What states grow wheat for pasta, crackers, flour and more?

November 19, 2021

It has crossed my mind untold times, what state grows wheat for this or that I’m eating. I’ve got that constant curiosity! and yes, I have previously written a post about what kinds of wheat you use for bread or pasta, are they even different? I remember durum and semolina better than any of the hard this or soft that, spring or winter and red or white. It has always seemed like a confusing set of nearly endless possible combinations.

This morning though, as I was doing my social media check-ins, I saw the Wheat Foods Council have video to help visual learners like me  know what wheat is likely growing near us. If you go for a ride in your part of the US, and see wheat growing, which wheat are you most likely looking at & what is it used for?  This helps get the answer.

Can I remember what states grow wheat & which one?

Trying to make it go a bit further for me to remember it though. To reduce my confusion on which wheat is where and used for what. First off, most states have some wheat growing there, just the northeast and a few states one by one don’t grow it.

Decided to try and find a personal approach, a mnemonic device to help me remember better.

  • Northern States: The northern most Plains states (Montana – remember farmer Michelle Jones?, Wyoming, North Dakota, South Dakota and Minnesota) grow hard red wheats (spring and winter) and have really hard weather from my perspective as a redheaded Southerner! They also grow durum. The harder types of foods, like that great bagel that takes all the cream cheese schmears you care to put on it without crumbling! The pastas and couscous too!
  • The Great Plains: These are the states that winter really varies in. The winter can be hard enough to make my face red and I flush white just thinking about going out in that cold hard wind. Some springs are softer than others but I can still be red faced if I head into the wind. Nothing gives me comfort of bread hot from the oven though so while I’m out I’ll pick up some flour at the store.
  • Eastern States: I live in Missouri which is part of the eastern wheat states and we’re soft here (I’m pretty sure there have been lots of stereotypes about we are soft anyway in the eastern US though they are totally false.) We plant the soft wheats for winter — soft red and soft white wheat both, great for cookies and crackers!
  • The Pacific Northwest and West: You can find all kinds of things out west spring and winter! Red and white, hard and soft… you name it, you’ve got it! That’s where we have lots of great noodle shops, and cake bake offs and you can always get a good bowl of cereal if nothing else.

You can test me on it later to see whether I came up with a good memory device or not.


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