BREAKING NEWS Murder charge upgraded in Floyd case, 3 other cops charged Full Story
BREAKING NEWS Chico resident among the 3 killed in Solano County helicopter crash Full Story
STREAMING NOW: Watch Now

Chico flax farm offers new crop

A local couple is betting on a unique crop to bring new business opportunity to Butte County.

Posted: May 20, 2019 8:15 AM
Updated: May 20, 2019 9:01 AM

CHICO, Calif. – Have you ever wondered where your clothes come from? How about where the materials used to make your clothes come from?

In an effort to answer those questions, a Chico-based couple has launched a new business venture designed to bring a new crop and new business opportunity to Butte County.

“We hope to provide a new industry to Northern California,” said Durl Van Alstyne. “Our goal is to grow small parcels of flax to be machined processed into linen and yarn.”

Flax is a crop that is resistant to many pests and insects and it needs little water. Planting a variety of flax in a three-acre farm not far from downtown Chico, Van Alstyne and Sandy Fisher are hoping their vision brings a new type of ‘texture’ to the region.

Fisher says flax can and does grow in this region. She said it can also grow in the foothills and even on the coast.

As a lifelong artisan and weaver, Fisher says harvesting flax is not difficult work and simply time-intensive. She explains that linen is derived from flax, but that material has not been a strong player in the textile industry here in the United States.

Fisher said there are currently no linen mills in the United States, but sees this industry as one that could be lucrative. She said if the region had a mill locally, farmers from all over Northern California could bring their flax for processing, to be turned into various products.

As the venture gets off the ground, many volunteers have recently visited the farm to help harvest the flax. One woman drove all the way from Tulare County to take part in the effort.

Volunteer Iwona Mamolik describes flax as a great plant and end product. She said linen is a breathable fabric and perfect for California weather.

Fisher said the process of taking flax from the field to an end-product involves several steps. First, the flax must be soaked in water. Then, it is dried. Once that is finished the remaining product is processed by hand in preparation to be used for spinning or weaving.

Fisher said her desire to know more of where her clothes and the materials used to make her clothing originate, helped spur this business project. She said growing flax and turning it into a product creates connectivity not found with store-bought items.

Fisher and Van Alstyne say they envision their enterprise, Chico Flax, as being able to create local jobs for processing, harvesting and weaving of flax.

They said they have already had some interest from the bay area fashion industry in their concept.

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 117215

Reported Deaths: 4305
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Los Angeles572192448
Riverside8155342
San Diego7554269
Orange6574150
San Bernardino5501208
Alameda351597
Santa Clara2819143
San Francisco258743
Kern237639
San Mateo218884
Tulare200489
Fresno188236
Imperial179829
Santa Barbara166912
Contra Costa150637
Sacramento143958
Ventura116434
Kings11375
San Joaquin98235
Stanislaus75029
Monterey57110
Sonoma5664
Solano54622
Marin50115
Merced3017
San Luis Obispo2781
Placer2289
Santa Cruz2172
Yolo21324
Madera1143
Napa1133
Humboldt1023
El Dorado960
San Benito882
Butte511
Sutter462
Del Norte460
Nevada421
Shasta394
Mono371
Mendocino300
Yuba301
Lake260
Inyo201
Glenn170
Mariposa161
Calaveras150
Amador100
Siskiyou80
Colusa70
Lassen50
Tehama51
Plumas40
Tuolumne40
Alpine20
Sierra10
Trinity10
Unassigned00
Chico
Few Clouds
90° wxIcon
Hi: 101° Lo: 68°
Feels Like: 90°
Oroville
Clear
93° wxIcon
Hi: 102° Lo: 69°
Feels Like: 93°
Paradise
Few Clouds
90° wxIcon
Hi: 93° Lo: 68°
Feels Like: 90°
Chester
Clear
81° wxIcon
Hi: 83° Lo: 54°
Feels Like: 81°
Red Bluff
Clear
92° wxIcon
Hi: 100° Lo: 68°
Feels Like: 92°
Willows
Few Clouds
90° wxIcon
Hi: 104° Lo: 65°
Feels Like: 90°
The Heat Advisory will stay in place through Thursday evening. Cooler temperatures and the potential for showers and thunderstorms are ahead for your weekend.
KHSL Severe
KHSL Radar
KHSL Temperatures

Community Events