This spring, Kamut International is celebrating 35 years since introducing the ancient grain KAMUT Brand khorasan wheat to the market at the Natural Products Expo West show in Anaheim, California. What started with 36 kernels and a legend of discovery in an Egyptian tomb has grown to be a family enterprise and project spanning three generations that today is a well-known global brand in the world of organic farming and food.
Under Bob Quinn's leadership, a progressive farmer from North Central Montana, Kamut International has been at the forefront of regenerative organic agriculture since its origins and has been committed to promoting the philosophy of "food as medicine" as a means of promoting health and prevention of diet-related chronic diseases.
The fascinating story of KAMUT Brand khorasan wheat began in 1964 when Bob saw for the first time at the age of 16 while attending a nearby county fair, an unusual-looking grain referred to as "King Tut Wheat." After finishing his Ph.D. in Plant Biochemistry, Bob remembered the grain and developed an idea that would eventually transform his life and life's work.
Research and the pursuit of knowledge and understanding have always been Bob's passion and the center of his focus. His journey with KAMUT Brand khorasan wheat has been motivated by the question, "Why do people report that they can eat and enjoy KAMUT khorasan wheat despite not being able to consume other wheat products?" Reflecting on the evolution of this journey, Bob admits not having any idea that 35 years later, the same ancient grain that he first saw in his youth would be planted on up to 100,000+ acres in a single year in Montana and Saskatchewan and would be exported all over the world to be made into organic food products.
After many decades of dedication and hard work, Bob is ready to step down from his role as president of Kamut International and give the next generation the opportunity. "I was always hoping that someone from the family would take over for me. My dad passed it on to me, and I'm now passing the hat on to my nephew Trevor Blyth," Bob says, adding, I have great confidence in Trevor. For the past 15 years, he has grown with and been running the business side of Kamut International, helping to build a global brand."
Excited about his new role as Kamut International president, Trevor Blyth is honored, not only for the opportunity to further the KAMUT Project and take KAMUT Brand wheat to another level, but because this is also a part of the family's story. "KAMUT Brand khorasan wheat itself is amazing, but on top of that, it inspires me to be able to continue our commitment to providing people with healthy and nutritious food and at the same time contributing to improving the health of the environment."
The Quinn family farm has served as Bob's working laboratory to test, document, and share his findings with farmers and thought leaders in the U.S. and worldwide. Among more recent accomplishments was leading the First International Conference of Wheat Landraces in the summer of 2018. Bob's ongoing research projects have helped further an understanding of the differences between ancient wheat and modern wheat and how starting with healthy soils produces healthy food and healthy people.
While Bob hands things over to the next generation, Trevor comments, "Bob, even though I don't expect you to, I'm telling you that you don't get to just ride off into the sunset. You know I'll be calling on you for your advice."