Ideas combine to make grain, flour

Business feature - Heritage Mills in Rock Creek mills stone ground flour from locally grown grain.

When all the kernel is in all the bread, then the whole world will be better fed.

The 100 Mile Diet and whole food movements have gained a lot of traction in the past few years and Rock Creek’s Heritage Mills and Haynes Ranch are bringing the two ideas together. Producing locally grown grains and locally stone-ground 100 percent whole grain flour with no additives or preservatives.

They produce wheat, rye, triticale, hulless oats and barley – perfect for use in soup, flour, cooking, salads and casseroles.

Miller Mel Steinke explains that their stone burr mill uses a dry method. “We don’t have to add any preservatives, anti-caking agents or chemicals to the flour and it still has a shelf life as long as other flour if it’s kept dry.”

“It has been tested by the department of Agriculture in Ottawa at 6 month interfiles and it was still good after 2 ½ years” said Mel.

Our method leaves the wheat germ and bran in the flour so it remains balanced, just the way it is in the kernel. Most conventional mills separate the wheat germ and bran from the grain, getting a white flour and then adding a small portion of the bran back and calling it whole-wheat flour.

“Heritage Mills flour is dryer, so if you want to use it in any other recipe than our own you can use just a little less (approximately 10 per cent) then regular flour, as it absorbs more moisture,” Mel explained. “Because it’s drier you get more flour per kg.” There are recipes on each bag of flour to get you started.

You can find their web site link from Ray Foucher’s (author of the Abundant Health column in The Times) webpage.

James and Maureen Haynes grow the grain at the Haynes Ranch and on rented fields in the Rock Creek area.

“When people ask me if I am organic I tell them no. I tell them that I am a traditional family farmer,” explains Haynes. “I do things as traditionally as I can, because we have to use some common sense in all of this. I have enough fields that I can pick and choose which fields that I have to take out of production and which ones I can use.”

Mel and his wife Elena have been in the milling business off and on since the 1970’s. “We had the mill out in Alberta for a number of years as well as running a bakery for about 6 months.” Their product was in Co-op stores in Alberta from Lacombe south, including 13 Calgary Co-op stores and bakeries.

Elena said that they found that a lot of people who thought they had allergies to gluten were able to use their flour because it doesn’t have any preservatives or additives added to it.

Mel said he learned to be a miller from Jack Zachery who designed the mill he uses today. Jack Zackery was the trainer and designer of the mill as well as developer of this method of milling. He spent many years in experimental milling research both in Canada as well as the United States.

“The old fellow trained me -we built an entire mill- sifters and all,” recalls Mel. “The stones were made in Germany using granite stone that takes a couple of lifetimes to wear out.”

Heritage Mills has been in business since October of 2011. They prefer to retail through local grocers but they will do direct sales in bulk.

Their products are sold in a variety of sizes at Buy-Low stores in Osoyoos and Oliver, Grand Forks and McMynn’s in Midway, plus Bonnie Doon Health Supplies in Osoyoos, Kettle Valley Food Co-op in Grand Forks and at the Kettle River Woodcraft in Rock Creek.

Elena and Mel are joined by their daughter Carmela and son-in-law Jerry Theroux who will help run the mill.

“We are just beginning,” Mel says enthusiastically.