Red Fife (Triticum aestivum) wheat is a Canadian landrace descendant of wheat from Galicia, Eastern Europe, its old local Galician name being “Halychanka”.[1] It is a hard, bread wheat with straws 0.9 to 1.5 metres tall.[2]

Red Fife hard red spring wheat seeds.

From the mid-1800s until the early 1900s, Red Fife was the dominant variety of wheat grown in Canada and the northern United States, prized for its hardiness, rust resistance, yield, and milling & baking qualities.[3]

Red Fife was first grown in 1842 by David Fife, a farmer in Otonabee Township in Peterborough County, Upper Canada, who had been sent Halychanka seed by a friend in Scotland. Red Fife is named “red” for its colour when fully ripe and “Fife” after David Fife; however, American farmers may know this wheat as Canadian Fife, Fife, Saskatchewan Fife, or Scotch Fife.[4]

Little is known about the development of Red Fife between 1842 and 1860; but, after that date Red Fife featured prominently in agricultural publications as farmers recommended this new variety of wheat to their peers.[5]

In Canada, by 1876, Red Fife was displacing other varieties of wheat (including Siberian and White Russian) that farmers were only having limited-success growing. In the United States, Red Fife was grown in northern states. Red Fife was widely grown until it was replaced by Marquis wheat in the early 1900s; Marquis being a hybrid for which Red Fife is the male parent.[6]

In 1988, cultivation of Red Fife was revived by The Heritage Wheat Project (HWP).[7] Over 450 metric tonnes of Red Fife was harvested in Canada in 2007.[2]

Notes edit

  1. ^ Symko 1999, p. 27.
  2. ^ a b Rempel, Sharon (2009). "Red Fife Wheat". The Canadian Encyclopedia. Retrieved 21 May 2022.
  3. ^ Symko 1999, p. 14-21.
  4. ^ Symko 1999, p. 14,17.
  5. ^ Symko 1999, p. 15.
  6. ^ Symko 1999, p. 17.
  7. ^ Rempel, Sharon (2012). "Heritage Wheat Project". Grassroot Solutions. Retrieved 21 May 2022.

References edit