Science Behind Wheatgrass Began in 1932 with Charles Schnabel

Pines brought cereal grass science to the market in 1976.  Pines was the first green super food in what has now become the green super food segment of the modern natural foods marketplace.

The Father of Wheatgrass

Known as “the father of wheatgrass, Charles Schnabel discovered the nutritional density of wheatgrass and other cereal grasses. He devoted his life to the study of the young grasses of wheat, barley, oats and rye. He found they all reach high nutritional levels during a short window called “the jointing stage.” It lasts less than a week. Schnabel’s first cereal grass science showed three times more eggs from chickens by adding a small amount of oat grass from plants dried at the jointing stage. Soon after that, Schnabel started Cerophyl Labs to further his research on grasses. By 1935, he had enough data to present a paper to the American Chemical Society. He showed how the protein content and all other factors reached a peak at the jointing stage.1

George Kohler Joined the Research Team

Soon, others became involved. Dozens of studies used Schnabel’s dried grasses and found them effective for health conditions. Another scientist, George Kohler, reviewed Schnabel’s data. He wanted to find the reasons for the growth and health effects Schnabel documented. He began by isolating juice components from whole leaf grass powders.2

Cereal Grass Soon Became a Human Food Meanwhile, as a result of animal studies, Schnabel introduced a product for humans called “Cerophyl.”.  Cerophyl was the world’s first multi-vitamin. Twenty tablets or a rounded teaspoon of powder provided the MDR of all known vitamins. Schnabel praised cereal grass as human food. As a result, in 1939, the AMA declared cereal grass food for humans when grown and dried using Schnabel’s standards.3  The next year, scientists showed that cereal grass was fully digestible by humans.4

Science Looks at the Grass Juice Factor

Nutrition drops as fiber increases

Schnabel tried other greens with guinea pigs and compared the results with those fed dried unjointed grasses. Even though both greens contained similar known vitamins, the difference in health was dramatic. Kohler and Schnabel began to call this phenomenon “the grass juice factor”.5 To ensure high nutritional levels and the grass juice factor, Kohler duplicated Schnabel’s original research. His study again showed the relationship between stage of growth and nutritional density.6This graph is from that research. Kohler felt the grass juice factor followed a similar drop after jointing as the items shown.

Schnabel’s Harvest was at the Jointing Stage

Pines knows why to harvest at the jointing stage, which is based on cereal grass science. It seems other growers have not read the research. They seem concerned more with tonnage than nutrient density. Turning a blind eye to research is easy for them because to harvest at the jointing stage produces less than 200 kg. per acre while harvesting a week later produces 1,000 kg. or more per acre. Some growers even harvest a second cutting. At Pines, we follow cereal grass science and harvest once per year only at the jointing stage.

Science Shows Whole Foods are Better than Juices and Juice Powders

Cereal grass science shows quality cereal grass to be 25% or more protein.  It is also a concentrated source of beta-carotene7 & 8 and chlorophyll9 when harvested at the jointing stage. The fiber10 content of quality cereal grass equals that of other green vegetables. It is a gentle fiber. Together with the chlorophyll and other green nutrients, our whole food greens provide a perfect prebiotic media. That means, they enhance the growth of probiotic bacteria. Without the fiber, green veggies are not prebiotic.  If the fiber is not removed, veggies as whole foods are prebiotic.  The fiber provides the media for the growth of probiotic bacteria necessary for proper assimilation and a healthy colon. Furthermore, recent research published in November, 2016, gave new meaning to the need for prebiotic foods rather than juices. That is because juices and juice powders with the fiber removed may cause damages to the gut wall, pathogen susceptibility and improper digestion.

Other Problems with Juice Powders Furthermore, juices squeezed from cereal grasses and other greens quickly reach extremely high bacterial levels because once in a juice form, unless pasteurized, they quickly easily sour.  On the other hand, whole food greens grown by Pines contain a fraction of the bacterial levels. In addition, most green juice powders come from irrigated regions with high lead content.  Recent analysis of green juice powder samples showed levels at least three times above California’s Prop 65 standards.

Grown in Proper Regions with Ample Rainfall

We grow all Pines whole food greens in regions with glacial soils and plenty of rainfall. Thus, we never need to irrigate any of our fields.  Pines stands for sustainable values. We strongly oppose the destruction of the Ogallala Aquifer in the dry region of our state. In that region, farmers have poisoned and nearly drained this once-pristine fresh water resource. That water took tens of thousands of years to accumulate. Careless farmers have almost drained it in 70 years. Worse, they drained it by growing poison-based feed for confined animals and GMO corn for ethanol. Such waste and abuse is an outrage!

More than 40 Years of Organic Leadership

Pines grows only certified organic whole food greens, all with the fiber intact. Pines was one of the leaders in establishing the Organic Foods Production Act of 1990. We began to lobby for it after our founding in 1976. We helped write one of the model organic standards for the Act. Pines has never used chemicals on any of our fields. 

No Dual Farming – 100% Organic Family Farms

Pines opposes “dual farming” where farmers grow both organic and poison-based crops. Such farming is contrary to our values. For more than 40 years, we have sought to expand organic farming. In doing that, we gladly help sincere poison-based farmers “go organic.”  We appreciate farmers who want to change. However, we do not have respect for poison-based farmers who grow some of their crops as an “organic sideline” while also using poisons on other crops.  Such farmers are not sincere. They profit off the hard work of true organic farmers, We built our modern driers for certified organic human foods. Unlike others, we did not build them to dry pesticide-based alfalfa for the confined-animal, meat industry. Thus, we use cleaner facilities, lower temperatures, and only organic human foods. All this is to say we are a truly vegan-friendly, sincerely organic grower of green super foods that respects our planet's resources and that follows the standards of cereal grass science.



Schnabel, C. 1935. “The biologic value of high protein cereal grasses.” Paper presented to the biologic section of the American Chemical Society in New York, April 22, 1935. Kohler, G., Elvehjem, C. and Hart, E. 1936. “Growth stimulating properties of grass juice.” Science. May 8, 1936, p.445. Bing, F., Secretary, AMA Council on Foods. 1939. “Accepted Foods-Cerophyll.” The Journal of the American Medical Association 112:733. Graham, W., Kohler, G. and Schnabel, C. 1940. “Grass As A Food: Vitamin Content.” Paper presented April 10, 1940, at the 99th meeting of The American Chemical Society. Kohler, G., Randle, S. and Wagner, J. 1939. “The Grass Juice Factor.” Journal of Biological Chemistry. 128:lv. Kohler, G. 1944. “The effect of stages of growth on the chemistry of the grasses.” The Journal of Biological Chemistry 152:215-223. Raj, A. and Katz, M. 1985. “Beta-carotene as an inhibitor of benzo(a)pyrene and mitomycin C induced chromosomal breaks in the bone marrow of mice.” Canadian Journal of Genetics and Cytology 27:598-602. Bendich, A. and Shapiro, S. 1986. “Effect of beta-carotene and canthaxamin on the immune responses of the rat.” Journal of Nutrition 116:2254-2262. Kimm, S., Tschai, B., and Park, S. 1982. “Antimutagenic activity of chlorophyll to direct and indirect-acting mutagens and its contents in the vegetables.” Korean Journal of Biochemistry 14:1-7. 10 Eastwood, M. 1987. “Dietary fiber and the risk of cancer.” Nutrition Reviews 45:193-197 11 Eric Martens, Ph.D. November 2016. “A Dietary Fiber-Deprived Gut Microbiota Degrades the Colonic Mucus Barrier and Enhances Pathogen Susceptibility.” Cell Volume 167, Issue 5, p1339–1353.e21