Friday, July 16, 2010

Flax and Linen

Its been wet on the prairies this year.  So wet in fact that the planting of flax (and other grains) is substantially lower than previous years.  The harvest will be lower since less acreage is planted to flax. Prices for Canadian Flax will be up due to the expected lower harvest.

With last year's GM flax crisis is Canadian Flax safe?  Definitely!  The contamination was low and protocols for testing Canadian Flax seed were immediately put into place.  Growers had their harvests tested for Triffid.  For seeding this year, all seed must be tested and only seed that is 100% free of GM contamination may be planted.  (GM flax is not certified for planting in Canada) Any seed that was found contaminated was destroyed.  For more information about the GM contamination and what the Flax Council of Canada is doing to ensure the safety of Canadian Flax see this link:

The planning for the 3rd Annual Joybilee Farm Linen Festival -- August 7th is  well underway.  We will again have Randy Cowan from Biolin Research in Saskatchewan and Crop Fibers Canada.  He will be talking about the efforts being made to reclaim the fiber from oil seed flax in Saskatchewan and giving grower information for planting linen flax.  Randy demonstrates flax breaking on an antique Doukhobor flax break that is worth seeing in action.  Talk about fast!

Connie Carlson (Ft. MacLeod, AB) and Jane Marshall (Midway, B.C.) watch Randy Cowan (Sask) break flax on his antique Doukhobor flax break, at Joybilee Farm's 2009 Linen Festival

Last seasons flax is almost all retted and dried and ready for the linen festival, so there will be lots of flax/linen to play with both at the flax break and in the spinning circle.  So come play with us, celebrate the lowly flax seed, and learn about linen and flax history, culture and fun.  Take home some seeds to grow your own linen.  Eat up our flax crackers and flax chapatis -- we might even have some cooking on the grill, for you to sample.  Flax cook books, flax information, linen culture.  It will be a blast... or should I say bast.

We've been waiting for the release of the revised version of Linen from flax seed to woven cloth by Kelowna's own Linda Heinrich.  Unfortunately its release has now been postponed until September (Schiffer publishing) so we won't have any copies available for the Linen Festival.  Maybe next year.

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