Nan wants everyone to have access to the best flours. What makes a flour the best? First, it must taste great. Period. She believes in crushing (stone milling) rather than shearing (roller milling) the grain because that’s what leaves all of the bran and the germ in the flour. This not only gives the flour more flavor, but it also boosts its nutritional profile. In stone milling, even when the flour is sifted to make a product closer to what we know as all-purpose white flour, some of the smaller particles of bran and germ will be left in. That means more fiber and a perfect case of fresh flavor equaling nutrition. Her shop doesn’t have a bakery of its own, but she heavily tests each flour and shares recipes and baking tips. Better yet, she’ll report back to farmers to help them cull what they grow in subsequent years. Through Nan, they have a resource to know what consumers are looking for in a seed.
“My mission is transparency and diversity,” Nan said. “I’m a conduit between what the farmer is doing and what the baker can expect. Now that I use these flours, everything else tastes one dimensional and flat.”
As I listened to Nan, it dawned on me that mills are the bridge between our primitive selves and our civilized beings. Without millers, we picked and ate grass seeds, but we didn’t know the craft of storing and crushing them. That’s why mills were once the mainstays of growing communities. Nan provides just that. She’s the anchor for a growing community of food lovers who care deeply about where their food comes from.