Maris Wigeon Wheat Grain

In 1964 the Plant Breeding Institute (Cambridgeshire) developed the Maris Widgeon wheat grain strand. The name was taken from the HQ road.

Tall wheat is susceptible to wind and thus poses the risk of a low yield. Maris is one of the last tall wheat varieties to be grown in the UK. Tall wheat fell out of favour because windswept wheat becomes more difficult to harvest with a combine. Shorter modern varieties would succeed high wheat because of their higher yield. Furthermore, the advent of the Chorleywood bread making process reduced the use of Maris Widgeon.

While modern short strands fare better in windier conditions, traditional crops like the Maris can withstand harsher soil conditions and dwell better amongst weeds.

The Maris is making a resurgence as flavour over yield becomes more important amongst artisan bakers. Additionally, it contains low gluten in contrast to common wheat. The lower gluten content does not suit high acidic sourdough starters.