2018 Flaxseed Harvest Update

We have completed the harvest season on our family farm and it is a time to reflect back upon the blessings of the past growing season.  Although it is too early for snow the clouds and wind bring to mind the upcoming winter season. We were given a preview just the other day, the wind was cold and the sky was a dark blue and there it was, the first snow. At first it was just a few flakes driven through the unrelenting wind but then it turned into flurries blowing across the road as I drove home from the field. The weather forecast was for much colder temperatures to come by morning so it meant a flurry of activity in the garden. We picked in the remaining tomatoes and gathered in the apples from the tree by our home.

That gives me a great deal of comfort as I think back to the flax harvest. The summer had been a time of concern for adequate precipitation because the preceding year had the State of North Dakota in the drought index according to the National Weather Service.  However dry it was at spring time, we prepared the seed bed in hope of rain. We also used some strategies learned from years of experience.  Once the field was initially prepared we made an additional trip across the land with a harrow to pack the soil which helps to draw the moisture closure to the area the seed will be planted in. However after further review the harrow was not enough. We waited a few days and heard of a rain forecast. We sprang into action by packing the field at an angle with an empty grain drill then we seeded the entire field and got all the machinery safely home just in time for a nice rain. The emergence of the flax was perfect. As the growing season progressed our farm did receive more timely rains, never too much as can be seen by a few low areas in the field that can drown out with excessive rainfall. This all led up to the most crucial time when the flax plants progress from the vegetative state to the reproductive state. It is a most beautiful time when the flax plants all flower and it was even more so this year because of how we worked with nature to capture the opportunity to have even emergence. That leads to all of the flax plants being ready to flower at the same time and it looks like a lake of blue water. The weather was perfect during the flowering period and later on when the blossoms had all fallen to the ground and the flax bowls were protecting the developing seeds we had one real good rain. It was almost an inch and a half so it was enough to bring the crop to full maturity. Now we welcomed the dry time of year in August as the flax plants ripened and turned brown. We cut the flax with a sickle windrowing machine and let the swaths dry in the sun and wind. This was the culmination of a great growing season for our flax as the green and yellow John Deere combine rolled through the field. The flax streaming into the big hopper was glistening gold in the bright sunlight of late summer and all of the flax is now safely in the bin.

What I have just described is part of what brings joy to a farmer’s heart. We want to produce the highest quality flax for our customers and we very much need to work with nature and the things that we are blessed with on our farm. When we talk about the health benefits of flaxseed that comes from our whole flaxseed or ground flaxseed it all needs to start with high quality flax. I have included a picture of some awards our farm has received for our North Dakota flaxseed. What I have learned from the fact that our farm has received the award for the best flax in the State of North Dakota for three generations is that we have been blessed with some factors that consistently lead to high quality flax.

To receive the top award for generations in the state of North Dakota that produces 97% of our nation’s flax is no accident. What it has to do with is the location of our farm. We are so far North that the summer days are very long during the sensitive time that the flax plants are in full bloom. Our farm is also located where the elevation is about 1400 feet above sea level and these two unchangeable facts help to guarantee that the temperature is optimal for producing high quality flax. The problem with flax grown in other areas that are too hot is that the flax acquires a bitter flavor but we have received countless letters from customers that say our flax is the best they have ever had. Our farm also has very productive soil that allows the plants to continue developing even when it may be some time between rainfall events. A plant under stress can not produce a quality seed.  The location of our farm has seen favorable amounts of rain even when the rest of the state is dry as we are within 60 miles of a large lake that seems to help in the development of rain showers.

We look forward to being able to help you find where to buy flaxseed on our website at www.goldenvalleyflax.com and you will also find great information about cooking with flaxseed and taking in the health benefits of flaxseed for you and the family that you love. We have a passion for your health and that is part of what motivates us to work hard to help you. We have encouraged thousands of customers to eat healthy with flax and we have also helped by providing recipes and flaxseed cookbooks. These can all be shipped to you, flax fresh from our farm to your home.