Last week was hot and dry, perfect for a harvest. So with a car full of willing hands I headed off to join the Oxford Bread Group to bring in the Lammas harvest of Spelt, Einkorn and Heritage Wheat.
Lammas, meaning ‘Loaf mass’ is traditionally the first harvest of grain for bread flour. The Oxford Bread (OBG) group celebrate this traditional festival by gathering together for a community harvest. Headed by Archaeobotanist John Letts and Coordinator Sally Lane the OBG are guided by the “Principle is that communities can obtain nutritious bread from cereals that can be grown in their local areas in an ecologically sustainable manner”. And that’s exactly what they do in and around Oxfordshire.
It’s hot and heavy work but my spirits were kept up by the faces of bemused passers by. Bringing in the harvest on fields next to footpaths is quiet a funny experience. I even had a woman take my picture as she said “it’s nice to see how things would have been done back in the day”.
That’s an ironic comment as the work of the OBG is not about historical reenactment, or some kind of bucolic folly rather it’s about providing nutritious grain now and looking to the future. In a very different food future, when the cost of oil could make importing wheat prohibitive, the OBG will be in place to provide flour for a truly sustainable loaf.
I’m going to have to wait a while, for the grain to be milled to bake my sustainable loaf. In the meantime I was kindly given a bag of OBG fine flour from a previous harvest. So it’s sustainable scones for tea…