Ancient Ingredients – Wheat
Jamie and James explore wheat, one of the world’s most ancient ingredients. On their journey, they learn how wheat is grown, how it is made into flour and how wheat consumption has changed over time. Finally, they enter a fierce cooking battle to see who can create the best wheat-based dish: Jamie, the normal guy, or chef James?
Behind the scenes
The Sorted team met Hannah Darby at her farm in Huntingdon, UK. After touring her wheat fields, the team interviewed Hannah and BASF sustainability expert Mike Green about how wheat is cultivated and some of the challenges of modern agriculture. Back in the studio, they met up with wheat expert Alex Waugh to learn more about flour and the history of wheat. Then, they faced off in a battle to cook up the best wheat dish.
Hannah is a fourth-generation farmer and runs the family farm with her uncle. Farming is Hannah’s second career as she originally trained as a physiotherapist. In 2013, she realized that she missed life on the farm and, inspired by her Dad’s hard work and enthusiasm, she completed a master’s degree in arable crop management at Writtle College and returned to farming full time. Hannah is a fan of new technology in agriculture and anticipates an exciting future for it on the farm. She uses satellite guidance and field mapping to make sure any products are applied accurately and efficiently to her crops. Her farm is also part of an environmental scheme and she has established 6-meter-wide flowering and nectar strips to encourage bees around most of her fields. Hannah’s farming philosophy is always to farm in a sustainable way to protect the environment and soil whilst making a profit to reinvest into the business for future generations. She is keen to be more involved with the public and to demonstrate how her approach to technology and the environment is playing an important role in producing the food that we all need. Learn more about Hannah here.
Alexander is the Director General of the National Association of British and Irish Flour Millers (NABIM) and the Flour Advisory Board (FAB). He is responsible for the overall operation of NABIM, which was founded in 1917 to represent the UK flour milling industry. The Association supports British farmers by using predominantly homegrown wheat, helping to supply Britain’s food and supporting the nation’s health and wellbeing. Through his work for NABIM and as chair of the Brexit Arable Group, Alexander is keen to ensure high food standards are maintained and to improve Britain’s ability to deliver sustainably produced food at competitive prices with the benefits being felt throughout the country.
Mike has over 30 years of experience working in the agriculture industry. He is a strong champion of the need to balance profitable food production with a healthy, farmed environment, alongside the broader views of society. His experience ranges from being a field crop manager for the UK government’s advisory service in the 1980s to the national Arable Specialist at Natural England responsible for many of the environmental options being delivered on arable farmland. His current role as Agricultural Sustainability Manager for BASF in the UK and Ireland brings all those decades of experience together. Mike has a key role in promoting a healthy farmland ecosystem where climate resilience is embedded across the landscape, to enable farmers to grow quality, safe food in sufficient quantities to meet both local and global needs.