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Atlantic Canadian Organic Regional Network

The story of Acadia wheat at the ACORN Conference

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Even though it’s been two weeks since the 14th Annual ACORN Conference & Trade Show, we here at the ACORN office are still reeling with happiness at the success of the event!

With jam-packed schedules each day, we realize there is only so much information our conference attendees can take in, so we’ve saved this story for now.

You may have tried some of the delicious samples fresh from the oven that Speerville was circulating on Thursday around the trade show. But you probably didn’t get the full story of the bread, and it’s a pretty great example of the connections in our Atlantic organic community.

The bread Speerville was sharing was – beyond being delicious – noteworthy for a couple reasons. First, it was the “re-debut” of a heritage wheat variety known as Acadia and second, because the entire organic value chain involved in creating the bread was present at the conference!


The people who brought Acadia wheat bread to the conference (left to right): the producer, Mark Bernard of Barnyard Organics; the baker, Tegan Wong-Daugherty; and the millers, the Speerville Flour Mill crew.

It was apparently at a past ACORN Conference where Mark Bernard of Barnyard Organics (PEI) got to talking about heritage wheat varieties with the folks at Speerville Flour Mill. A mutual passion for diverse, regionally-bred, climate-adaptable varieties led to the Bernards experimenting with the Acadia variety.

Acadia was one of the most prominent varieties of bread wheat grown in the Maritimes in the 1950s, a time when the region was much more self-sufficient in wheat production. As with most other crops, the varietal diversity of wheat has decreased over the decades to focus only on high yields at a large scale, often at the cost of nutrition and flavour.

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Tegan also led a great hands-on sourdough bread-making workshop that saw participants make some of the buns featured at our lunch on Friday!

With the most successful harvest of Acadia wheat yet this year for Barnyard Organics, Speerville milled the grain. Of course, the bread would not have come to be without a baker – and we were fortunate to have Tegan Wong-Daugherty at the conference baking bread just right outside the hotel in Speerville’s Panyol wood-fired oven.

Thanks to everyone involved in making this unique contribution to the ACORN Conference a reality – we all look forward to the future possibilities!


Author: acornorganic

Atlantic Canadian Organic Regional Network. Vision ACORN aims to enhance the viability and growth of the Atlantic Canadian organic agricultural community through a unified regional network. Mission Statement ACORN is a non-profit organization that promotes organic agriculture by: Facilitating information exchange between and amongst organizations and individuals Coordinating non-formal education for producers through to consumers Networking with all interested parties both regionally and nationally Structure ACORN is a membership-based non-profit incorporated cooperative with an eleven member Board of Directors and an Executive Director.

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