The Importance of Harvesting at the Best Time
These producers have learned if they wait until the plant grows past the cereal grass stage into what is known as the "flag grass" stage, they can use aspiration to "blow off" the stalks and the developing grain inside them. The result can be as much as 2,000 pounds per acre, but technically, the resulting product is not "cereal grass" but rather "flag grass." Flag grass does not have the bright green color of cereal grass. Samples demonstrated at trade shows or sent out prior to shipment from some producers is often their best example and may well be cereal grass harvested at the jointing stage. As an ingredient buyer, you should personally compare the sample sent by the producer with a sample taken by your custom manufacturer to make sure the samples match. When samples are compared side-by-side, flag grass does not have the vibrant green color of true cereal grass.
Pines is the company that re-introduced wheatgrass and cereal grass to the natural food marketplace nearly four decades ago. We are the ones who coined the term, "Green Superfood." Since 1976, we have followed the growing and harvesting standards established by Charles Schnabel and a team of scientists who discovered the nutritional concentration of wheatgrass and other cereal grasses. Starting in 1932, Schnabel and others began experimentation and observation to discover the special time that occurs only once each year when cereal grasses reach their nutritional peak.
Schnabel used cereal grasses from some of the same fields we still use at Pines. One of his laboratories is also still used by Pines. Schnabel's team of scientists supplied these dried cereal grass powders to medical doctors and hospitals for the medical research discussed in books by Ann Wigmore, Viktoras Kulvinskas and the "Sproutman," Steve Meyerowitz. Meyerowitz dedicated his book, Wheatgrass: Nature's Finest Medicine, to Schnabel and called him "the father of wheatgrass."
We carefully follow the procedures that these scientists found to produce the highest quality green superfoods. Our soils are the glacial soils that the scientists highly prized. These soils are found only in the northeastern corner of Kansas, where the glacier from the last ice age ended, and then up through Iowa to the Great Lakes. We are fortunate to have ample rainfall and do not have to depend on ground water from the Ogallala Aquifer. Water from the aquifer is necessary for irrigation in semi-arid regions of the central plains of Kansas as well as eastern Colorado. This ground water source in those regions has allowed for intensive chemically-based agribusiness during the past 100 years. This chemically agriculture has contaminated the aquifer and has rapidly depleted its ancient "fossil water." Wells have already gone dry that were used to irrigate hundred of thousands of acres in our State. On the other hand, Northeastern Kansas and other glacial soil regions used by Schabel have a completely different weather pattern. This northeastern corner of Kansas receives plenty of rainfall without the need for irrigation.
Our brand new, stainless steel, food grade facilities were designed for human food. They utilize the latest technology, which allows us to dry our products at much lower temperatures than what are used by other producers. With Pines, your customers receive the finest, most nutritious, vegan-friendly, greenest and highest quality cereal grasses and alfalfa, grown and harvested in accordance with the time-honored standards established by "the father of wheatgrass."
For more details on the steps we take to produce our products please open the tab called "Process." For more information on the equipment we use and how it differs from the pesticide-based animal feed dehydrators used by other producers, please open the tab called "Equipment."
This picture shows seven popular "green" food products produced by companies that do not source ingredients from Pines.
These seven products are compared with Pines Wheat Grass, which was harvested at the jointing stage and dried using Pines' state-of-the-art facilities.
The color of these other well known products shows the effect(s) of waiting to harvest at the flag grass stage, too high of temperature and/or poor storage methods.
Green foods are supposed to be GREEN! Even the greenest of these products has the color of flag grass, not the color of true cereal grass. Only cereal grass that is harvested at the jointing stage and dried at the lowest possible temperature has the vibrant green color characteristic of Pines' cereal grasses and alfalfa.
Pines follows Dr. Schnabel standards and still operates one of his laboratories. Other cereal grass producers do not always follow the standards that came from the research by Schnabel and other scientists. Those standards grew out of extensive data that determined the best time to harvest cereal grass for the greatest nutrient density. That period is known as the "jointing stage." It lasts for only a few days once-a-year when the plant is about ten inches tall. That is when Pines harvests its cereal grasses.
At the jointing stage, the maximum amount of product yield per acre is less than 500 pounds. The operators of animal feed dehydrators that produce most of the whole food greens sold as ingredients are accustomed to 10,000 pounds per acre per year for alfalfa animal feed. They are unable to accept a production of less than 500 pounds per acre per year. As a result, they tend to let the cereal grass grow well past the jointing stage. By the time they harvest, the cereal grass has been drained of nutrition.
Please note the dried grass at the base of each stalk in the picture on the far right. Those brown, dried leaves were the green leaves you see in the other picture ten days earlier. The cereal grass was drained of nutrition to support the growth of the stalk and the seed head within it.