Unique Characteristics of Emmer (Farro)

Emmer (Farro) has been cultivated in the Fertile Crescent of the Middle East and in Italy for over 10,000 years. In recent years, Emmer is increasing in popularity due to rapidly growing interest in traditional, naturally nutritious foods. Consumers are also increasingly interested in organic foods that are produced in a sustainable and environmentally-friendly manner. Emmer is wellsuited for use in alternative cropping systems and makes an important contribution to the conservation of agrobiodiversity. Emmer is a valuable grain for producers, food manufacturers, and consumers!

Food USE Strengths 

  • Lowest glycemic index of all cereal grains
  • Is a tetraploid (rather than diploid or hexaploid), therefore, doesn’t contain the genes related to celiac disease. Many glutensensitive people can safely eat emmer.
  • Unique flavor profile - more robust, nuttier flavor than other wheats
  • High in dietary fiber • Significantly higher protein than other wheats
  • Higher in B-complex vitamins than other wheats
  • Higher in complex and simple carbohydrates than other wheats Provides a complete amino acid profile when paired with a legume
  • High in niacin, magnesium and zinc
  • Extremely versatile for cooking; Many uses such pasta, flour, mixes for pancakes, waffles, biscuits, muffins, cookies, crackers; cracked, bulgur, flaked, cereal, etc. Emmer flour can be used as a substitute for wheat flour in most recipes. Also used in deserts, soups and salads. Emmer dishes are now often featured in highprofile restaurants, especially in Europe and on the US East and West coasts.
  • Emmer is regarded in Italy as producing the finest quality pasta.
  • Traditionally served at Passover
  • Story of Emmer as an “ancient grain” has stood the test of time – valuable history and preservation of genetic biodiversity

Agronomic Strengths 

  • The hull protects from pollutants, insects, and disease, making it especially well-suited for organic farmers, who do not use pesticides or herbicides.
  • Disease resistant
  • Emmer is the only wheat variety that is resistant to the rapidly spreading fungus, Ug99.
  • Drought tolerant; does well in semi-arid conditions
  • Tolerant of high saline soils
  • Low fertility requirements; performs well on soils with marginal fertility
  • Yields higher than other grains (wheat, barley, oats) during years with less than ideal growing conditions. Yields are similar or only slightly lower than other grains during years with good growing conditions. Typical yield: 1200-3000 lb/acre.
  • High potential profitability to farmers; premium price paid
  • Excellent alternative crop for farmers look for options beyond standard grains