A NORTH Yorkshire food producer is going back to basics, investigating ancient grains to produce its organic flour.

Yorkshire Organic Millers, based on Hill Top Farm in the North York Moors National Park, was formed in 2005, when the owners of the farm, Philip and Nelly Trevelyan, diversified their organic holding.

The mill, run by Joe Coughlan, who has experience of milling as far afield as Asia and Italy, uses locally grown wheat in a granite stone mill.

Joe said they sell all they can produce and are currently exploring running the mill all day everyday to increase capacity.

One of its customers is the artisan Haxby Baker, who now makes bread with Joe’s flour after meeting at York Food Festival.

Joe said: “There has been a phenomenal change in the UK in the last five years. There’s a passion for real food and that’s an opportunity for businesses all over the country.”

Matt Trevelyan, son of Philip and Nelly, is now looking to take a step further in returning to healthy, wholesome food.

He said: “Modern wheats, even ones that have been selected for organic growers, are nearly all based on work done during the grain revolution in the 1950s and 1960s.

“But they forgot to breed for taste and edibility, and now we have all these gluten intolerances.

“As a farmer I want to know what I can do to help make bread what it should be, the healthy wholesome thing it is. As a young farmer just starting out, I’ve not got used to doing it the modern way, so I thought perhaps I could do it a completely different way.”

Matt has been working with an archaeo-botanist, John Letts, from Oxford, who conducted a research project at the University of Reading over ten years, collecting thousands of 600-year-old wheat specimens that had been preserved within the smoke-blackened base coats of medieval thatched cottages.

From these specimens he was able to reconstruct how medieval cereals were grown and has bulked up more than 250 ancient varieties on organic farms in Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire.

Matt intends to plant a few acres of ancient grains, such as spelt, einkorns and emmer, next year to see what market there is for the product.