Local Flour Mills: On The Rise Across The U.S.

Hayden Flour Mills

If Martha Stewart is out there championing your brand, you know it’s the real thing. In 2014 Hayden Flour Mills in Queen Creek, Arizona was selected as one of the honorees of Martha Stewart’s annual American Made contest.

The Mill began as a partnership between Jeff Zimmerman, who grew up on wheat farms in South Dakota, and Chris Bianco, a well-known Arizona chef famous for being impeccable about the quality of his ingredients. Hayden Flour Mills purchases their grains from local farmers in Arizona, specializing in varieties that grow well in their dry climate.

Products available on their website include a collection of whole grains like farro, ancient barley and White Sonora wheat berries - a variety of wheat that grows well in Arizona’s arid climate. The shop also includes ground products like chickpea flour, stone ground cornmeal and a few types of wheat flour.

Capay Mills

Italy has long inspired the food-conscious in the U.S. as a prime example of a culture with a sense of pride around it’s cuisine. Italy is, after all, the birthplace of Slow Food International, the origin of foodie favorites like prosciutto and sopressata, and home a type of porcini mushroom so valuable it’s been given protected status by the Italian Government.

Italian farmers and chefs take care with their wheat varieties as well, which probably comes as no surprise given the ubiquity of pasta, pizza dough and other baked goods in the country’s food repertoire.

Just as wine grapes are now being grown all over California, Italian varieties of wheat are also finding the climate hospitable - mainly thanks to a grower named David Kaisel who owns and operates Capay Mills in Rumsey, California. Capay Mills sells to bakeries and restaurants and at farmers markets in California.

Grist & Toll

People enter the local and heritage grain revolution from all angles - chef, farmer, professional baker or simply someone with an interest in doing things a better way. For Nan Kohler of Grist & Toll a love of home baking led to a passion for the craft of milling itself.

 

 

When you read about Nan Kohler you get a clear sense of her passion for the work of promoting local grains. Nan speaks clearly about the need for a change in our food system when it comes to the growing and processing of grains - particularly wheat.

 

At her shop and milling facility in Pasadena, California Nan holds workshops, book readings and other events centered around understanding local grains, stone milling and baking with heritage grains. She sells not only heritage wheats, but also spelt, cornmeal and polenta.

 

Maine Grains

Maine Grains is more than just a local milling business for farmers and consumers in central Maine. It’s affiliate, the Somerset Grist Mill, is continuing to grow into a food hub for the area, offering space for various food-related local business.

 

Maine Grains co-founder Amber Lambke is a force for good in Maine’s local food landscape. She is also owner/operator of The Pickup, an aggregating and wholesale business that helps consumers gain access to locally grown and produced products.

 

Located north of Portland, ME, Main Grains has succeeded in making their flour available all over the eastern seaboard, including into Boston and New York City.

Farmer Ground Flour

Located in the Fingerlakes Region of upstate New York just west of Ithaca, Farmer Ground Flour is the combined effort of a few folks who are working to change the way people think about grains, flour, milling and baking.

Most of the grains used in Farmer Ground Flour’s products are grown by farmer Thor Oechsner, a first-generation farmer who, through hard work and experimentation, has created a successful farming operation and is one of the businesses founding partners.

 

Farmer Ground Flour is being sold in retail locations all over New York State. Bakeries in Ithaca and the surrounding area have fallen in love with the flour, as more bakers and consumers seek a deeper connection with the essential ingredients used to create their favorite breads, pastries and other bakery items.

Carolina Ground

Baker-turned-miller Jennifer Lapidus had long felt that there was something missing in the process of baking bread. For her, the missing link was tied to the quality of a baker’s main ingredient - the flour. Her response? Start a regional cooperative which included farmers, miller and bakers and focused on locally grown grains. The result is Carolina Ground.

Part of Carolina Ground’s success is tied to the nationwide decline in cigarette smoking - a trend that meant a downturn in demand for tobacco, North Carolina’s dominant crop. Though tobacco farming is still commonplace, famers have been looking for a way to diversify and some have turned to small grains.

Carolina Ground is dedicated to the process of cold-stone milling, and the complexity of flavors created by local grains. They encourage their customers to experiment with their products to make the flours their own.

Barton Springs Mill

The brains behind Barton Springs Mill belong to James Brown, a musician and hobbyist baker who was once on the hunt for a quality flour to bake with at home. That search led him to discover heritage and landrace grains, and to wonder what types of heirloom grains could be grown in the state of Texas.

 

Soon, he was calling farmers and making offers to buy from those willing to grow the specific varieties Brown knew he wanted to experiment with. His plan worked, and the business has expanded from from just milling wheat into offering corn and other crops grown by area farmers.

 

Barton Springs Mill now grinds flour for bakeries, distilleries and retail customers, selling to locations all over the city of Austin and the surrounding area. Demand continues to grow for Brown’s quality product.

Grafton Stone Mill

After crisscrossing the country from Maine to California to Texas to North Carolina, we return to our beloved Midwest and to Grafton Stone Mill. Just as these many talented millers, farmers and bakers are working hard across the country to improve their regional food systems, we too are dedicated to the cause of organically grown, stone ground, nutrient-dense local grains. We appreciate your support of our mission to be a part of the larger Good Food Movement!