Great breads come from great grains grown by passionate people in special places. And there is no wheat on Earth like Montana wheat. Dean Folkvord is a third generation Montana farmer. His family has been in the farming business for 60-70 years. His dad, Dale Folkvord, purchased the first piece of the property in 1958 and then gradually expanded from 3,000 acres to the present-day 15,000 acres.
The farm is located in Three Forks, Montana in the SW part of the state, near the headwaters of the Missouri river where three rivers meet. It is a high mountain, valley farm at almost 5,000 feet, which is some of the highest elevation where grain is grown in America. Very cool nights, hot days, and extremely low rainfall stress the grain and produce some of the highest quality wheat in the world.
We are working with one of the only farms in the world that is growing Fortuna Wheat, an heirloom varietal that is grown for flavor and not yield. We are privileged to be the exclusive bakery with access to this source.
- There is a commitment to high-quality, Non-GMO grains. There is nothing added or nothing removed.
- All of the wheat is grown under no No-Till Conservation Farming so they don’t open up the soil or plow, which avoids soil erosion, requires less seed, has lower carbon footprint from reduced tractor usage, and higher quality.
- All bakery and mill waste goes back into the fields as organic matter to fertilize the soil.
- Crop rotation is practiced which naturally reduces the level of pests and diseases in the soil. They use Nitrogen fixing legumes like peapods resulting in a 30% reduction in nitrogen fertilizer use.
- During harvest, they employ “Stripper-Head” Harvesting to just take off the grain head and leave straw in the field. The straw provides natural organic matter and better catches snow during the winter for water retention.
About Fortuna Wheat
Fortuna Wheat was never supposed to get its time in the spotlight. Long forgotten by most farmers because it grew too tall, it wasn’t a semi-dwarf varietal, and it didn’t produce incredible yields. Fortunately, a few farmers bucked conventional wisdom and saw the potential to make something truly special.
Fortuna Wheat was originally developed in North Dakota, from ancient parental lineage, before wheats were selected for their “dwarf varieties”. Dwarf varieties are modern varieties of wheat that were modified to be shorter. Because Fortuna Wheat is much taller than modern varieties, most farmers don’t like to grow it, because as it grows taller, it gets heavy with wheat and falls over.
The variety has a significant yield ceiling, as it doesn’t yield nearly as high as wheat that was developed using modern selection techniques – a reason that farmers do not normally grow this, or other heirloom varieties anymore. The lower yields in heirloom varietals actually provide more intense flavors because there is less competition amongst plants and what is harvested has more concentrated and nuanced flavors.
Fortuna is known for having excellent protein and for being durable in dryer climates, making it perfect for the low rainfall regions of Southwest Montana. This wheat fits the “vintage” or “heirloom” classification, as it was developed before 1970, is not semi-dwarf, and comes from ancient lines.
We use our original recipe and starter to this day, and our creativity, passion and dedication continues to set La Brea Bakery apart as the authority on artisan bread.
Our bread is always fresh, crusty and delicious because our standards never vary. This is the old way. To us, it’s the only way.
Our mission is to bring a loaf of La Brea Bakery bread to every table.