Plants & Farm StoriesFeb 2, 2022

Pharm Harvest: Milky Oats

Oat "milky" seed (Avena sativa) serves dual purposes on our Certified Organic farms. In fall, we plant it as a cover crop, to protect and nourish the fields throughout late fall and winter. It’s one of many regenerative agriculture practices that help us give back to the land. Then, in spring, we harvest and extract the Oat “milky” seeds.

These Oats are called “milky” because that’s the stage at which we harvest them, before their fruit fully develops. If you were to squeeze a young Oat seed, you’d see a “milky” substance — and that’s our cue from nature that it’s harvest time.

We use modified blueberry rakes to more easily and efficiently harvest the seeds. Throughout the harvest, we weigh our haul to ensure we take only what we need. The Oat “milky” seed leaves the fields and goes straight to the laboratory for quality testing. Then it’s off to the processing facility to be extracted while still fresh.

Herb At A Glance

Botanical Name: Avena sativa

Common Name(s): Oat

Plant Family: Poaceae

Native Habitat: Europe, Asia and Africa

Parts Used: “Milky” seed

Botanical Description: Small green seeds with milky white liquid inside

Use(s): Traditional support for the nervous system*