HILL CITY, Kan., Sept. 21 (UPI) — Attempts to grow and harvest teff in Kansas have proved problematic due to the traditional Ethiopian food plant’s unusual characteristics, farmers say.
The Kansas City (Mo.) Star said Monday Kansas farmers like Gillan Alexander recognize the appeal of the food grain, but have struggled with the crop’s varying growth rate and the tiny size of its individual grains.
“People will definitely buy it,” said Alexander, a 52-year-old farmer in Graham County.
Teff can vary at length by more than a foot when fully grown and matures at rates that vary dramatically.
Many of the grains are miniscule in nature and Kansas farmers have struggled with the harvest.
“You can tell how the Ethiopians get the seed by whacking at this stuff by hand,” Alexander’s 62-year-old cousin, Gary Alexander, said. “I don’t think my hands will last that long.”
“So far, it’s been too labor-intensive,” said Josh Coltrain of Cloud County Community College.
The Star said teff, which is used to make injera bread in Ethiopia, can help produce gluten-free flour and contains more protein per pound than regular wheat crops.
Copyright 2009 by United Press International