The Grain Chain

Archive for October, 2009

Harvest’s here

Friday, October 23rd, 2009


Virtually the entire UK cereal crop has now been harvested.  Figures from DEFRA (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) breakdown this year’s harvest as follows:

Crop Size (in million tonnes) Uses
Wheat 14.18
  • Feed people and animals;
  • some will be exported;
  • some will be used to produce renewable petrol fuel for cars.
Barley 6.75
  • Feed animals;
  • Make beer (in England);
  • Make whiskey (in Scotland).
Oilseed Rape 1.938
  • Crushed to produce cooking oil;
  • some may also be used for renewable diesel fuel for cars.
Oats 0.731
  • Used to make breakfast cereals and biscuits.

Designed for 14-16 year olds we have developed a whole section on arable farming.  This provides further information on wheat growing, storing grain and the wheat market; plus a case study of Upper Farm – a 500 hectare arable farm situated in Bradley, Hampshire and growing mainly wheat and malting barley.

Seasonal Recipes 20091026 muffins

There is plenty of delicious produce to be had as we head into autumn.  Apples were among the first fruits to be cultivated in the world and now there are more than 7,000 varieties.  Apples can be divided into two types – eating and cooking.  Cooking apples, as well as having a distinct flavour, hold their shape while cooking.  This is especially important for dishes such as pies and flans.  When buying apples ensure they are well rounded, firm and that the skins are as unblemished as possible. 20091026 Farmhouse Breakfast

Why not try our delicious apple muffin recipe – it takes just half an hour. 

Farmhouse Breakfast Week (24-30 January 2010)

Farmhouse Breakfast Week runs between 24–30 January 2010.  The new theme is ‘Breakfast Benefits’ and its aims are to demonstrate that breakfast really is the most important meal of the day.  The campaign raises awareness of the nutritional benefits of eating a healthy breakfast as part of a balanced diet and active lifestyle. 

Schools can get involved by setting up or promoting an existing breakfast club, organising their own Breakfast Games, or researching the history of breakfast.  For more information, to download an activity pack or to order free promotional materials including recipe booklets, event posters and stickers call 0247 647 8735 or visit

Grain Chain Newsletter

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Welcome back!

Monday, October 12th, 2009

Wheat being harvested Welcome

School’s been back for some time now, classrooms feel like home again and the summer holidays feel like a distant memory. The Grain Chain blog is returning for its second ‘season’ with updates to keep you informed of the latest news and classroom ideas with information and worksheets from the site. 


As the nights become shorter and darker we wave a fond farewell to the long hot summer days.  The cereal crops are mostly harvested and the good September weather has been a bonus for farmers. Rain during harvesting can spell disaster for crops. Wheat is the main cereal crop grown in the UK and home-grown wheat makes up for about 75% of the wheat milled in the UK.  Therefore a successful harvest is vital to both farmers and consumers alike. The Grain Chain has developed an activity sheet aimed at 7-11 year olds investigating the growing year and regional variations in the size of the UK wheat crop. You can find it here.


Typically the end of the harvest is marked with a harvest festival.  These celebrations occur all over the world as well as in the UK.  Take a look at our section on harvest celebrations and discover the origins and customs of the festivities in the UK, the USA, India and China.

Also around the corner are Halloween and Fireworks Night.  Introduce baking to your classroom and try some Yorkshire Parkin


The Grain Chain and Licence to Cook are delighted to provide this opportunity for innovative teachers to demonstrate their passion and flair for practical food-based work in the classroom. Inspire! is open to all teachers of students aged 11-14 years across the UK.  Teachers can enter by submitting original classroom ideas, resources or lesson plans.  Find out more at Good luck!

Summer Show Update

The Grain Chain TGrain Arteam have been busy this summer attending shows up and down the country to educate children about where their food comes from, and alternative uses of grain.

Bread Baking was the activity for schools at the Royal Highland Show.  Her Majesty the Queen and The Princess Royal visiPrincess Royalted the stand. Children at the Royal Norfolk Show got creative with a Grain Art activity. Then to complete the summer shows, Bread Baking, Grain Art and Paper Making activities were organised for the Royal Show Education Village, which welcomed over 7000 school visitors during the four days.