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Organic Bere Barley

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Market price: $5.99
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organic blue lake bean seedOrganic Bere Barley

Bere Island is South of Ireland and prior to the 20th century, this barley was widely grown in this area. Characteristics which suit it to this area include a rapid growth rate and a reputed tolerance to acidic soils.

In most areas, however, Bere was progressively replaced by higher yielding modern varieties and by the 1990s only about 10 ha were still in cultivation – mostly in Orkney, Sutherland and Shetland. Survival in Orkney has been linked closely to a local Mill, which still produces Bere flour, which is mainly used locally in a range of food products (bannocks, bread and biscuits).

Analyses of Bere flour has shown it to be a source of magnesium, zinc and iodine and to contain significant amounts of folate, thiamine and pantothenic acid. It is therefore thought to have potential as a functional food (Theobald et al., 2006) and the Agronomy Institute is investigating new bakery markets for Bere flour.

Historical accounts show that Bere was previously used widely for producing malt which would have been used for making both beer and whiskey. Information & Photo Source: Agronomy Institute, Orkney College

Spring Planted

Sample size only: Please don’t ask for larger quantities than one ounce because we do not have them. The idea is for as many people as possible to get started and grow your own, reestablishing genetic diversity.  This allows many people to get samples instead of just a few, and hopefully will preserve this cultivar. 

Simple threshing techniques:

Quinoa Growing Instructions

With it's origins in the high Andean plateau, quinoa is best adapted to cooler climates, but will grow in almost any moderate climate.  Keep in mind that those with hot summers may have reduced yields.  Quinoa doesn't like it's roots wet so make sure the soil doesn't stay inundated with water.  Plant 1/2 to 1" deep (depending on soil moisture) into a well prepared seed bed in late spring.  Space plants 3-4" apart on 24" rows for a single-headed crop.  For maximum yield, space plants 12" apart on 24" rows for multi branched plants.  Keep the soil moist while germinating.  
Quinoa spends it's first few weeks developing roots, so be vigilant to keep the soil weeded, or weeds can quickly take over a plot. Once the plants start to mature, the seeds will mature from the top of the plant down, allowing for an extended harvest.  If you wait until the whole plant is mature, the top seeds can shatter and be lost, so it's best to harvest the seed heads as they mature from the top down.  
Thresh into a clean bucket or garbage can by hitting the seed head against the side, or rubbing the seed head between gloved hands.  Quinoa contains a saponin coating that will need to be rinsed off before eating.  Before eating, soak the seeds for a few minutes, and then place the seeds into a colander under running water until no more foam forms.  
Quinoa seeding rate is about 10/lb per acre with yields normally between 1,000-3,000 lb per acre
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Customer Reviews

  • Author: living wind
    I harvested my sample size today. I'll be able to plant over 1000 sq ft or more this winter. Thanks for samples and extending biodiversity :)
  • Author: Corran
    I'm from Scotland - good seed.

    Bere island is not in north Britain but the south of Ireland (a country in its own right), very much south west of Britain.

    its now mostly grown on Orkney which is on the east coast of Scotland (north east of Britain)

    This barley is very difficult to produce whiskey from, however this is its primary use due to its excellent flavour.

    lack of use of these old fibrous grains has been linked to a degradation of the human gut microbiome in western humans - this is thought to be a cause of our vulnerability to many cancers and auto immune diseases.

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