Valheim barley and flax are both particularly useful materials that can be sourced from the Plains biome, but getting hold of them is far from plain sailing. In keeping with the general danger of this location, this isn't a resource you can just pick up on your travels, as you can only get it by fighting your way through a village of horrible green goblins first. It's worth going through that effort to get barley and flax, however, as it not only provides a new food source but also a fresh crafting material to use. If you're planning to make bread and linen, then follow these instructions for how to obtain barley and flax in Valheim.
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How to get barley and flax in Valheim
Obtaining both barley and flax in Valheim is a similar process. The first step is to find a Plains biome, which is the fifth biome you should be exploring, after you've conquered the Mountains and defeated Valheim Moder. If you're exploring a Plains before this point then do so at your own risk, because chances are you won't have strong enough gear.
While exploring the Plains, you need to be on the lookout for Fuling Villages. Fulings are small goblin enemies, much stronger than Greydwarves, and while they're manageable by themselves – you'll still want iron gear at a minimum, mind – in groups they're a huge threat. Fuling Villages, as you'd expect, are full of the buggers.
In Fuling Villages, when you've cleared the hostile threat, look for seeds planted in the ground. These can be barley and/or flax, although barley is typically more common. This is the only method to acquire both ingredients, though when you have them, you can return to your base and start a farm to grow more. We can help you with how to plant seeds in Valheim there.
Valheim barley explained
What do you do with barley in Valheim? If you're not planting it in the ground to grow more barley, then you want to craft Barley Flour using a Windmill. This is the base ingredient for four food items; Blood Pudding, Fish Wrap, Bread, and Lox Meat Pie. These are some of the most useful food items in the game, so they're worth crafting if you've got enough barley.
Valheim flax explained
Flax, on the other hand, isn't a food item at all. When you have a Spinning Wheel, you can use Flax on it to create Linen Thread, which is required for all manner of armor and weaponry. The Black Metal Sword, Atgeir, Axe, and Knife all require Linen Thread, as do the Padded Greaves, Cuirass, and Helmet. The Linen Cape and Porcupine need it too, so it's vital for some of the strongest gear in the game.