Aragón wheat

Ark of taste
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Trigo Aragón 03, semilla Ecotipo de trigo blandoAragon 03 wheat (triticum aestivum) is firstly characterised by its good ability to germinate. It grows readily with a small quantity of water, since it takes advantage of the dew, and it has a very hard germ. It is also particular for the height of its stem and the length of its roots: researchers found that in other types of wheat, if the length of the shoot is artificially reduced, the length of the root diminishes, but this variety resists droughts and irregular rainfalls better since it penetrates the soil more deeply. In addition it produces a lot of straw, which benefits the next harvests as it fertilizes the soil. This wheat is also able to resist various diseases, viruses and higher soil acidity. The plant shows a great vitality as well: it is not rigid, immovable or unyielding. This plant is sensitive and nutritious, it has a shiny and lustrous color (red, yellow, orange) and its long beard protects it from some animals. Aragon 03 wheat has high nutritional values and flavor.  Moreover, analysis done in 1999, 2000 and 2001 in Leciñena revealed 17% protein content (conventional wheat has 10-12 %). Aragon 03 wheat has been cultivated in the Monegros region since time immemorial and bakers preferred to use it for making bread because of its high protein content and delicious flavor, but the farmers of the region stopped growing the crop in the 1980s because of the low demand and strong competition from other foreign varieties. The variety was not supported and it flattened, which made harvesting more difficult. Additionally, it had lower yields than other products, for example barley. It is necessary to consider, though, that although it has low yields, it only needs to be seeded in amounts between 100-110 kg./Ha, while the current wheat varieties need 150-160 kg. We should also remember that soft wheat flour is improved by mixing with Aragon 03, although it is not from organic agriculture. In the region of Los Monegros, only the Laviña family from Perdiguera (five kilometers from Leciñena) have kept the old seed. They were contacted and persuaded to sell part of their production to other farmers, thus extending the cultivation of Aragon 03. The person who contacted them, Juan José Marcén, came from Leciñena, and guided these farmers to organic agriculture in order to improve the quality of the product. After Juan José’s death, several people from the town continued the work and formed the Forcañada Group. At the present time, the number of farmers using this seed has increased. There is thus less risk of losing the wheat variety. However, it is important to further develop the products. The organic bakery Ecomonegros 03 began the last phase of Juan José´s project: harvesting and milling their own wheat, using the flour, kneading and baking the bread and other products, and later, selling and distributing them. The goal is to improve not only the quality of the products for consumers, but also to create a sustainable soil and rural development project.

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