Where Art Thou, Farro?

Oh, Farro, Farro. Where art thou Farro?

I have checked in Whole Foods. I have checked the markets. I have checked Amazon for god’s sake, Farro! (Okay, Okay, I found Farro on Amazon, but I simply refuse to pay that shipping cost.)

Recently, I’ve been on a new grain kick, trying all those ambiguous and formerly “dis-gusting food sources. Barley, millet, quinoa, bulgar… grains, blasé to some, are new and exciting to me and I’m having quite a time cooking up new recipes and feeling rather healthy and nutritious. My white whale, however, is farro.

I really want to try this grain. Firstly, I wanted to try the recipe for farro with green onion sauce in Heidi’s book, Super Natural Cooking. Secondly, (okay, this is really firstly, but I don’t want to seem like some kind of geek that lives and breathes ancient Roman history) farro was the “grain of the legions.” How cool is that? Thirdly, I simply want to try it, and once I get something in my head, it’s hard to forget about it, even if things become bleak.

I can’t find farro at Whole Foods, and Whole Foods has everything. I’m hoping that there’s a bag somewhere, eluding me on some odd shelf. Princeton rocks at having the odd, hippy-healthy food items, so it’s not encouraging that I haven’t located farro yet, but I’ll keep plugging away (ordering from Amazon if I really, really have to.)

In the meantime, I tackled Heidi’s recipe using pearl barley instead of farro. I tweaked the recipe to include some extra creme fraiche and took out the lemon and walnuts, creating a more savory-flavored dish. By all means, though, go to her site and try the real deal before mine—it’s delicious and fresh.

Farro Barley with Asparagus and Green Onion Sauce

adapted from Heidi Swanson’s Super Natural Cooking

  • 5 cups beef stock
  • 2 cups barley, picked over and rinsed
  • 1 pound asparagus, snapped and cut into ¼ inch slices
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 12 green onions, roughly chopped
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • 4 oz. creme fraiche
  • Freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • Chopped green onion
    1. Bring stock and barley to a simmer in a dutch oven, reduce heat, cover, and cook until barley is nearly ready (about 30 minutes), add asparagus and cook for another 5 or so minutes, or until asparagus is tender.
    2. Meanwhile, pour olive oil in small saucepan and add green onions. Cook for 5-10 minutes or until onions are tender. Remove from heat, placing onions in a bowl. If you have a hand blender, blend for a minute or two to mash up some (but not all) of the onions into a sauce, otherwise pulse a food processor.
    3. When barley/asparagus is ready, combine with onions. Add creme fraiche, salt, and pepper. Serve with a garnish of parm and green onions.

8 thoughts on “Where Art Thou, Farro?”

  1. Ever watch The Seven Samurai? Any time I read these entries about the “lesser” grains I keep thinking of all the scenes where peasants whine that they have to eat millet. Now we have foodies actively seeking it out!

  2. Greetings– stumbled upon your site while idly looking for farro info, having just cooked up a pot of spelt (often said to BE farro, but ain’t– it’s great though, and another ancient sort of pre-modern wheat) and another of chickpeas, to replicate a great dish of those two with garlic, red pepper and broccoli rabe which I had a a restaurant recently.

    Anyhow, I just ordered 4 .5 kilo packets of organic farro from igourmet.com, and having looked around, feel the price was decent (ca. $6 per .5 k, I think), shipping not terrible, and even found a discount code somewhere for 12% off, which made shipping around $3.

    I haven’t seen it anywhere in progressive Minneapolis-St. Paul, by the way, which is why I finally went online. I know I’ll likely see it this week on a pilgrimage to Bill’s Imported Foods in Mpls, but had given up when I coldn’t find it in any of the co-ops, fancy markets or Whole Foods.

    So try igourmet. And then try making Farrotto, like risotto, but obviously w farro. A super change form white rice!

  3. Hey Clumsy I bought a new pack of pearl barley the other day. Thanks for the interesting post about it I bet your recipe tasted lovely with it! 🙂

  4. Whole Foods does carry farro – I found it on accident one day! After looking for it for months, I found it in small bags on the bottom shelf under all the whole grain pasta. It costs $3.59 for a little over 2 cups worth (in New Orleans). It is Farro Perlato (semi-pearled) but it’s better than nothing. And I have tried Heather Swanson’s recipe you mentioned AND her roasted butternut squash one too – they are both delicious. Since finding it there, I have checked other Whole foods I visited and found it in all of them – I just had to know what/where to look. Goodness knows that the sales people had no idea what I was asking for…Good luck.

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