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Einkorn Harvest in the Eastern Rhodopean village with a name of einkorn

Einkorn considered the oldest cereal in Bulgaria is going the be harvested again in the village of Limets (Bulgarian for einkorn wheat), Krumovgrad Municipality on 11 August 2012 after many years of break.

In March, Dimitar Mirchev, Head of the municipality office for agriculture in Krumovgrad who is originally from the village of Limets has sown an acre with einkorn hoping to inspire the villagers to start growing the ancient wheat. He believes that the einkorn, which Bulgarian producers are increasingly interested in, can be an alternative in this region, which was dominated by tobacco growing. Tobacco production is no longer viable. The einkorn wheat is a resilient culture, resistant to climate change and poor soils, which makes it an attractive alternative for many areas in the Kardzhali region.

For his first acre of einkorn Dimitar Mirchev took seeds from his friend Petko Angelov, einkorn producer and B&B owner in the village Rabovo, Stambolovo Municipality.  Angelov is member of  the network of  the Bulgarian-Dutch project New Thracian Gold and the initiator of the Bread Festival in the Eastern Rhodopes, which highlight is the reconstruction of authentic einkorn harvest.

The einkorn harvest is planned to be like in the past - women dressed in traditional costumes will harvest the einkorn by hand. The einkorn harvest is also a tourist attraction in the village that has less than a hundred inhabitants.

Dimitar Mirchev expects around 100 kg einkorn from his first acre. In 2013, he plans to sow five acres with einkorn. Many of the inhabitants of Limets village are already interested to start growing einkorn. Mirchev hopes that the village  -  the only in Bulgaria named after the einkorn wheat- can regainits old glory. The einkorn has not completely disappeared, the locals still see fields with wild einkorn and even use it to feed their animals. If Dimitar Mirchev initiative is successfully adopted by his fellow villagers, it would generate a better livelihood and revive the einkorn-village.

Einkorn is considered by many experts to be the oldest form of cultivated wheat, with findings as early as 16,000-15,000 BC. Einkorn is known as the grain of the Pharaohs. DNA Fingerprinting has shown a wild group of Einkorn varieties from the Karacadag-mountains (southeast Turkey) to be the likely ancestor of cultivated einkorn varieties.  Archeological explorations have produced samples of cultivated einkorn in early agricultural settlements near the Karacadag Mountains. In time, Einkorn became widely distributed throughout the Near East, Transcaucasia, the Mediterranean region, Southwestern Europe, and the Balkans.

Compared with modern wheat, Einkorn is:

- 2 times higher in Vitamin A (retinol equivalents) – helps with eye & reproductive organ health, and may prevent many cancers.

- 3 to 4 times more beta-carotene – immunity booster, helps prevent cancer and heart disease

- 3 to 4 times more lutein – macular degeneration and cataract prevention

- 4-5 times more riboflavin – creates energy in the body and slows down aging as an antioxidant

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