Small mills grind on to find new markets
New operation reports immediate interest from growers
By DEAN REA
For the Capital Press
After waiting several years for someone to build a flour mill in the Southern Willamette Valley, Willow Coberly decided to do it herself.
"All of the old flour mills have been torn down, and we had this bottleneck," she said during an interview. "No one was willing to take the plunge."
Coberly purchased equipment, and the Brownsville Mill began grinding wheat this summer at a downtown site that she owns.
"We were at capacity immediately," said Coberly, who is a partner with her husband, Harry Stalford, in a Tangent farm operation.
Meanwhile, the Camas Country Mill is expected to begin operating this fall, said Tom Hunton, a Junction City grower. He is establishing the mill north of Eugene, Ore., with owners of a wholesale organic business in Eugene.
The single stone-grist mill, manufactured in Denmark, will be used initially to grind grain grown this year on the Hunton family grass seed farm.
Meanwhile, 137 acres are being converted to organic food crops. This year the family is producing four new varieties of hard red wheat, one hard white, teff for grain and hulless oats conventionally.
"Wheat will be the first and main milling crop," Hunton said during an interview. Eventually, the mill will be available for custom grinding.
Hummingbird Wholesale, which is owned and operated by Charlie and Julie Tilt, will manage marketing and distribution.