Our cornmeal is made from locally sourced corn. After we get the corn from the seller, we are able to grind as soon as we have enough volunteers. Corn grinding is a team effort. We need volunteers to get the corn from the buckets to the hopper, make sure the corn isn't feeding into the hopper too fast, transfer the ground corn to the sifter, work at the sifter, label and bag the final product, and clean up afterwards.
How It's Made
Grist is any grain that can be used to make flour, in our case being corn. The original gristmill operated between 1847-1896. When we grind corn today it is done in the same fashion as it was then, just on a much, much smaller scale. Corn is ground using water from the Mill Spring. The water travels over a quarter of a mile to the mill where it turns the water wheel, which then turns the gears in the basement that make the whole process work. When we grind for cornmeal we want to make sure the waterwheel speed is just right, somewhere between 8-12 rpm; if all is going smoothly we can get to about 14 rpm.
There are two millstones, composed of French buhr limestone, that do the actual grinding. The stones have to be set just right. We don't want them set too close or we could damage the stones. However, we don't want them too far apart either, or we're not really doing much besides making cracked corn. The early mills would have had two sets of these stones, one for wheat and one for corn.
The next step is sifting the ground corn. This process is just to help strain out the pieces that are too large for cornmeal. These bits and pieces are still usable, just for bird feed instead of human feed. After the corn is sifted it is bagged and ready to be sold.
If you are interested in helping with this process call the mill or fill out a volunteer application. If you are interested in seeing the stones in action, please stop by the mill on the last Saturday of the month for a demonstration.
Our cornmeal is for sale when the mill is open, priced at$5.00/bag. Check out our recipes here.