Originally published in The Journal on February 23, 2017
Ellie Theobald, self-proclaimed farm girl, created Ellie’s Whole Grains over ten years ago as a way to bring local and highly nutritious grains to the Minneapolis food community. Ellie grew up on a farm in the prairies of North Dakota, where her father farmed many grains including beautiful rows of flaxseed. In 2006, Ellie and her husband Dean had just returned from working in the rainforests of Papua New Guinea, providing basic medical care and nutrition counseling for the local community. As a way to continue educating and inspiring people to eat and live healthy here at home, they created Ellie’s Whole Grains.
Ellie’s Whole Grains is especially dedicated to promoting the health benefits of flax–gourmet golden flax to be exact. Flaxseed has two major varieties: brown (like we see on the tops of wholegrain breads) and golden, which has a bright, buttery yellow color and is also known as linseed. According to Ellie and a large body of research, golden flax is an excellent, inexpensive food that provides omega-3 fatty acids, protein, fiber, lignans and many other nutrients. Research also shows that flax contributes to a healthy lifestyle by supporting brain health, healthy skin, constipation relief, lowering high cholesterol and high blood sugar, relieving inflammation and relieving symptoms of celiac disease, Crohn’s disease and even hot flashes! It is this research that strengthened Ellie’s love for flaxseed, and it forms the solid foundation from which she markets her product.
Flaxseed is a naturally gluten-free grain that grows as a beautiful blue flower, closely related to many wildflowers and ornamental landscape plants. Ellie’s Whole Grains sells flaxseed whole and ground—both delicious in quick breads or on top of smoothies and salads like the recipe below! All of Ellie’s flax is grown, processed and packaged on a sustainable farm in Denhoff, North Dakota. In addition to flax, Ellie also sells other grains and health products such as gluten-free flour, barley and fermented garlic.
You can find Ellie and Dean at all of the Mill City Farmers Market’s indoor winter markets at the Mill City Museum and at the upcoming winter market at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum on Saturday, March 4th. More than 40 Mill City Farmers Market farmers, food vendors and local artists will be at the Arboretum’s beautiful MacMillan Auditorium from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. for the sixth annual Mill City Farmers Market showcase at the Arboretum.
Click here for recipes featuring flax!