About the Author
  • Jennifer is a self proclaimed country girl born and raised in Northern California. After joining social media, Jenny met a farmer from North Dakota. She followed her heart all the way to the rural prairies of ND where she is now married to that farmer. Besides spending time with her farmer, Jenny can be found with a camera in hand capturing the world around her, loves the challenges of bringing culture to the North Dakota prairie through a variety of culinary creations, and using her interior design degree to flip their bachelor pad into a home. All of this and more can be found on her photography blog: jldphotographblog.com.
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Why I Choose to Eat Gluten

by Jennifer_Dewey on ‎09-04-2014 09:41 AM

I've written before on my own personal blog, Prairie Californian.com, about this gluten free craze. Gluten has been under attack. Gluten free has now become one of those buzzwords. People hear gluten free and think it’s the newest healthy thing they can do for themselves. I fully acknowledge and understand that some people suffer from celiacs or intolerances to gluten, but I think as the marketing shows, we've taken gluten free a little too far. 

 

I talk more about what gluten free really means over on my blog. Here I want to talk about four reasons why I choose gluten in my diet. For me, gluten equals wheat. Wheat is one of the four crops we grow on our farm. Wheat works well in our rotation because it is a short season cool grass that does extremely well in our area if met with favorable conditions. Wheat harvest is in full swing this week, so this week, it's all about wheat. Here is why: 

 

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I support choice.

 

I support a choice NOT to eat gluten, but I also support a choice TO eat gluten. Or wheat products. I don't believe in vilifying one particular product in our vast food supply. We are very fortunate to have an abundance of choices at our fingertips, whether it be gluten free products or choosing a whole grain product. So many across the globe and even in this country, aren't as fortunate.

 

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I support crops we grow.

 

I've talked a lot about our the four crops we grow. Wheat, corn, soybeans, and sunflowers and when I step into the grocery store, I vote with my dollar. I purchase products that we grow here on our farm. I enjoy things like sunflower butter (Sun Butter), sunflower seeds, Dakota Maid flour, breads, corn and soy products. I believe as farmers of the actual product, it is important we actually put our money where our mouth is and support those products we put so much time and hard work into producing. 

 

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I appreciate the hard work. 

 

Everyone on our farm works hard. Harvest started this week and my husband and my in-law family have been working long hours to get the wheat cut before we receive more rain. Wheat harvest has been delayed this year due to an abundance of rain in August. Every year is different. Some years we don't get enough rain, some years we get too much. We are thankful to have a beautiful wheat crop this year. But it doesn't just happen like magic. It takes time to plant it all, it takes effort to keep our fields free of weeds and disease, and finally, it takes a whole lot of time and effort to harvest all that wheat and eventually haul it to the elevator. I appreciate the hard work that my own family does, so in turn, I buy wheat products. 

 

 

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Wheat is an important crop for our state.

 

According to the North Dakota Wheat Council, Agriculture is the leading revenue-producing industry in North Dakota with wheat being North Dakota's chief agricultural commodity. North Dakota typically ranks second to Kansas in total wheat production.. North Dakota was the top wheat producing state in 2009 and 2010.
North Dakota is number one in the production of hard red spring and durum. On average, the farmers here grow nearly half of the nation's hard red spring wheat and two-thirds of the durum. Plain and simple, a strong wheat industry is very important to the viability of North Dakota. If corn and soybeans ever fail us, we always have wheat to fall back onto. 

 

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Image Courtesy Germans from Russia Heritage Collection, NDSU Library 

 

Wheat has an important legacy and history here. 

Wheat is a crop we have grown since grandpa was farming. It is a traditional crop for North Dakota here. In fact, for many years, Eureka, South Dakota (which is 30 miles to the south of us) was known as the "wheat capital of the world". It became the funnel into which the wheat fields of the Dakotas emptied. In 1892, when it was the largest primary wheat-shipping point in the world, Eureka was crowded day and night with horses an wagons loaded with sacks of grain. Farmers hauled their wheat, often by ox team, from 75 miles around.  Eureka boasted 42 grain elevators handling 4,000,000 bushels a year. Eureka became the Milwaukee's most profitable station, with earnings of $100,000 a month. Today when you drive into Eureka, the sign still states "wheat capital of the world". Wheat has been and will continue to be a Dakota staple. 

 

What Crops are Important in Your Area? 

As a consumer, it is important to be aware of what agricultural crops are staples for your area or state. And to ensure that the food choices you are making are indeed supporting those around you. I hope you spend some time Googling what crops are staples in your area and learning more about what makes those crops in your back yard important.