Today, the collective has twelve farmers, nine of whom work organically and three of whom are making the switch. All farms are located within a 25-kilometre radius of Brouwerij 3 Fonteinen. In total, they cultivate 40 hectares, of which 30 hectares are barley and 10 hectares wheat.
The unique quality of the Cereal Collective is that farmers, processors and researchers search for the suitable varieties together. They determine the criteria themselves. The tests are not done in research centres or laboratories, but on the farmer's field and in the brewery or bakery. That makes sense. The farmer, brewer and baker are experts in their own fields, and they learn a great deal from each other. So they regularly meet on the land or in the barrel room to have a chat and discuss the state of things.
Wheat, barley and fruit: our soil is rich enough
In the meantime, some twenty original wheat landraces have already been tested in the fields using different cultivation techniques. The same happens for the barley varieties. Brouwerij 3 Fonteinen investigates their malting qualities by brewing and brewing again. At the end of the ride, we hope to identify those varieties that are most suitable for both farmer and brewer.
In addition to the crop rotation of cereals and vegetables, some farmers are also reverting to agro-forestry. This means that a plot of land not only accommodates annual crops, but also crops that pay off in the long term, especially fruit trees. For the farmer, it means spreading the risk. For many of the buyers—lambik brewers, but also bakers—it provides an enrichment of the supply.