We’re so excited to be the first makers of gluten free, whole ancient grain, non-GMO pretzels and we couldn’t do it without sorghum.
We use sorghum because it is so much better than the corn and soy ingredients in other gluten free pretzels. Sorghum tastes better, crunches better, is better for you, and better for the land. We work with Earl Roemer, a fourth generation farmer because his whole grain sorghum is the very best we could find.
Earl Roemer, Nu Life Market founder and president, is a fourth generation farmer in Scott City, Kansas. Earl’s great-grandfather emigrated from Sweden, through Ellis Island, and onto Kansas during the Homestead Act, a time in history when the United States government incentivized settlers to move out west in exchange for farmland. The Roemer’s raised cattle and crops for decades until World War II when the lands were temporarily commandeered for military use. Many families resettled in more urban areas and did not return to their farms which gave the Roemers the opportunity to add land to their homestead.
Why sorghum? When we connected with Earl we learned that not only was sorghum naturally gluten free, it was a whole ancient grain – meaning it evolved wildly without much tweaking from humans. Sorghum originated in Northeastern Africa, an area of wide range climatic conditions. Here the plant developed extensive root structures to access water held deep within the land and survive in times of little rainfall. This characteristic makes sorghum one of most “drought-tolerant” and water efficient crops. In addition to changes we can see, sorghum’s chemical structure evolved to produce antioxidants like polyphenols to protect against pests and disease. These same polyphenols have been linked to greater cardiovascular health, lowered risk of stroke, diabetes, metabolic syndrome and gastrointestinal cancers. In fact, researchers have discovered that some varieties of sorghum’s bran, the husk that surrounds the sorghum grain, contains higher levels of antioxidants than blueberries and pomegranates.
Earl took what sorghum already had to offer and began cross-breeding different seed lineages to fit Kansas growing conditions, strengthen nutritional qualities, and to match baking performance desires. Walking through his fields, we saw how Earl’s sorghum plants were thriving, visibly fuller, sturdier plants with more abundant seed heads than any other sorghum we had seen. His emphasis on quality and consistency impacts his whole system from the seeds he selects and breeds to his growing standards and milling techniques. In short, his sorghum is the best we could find and very possibly the best there is, period.
When we asked Earl how he got here, to be a leader in his industry, he said, “people”. He’s been able to push his vision forward by surrounding himself with the best and building a team that truly complements each other’s strengths. We’ve met some of his team during our time out in Scott City, KS and it’s easy to see they really are some of the most highly skilled people we know, not to mention extremely warm and generous. The funny thing is, for us, Earl is part of that group of leaders and experts we work to surround ourselves with!