Zou Xian Song Mang Da Mai Barley
Origin: Shangdong Sheng, China
Improvement status: Cultivar
Seeds per packet: ~60
Germination tested 12/2019: 98%
Life cycle: Annual
We're very excited to be offering this heirloom Chinese winter barley. As far as we can tell, it has never been offered to commerce in the United States. Collected by an international team in the early 1980s or 90s in the Chinese province of Shangdong Sheng, it was donated to the USDA in 1991 by ICARDA (the International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas), then located in Aleppo, Syria. This is a six-row, hooded barley. Its winter habit makes it a useful crop for various crop rotations — and winter grains do much better in our bioregion in New Jersey. Planted in the fall, they avoid the most pernicious summer weeds, and in the spring they get big before most weeds even have a chance. Plus, winter grains are great for simply preventing erosion during the winter. Heirloom winter barley varieties are not so easy to find, and hulless varieties are even harder to find. Hulless barley is much preferred for human consumption because it doesn't require the additional processing hulled varieties need. It can be used for baking, brewing, or simply boiled in soups or as a stand-alone side dish or main course. Barley is chewy, sweet, nutty, and delicious. These seeds were grown for us by Andy Hahn in Colorado.