AN AWARD-WINNING County Durham farmer has launched a new business supplying spelt flour.

Stephen Craggs, of East Close Farm, Sedgefield, is producing home-grown spelt flour for home bakers, High Street bakeries and large-scale food producers across the UK.

He has won many awards over the years for growing the finest quality traditional milling wheat, but decided to diversify a large percentage of his 2,000-acre farm to grow the ancient grain spelt in 2015.

Now he has launched his own company – Craggs & Co – to turn the grain into the finest spelt flour.

Mr Craggs, managing director, said: “We first stumbled across this ancient grain a couple of years ago when a local chef asked us to grow a small amount to supply her gastro pub and bakery.

“Then, purely through word of mouth, we were inundated with requests from other local businesses. It was then that we realised the potential of this healthy and delicious grain.”

Previously, he had always sold his grain to merchants but wanted to ensure the spelt grain was only used in the finest products.

“The only way I could achieve this was by producing the flour myself and that’s when I decided to launch Craggs & Co,” he said.

Mr Craggs said that, apart from tasting great, there are a number of reasons why spelt is becoming increasingly popular.

Healthwise, it is a gentle food for the digestive tract and also strengthens the immune and nervous system. An ancient grain, it has not been scientifically modified which, he said, means its combination of high fibre, high protein and low gluten content makes it much easier to digest than traditional wheat.

Mr Craggs said: “Many people will buy a bag of flour without giving a seconds thought to the process that goes behind producing it or where it has come from.

“We are extremely proud of the fact that every single grain of spelt wheat that goes into our flour has been lovingly grown, harvested and milled in the North-East, it also comes with the Red Tractor seal of approval.

“You can use it in exactly the same way as traditional flour, so you can make the usual cakes, bread, muffins, scones and Yorkshire puddings – but they are just better for you!”

Craggs & Co has just launched an online store and unveiled the branding and packaging of their 1kg bags of flour. Flour can be purchased in either 1kg bags for the home baker to 10kg bags for larger bakers.

See for more details or to buy online.