The Hayden Flour Mills Local Grain Project: Restoring a Tradition
In the late 1800s, the Hayden Flour Mills were established in what is now Mill Avenue in Tempe to process wheat and corn from the nearby Pima and Maricopa peoples. The grains were ground on four French stone bhur mills powered by the Salt River. Over time, the diversion of the Gila River, the collapse of the local Indian food system and the shift of other local farmers away from grain crops resulted in the use of imported grain and eventually the demise of Hayden Flour Mills in 1998 as the milling industry consolidated.
Hard-core locavores who have been searching in vain for local sources of wheat for bread and tortillas will be especially happy to know that Jeff Zimmerman is working to resurrect these long-lost milling traditions and bring back local, heirloom varieties of wheat and corn to the Valley. He’s working with Native Seeds/SEARCH to grow out sufficient seeds for planting next year. Using the Hayden Flour Mills name, Zimmerman hopes to offer local flour from Sonora White, Red Fife and Turkey Red wheat (all varieties on Slow Food USA’s Ark of Taste) to chefs and consumers. The goal for the first year will be to provide locally milled products, with some local crop production in year two, increasing to at least 50% of production from local source in year three.
For more information, visit Hayden Flour Mills or contact Zimmerman at 480-242-9002.