If You Celebrate Bake and Take Month in March, Share More Than Bread!

Bake and Take Month, celebrated each March, is a great chance for families and service groups to get together in the kitchen. Prepare gifts of fresh-baked wheat foods for relatives, friends, co-workers, neighbors and just about anyone who likes to eat.

The visit when you deliver the baked goods is one of the most enjoyable aspects of the tradition, which started in 1970 as a community service project of the Kansas Wheathearts, an auxiliary organization of the Kansas Association of Wheat Growers.

But, before you celebrate, enjoy this updated parody of “If You Give a Mouse A Cookie” to commemorate all the different parts of the wheat industry that come together to make those shared treats possible!

If You Give a Friend A Loaf of Bread

Before you give a friend a loaf of bread for Bake and Take Month, you’ll have to bake it first. So you will need a recipe, like the winning entries from the 2023 National Festival of Breads

But to make that recipe, you’ll need ingredients like flour. So you will need to run to the grocery store. Look for King Arthur Flour — a lead sponsor for the National Festival of Breads — or other great flour produced in Kansas, like Hudson Cream Flour.

But before that flour appears on the shelf, it has to be milled. That happens at a flour mill under millers who have to understand the milling differences in the six classes of wheat, principles of wheat cleaning and conditioning, wheat and flour blending and the impact of grade, wheat quality characteristics and mill performance on flour extraction. 

But before millers can grind and sift flour, they need to procure wheat. Organizations like U.S. Wheat Associates help millers around the world understand the grade, flour and end-product data for each year’s crop. So millers will work with an elevator to source just the right quality and protein for bread flour.

But the elevator cannot sell wheat to the miller if they do not have bushels in their bin. So they need farmers to deliver their wheat to the elevator, which are cooperatives that help supply Kansas farmers with more than just grain storage. 

But before farmers can bring their wheat to the elevator, they will have to harvest it. And you can track how their harvest is going by following the Kansas Wheat Harvest Report

But before farmers can harvest their wheat, they will manage their fields all year to ensure the crop has the nutrients it needs to grow and the right treatments to prevent or treat pests, weeds or diseases. That means they need to attend programs like Wheat Rx to learn about the latest research on suggested management practices. 

But while farmers manage their fields, Mother Nature has to provide enough moisture and the right temperatures for the wheat to grow. So farmers will track those conditions using information from the Kansas Mesonet and the USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service

No matter the weather, before a crop can grow, farmers will have to select good varieties that can either take advantage of nature’s blessings or adjust to less-than-optimal conditions. So they follow resources like the Kansas Wheat Variety Guide to help decide which varieties best match the needs of their geography and operations. 

But before a farmer can pick a variety, a wheat breeder has to release it. The Kansas Wheat Alliance is one source that helps manage the release of wheat varieties from Kansas State University breeding programs

But before a wheat breeder can release a new wheat variety, researchers will test them out, using innovations that speed up the wheat breeding pipeline like double haploid breeding

But before a potential wheat line becomes a variety, researchers will need to use the latest technology — like gene editing — to select the best genetic combinations using technology like.

But before researchers identify what traits to pursue in new wheat varieties, they need input and support from groups like Kansas Wheat, the Kansas Wheat Alliance and the Kansas Crop Improvement Association.

And after all that hard work, everyone will need a snack — and what better than a piece of bread shared between friends?

Looking for a specific date to share what you’ve learned along with a tasty treat? Mark your calendar for March 23, 2024, as National Bake and Take Day! Need more inspiration? Check out the recipes at eatwheat.org.

Written by Julia Debes for Kansas Wheat