Barley is a widely grown cereal grass that produces a grain , which has been a primary food source of many cultures for thousands of years.

After wheat, rice, and corn, it is the most important cereal crop in the world. It is very hardy, so it is grown in many parts of the world and is planted in the spring or fall (similar to wheat). It is a staple food crop in Asia and in many of the countries surrounding the Mediterranean.

In the United States, the important growing area is the northwest quarter of the contiguous states, extending from Minnesota to Washington. The barley plant grows as high as 4 feet. The grain has a nutty and somewhat sweet flavor and the color of the grain ranges from a light tan to various shades of brown or purple.