2014 Premium Gold Flax Seed prospers with Pride of Dakota label
Premium Gold Flax prospers with Pride of Dakota label
by Candi Helseth
Premium Gold Flax was a natural offshoot of the sixth-generation Miller family farm which has raised flax south of Anamoose since the turn of the century. A Pride of Dakota (POD) member, this North Dakota-based family business has expanded into gluten-free and organic markets. Premium Gold flaxseed products are being distributed in all 50 states and some foreign countries.
“Our products are 100 percent made in the United States and we are proud members of Pride of Dakota,” said co-owner Deborah Miller.
Small business operators Rhonda Wilhelmi, owner of Gifts by the Lake near Bottineau, and Stephanie Connole, Mohall, owner of Tiny Little Woodshop, share Miller’s enthusiasm for Pride of Dakota. They are among more than 500 POD participants ranging from large companies with more than 100 employees to “mom-and-pop” operations. Anyone who creates, produces, manufactures or processes a product in North Dakota may qualify for membership. Premium Gold Flax does all of that.
“Our flaxseed products are unique because we oversee every aspect,” Deborah said. “We work as an ingredient supplier and we have our own retail line. We select the seed, prepare the seedbed, maintain the soil quality, harvest it using a cold milled process created by Randy (her husband) that we have trademarked. Then we package and distribute it to retail and wholesale outlets.”
Premium Gold products include natural and organic Golden Omega Flaxseed, gluten-free flour and flax hull lignans. Last year, the Millers introduced their first Gluten Free Flax & Ancient Grains All-Purpose Flour. Deborah said the phenomenal response led to their creating “Debbie Kay’s Gluten Free Baking Mixes.” The Premium Gold website offers free recipes and information about flax’s health benefits.
All products have an 18- to 24-month shelf life without refrigeration. All items and ingredients are non-GMO, and contain no preservatives, additives or dyes. The Millers’ commitment to quality and natural products stems from a personal commitment to health.
“We have allergies in our family,” Deborah said. “So we had personal experience knowing what a difference it makes when you feel good because you’re eating products that are pure and natural, which doesn’t cause reactions. You can see and smell the difference with our flax. We decided we wanted to bring what we know to the public. Everything was in place, we just needed to take that next step.”
Originally, brown flax was grown on the farm for commercial sales. Randy began exploring golden flax, growing in popularity because it’s more palatable. The Millers worked with North Dakota and South Dakota university research programs to develop a marketable flax with good taste. Once they achieved that, the business just kept growing. In 2002, they incorporated Premium Gold Flax. Today they raise golden flax, as well as other grains.
In May, the Miller farm, served by Verendrye Electric Cooperative, Velva, became one of the first farms in Sheridan County to upgrade to three-phase electric service. This level of service is suited to the commercial grade processing the Millers conduct with their flax business.
At the same time, West River Telecommunications Cooperative, Hazen, has made recent rural broadband and high-speed Internet service investments which the Millers are employing in their Premium Gold flax business.
“West River Telecommunications Cooperative has put up new towers and they are really working hard to bring fiber optics to the outlying areas, which will help greatly to improve our technical capabilities,” Deborah said. “Our cooperatives bust their butts to get things working for us, and we appreciate that.”
Deborah, Randy and their daughter, Lindsay, operate Premium Gold Flax. Son Jordon and nephew Wayne handle the organic farming and products. Premium Gold Flax employs about 15 people, not including brokers and distributors.