Bob Quinn and his family joined his parents in running the 2,400-acre family farm near Big Sandy in 1978. Back then, it was a conventional grain and cattle operation. In 1983, Bob started a wheat buying/brokering company, Montana Flour & Grains, Inc., which marketed the farm’s high-quality, high-protein wheat directly to whole grain bakeries in California. Soon he was buying and marketing wheat from his neighbors as well.
Then, as customers began requesting organic grains, Bob became an active researcher, experimenting with organic methods on his farm. The work suited him well, with his curious and entrepreneurial spirit – and PhD in plant biochemistry. Within three years the Quinn farm was converted to organic production, and by 1991 it was one of the first 100% organically certified farms in Montana.
Khorasan wheat is an ancient relative of durum wheat, thought to have originated in Mesopotamia, then brought into Egypt. According to Bob Quinn, 36 kernels of the khorasan wheat found its way to Montana in 1977, and his father, T. Mack Quinn, obtained a cup of the wheat that came from that original grain. Kamut® (an old Egyptian word for wheat) is the registered trademark of Kamut® International, which guarantees high quality standards that are verified by tests from every field. The mission of Kamut® International is to promote organic agriculture and support organic farmers, to increase diversity of crops and diets, and to protect the heritage of a high quality, delicious ancient grain for the benefit of this and future generations.
Bob Quinn was recently named the Organic Trade Association’s 2010 Organic Leadership Award recipient for his contributions in the “Growing Organic Agriculture” category. In accepting this honor, Bob stated “it doesn’t matter how much we change the world, how big or small . . . it only matters if we change it for good or not. And I believe that the organic movement really has been changing it for good.”