Tag: bere

Bere, pronounced “bear,” is a six-row barley currently cultivated mainly on 5-15 hectares of land in Orkney, Scotland. It is also grown on Shetland, Caithness and on a very small scale by a few crofters on some of the Western Isles, i.e. North Uist, Benbecula, South Uist and Barra. It is probably the British Isles’ oldest cereal in continuous commercial cultivation.
Bere is a landrace adapted to growing on soils of a low pH and to a short growing season with long hours of daylight. It is sown in the spring and harvested in the summer. Because of its very rapid growth rate it is sown late but is often the first crop to be harvested. It is known locally as “the 90-day barley.”
Bere is a very old grain that may have been brought to the British Isles by Vikings in the 9th century or even from an earlier wave of settlement. In its early days it was also called “bygge” or “big,” probably originating from bygg, the Old Norse term for barley. It became well-adapted to the far north of the…

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