore Farm has had previous experience with planting small acreage of heirloom wheat and choose Plainsong Farm as an out-of-state site to help
plan, plant, and market the wheat.
Some challenges they faced with this project were the following:
Procuring heirloom wheat seed in Michigan.
It took a lot of research and phone calls to find growers who had available seed and were willing to work with Plainsong Farm in terms of processing and storage. Their planning helped to reveal a need from heirloom in the state of Michigan.
A second challenge: Michigan weather
Late September of 2017 offered up a lengthy stint of 90 degree days with no rain. This could have been a potential issue for good seed germination after planting. Luckily the hardy seed remained active until the rains did come.
“We at Plainsong Farm are so thankful to Slow Foods West Michigan and all their supporters who helped make our heirloom wheat planting possible. The need for this product in Michigan is truly needed and we are excited to help aid in this process.”