Last week driving a short distance north of here, I saw two beautiful blue fields of flax in bloom. We hardly ever see flax as a crop around here, and the chance of driving by when a field is in the peak of its startling blue bloom is even less. It's been ten years since I last saw one.
Flax is a remarkable crop when you see it in bloom. Around here, most crops are green, with some like wheat and barley turning golden brown when mature, but flax is actually a flower, and its blue colour is striking.
Flax is used for linseed oil, an important ingredient of paints and similar products, for textiles - linen has been widely made from flax fibres for centuries - and for human consumption.
I was surprised to learn that Canada is the world's largest producer of flax; it's a northern crop that grows very widely on the Canadian prairies. I remember driving west from Winnipeg on the Trans-Canada Highway, seeing alternating fields of bright yellow canola and beautiful blue flax, quite a sight.
For anyone interested, this is a flax plant in bloom. It's an oil seed plant, so both for human consumption and linseed oil, the production comes from the tiny oil seeds. Fibres for textiles are from the stems, and were some of the oldest fibres used to make textiles in the world.
And this is a close look at the beautiful little blue flower.
Among all our crops here in southern Ontario, a field of flax in bloom is pretty unique!