In the Long Winter, the town of De Smet was starving due to the fact the railways were blocked due to months of severe blizzards which left the town on the verge of starvation. Towards the end of the book Almanzo Wilder and Cap Garland make a daring rescue mission to get seed wheat from someone outside of town so that the townsfolk did not starve to death before winter ended.
Seed wheat is a type of wheat that is grown specifically for the purpose of producing seed for future plantings, rather than for consumption. It is selected for its high yield, disease resistance, and other desirable characteristics. The seed wheat is planted in the fall, and then harvested the following summer, after the grain has ripened. Once harvested, the seed wheat is cleaned and sorted to remove any debris or impurities, and then stored in a cool, dry place until it is ready to be planted again. It is also sometimes referred to as “breeder seed” or “foundation seed”. The farmers in the frontier will use this seed to plant their wheat fields in the following year, ensuring the quality and quantity of their crop.
Today, much of the seed wheat available is not suitable for human consumption as it has often been treated with insecticides or fungicides, which is generally not an issue since seed wheat is really meant for planting not eating.
If you are wanting to grind “seed wheat” in a grinder to make flour as Laura and her family did during the Long Winter, you can use wheat berries which is a fancier term for seed wheat that can be eaten. You can purchase wheat berries in natural food stores or section of the grocery store.