Buckwheat is an old crop in Setomaa and indeed in all of Estonia. We know that in the 1930s, buckwheat was grown by nearly every farm in southern Estonia. But it was particularly widespread in Setomaa. During Soviet times, buckwheat declined sharply in Estonia, including Setomaa, and the buckwheat consumed here was imported from the east.

Buckwheat is a relative of the rhubarb and sorrel bush and resembles the latter somewhat, too. It prefers acidic soils and warmth, which is why southern Estonia is a preferred region for its cultivation.

Like our neighbours in Russia, Setos make buckwheat pancakes. Blini made from wheat and buckwheat flour were made first and foremost for celebrations. Buckwheat porridge cooked in a wood-fired oven is a delicacy, far outmatching porridge boiled on a stovetop. Setos are also known to slow-bake buckwheat groats in milk.