But there’s a glimmer of hope on that front, thanks to some buckwheat that was grown in Dawson this year by Stephanie Williams and Mike Penrose. They planted it as a cover crop for their yard and it grew quite well in our northern climate.
Suzanne has harvested the buckwheat groats. Now, if she can just figure out how to thresh them by hand she will try cooking it. (If anyone has experience with hand threshing, suggestions are welcome. Just contact us.)
Despite the name, buckwheat is not related to wheat, as it is not a grass. (It’s actually related to sorrel and rhubarb). It is one of the so-called ancient grains, having been first cultivated around 6,000 BCE. Porridge made from buckwheat groats, known as kasha, is often considered the definitive Eastern European peasant dish.
The dish was brought to North America by Ukrainian, Russian, and Polish immigrants who also mixed it with pasta or used it as a filling for cabbage rolls, knishes, and blintzes.
If you have any recipes made with buckwheat groats that Suzanne can use, we welcome your submissions.
Buckwheat early after planting (left) and when flowering. Photos by Suzanne Crocker.