On the Road: Montina

Our first stop in Montana was at Amazing Grains, miller and marketer of Montina™ brand Indian rice grass, where we met Grace Lee – “Amazing Grace” – and her husband Brad.

Eastern Montana is part of the huge “bread basket” of the Great Plains, but most of the grain grown there is wheat. Tucked away in Pablo MT, about 60 miles north of Missoula, is a small miller bringing a very special grain to market. Amazing Grains mills, packages and sells Indian rice grass, a unique gluten-free perennial grain widely grown, but rarely eaten today.

Indian rice grass (Achnatherum hymenoides) is a sturdy grass bearing an airy collection of fine seed heads on delicate stems. While much admired for its ornamental effects, Indian rice grass is tough and grows especially well in dry, sandy soils. Most of it is grown as a conservation measure to prevent wind erosion.

A wild grass first used by native Americans thousands of years ago, Indian rice grass has a very versatile seed. Historic uses included:

  • Raw seeds eaten to relieve stomachache, colic, and aching bones
  • Cooked seeds eaten as dumplings
  • Seeds added to soups
  • Seeds ground into flour and meal for cakes, pones, and flat bread

While we don’t use it as raw seeds anymore, the grass makes a terrific gluten free flour.

For more information about Amazing Grains, visit their website.

Today we’re on to Great Falls where we’ll be meeting a quartet of farmers. Come along for the ride!

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4 comments to On the Road: Montina

  • Fran Tabor

    I’ve wondered why I could not Montina in the stores any more.
    Is it still being farmed?
    It is an excellant product & DESERVES TO BE REVIVED IF NOT BEING CURRENTLY SOLD.

    i HAVE A MARKETING IDEA—NOT PATENTED, CAN BE USED BY ANYONE–for montina.
    Join forces with the people marketing buffalo meat, produce a book “The natural indian Diet” with a story how indians were healthy 7 skinny before the typical western diet made diabetics rampant on all reservations and getting back to basics is helping people of all nationalities live healthier.;

    • Fran,

      The bad news is that Montina is no longer available. It was sold by wonderful people but it was hard for them, both the market a specialty grain and to get good quality grain.

      Love your idea, maybe someone will pick it up. There are definitely people here in Montana marketing buffalo meat!

      Gail N-K
      GoodFood World

  • Judy Haight

    The link for Amazing Grains seems not to link to the coop anymore, and I have been unable to find Montina for sale anywhere. Is the coop still in business? Will Montina become available again? Thanks!

    • Judy,

      I’m sorry Amazing Grains is no longer in business and I have not been able to reach Grace and Brad.

      I doubt that the grain will be available in the foreseeable future.

      Thanks for asking,

      Gail N-K
      Co-Publisher, GoodFood World