|After centuries of oblivion, now Farro
is being rediscovered and it is considered a real gift of nature
by sophisticated and well - known connoisseurs.
reality, this precious and ancient grain has been grown since
time immemorial. Even though its culture has occurred in small
and fractured parcels of land whose total combined size never
actually exceeded 500 hectares (1,200 acres), it is being
used in some delightful and traditional recipes in the Italian
town of Garfagnana, near Lucca, where some restaurants proudly
feature dishes such as farro and beans, farro soup, farro
with vegetables, peppers stuffed with farro and farro and
ricotta cheese torte.
The rediscovery of Farro must be attributed
to the French, who in the last twenty years have re-launched
production of this ancient grain in the haute savoie, to supply
famous restaurants in France, where it is used not only in
vegetable soups and bean soups, but also in many “crust”
specialties. Farro is the original staple from which all the
grains known today derive, and for more than 2,000 years it
has constituted the basic nutrition of entire Mediterranean
and Asiatic populations.
In the past five centuries modern grains
with higher and higher yields have become widespread. Farro
in fact generally has a yield per acre, which can be as little
as one sixth of that for wheat. In addition it is thrashed
un-husked, so that it must subsequently be husked, with a
resulting reduction in quantity by 50%.
Clean farro yield amounts of about 1,000
to 1,200 kgs. Of whole grains per hectare (900 to 1,000 lbs.
of whole grains per acre) and of 80 to 100kgs. Have broken
grains per hectare (70 to 90lbs. Of broken grains per acre)
This explains the contradiction between
the ancient definition of farro as “poor people’s
grain”, and today’s high price for the commodity,
which reflects its high production costs. In 1990, Italy’s
farro production was roughly 660,000 lbs. and it was obtained
in a group of fairly small farms owned by a number of agricultural
companies in Tuscany, Umbria, Marche, Molise and Latium. Husking
is performed even today in old stone mills (there probably
aren’t more than 15 to 20 in the entire country of Italy).
*1 HECTARE = 2.471 ACRES 1 KG. = 2.2