Monday, December 21, 2009

Bluebird Flour - FAIL

As an outsider, I've noted there are certain signature items of the Navajo people...

turquoise & silver jewelry

amazing woven wool rugs

sand paintings

mud hogans

dogs, sheep, goats, horses

Blue Bird Flour...

Now that last item is more an item for the Navajo people as opposed to tourists buying overpriced items in the area... The sacks themselves are iconic for anyone who has come in contact with them or the open vast expanses of the Rez. The Rez is desolate to say the least... the question I had to ask my folks was, before the traders, what the HELL did they eat out here? There is NOTHING! Anyways, to get back to point... nowadays, and for the last century or more, one of the main staples of the Navajo are fry bread made from Blue Bird Flour. Blue Bird is sold in giant 10, 15 & 25 pound cotton sacks with iconic silk-screened logos. I love any of that old-fashioned style of selling goods, and of course, anyone familiar with me knows I love the idea of upcycling & recycling. So my mom & I, thinking about fun (cheap) Christmas gifts, thought it would be amazing to make items out of used Blue Bird flour sacks, but for the life of us, we can't find anywhere that actually sells them at a reasonable price.

Sure, we could go to the Red Mesa trading post & buy a couple of 25 pound sacks... but they would be complete with flour. Me, assuming EVERYTHING could be bought online was certain we'd get them there. No luck. Dilemma indeed.

What I want to know, what happens to the used sacks? Are they recycled? Sewn into other things? They're certainly not for sale as far as I can tell.

Maybe maybe maybe we might make the trek to Cortez Colorado where the flour is actually produced - maybe then we could buy the empty sacks and make some aprons or shopping bags or something. I dunno.

If anyone else out there knows anything about getting a hold of actual used cotton flour sacks (not vintage per say, as they're so WAY over priced) pluh-leeese let me know.



  1. oh my god - if you succeed in this mission can you get me one too??? i will repay you TOP DOLLAR!! i too am obsessed with re-purposing old sacks & whatnot into pillows, seat cushions, etc. etc. (though i've yet to realize this dream.) like those burlap coffee sacks! mmmm. that bluebird flour one has a wonderful design! good luck hunting!! xx

  2. I found a link at the
    It is an article about Cortez milling Co. who make blue bird flour.
    They sell new flour sacks at the mill for two and three bucks apiece.
    I'm not sure if they will send them to you though It would be a fun road trip.

  3. I found new unused empty sacks at the Hubble Trading Post in Ganado...maybe they do mail order?

  4. I, too, am in search of Bluebird flour, both for the sack, and to try my hand at some frybread. After reading your post I started digging around on the Internet and found someone selling 5 lb. bags of Bluebird on eBay for $5.25 ea. plus shipping (although the shipping cost isn't specified). A bit pricey for flour, but it beats driving to New Mexico, Colorado, or Arizona.

  5. I take it back: the shipping was specified; I must have overlooked it. The shipping price is $11.17. $16.42 for 5 lbs. of flour. I may not be able to help myself if I can't find it anywhere else.

  6. OK. Last post, I promise. I just found this on the Navaho Times website. It is an exceprt from an interview with Trent Tanner, co-owner of Cortez Milling, the company that makes Bluebird:

    "Grocery stores that stock Blue Bird flour include T&R Market, Lowe's, Bashas', Kroger, Albertsons and Safeway.

    "We can't make enough to stock Wal-Mart," he said, explaining that the mill is already operating at capacity.

    "In addition, Bluebird is shipped via mail order.

    "We get calls from all over the United States," he said.

    "Blue Bird sacks have been recycled for everything from dish towels to bandages, and now appear in clothing and other items at craft fairs. Clean, new 25- and 50-pound sacks are available for $2 and $2.50 at the mill.

    I'm headin' to my local Kroger and Albertsons here in Denton, Texas to see if they might have some.

    I hope this helps.

  7. I have plenty for sale... Over a couple hundred bags... Clean and ready for use. I will sell ya them for $1 a piece plus shipping. Let me know if ya interested. I sell them online too on etsy.


    1. Amanda- i am interested! in buying about 25 of the 25 lb bags to use to make my kitchen curtains out of. i have a couple but not nearly enough. please tell me you have some left! my email is: i will try emailing you directly as well. thanks so much!

  8. The Navajo people are always making things out of Blue Bird flour sacks. Go shopping at Gallup Flea Marker and you will see Dish Towels, Aprons, Smocks, Handbags, Clothing, etc. If you can make it out of cloth, you can make it out of a flour bag!

  9. I get mine from relatives who use the flour regularly. I once saw a small sack for sale in Calgary for 18.00!

  10. Just call Cortez Milling and Trent will ship them to you. They only make the Blue Bird in the smaller 5 and 10 pound bags in cloth. However - you can buy the #25 pound bags (or the #50 ones empty). They also have Red Rose (which a has a very lovely Red Rose on the front, unbleached white flour), White Rose (which is a great cake flour and yes, has a white rose on the front) and Valley Queen - which is a wheat sheaf.

    The Mill # is 970-565-3119.

    I've noticed recently that the dyes used on the small bags do not wash as well without running. I mentioned it to Trent and he said that they had changed suppliers.

  11. yeah, despite cold water and woolite, the colors started to come of on my 10lbs. bag
    Had to sift the flower since it contained weevils.

  12. LOL I keep tripping on the bag of flour in the kitchen, and when empty, it always seems to reappear. The sacks are used for just about everything and I am not Navajo (wife is though) and we are not on the Rez by any means, but the sacks are used as someone said as pillow cases and such, I usually give my empties to my maintaince staff at work, they use them for home projects

  13. I line in the 4 Corners area. Bluebird Flour comes in 5, 10, 20, and 50 lb sacks. Only tourist buy the 5 or 10 lb sacks. The sacks are made into quilts pillows I myself make aprons from them. The flour has a fine mill and high protein content and makes soft.fluffy fry bread. I also make Pueblo orno bread with it.

  14. I line in the 4 Corners area. Bluebird Flour comes in 5, 10, 20, and 50 lb sacks. Only tourist buy the 5 or 10 lb sacks. The sacks are made into quilts pillows I myself make aprons from them. The flour has a fine mill and high protein content and makes soft.fluffy fry bread. I also make Pueblo orno bread with it.

  15. I live in canada, ajaz ontario. where can i buy blue bird whole wheat flour in toronto

  16. How do you keep the ink on sacks from fading when washing.

  17. I've seen alot of things sewn together from bluebird sacks but they were never bought without the flour. Just collected over time

  18. Clean unused Blue Bird cloth flour bags are for sale from the milling company:
    Cortez Milling Co.
    309 N. Market St.
    Cortez, Co 81321
    (970) 565-3119