The Fresh Loaf

A Community of Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts.

Why are wheat berries so expensive?

davec's picture

Why are wheat berries so expensive?

Where do those of you who grind your own flour buy your grains?  I have only found one source who doesn't charge more for wheat berries than for flour ground from those same berries, and that source was 2000 miles away, so the shipping costs are prohibitive.  Just this week, I got another price list from a buying club I can join locally.  They have several brands of stone ground whole wheat flour at around 40 cents a pound in 50# quantities.  The best price they have on wheat berries in bulk is nearly twice that.  Even their King Arthur fancy bakers' flours are cheaper than the plain old wheat berries.

Does this make any sense?


xaipete's picture

I buy mine from Bob's Red Mill, 25 pounds at a time. My neighbor buys from Wheat Montana. I think a lot of us who grind don't do it because of saving money so much as wanting freshly milled flour, wanting to use different types of wheat berries, and wanting 'to it ourselves'.


davec's picture

I can relate to all that,  but I resent paying more for the raw ingredients than for the finished product.  Maybe those of us who want whole grains should band together, and buy them by the ton.


boilerbaker's picture

Our Walmart sells Wheat Montana white wheat berries for about $12 for a $25 lb bag.  Before finding that, I had talked to our local chain, Harvest Bread Co, into ordering both wheat berries and rye berries, 50 lb each, but that reduced the price considerably for me since I live in the So. Midwest.

beeman1's picture

I buy mine from a local reseller that has them drop shipped from Wheat Montana. They do this about four times a year. I understand Azure Standard does this on the west side of the US. You might check into Bread Beckers Co-ops.

davec's picture

Thanks, I'll check into it.  What kind of prices are people on here getting?  I'm in VA, and I don't thinke there is much wheat grwown nearby.


LeadDog's picture

Last time I checked my local feed and grain store sold 50 pounds of wheat for $12.50.  I'm need to get some more wheat soon so I'll see if the price is still the same.

janij's picture

Do you know any Mormons?  They have canneries that sell white and red hard wheat for fairly inexpensive.

flourgirl51's picture
subfuscpersona's picture

davec on March 10, 2009 wrote:
Why are wheat berries so expensive? ...Where do those of you who grind your own flour buy your grains? I have only found one source who doesn't charge more for wheat berries than for flour ground from those same berries...Does this make any sense?

I agree. It makes no sense to me why whole grain is *at least* twice as expensive as an equivalent flour. I'm glad to meet someone else who is equally puzzled.

What a paradox! One would think that the costs of storing grain, cleaning grain, transporting grain, preparing grain for milling, milling grain, storing flour, packaging flour and transporting flour would *surely* outweigh the cost of storing grain, cleaning grain, packaging and transporting it.

Personally, I suspect it has to do with the scale of commercial flour milling, which is a huge, international business. A high percentage of a country's projected yeild of grain (wheat, corn, whatever...) can actually be "purchased" before it is ever harvested (think futures markets). The lowly home miller is an infinitesimal afterthought in this context.

If you live in the USA, you can realize competitive costs if you live in or close to the major wheat growing regions (or in CA, where everyone seems to be able to purchase everything).

Trying to live low down on the food chain frequently turns out to be more expensive than living on mass marketed, processed foodstuffs.


asicign's picture

Add me to the list of people who are upset at the cost of wheat berries.  I live in Houston, and $0.99 / lb is the cheapest price I've seen.  I understand the economics of milling, and I'm not sure that volume of berriy sales would increase much if they were cheaper.  I belong to a vegetable coop, but don't know anyone else that mills their own flour.

sybram's picture

A little off topic here, but I need help finding bulk flours in the Fort Worth, Tx. area.  I've googled and checked with restaurant supply stores to no avail.  KA site shows WalMart as carrying their flour, and it does, but just in a small package.  Shipping prices are prohibitive for me.  I'm interested in at least 25 lb. bags of unbleached white, wheat and rye.  Any Foat Wuth bakers on here?  Syb 

hsmum's picture

Do you live anywhere near where wheat is grown?  Depending on the regulations governing sale of grain where you live, it is probably easiest to befriend a local farmer.  As a wheat farmer's daughter, I can assure you that farmers are paid a minute fraction of what you buy wheat berries for.  It's quite shocking, actually.  I think most grain farmers would be absolutely delighted at your appreciation of their wheat and would be happy to sell you it to you for very cheap.  But...again....this would depend very much on local laws governing grain farmers.


Susan's picture

If you were a 50-lb bag of flour, where would you be?  Here are a few suggestions:

  1. Look in the Yellow Pages for a baking goods distributor.
  2. Ask a bakery or pizza place where they buy their flour.
  3. Call the milling company for the flour you want and ask for the name of their local distributor.
baltochef's picture

As well as I recommend those concerned with the high cost of whole grains and milled flours to read my post titled, Get Together & Form Some Kind Of Cooperative on the Arrowhead Mills discontinues organic rye thread..

As I mentioned in that post, baking at home is a marginalized activity in the United States, with far more than half of the population purchasing their breads / desserts from either a grocery store, or some form of bakery..Statistically, this is the case, although the popularity of forums such as TFL (and many, many others) would seem to belie those statistics..

For hard-core bread bakers, such as those populating this forum, that want the best selection of organic grains and flours at the best prices per pound,  it is my belief that we are going to have band together to form cooperative purchasing organizations in order to achieve the goal of best price per pound of flour or grain..

There is no gainsaying that the best possible prices for flour are to be had by purchasing direct from the miller by the full pallet load..A full pallet load is forty 50# bags weighing a total of 2000 lbs..The best prices for grains are to be found at the farmer that grows them, with the miller running second..

The majority of serious bread bakers simply are not fortunate enough to live within easy driving distance of either a grain farmer, or a miller, where purchasing direct from either is a possibility..We have to depend on internet retail sources for our grains or flours if we cannot cadge a local bakery into selling us product..As many have pointed out, shipping heavy items long distances is often cost prohibitive..

That is why I am urging members here at TFL to consider setting up some kind of cooperative purchasing group to remedy these concerns..



flourgirl51's picture

We grow our own certified organic wheat  and other small grains. In order to have the wheat berries cleaned and bagged we have to have semi loads of wheat taken almost two hours from here to a certified organic plant. They charge for cleaning and bagging the wheat berries into 60 lb bags. We have to pay the trucking to and from the place that does this. Organic farming is very labor intensive as you have to use a tractor to control weeds as we can't use chemicals. The price of diesel fuel has not come down around here.  We have to pay for organic certification, certificates and inspections etc. If you end up with a crop of low protein wheat you basically are stuck with it as other organic farmers near here have come to find out.

We charge .50 per pound for our organic wheat berries. Our hard wheat berries are 14% protein, the soft berries are 12% protein.  I also have a small commercial stone mill and sell freshly ground flour for .60 per pound. Last time I checked these prices were lower than the store brand of non-organic flours, which by the way are a year old as there is still a large amount of flour being stored in the conventional mills from last year. There are not many organic farmers who sell wheat berries to the general public because of the extra costs and hassels of doing so. My guess is that you are paying the middle man if you being charged high prices for wheat berries.

naturaleigh's picture

Hi flourgirl51.  Which company are you associated with?  The link you provided has 3 different sites associates with it.  Pleasant Hill Grain is currently out of stock of all their wheat berries.  True Leaf Market has a lot of products described as seeds or for sprouting, but I'm not sure if these are appropriate for home milling (?).  Or are you associated with 4 Generations Organic?  Just curious.  I will check out these sites as I always appreciate new info on organic sources.  As your other comment below pointed out (and which I also mentioned on another thread not too long ago, which launched a spirited discourse), it appears glyphosate is unfortunately used on a large portion of conventional wheat and oats as a desiccant, which ends up in our thanks!

Grains From The Plains's picture
Grains From The...

I don't know the other person, but I did want to point you in the direction of my farm in Eastern Colorado, Grains From the Plains. We ship wheat berries directly from our farm to the consumer. We are not certified organic, but follow organic practices. We don't use any chemicals. Come check us out at .
Thank you!

taramacon's picture

I have a very strange bent in the thinking process so it seemed that the only way that I was going to get the kinds of grain that I wanted was to grow it for myself. OK so I have some rather unusual friends and one of them let me farm a small corner of one of his fields. There is a lot that goes into the farming of wheat. and what comes out of the combine is not ready to be put into the grinder. It needs to be cleaned and that is more time and expense. If you are going to do it for yourself then there is getting the use of a cleaner. All this said this is truly the only way that you are going to know what you are eating. I would like to get to the point that I could offer some for sale but for now I don't have the cleaning to the point that I would want it to represent me to you. There may be a time when that might be able to happen but not for now. The first time that I went looking for wheat berries of a known variety I went to a certified seed dealer and talked them into selling some of the seed untreated. I got it for $40.00 dollars for a hundred pounds not bad but still had to hand pick the berries to make sure that there wasn't any ergot in the grain. Trust me ergot is not something that you want in your food. Salem is a good example of what can happen. There is a group of farmers that have banded together to sell grain in a known variety, they can be found on the net as shepherds grain. They use sustainable yield farming practices and for me that is at least as important as is organic. They sell to top-end bakeries that produce top-end artisan breads. I don't know if they sell the grain or just the flour.

enaid's picture

Baking from 'scratch' is almost always more beneficial healthwise and taste-wise. If we  plant a seed and go through all the stages until the finished 'product' arrives at our table, we are rewarded tenfold.  However, in this day and age, for many, it is impracticable. For those who live on or near a farm or mill, have lots of time and bake lots of bread every day, it is  probably no great effort to grind the wheat.  When I had children at home, I also had a full time job and was only able to bake bread about once or twice a month. When we moved to a village which had a mill with a shop, there was no point in me continuing to make bread myself when I could buy better bread every morning a few steps away from my home, which backed on to the field where the wheat grew. Those days are long gone and I now live in suburbia with the closest mill about 2 hrs. drive away.  I now bake my own bread and am starting to buy my flour at this mill.  Now I have more time, retired with no children at home, I have been contemplating grinding my own flour.  Although the cost is no problem, it is worth considering all the facts.  A good home grain mill  seems to be about $400-$600. How often is one going to use it before that money is recouped?  At the mill here, their hard wheat berries are $18.48 Cdn. (about on par with US right now) for 12kg. (26 1/4 lbs). Their hard whole wheat flour is $20.88 for 12 kg. My question is, "Do the ground wheat berries result in the same weight of finished flour?

LindyD's picture

Glad you found a good source of wheat berries.  I used to live in Taos, NM - at the ski valley - great country.

BTW, you might want to look into using FireFox or Google Chrome for a browser instead of IE - or updating IE so it doesn't leave all those tracks!  ;-)

idiotbaker's picture

Look for all commodity prices to go up. As the Federal Reserve continues to destroy the dollar, you can count on it.  Stock up!

Check out for a co-op near you. They will put in a bulk order for those in your area. The result is that ordering by the truckload saves a bunch on shipping.



hanseata's picture

carries wheat and other grain berries, if there is one in your area. Many health food stores do, too, though only the more common varieties.

I had more difficulties finding organic spelt berries, my whole grocer did carry them. But the natural food store that sells my breads was able to order me 25 lb bags at a discount - though they don't sell them in the store.



BerniePiel's picture

$8.00 for a 25 pound plastic bin.  I've been using them, milling several scoops at a time, and I'm still no where near denting 25#'s.  Can't beat the quality or taste, either.  Check out a food coop in your state.  But, when I googled grain purveyors I found that the larger supply houses were absurd in their pricing and the cost to ship prohibitive.  Check your local state extension office for possible names of organic wheat growers and other grain growers in your region.  Good luck, inexpensive great grain is out there, just look for it.

Bernie PIel

Oldcampcook's picture

Bernie, what Coop are you using?

BTW, we still need to get together.  Now that I am fully retired I am a bit more flexible about driving up into the city.



drdobg's picture

I am amazed that our local WalMart carries 25# bags of white and red wheatberries.  Can't quote the price as I don't have tha ability to mill my own grains so I haven't compared prices, but I wasn't really looking for these locally either. Seeing whole wheatberries sure made me think about getting a mill, though.  I am in a city of 50000 in Wisconsin, so others around the country might look at WalMart.

drdobg's picture

Don't forget supply and demand.

tananaBrian's picture

Check your local Feed-n-Seed type farm store ...ours carries lots of human food too, including wheat berries in bulk bags, soup mixes in bulk, etcetera. 





flourgirl51's picture

I know that we sell organic grains but I just wanted to put this out there for those people that are buying grains from unknown sources. Many non-organic growers wait until JUST before harvest when the grains are ripe and the seeds are the most exposed and then they spray the entire crop with Roundup to finish drying off the wheat. This means that the wheat is contaminated with Roundup or another such herbicide. This is a fact that many people are unaware of. You might want to check your grain source if you are at all concerned with this type of contamination.  

We are selling our certified organic wheat for LESS than the generic Walmart wheat.

Postal Grunt's picture
Postal Grunt

I have no idea what other WalMarts are selling for wheat berries but the local WalMart in Leavenworth, KS stocks WheatMontana berries as do other WalMarts in the KC, MO area. They aren't claimed to be organic as Flourgirl51 offers, just chemical free according to the WheatMontana website. I have no way to verify their claim.

nhtom's picture

I just get my wheatberries from a neighbor who gets them from her local food co-op.

I get 50 lbs at a time.  They tend not to go bad.

Just as an aside: Archeologists found wheat berries in the pyramids - and they were able to sprout them!

tananaBrian's picture

They keep virtually forever if you keep them dry and pest free.  Except for the container that I am currently using, I store grains for the long term in 6-gallon food-grade buckets that have sealing lids on them, but I use CO2 to kill all pests/larvae/eggs that may or may not be in them.  It only takes a 10% CO2 mix to kill the nasties (although I can't remember how long you have to treat).  The easiest way to do it is to put a few ounces of dry ice in the bottom of the bucket, add a paper towel, pour the grain in, then put the lid on loosely.  Once the dry ice has completed disappeared, the bottom of the bucket will feel warm to the touch more cold spot.  That's when you can seal the lid.  Once sealed, the grain will continue to absorb CO2 and the sides of the buckets will partially cave in ...a great indicator that lets you know the lid is remaining sealed.  I've got buckets that've lasted like that for years (and continue to last to this date.)  I think you're supposed to use 1/2 oz dry ice per gallon (3 ounces for the 6-gallon bucket) but I always put in more than they say ...the stuff is cheap and there is always lots extra, so why not?




Grains From The Plains's picture
Grains From The...

At, my husband and I grow wheat organically here on the prairie of Colorado. We sell directly to the consumer. 

To answer your question, on our farm, we have higher expenses selling directly to the consumer than we would if we sold our harvest to the local grain elevators (to go into the whole commodity system). We also have higher expenses and perhaps slightly lower yields being organic. We ship nationwide and also must unfortunately include shipping in our prices. 

We do try to keep our prices low. We also arrange for free local delivery to parts of the Colorado Front Range. We also ship as economically and safely as possible.

Please do check out our grain at our virtual farmstead here 


naturaleigh's picture

Thanks for the link!  I will check it out!  Glad to see there are several organic farmers posting on this thread.  Keep doing what you are doing--it is very much appreciated!

AndyPanda's picture

I also find it really odd how much many places charge for wheat berries.   I think a lot of it is just the increase cost of shipping.   Ideally you would live near where the grain is grown and buy locally.    If you can find a local food co-op where they get regular deliveries, you should be able to find good prices.

In the past, I've lived in Utah, Idaho and Montana and I could buy 50 lb bags of wheat for $12-18 depending on the year.  Now I live where it's difficult to find 50 lb bags.  The bulk food sections of natural food stores sell it for around $2/lb (compared to 25 cents/lb I'm used to with 50 lb bags).   

My sister lives in Montana.  Wheat Montana (which is my favorite wheat anyway) goes for about $15-16 for 50 lbs.   So I grab several bags when I visit.    But to have it shipped takes the price up to ridiculous prices/lb - but it's still cheaper than the $80-100 that many online places charge for 50 lbs.

joej's picture

25 cents per pound would be nice. 

Hard Red would be nice bread flour (protein), but its got the extra color. My friend has picked up Hard White from the plains, for double that (> 1000 lbs), and trucked it back to Ohio. So, our price per pound -- if we sold wheat berries to folks -- would be more like $1.60, I'm guessing.  This is still better than Bob's Red Mill ($3.50+ / lb). 

I'm talking to my friend (and co-miller) about offering wheat berries for shipping or local pickup, right now.

KarlSangree's picture

I'm glad I'm not the only one with this question. I've been baking bread for almost 30 years now and never considered grinding my own flour. However, as retirement approaches and I find myself with a little more time on my hands, I started looking into a home flour mill. I was shocked to see the prices of grain! It's 2x to 3x the cost of ground flour.

Kooky's picture

My recent purchases from a local co-op or "drop", there are a few, like Bread Becker's I believe, I used Azure... Keep in mind everything here is ORGANIC. Most of these prices are essentially unheard of when it comes to organic, quality flours, let alone fresher when milled yourself. Berries? I had never even heard of them in this form until a cookbook I live from had a few wheat berry recipes. A lot of these grains I cook and eat whole, but many of them I mill as well, some more than others.

The only questionable item here is the classic "all-purpose style" flour, the hard white wheat... I have seen garbage quality organic all-purpose flour for around $0.80 in Walmart, up to around $1.6/lb for non-organic Bob's Red Mill artisan bread flour. so $0.90 is not bad for better quality. Only thing I've seen cheaper on this entire list, and most things I can't find locally unless I drive to this co-op drop once a month. There are a few I'm sure I'm missing, like organic white and blue corn for tortillas which were more expensive.

This list is 100% organic, unmilled berries/grains:

  • Rye : 5lbs, $0.98/lb
  • Buckwheat: 5lbs, $1.58/lb
  • Spelt: 5lbs, $1.45/lb
  • Kamut: 5lbs, $1.73/lb
  • Amaranth: 5lbs, $1.91/lb
  • Millet: 5lbs, $1.46/lb
  • Hard Red Wheat: 25lbs, $0.64/lb
  • Soft White Wheat: 25lbs, $0.55/lb
  • Hard white Wheat: 50lbs, $0.90/lb
Sourdough Pete's picture
Sourdough Pete (not verified)

I grind my own because I like knowing what is in my flour. Simple as that.

Plus I can grind just what I need instead of having to store my store bought flour in the freezer.

I'm a newbie here to the site and to milling at home in general so feel free to discount or ignore my comment.

I have the Nutrimill Plus that I have already had to disassemble and clean out. My bad.

ag7px's picture

I raise poultry, and buy my feed from a feed store. I see that they sell:

Whole corn (40 pound bags) for $13.25
Hard Red Wheat Berries (40 pound bag) for $16.95
Soft White Wheat Berries (40 pound bag) for $13.95
Whole Oats (40 pound bag) for $15.95
Whole Barley (50 pound bag) for $18.95

I was wondering if there is a difference between grain sold as Feed grain for livestock verses grain sold in stores for milling our bread?  I read somewhere that you have to avoid Seed grain because it could be coated with stuff that would be bad to feed to livestock.  I am wondering if these Feed grains would be good for milling flour (and a good deal) or if there is a reason I should avoid using them.