Linking farmers and consumers through products that have a unique demand in Minnesota

Interested in ancient grains?

Our New Crops list contains several ancient grains, such as teff, spelt, farro and others. These crops are rare and present the grower with various issues that aren’t frequently present in the production of other grains. Experts from leading universities in the Northeast have been working to mitigate this issues and provide information on best practices for growing.  Below is a link to a powerpoint presentation from a recent webinar in which they provide great information ranging from topics of seed certification to drying processes —

eOrganic’s 2-12-2013 Presentation on Alternative Grains!

Farmer Field Guides!

SFA is proud to announce the release of our New Crops Project Farmer Field Guides. Education is an integral part of SFA’s mission, and with these guides, we hope to provide farmers with information to learn more about specific crops we are working with in our New Crops Project, and what it takes to produce them.

For each crop we have researched and compiled valuable information about the crop’s background, growing, processing and marketing in order to provide a valuable overview for farmers that may be interested in trying their hand at growing one. In many cases we were able to include information pertaining specifically to Minnesota or the Upper Midwest.  The collection will continue to be updated and expanded as the project grows into its future phases.

Please enjoy and feel free to send any feedback to bobby@sfa-mn.org!


Consumer Links

Are you a consumer interested in learning more about the crops that are a part SFA’s New Crops Project? Click the below to learn more about the crops and find some great recipes to use them. 


The Lakewinds Organic Field Fund has been an integral part in the growth of the New Crops Project. Check out this video for some great information about the other projects they funded in 2012 as well as some information about New Crops and what we’re planning for the next phase of the project.

SFA’s portion starts around 5:30, but if you have time, I highly recommend sticking around to hear about the other great sustainable initiatives they support. 

Risk Management

Incorporating an alternative crop into your farm can bring with it a variety of risks and rewards. Check out this awesome chapter from the University of Minnesota’s Organic Risk Management Guide for a great, in-depth explanation of what everyone should consider. 

The chapter even includes some specifics from crops on our New Crops list such as amaranth, millet and more. If you’re really serious, take the diagnostic quiz at the end to judge how prepared your farm is for an alternative crop.

Heres the link:

Risk Management Guide for Organic Producers: Alternative Crops

Seed Suppliers

We’ve been working hard to put together a list of seed suppliers, so that anyone interested in starting to grow one or more of the crops we’re working with can give it a shot. What we have is hopefully a good jumping off point with as many varieties as we could find for each crop. It’s a working list that will continue to be updated as we find more information or more sources, so feel free to give us any feedback on what’s listed. 

Here’s the list!


Have you seen the survey results?

Last summer we began the New Crops Project with an electronic survey that we distributed online and at food co-ops throughout the Twin Cities.  With the survey, we were looking to gauge consumer’s interest in various foods and what their spending habits might be. We then took what we found and began to spread the word. 

The results were great. You can see for yourself at the following link, which contains our  initial project report.


Farmer Finds His Niche With Spelt

Click the title above to check out a great article from Farming Magazine about how a Pennsylvanian farmer has been able find a booming market for spelt, one of the New Crops we’re currently working with. It even has a MN connection!

Unique crops like spelt have an unmet demand all throughout Minnesota and with the New Crops Project, SFA is looking to help connect farmers to these growing markets.

Don’t know what spelt is?

Spelt is an an ancient grain with its roots in the Fertile Crescent some 9000 years ago. It is more widely used in Europe where it is known as dinkel in Germany and farro in Italy. While higher in protein than commonly used wheat varieties, the nature of its proteins results in less gluten formation when making bread dough. Spelt is renowned for its health benefits. Many people with wheat allergies or sensitivities can enjoy bread made with spelt flour.   - Breadtopia.com

I personally think it’s great in bread. As we continue to connect with more farmers and markets in the Twin Cities we hope to get spelt more widely available than it currently is, and more importantly, coming from growers right here in Minnesota.

Check out the links below for some more info;





Don’t forget to check out our project website for more info!

2 years ago

Have a question?

Do you want to know something specific about the project? Are you curious about what exactly farro is? Ask away! If you click on the cog at the very top right of this page, and then the question mark on the drop-down menu you can access the “Questions” portion of the blog. All you need to do is type in what you want to know, and I will get right to answering it. My responses will be posted right here on this page. Otherwise, you can always email me with any questions at bobby@sfa-mn.org. 

The Crops!

The survey we distributed last summer brought in a lot of great results. Consumers want more variety in their organic options, especially when the foods are coming from a Minnesota source. We found that there are a lot of potential, untapped markets for a variety of unique crops, and this data is powering our New Crops project as we look to help connect farmers to the demands of consumers. 

Here is our initial list of crops:

  • Quinoa
  • Spelt
  • Teff
  • White Wheat
  • Amaranth
  • Farro
  • White Corn Hominy
  • Millet
  • Gluten Free Oats
  • Currants
  • Sea Buckthorn
  • Nettle
  • Burdock
  • Grass-fed Meat Products
  • Sauerkraut 
  • Kim Chi
  • Kombucha
  • Hops
  • Wine Grapes
  • Royal Jelly

As the project continues to develop we are hoping to add even more crops to our work and expand the project’s reach even further. 

Is there anything else you would like to see added to our work? Are you interested in learning more about the project?

Send me an e-mail at bobby@sfa-mn.org and make sure to check out the New Crops website!