Camas Country Mill is the natural extension of a 3rd generation farm family's efforts to connect the past, the fertile Willamette valley soils, and the community they feel a part of. The Hunton family grows grain and seed crops in an area that still nurtures native Camas patches scattered among the lowlands. The Native Americans of the area used stone mortar and pestles to grind Camas root for their diet and now Camas Country Mill re-connects with those first millers of the area by growing and milling grains for the local community.
By bringing back stone milling, locally grown and milled products are once again available after an 80 year absence in the south Willamette valley. The growers of Camas Country Mill are once again producing nutritious cereal grains and flour for everyone to enjoy.
About the Mill
Camas Country Mill uses a Danish built stone gristmill to mill all of the grain products they market. The Engsko mill uses 38" diameter stones that grind the grain. We specially equipped our mill with a frequency drive motor, so that depending on the grain product, we can vary the RPM of the runner stone. This allows us to match the grain and desired product in a manner that maintains the flour in as cool of a temperature condition as possible. All grain we mill is triple cleaned at our own or other grain cleaning facilities and arrives to us in 2000 to 2500# tote bags. Depending on whether it's a certified organic or a conventional grain, we then transfer into dedicated steel tote bins that we set above the grist mill. This allows us to monitor the feed rate into the mill, and provides the hopper mixing capability of any oversize returned particles for re-milling. We typically operate the mill well below the 300 RPM design RPM to maintain outstanding flour quality. Excessive heat can be detrimental to the nutritional aspect of the grains, so we use slow turning stones, combined with a pneumatic conveying system that maintains the flour temperature at or near ambient air temperature. Since we do not remove the bran or germ of the kernel, as occurs with white bleached or unbleached white flours, it's imperative to maintain cool milling temperatures. This allows our customer to receive the full nutritional benefits of the grains we mill. The vitamins and other essential nutrients lost in the conventional roller mill processing of white all purpose type flours are concentrated in the bran and germ portions of the kernel. These nutrients are present in the fat content which is most susceptible to break down from elevated temperatures.
From the mill the flour is pneumatically conveyed upwards to the sifter collection cyclone and discharged into the sifter for classification. The air system we use is a combination of the dust collection system for the entire building, but also to bring the freshly milled flour up to the sifter on the 2nd level of the mezzanine. Depending on the product being milled, we install varying nylon mesh screen or bolting cloth in the sifter. This allows us to re-run through the mill any grain particles larger than our desired grind fineness. The screens have openings from 800 micron size down to 180 microns in size. The 180 micron size mesh is comparable to an 80 mesh screen conversion. Even while milling to a fine particle size, we strive to minimize the amount of material re-entering the mill for a second grind by reducing the input feed rate. We achieve a high recovery percentage on the first pass through the mill. The sifted flour is once again elevated pneumatically with a Vac-U-Max unit (pharmaceutical grade components) to a surge hopper above the primary bagger. This bagger is a screw drive weigh bagger and is used for both 25# and 50# bag filling. For the smaller retail bagging of 4# flour bags, we transfer from the surge hopper to our small bagging scale for 1#, 2# and 4# retail packages many of you have seen on the store shelves or at our farm market booth.