Investors, Farmers May Return To Grain West Of The Cascades

Jan 6, 2014

When you think of Northwest wheat, you might picture the rolling golden fields of eastern Washington. But it used to be that a lot of grain was grown west of the Cascades, and it may soon grow here again.

Investors, policy makers and farmers are leading an effort to bring grain back to western Washington, Oregon and British Columbia.

Lucas Patzek, who is organizing the upcoming Cascadia Grain Conference in Tacoma, says artisan bakeries, breweries and local food operations have told him that wheat grown west of the Cascades has its own unique flavor profile.

“Each told us that baking wheat out of western Washington is some of the excellent tasting that they’ve every used,” said Patzek, who works for Washington State University.

Patzek says some of the main challenges for growing wheat and other grains West of the mountains include linking producers and buyers and reviving the infrastructure to store, transport and market the grain.