By Jon Olinto, Co-Founder
Is gluten the problem? Or, is the problem that the flour we eat sucks?
To figure all this out, we embarked on a year-long journey to figure out where our flour comes from and how it’s made.
At the beginning, we learned some crazy stats that showed us there’s a systemic problem. By crazy, we mean our country lost almost all of our mills over the course of a century. There were 25,000 grain mills in United States in the year 1900. One hundred years later, there were only 201!
Back in the day when we had all those mills, there was one in every community and local farmers grew wheat and grains. When it’s ground the right way, flour is perishable. It’s living and complete food. Now, we’re left with a handful of factories that make all of our flour and make it shelf-stable by removing living vitamins and minerals. Since farmers won’t grow wheat if there are no mills, the same type of eradication happened on local farms. And we found more craziness in the numbers. In the state of Maine, there were 30,000 acres of wheat being grown for human consumption in the year 1900. One hundred years later, there were zero!
Once we understood the consolidation and industrialization, we wanted to know how bad this is for us and our health. Turns out, our country’s wheat is grown in monocultures and fed pesticides, both of which kill soil health. Meanwhile, factory flour is essentially just empty starch that our bodies convert to sugar. But, the craziest part of all is that wheat is great for us, our farmers, and our environment when we don’t mess with it. In its natural state, wheat has tons of fiber and is packed with nutrients.
In the end, we knew too much. So, we’re inspired to try and fix it. We want to make “wheat you can eat”. And we want to do it by going back… wayyyy back. Back to the way it was before the Industrial Revolution. To make it happen, we partnered with farmers up in Linneus ME. We’re building a mill in Lynn, MA. And we’re starting out by making bagels, tortillas, and pretzels. (If all goes well, we’ll be on to lots of other products.) Most importantly, our foods taste amazing. Plus, they’re better for us and better for the world around us.
Introducing One Mighty Mill. We think a small but mighty idea can make big change in the world.