The Wheat Farmer’s Wife


Fall is finally here and at our place, that means there’s no rest for the wicked. Not even for the non-wicked. Even the dogs are tired.

The past days and weeks have been a dust-filled blur of feed cutting, drilling, baling, chicken butchering and hog synchronization for us as they have been for many producers around the state. This time of year, especially when I’m coughing and choking on bitter wheat dust, reminds me of the irony of my situation.

I married a wheat farmer and wheat seems to run deep through my family in all of its forms. My husband grows it, my step dad sells it in the form of flour to bakeries and eateries, and my sister’s family serves it up as a steaming hot plate of pasta at their Italian restaurant. I have Celiac disease so I avoid it like the plague. Ah, irony.

Celiac disease is an allergy to gluten, the protein in wheat that allows baked goods to not crumble into a pile or weigh twice what they should. It’s being more widely diagnosed these days but it’s still annoying and makes eating out a rather tricky and socially awkward ordeal.

They always say that the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach but in our case, it was the other way around. When we were dating, my husband gathered a variety of gluten free baking mixes and flours and over the course of a few weekends, learned how to bake a variety of foods that didn’t have the taste and consistency to double as wrecking balls. He had me at the big, salty baked pretzels.

I know the poor UPS man thinks it strange when he passes the wheat fields on his way to our house, drives past the wheat trucks and the bins of seed wheat to bring over 100 pounds of gluten free flours to our door. I like to keep him on his toes. He’s bringing hog semen to us Friday but we won’t tell him what’s in the little styrofoam cooler.

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