Resurgent Grains

Lena Camelina

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Open your mouth to a boost of Omega-3 so flavorful that your taste buds wonder how to describe this oil - does it hint at broccoli, at asparagus, at pea?

You'll come to recognize the unique taste as Camelina sativa oil seed.  Belonging to the brassica family (as do kale, broccoli, mustard), Camelina is a crop of ancient heritage. The earliest archeological evidence of Camelina use takes us to Lake Constance (Germany/Switzerland) dating 5,000 B.C. It became the "Oil of the Celts" when those tribes spread out over Europe, and the practice of Camelina farming further broadened with the Roman Empire. Praised through the ages for its culinary and medicinal properties, Camelina also served as lamp oil.

The 1990s also saw rising interest in diets with better Omega-6 to Omega-3 balance, which during the stone age had been a ratio of .8 to 1, compared to northern Europe today with a 15 to 1 ratio, the American ratio of 1 part Omega-6 to 2.3 parts Omega-3. Clearly it's a heart-healthy food, without the dreaded fishy or linseed-oily aftertaste of the more commonly used Omega-3 supplements. In fact, the outstanding difference to flax seed is that in addition to Omega-3, Camelina contains high levels of gamma tocopherol, a rare vitamin E with strong antioxidant properties which are good for you, and, they make for very long shelf life.

In Eastern Washington, Lentz Spelt Farms obtained heirloom variety Camelina seed in 2006 from the early stages of the Montana research/pilot program. Legendary for its adaptability to the widest range of growing conditions, Camelina proved its worth at Marlin on dryland that measures a meager 8 inches average annual precipitation.

In 2008 Lentz Farms partnered with Lenwood Farms of Connell in raising Washington's first organic Mischkultur (raising intermingled crops for simultaneous harvesting) on irrigated acres. We're calling the heirloom product Lena Camelina.

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