From Field To Plate: The Barley Harvest Ritual

From Field To Plate The Barley Harvest Ritual EDME French and Jupps
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by French & Jupps

Barley, a grain central to food and beverage production worldwide for millennia, graces plates and palates with bread, cakes, distinguished beers, chocolates, and more. Its journey, however, is frequently under appreciated.

From Field To Plate The Barley Harvest French and Jupps EDME

In this three-part series, “From Field to Plate,” French & Jupps, alongside EDME and partners, chronicle the journey of this golden grain. Starting in Hertfordshire’s sun-drenched fields in July culminating in gourmet baked goods in Manningtree, Essex, a mere 60 miles from where it was first sown.

This celebrated grain, transitioning from harvest to malting, and then to flour, becomes an essential component in a myriad of baked delights, kibbles, and more. We’ll uncover the depth of flavour and potential of the multitude of uses in the realm of specialty baked goods and food with Cara MaltCrystal Malt and Black Malt in the spotlight.

Join us in tracing barley’s remarkable metamorphosis and discover the craftsmanship in each bite of beloved baked goods, as we embark on the first part of the story.

In the soft glow of early autumn, local farmer Andrew Watts and his team at Wallington Farms preserve traditions dating back to Roman times. The sowing of Winter Barley seeds invokes a historic ritual bridging ancient fields to contemporary farming.

Hertfordshire Barley Crop French & Jupps Maltings

French & Jupps and Wallington Farms have a long-standing relationship built on their shared commitment to supporting the local agricultural and business community, as well as their focus on quality and sustainability. This shared dedication benefits both parties, enabling Wallington Farms and French & Jupps to best meet each other’s needs.

“We’ve enjoyed a long and successful relationship with Andrew, his team at Wallington Farms, and our incredibly supportive local grain merchants,” says Paul King, Director of French & Jupps. “They truly are an extension of the maltings team.”

Paul King French & Jupps

"We've enjoyed a long and successful relationship with Andrew, his team at Wallington Farms, and our incredibly supportive local grain merchants,"

Andrew Watts, owner of Wallington Farms, notes, “Our goal is to cultivate barley for malting with the majority of our crops being variety-specific, tailored to French and Jupps’ preferences. This necessitates early coordination, making them an integral part of the process.”

Andrew Watts Wallington Farms Hertfordshire Barley Harvest

“My role involves watering, monitoring through seasons, managing crop development, ensuring the correct amount of fertiliser, controlling weeds, and maintaining grain quality. It’s vital to protect the plant from diseases to yield the robust grain desired by maltsters, especially before the July harvest.”

As July’s warmth embraces the fields, the golden waves of barley will have matured following Watt’s months of cultivation, development and scrutiny, with visits from the maltsters. However, the Barley’s journey isn’t over; it is just beginning its next chapter.

The majority of our crops are tailored to French and Jupps' preferences. This necessitates early coordination, making them an integral part of the process.

Upon leaving Wallington Farms, the barley’s short eight-mile journey takes it to the maltsters at French & Jupps in Stanstead Abbotts. Here, each batch of grain is received, sampled meticulously and subjected to a detailed analysis by French & Jupps lab lead Karen Watson.

The barley will commence the ‘steeping’ process which lasts for 2-3 days where the barley will absorb moisture initiating growth. Cycles of aeration and draining prime the grain either for kiln drying for French & Jupps Black Malt and Patent malts or germination for Crystal and Cara Malt production.

The Black Patent Malt stands out as the most heavily roasted malt in the French and Jupps portfolio. Its robust bitter and smoky flavours evoke characteristics of freshly toasted bread, fine expresso coffee, crunchy bread crust, and warm rye bread. This blend of flavours holds promising potential for its future in baked delicacies including cookies and malt loaves or fine confection – in addition to its use in seasonal porters and stouts for the beverage world.

Conversely, the sweeter and lighter Cara Malt and Crystal Malts are stewed to convert starches into sugars. Under the watchful eye of the Roaster, the malt is continuously monitored and quality-tested for up to three hours while the sugars caramelise, developing delightful profiles which yield flavour notes of muscovado sugar, maple syrup amidst an infusion of nutty profiles of peanut, hazelnut with balanced notes of dried fruits offering a whisper of ‘biscuit’ amidst their inherently malty profile.

Integral to these historic grains are their dietary benefits which have been used through the generations as a rich source of fibre, B vitamins and minerals. However, now at the hands of French & Jupps maltsters these humble grains of barley have undergone a flavour transformation through meticulous craft and traditions which French & Jupps have been proudly perfecting for centuries.

EDME French & Jupps Malt Grains For Bread

Now prepared for their journey into the world of flakes, flours, and products for food producers, the baton of craft, tradition, and quality is passed on to EDME. Founded in 1884 by maltster Robert Free, EDME has, over the past 140 years, become synonymous with quality ingredients used for the natural enhancement of flavour and colour in their malt products and beyond. 

“We have the greatest respect for the dedicated team at EDME, their unrivalled focus on quality, innovation, customer and community focus; our fine roasted malts truly come to life in their hands.”


Join us in part two “Malted Barley Flour: A transformative journey” as we delve deeper into barley’s evolution into malt flour and its production for the food industry.

Download the French & Jupps brochure for the full range of speciality malts here.

Download the EDME ingredients booklets here.

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French & Jupps


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Crystal Malting Process Drawing

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