Taproot Update: Flax Processing and a New Website

If you have seen pictures of our linen products and are eager to try them, you are in luck! We recently launched our website, which includes online shopping capability. Our linen products are all produced from flax grown here on the farm, and any blended products are combined with local sheep’s wool.

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Some of our spun yarn (100% tow)

In preparation for our website launching, we have been working on developing our logo and product labels. Our first batch of labels arrived from the printer mid-June and they look spectacular on the packaging.

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A few weeks ago we met with Frances, a professor from the Nova Scotia College of Arts and Design, to plan the exciting dye tests. Our framework is to use plants/plant material that is available locally, ideally on the farm, or that there is an abundance of in the region. The goal is to have no adverse impact on the ecosystem and keep things as natural as possible.

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Planning some dye tests with Frances, from Nova Scotia College of Arts and Design.

Our flax field is growing beautifully. Our five-acre field has bloomed and is in the final stages of developing seed pods. The flax is not as tall as we were anticipating due to all the dry weather at the beginning of summer, however we are hopeful for a few more centimetres before we harvest in August.  We are in the midst of planning a harvest festival on August 14th complete with music and maybe even food trucks, so stay tuned for more details!

The flax field in bloom. taproot update trusted clothes

The flax field in bloom.

Work continues with optimising our machines for the breaking and scutching process. Part of our long line flax processing challenge is designing a transferring system to move the fibre through each machine. We have been testing our fibre transfer system on the scutching machine and working to integrate the design of the hackling machine. The hackling machine construction has been on hold due to long wait times for some of our critical parts. These parts are now here, and the hackling machine construction has started again. The design stage has begun on our fifth machine which will take the hackled fibre and draw it out to create sliver. Things are moving along!

Hackles for our hacking prototype. taproot update trusted clothes

Hackles for our hacking prototype.

We have been getting beautiful sunny weather; the problem is that things have been dry. This dry weather has been good for the weeds, but it is hard on our crops. The recent rain has helped but we could always use more. Some vegetables that we planted from seeds, like parsnips, are not germinating because they need water. Josh and the team have been irrigating as much as possible.

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Some of our flax from our field drying in the sun.

The work on the farm right now is still about planting, weeding, and harvesting.

We have started to harvest our organic strawberries and garlic scapes.

Last year, we held three Jamaican Jerk Pig Roasts. Each event includes a tour of the farm, a cooking demo by Chef Michael Howell and then a buffet style meal with beverages. We are hosting the pig roasts again this year. Our first two pig roasts of 2016 were on June 19th and July 10th, with another on August 7th.

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About the Author

Rhea Hamlin is the Marketing and Communications Specialist at TapRoot Fibre Lab; where she is researching and promoting flax and linen. Rhea has a Business Administration degree with a Major in Marketing and a Minor in Management from Mount Saint Vincent University.

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