As fall sets in, wheat growers and wheat lovers around the world are celebrating one of the most popular wheat-based foods: pasta.
Hearty, nutritious and affordable for large gatherings, pasta is a wonderful dinner-time staple and a key component of many family traditions.
October is National Pasta Month in the U.S., and Tuesday was World Pasta Day, according to the International Pasta Organization.
The North Dakota Wheat Commission, which represents growers who typically produce enough durum wheat to make nearly 17 billion servings of pasta, has been celebrating all month long and explaining to consumers why durum wheat production is down this year, saying:
“Growing quality durum is harder than it looks – producers must select the right variety, manage the developing crop for disease and pest threats and hope that the weather cooperates to produce a high yielding, quality durum crop.
“This year, wet conditions and flooding prevented about one-half of North Dakota’s traditional durum acres from being planted, which is leading to tighter durum supplies.”
There are many resources available online for those who want to know more about pasta and the durum wheat that goes into it.
Public TV program America’s Heartland has done several pasta-perfect stories in its seven seasons, including:
- Off the Shelf – Pasta, a short segment about the staple food, here.
- a piece on durum production in North Dakota, from season 3, here.
- a profile of Dakota Growers Pasta Company, a local producer of pasta using durum from North Dakota, Minnesota and Montana, here.
The International Pasta Organization offers a detailed history of the yummy treat at http://www.internationalpasta.org/index.php?cat=21&item=6&lang=2.
And, if you just want to get in on the celebration before Pasta Month is gone for another year, check out the National Pasta Association’s web page at www.ilovepasta.org or for recipe ideas.