D. Gary Young Shares His Discoveries About Growing and Harvesting Einkorn
We are experiencing a lot of excitement here at the Young Living Skyrider Ranch in Tabiona, Utah!
After the ranch was purchased, I looked out over the fields and the majestic mountains that span from the Duchesne River at 6,500 feet to the mountain tops on the ranch at 10.000 feet, and I started imagining all the potential this 4,500 acres of God’s paradise could bring to our Young Living family, from corporate activities to member retreats. Then I started thinking about einkorn and wondering how well it would grow at this altitude of 6.700 feet.
So I decided to prepare the ground, and in May the seed that came from our farm in France was seeded into 100 acres here for trial planting and growing. Normally. Einkorn does the best with late fall planting; however, because of the late fall rains, we were unable to get a crop in the ground before it was too late. I felt we were better off experimenting with spring planting to see what it would do rather than wait another year to find out.
I was constantly watching the fields with great anticipation. At this altitude it was a “roll of the dice” whether it would germinate in time to grow to full maturity before the fall frost would come. Einkorn is a unique grain, and since it is considered a dry land crop, many people get fooled by its behavior. When planted, it will germinate and come through the ground in 7 days and grow like crazy until it reaches a height of 4 to 6 inches, and then it stops growing.
After einkorn pokes its head through the soil, it doesn’t grow for 3 to 4 weeks and appears to just be enjoying the sunshine, the beautiful air, and the freedom of being above the ground. However, a phenomenon is taking place during this time of false dormancy.
The einkorn never really stops growing but is taking in the carbon dioxide and electromagnetic energy from the sun and sending it to the roots to give the nutrient support for them to grow fast and deep in preparation for the third phase of its life cycle. At this point the growth is all beneath the surface as the roots push deeper into Mother Earth to reach the best minerals and nutrients as well as water before it returns to its journey skyward.
Once the einkorn has reached optimal root depth, it focuses on growing tall. One morning we will walk out into the field and will be amazed to see that the einkorn has grown 2 inches overnight. Every day the shaft grows, preparing the foundation to feed the baby kernels that soon start to form.
As the einkorn here grew taller and taller, I knew I had made a good decision. By July the heads were about 3 feet tall, and by mid-August they had grown to my shoulders.
When we hear in our minds the words “for amber waves of grain” in the song America the Beautiful, we immediately see miles of wheat gently waving back and forth in the wind. But here at the ranch, the waves are in the beautiful fields of einkorn.
I felt a little emotional knowing that hundreds of tons of grain from these fields will feed people around the world, who now will have a choice to eat a safe, nutritious. non-hybridized grain.
I watch for three stages of growth and maturity in my einkorn to determine the best time for harvest:
The first stage is called the milk stage, when the kernels start to form, you squeeze them, and what comes out looks like white milk.
The second stage is the soft dough stage, which is when the kernels are completely formed, and the heads are turning yellowish in color. The stalk is still green. but when you peel back the husk, there is a living substance called the kernel. It will appear completely formed; however, half of it will still be slightly green, and the rest, a yellowish tan color. When you pinch the kernel, it will be firm, but the interior will come out like soft dough.
When the kernels are fully developed, they will fall off with rain, the movement of the wind, or the harvesting machine. In ancient times when farmers harvested with a scythe, the knife blade slicing through the stalks would knock off the kernels, so the people knew they had to cut before final maturity. They then began the harvest but cut in the soft dough stage and tied the stalks into bundles to let them stand on end in a teepee shape so that the wind would not knock them over. This also allowed the rain or dew to fall and run off without causing mold from lying on the ground.
After 7 to 10 days, the kernels reach the third and final phase of maturity, which is called the hard dough stage, where the kernel is rock hard and ready for threshing, which is separating the kernel from the skin that covers it, called the husk.
Another phenomenon takes place while the bundles are standing in the field and maturing with the rain and dew. The daily sunshine evaporating the dew stimulates the enzymes in the kernel to germinate, putting the kernels into a predigested state ready for human or animal consumption that is easily digested, as it is supposed to do.
Today, hybridized grains in conjunction with the fast, modern way of harvesting and threshing make the grain difficult to digest, which causes all kinds of problems. This way of harvesting takes the life force out of what nature has created and has made our modern wheat, which has been called by many “Frankenwheat,” which is damaging the health of the world.
Like the ancient farmers, I waited until our einkorn had reached the soft dough stage, and then I started to harvest. I was so impressed when Janay Standifird, Nikki Davis, Eddie Silcock, and Lee Bowen, with their very busy office schedules, came to help in the beginning of the harvest. They stood in awe as they watched me on the old-fashioned three-horse-drawn binder start the harvest by cutting and tying the einkorn into bundles.
Putting the stalks into “tepees,” referred to as shocking the grain, was so gratifying for everyone. The farm crew finished shocking the bundles the second day, leaving tepees standing everywhere in the fields to give the einkorn time to germinate-a scene from times long ago that can only be seen at the Young Living ranch or one or one of our farms.
In about 10 days, we will thresh the grain and be ready to send it into the production of our products-but will hold some for planting later this month.
I’m sure that many of our new members are curious about einkorn, which is why I wrote my book Ancient Einkorn, Today’s Staff of Life, which I encourage everyone to read.
Gary’s True Grit Einkorn Flour