This year we organised some open days on the farm through Growing Innovation Network and invited people to come along to experience the flax harvest. The first was held 99 days after sowing our 2022 crop of flax, on one of the hottest days of the summer. We had in fact already started to harvest by this stage as some heavy winds and rain had caused parts of the crop to fall. When this happens, we try to lift as much of the fallen flax as possible. If left on the ground, it would start to rot and become unusable.
We pull all our flax by hand rather than cutting it. This helps to preserve the long stems from which we extract the fibres. It's just how the flax would have been harvested from these fields many years ago and we're sure it was just as sociable an occasion back then! It's a busy, exciting and fun filled time at the farm as our friends and family come to help, tying the flax into bundles and stacking these around the fields to dry.
The bundles of flax are known as "beets" and they can also be dried in groups stacked together called "stooks". There is an art to building a good strong stook that will stay upright!
We'd like to thank everyone who came along and made our harvest open days so enjoyable and productive. We hope they'll consider returning next summer!