North east farmer diversifies into ancient grain

Craggs & Co has now become the only large-scale producer of spelt flour grown, harvested, milled and stored in the UK that comes with the Red Tractor and TASCC seal of approval.

Award-winning farmer Stephen Craggs has diversified a large percentage of his 2,000-acre farm in Sedgefield to grow spelt wheat.

Craggs, managing director of Craggs & Co, who is well known for his award-winning Group 1 modern wheat, is diversifying from the traditional modern wheat “to open up new opportunities”, he said.

“We first stumbled across this tasty ancient grain a couple of years ago when a local chef asked us to grow a small amount to supply her gastro pub and bakery,” he said. “Then, purely through word of mouth, we were inundated with requests from other local businesses.”

Having realised the potential of spelt, he “dramatically increased” his annual acreage and invested in a Bühler dehulling plant, which will be built to BRC standards: “It’s funny to think we’re using such modern machinery on a grain that has over 9,000 years of heritage.”

Craggs & Co has grown commercial Group 1 modern wheat over 70 years. It currently supplies and distributes throughout the UK via its own haulage trucks (on average 6,000 - 8,000 tons of wheat each year). 

Kate White, head of marketing and product development, said: “We are delighted to be the only large-scale producer of spelt flour that is grown, harvested, milled and stored in the UK that comes with the Red Tractor and TASCC seal of approval.”

The company said there was a significant demand from supermarkets and bakeries “which have been unable to find reliable suppliers of spelt, as they are heavily reliant on grain imported from the EU with fluctuating prices and quality”.

“Our flour can be traced from farm to fork with every grain of spelt grown and milled in the north east of England. We are developing our infrastructure for large-scale production and supply. This will give our customers the confidence to develop a product range that can be reliably sourced year on year.”

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