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Second Einkorn Harvest in the Eastern Rhodopes

The model of Petko Angelov, member of the New Thracian Gold (NTG) network seems to become more and more attractive for producers in the Eastern Rhodopes.

 Einkorn considered the oldest cereal in Bulgaria was 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.

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 the initiator of the Bread Festival in the Eastern Rhodopes, which highlight is the reconstruction of authentic einkorn harvest.

The einkorn harvest in the lvllage of Limets was like in the past - women dressed in traditional costumes were reaping the einkorn with sickles. The einkorn harvest became a tourist attraction in the village that has less than a hundred inhabitants. The Mayor and many locals, tourists, friends and colleagues of Mirchev, Mihaela Kircheva, coordinator on ecotorism in NTG attended the event. The guests tasted the einkorn bread of Petko Angelov, pastry with potatoеs, local hand-made yogurt.

Dimitar Mirchev is satisfied with the first harvest, his plan is to double the einkorn field next year. 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 regain its 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. Around 80 people live in Limets – half of them are retired and the second half grows tobacco. 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.

Vladislav Popov, coordinator on organic farming in NTG project is convinced that Mirchev could enter the process for certification of his einkorn as an organic one. He believes that Mirchev can cooperate closer with Petko Angelov using the machinery for improving the quality of the grain and becoming member of the newly established Association of einkorn producers.

Dimitar Mirchev hopes that with the NTG support he could develop an einkorn tourist attraction: ritual harvest, baking einkorn bread in the village bakery and organizing small ethnographic exhibition in his father's house.

Check some pictures of the event here.

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