Lost Heritage Rye Grain Becomes New Pennsylvania Whiskey
For the first time in decades, the long-lost heritage grain, Rosen rye, will be distilled into rye whiskey in Pennsylvania! “The last man to distill Rosen rye into whiskey at the historic Michter’s Distillery in Schaefferstown, Pa will be the first to distill it here again,” said Laura Fields, founder of the American Whiskey Convention and CEO of the non-profit, The Delaware Valley Fields Foundation.
“Dick Stoll, of Stoll & Wolfe Distillery, is a legend in distilling, and it is an honor to deliver our Rosen rye grain into his very capable hands.”Laura Fields, CEO Delaware Valley Fields Foundation
Since 2015, Rosen rye seeds have been cultivated and re-planted on agricultural test plots in State College, PA to produce enough usable grain to distill into whiskey. The Delaware Valley Fields Foundation’s SeedSpark
Campaign has gone from 5 ounces of Rosen rye sourced from the USDA to over 900 pounds today! 500 lbs of that rye grain will placed into fermenters on Tuesday, September 3, 2019 and distilled into rye whiskey on Saturday, September 7th at Stoll & Wolfe Distillery.
About Delaware Valley Fields Foundation
The Delaware Valley Fields Foundation is a non-profit organization that promotes local farming and its history. The organization works with farmers and other non-profits to bring attention to the vital role small farming plays in communities. Members educate the public through events including the American Whiskey Convention. To learn more, visit delvalfieldsfoundation.org.
The Delaware Valley Fields Foundation’s Seed Spark Campaign is funded by their annual event, the American Whiskey Convention, which takes place each spring in Philadelphia. Each resurrected seed varietal is offered to local farmers once enough seed has been propagated and well-documented research trials have determined which farming practices can be utilized to grow the healthiest and most viable crop.
What is a Heritage Grain?
“When Prohibition was enacted, it wasn’t just alcohol production that stopped. Many grains stopped being produced due to the sudden drop in demand. When farmers shifted their attention to other crops, their knowledge and use of those old crops slowly faded away. These are the “lost grains” that we now call heritage grains. Due to changes in local agricultural land use, climate and soil health, many of these seeds (which have not been planted in decades) face challenges that can seem daunting to a modern local farmer. The Delaware Valley Fields Foundation is making every effort to remove any costly “trial and error” period from the farmer’s workload by providing them with growing directions and guidelines for a successful crop using these heritage seeds.
Heritage grains can be very important to the local Pennsylvania economy. If we can help establish these grains with farmers and producers, we can create an industry that is unique to Pennsylvania helping to provide a premier identity for the region. Seed Spark is working to bring back some of those “lost” grains for which the region was once famous. We are working with United States Department of Agriculture Research Service, local universities and farmers to resurrect these treasures. In doing so, we will help kick start economic development in the Delaware Valley and across the state.” -Delaware Valley Fields Foundation
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