Red Fife was the baking and milling industries standard of 'wheat' in Canada from 1860 to 1900. The origin is a mystery. Sent to Peterborough Ontario farmer Fife in 1840, it took its name from the seed color and Fife's name.
Red Fife Wheat's origin is a mystery. Perhaps it originated in the Vistula delta of what is now Poland, then shipped from Danzig to Glasgow, where a friend of David Fife sent a sample to Canada. Fife then grew the variety in Ontario and shared it with other farmers, calling the wheat Red Fife after its distinctive color on his land. Red Fife wheat kernels are not always red in color. The Red Fife seed adapted to a great diversity of growing conditions across Canada and became the baking and milling industry standard for forty years, from the 1860s to the turn of the twentieth century.
Starting in the early 20teens Cornell university got a SARE grant to clean up the genetics to insure that the Red Fife is back to its original standards and quality because it was the land race wheat that people saved from generations to generations it had contaminations from modern verities. Under the supervision of Phillip Atkins who is a plant breeder from the NY seed improvement society. It was cleaned up with modern genetics removed and was taken back to the plant description of the 1800s.
2015 I was happy to be able to get some of this Red Fife and grow it out for the project and it was inspected with the green tag for quality insured seed. The project was wrapped up with the seed being called improved Red Fife. Since then we have expanded our seed crop and grow about 10-15 acres a year of Improved Red Fife. It makes the best tasting, moist bread! It is well saught after for its taste! It came from a time that farmers ate what they grew and cared about the flavor!
Also we have had people who cant normally eat gluten be able to eat this Red Fife.