George Simpson’s Wheat

Are you interested in the history of food? Hudson’s Bay Company Governor Sir George Simpson introduced winter wheat to the Columbia District in the 1820s. He gave seed to the forts and told them to grow food or go hungry.  The seed was a soft white variety descended from an ancient Celtic landrace that was widely raised in the British Isles and northwestern Europe.  A single sample was found over a century ago in Oregon’s Willamette Valley, just thirty miles from the historic HBC’s frontier grain depot at Champoeg.  Pierre Chrysologue Pambrun grew this wheat on his farm a few miles east of Frenchtown. Richard and Lois Scheuerman of Palouse Heritage Grains over in Richland have been working to bring back this historic seed, and they’ve shared fifteen pounds with us.

We’re going to plant a patch of HBC wheat at Frenchtown, and with some luck and a lot of help, maybe harvest a few handfuls in 2024. If you’d like to get involved with this project, let us know at

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