Image by theeeeta via FlickrHeirlooms can come in all kinds of forms, so why not wheat?
"As a grower of wheatgrass everyone prefers Kamut because its juice is sweeter, more nutritious, and gives a bigger energy kick. I have found it very easy to grow to maturity and reproduce, but don't know whether it would be considered an heirloom. Unlike hybrids, Kamut doesn't have gluten so is safe for those who are gluten intolerant (often confused with wheat allergy). The book says that a few dozen Kamut wheatberries were rediscovered in one of the great pyramids of Egypt in the 1930's. Kamut wheatberries are three times bigger than hybrid wheat. The drawback to larger wheatberries is you get more breakage [in shipping] and a slightly lower germination rate. It takes more maintenance when growing it as wheatgrass because there is more spoilage and mold from the ungerminated, broken wheatberries. Kamut is the trademarked name for Triticum turgidum spp turanicum."
Heirloom Wheat? - IDigMyGarden Forums:
I guess this post explains why hybrid wheats have displaced heirloom wheats in commercial bakeries: spoilage, mold, lower germination rates. If you start looking around the blogosphere, you will see people who claim that their wheat traces it heritage back to the ancient Egyptians.
Sometimes, I wonder if we have just gotten to clever for our own good. We've tried so hard to get foods that pack and ship well that we've hurt ourselves.