Dobele on the way to becoming Latvia's 'Little Italy'

The farm “Vilciņi 1”, in Dobele, has devoted an area of 65 hectares to durum wheat, the classic pasta wheat not usually grown to Latvia, owners told Latvian Television July 18.

Durum wheat is a common species in Italy and Spain, as well as in other Southern European countries with warmer climates, but it appears that the variety also has a future in Latvia. This wheat is particularly good for producing pasta. Due to its hardness, it is difficult to overcook, preserves starch, and keeps the stomach full for longer. 

The farm is overseen by owner Arnis Burmistris and milling company "Dobeles Dzirnavnieks" head Kristaps Amsils.  

"We want to use as much local raw material as possible. For pasta, the main raw material is durum wheat," said Kristaps  Amsils.

Experience shows that people are happy to buy pasta produced from durum wheat. Moreover, it is important to produce here in Latvia because recently the COVID-19 crisis has proved that people are buying products with longer storage times in large quantities, and the crisis also affects the possibility of importing ingredients from other countries.

"As demonstrated by this COVID-19 crisis in March and April, the logistics chain must be as short as possible, from manufacturer to buyer. The longer the chain, the more store shelves remain empty," Amsils said.

“Dobeles dzirnavnieks” is convinced that durum wheat can be grown to a high quality in Latvia, as winters are increasingly warm, if not quite up to Mediterranean standards just yet. It may well be that Zemgale, the southern part of Latvia, could in the future be Latvia's own "Little Italy", though we may have to wait a little longer before we see olive groves.

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