Oats, those seemingly plain grains in your morning bowl of oatmeal, were once considered nothing more than a pesky weed. Eventually, clever farmers in the UK discovered a way to grow oats for porridge, making oats a staple part of the diet for the English, Scottish, and Irish throughout history. Oats almost never have their bran and germ removed in processing, so whether you eat whole oat groats, steel cut, old-fashioned, or instant, you’re likely to get all the benefits of the whole grain including the fiber, b-vitamins, and protein. We use a unique variety of oat that’s higher in protein and has a lower environmental impact than most other oats. The old-fashioned oat flakes in all of our soft-baked Seed Bars and crunchy Seed’nola make for a more satisfying and nutritious snack.
PR(OAT)EIN, PR(OAT)EIN, PR(OAT)EIN!
Our oats contain roughly 45% more protein than standard oats. Light, moisture, soil, temperature, and weather all affect the protein content of every crop in the world, which is why oats with a higher protein content tend to come from places with long, hot days and cool nights, like Montana where our oats are grown. Montana is fondly referred to as Protein Country by some farmers because of the high protein content found in the many crops grown throughout the state. In fact, when our oat variety was planted in Arizona, it had 30% less protein than the same oats grown in Montana.
Along with loads of protein, our oats are balanced with a good source of fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Beta glucan is a unique type of fiber that’s only found in oats and barley, and to a lesser extent in wheat and rye. This type of fiber helps lower cholesterol and also keeps us feeling fuller for longer.
ARE OATS GLUTEN-FREE?
Oats are naturally gluten-free. But most oats are either grown on the same field as wheat and other gluten-containing crops, or processed in the same facility, so not all oats end up gluten-free by the time they get to your pantry. Our oats, however, are certified gluten-free by the strictest standards available, to ensure that they are grown gluten-free, processed gluten-free, and added to our Seed Bars and Seed’nola in our dedicated gluten-free facility.
The oats we use in our Seed Bars and Seed’nola are grown in Montana by more than 10 different farmers across hundreds of acres of farmland.
Purity Protocol is the strictest form of gluten-free certification, which considers the journey of the oats from seed to harvesting, transport, storage, processing and manufacturing. To be certified gluten-free through Purity Protocol, oat fields must be free of gluten-containing crops for at least 3 years. The fields and the harvested oats themselves are also inspected to make sure there is no risk of cross-contamination. Our oats are cleaned and stored in gluten-free facilities as well, and every batch of oats that comes into our Bakery can be traced back to the facility it was processed in and the farm it was grown on.
MORE THAN 88 ACRES OF OATS
The oats we use in our Seed Bars and Seed’nola are grown in Montana by more than 10 different farmers across hundreds of acres of farmland. Oats are a small grain that can be planted in the late fall or early spring, depending on the variety. Once the weather starts to get warmer in the late spring or early summer, the oat seeds grow into tall, grass-like plants that you’ve probably seen on family road trips.
Our hulless oats save 217,000 pounds of CO2 from being released into the atmosphere each growing season. That’s equivalent to the emissions from driving 20 cars for an entire year.
All of the farmers who grow our oats use an agricultural practice called Integrated Pest Management (IPM). IPM is a comprehensive plan that uses diverse farming practices to reduce the need for fertilizer and pesticides for environmental, economic, and health reasons. This can be done in many different ways. Our oats are grown in rotation with other crops, as opposed to the farmers planting oats back-to-back every year. Crop rotations are used to disrupt disease and pest cycles so farmers can use much less pesticides. They keep the soil healthy and nutrient-rich while also allowing farmers to gain more value from their land. The farmers who grow our oats in Montana rotate them with legumes and alfalfa. Legumes capture nitrogen from the atmosphere and store it in the soil, which the oats need to grow. Normally, nitrogen is applied to fields with chemical fertilizers, but planting legumes allows farmers to reduce their fertilizer use and still have strong, healthy plants.
Crop rotations are used to disrupt disease and pest cycles so farmers can use much less pesticides.
Another method of IPM used by our farmers is called no-till, or low-till, which means that instead of churning up the soil to kill the weeds, farmers use other methods to prevent weeds from taking over their fields. This farming method also reduces soil erosion and the need for pesticides, both of which cause significant environmental damage. Oats are a great crop for no-till farming because of how they are harvested.
Once our oats are ready to be harvested, a machine called a combine harvester drives through the field, separating the stems and leaves from the oat kernels and returning them back into the field all in one motion. On farms that don’t till the soil, or till it minimally, the oat stems and leaves are left in the field to block weeds from coming up through the soil and help retain moisture and nutrients for next year’s crops. After harvesting, the oat kernels are then stored in large silos until they are ready to be cleaned and graded. Because our oats don’t have hulls, they skip the hulling and kilning process and move straight to milling.
OAT SO SUSTAINABLE
We use a unique variety of oat that sheds its outer hull in the field during harvest. Not only does this mean that our oats are minimally processed, but it also means they are more sustainable. While most oats are grown with a hull that must be removed through hulling and kilning before it becomes the oat flakes or groats you eat in the morning, our oats bypass this energy-intensive process. There is also less energy needed to store and transport our hulless oats. Normally, oats that need their hulls removed create a hull byproduct that must be transported to be used for animal feed or another industrial use. Our hulless oats therefore eliminate the need for the hull byproduct to be transported and stored as well. Overall, it’s estimated that our hulless oats save 217,000 pounds of CO2 from being released into the atmosphere each growing season. That’s equivalent to the emissions from driving 20 cars for an entire year.