Weisenberger Mills - Now "Kentucky Proud"
When Mr. August Weisenberger bought the present Weisenberger Mill in Midway, Kentucky, in 1865, I doubt he gave any thought to declaring the local provenance of the milled wheat and corn he produced. Without knowing, I'm assuming Weisenberger Mill ground grain from farms near enough to travel to it with horse-drawn wagons. I'm guessing farmers brought grain for grinding to meet their own households' needs, and paid the miller in a portion of the grain, which he then sold -- still guessing -- without need of labels naming central Kentucky as the source of the grain. Local grain was the default. I hope knowledgeable Kentucky historians will chime in if my assumptions are wrong.
When I began buying Weisenberger's fine stone-ground grits, unbolted (whole grain) white corn meal, all-purpose flour, and bread flour several years ago, it was one of my "local ranks higher than trucked-in organic" decisions. I am all over the place on such matters, but I don't regret my Weisenberger decision -- though I hope and trust locally grown organic products will one day be part of the Mill's growing product list. I like all the products, but I am particularly partial to the Unbolted White Corn Meal. It's hard to imagine my Cornbread Supper-ish life without it.
When I first bought Weisenberger products, it was because of the local milling. I did not know the source of the grains. I had heard the grains came both from Kentucky and from other states.
Recently, however, Weisenberger began labeling its Unbolted White Corn Meal (and perhaps other products) with Kentucky Proud stickers that say, for example, "Milled from corn grown in Hardin County, Kentucky, at the Rogers Farm." So now the corn meal that's a mainstay in my house moves to the category I've heard described as "Kentucky DAMN Proud," since it is all from the Bluegrass State - production and processing.
Corn meal from Kentucky did not surprise me -- although I appreciated knowing the last name of my corn meal farmer, who is probably about 90 miles from me. The BIG surprise came when I bought my usual Weisenberger All Purpose Flour last week at Good Foods Market and discovered a Kentucky Proud sticker that reads, "Milled from wheat grown in Fayette County, Kentucky, at the James farm." Fayette (technically "Lexington-Fayette" now) is MY county, known more for horse farms than wheat farms.
Three years ago, when I read Alisa Smith and James MacKinnon's The 100-Mile Diet: A Year of Local Eating, I was envious of the ease with which the authors located local wheat. No more jealousy! Wheat from my own county is in my cabinet now, and will soon be on my table.
My own use of Weisenberger products barely scratches the surface of the more than 70 products they offer, including specialty flours made from buckwheat, rye, and potato. Weisenberger makes it easy to buy its products online.
You don't get Savoring Kentucky posts by email, but you would like to, free? Here is our 110 percent no spam guarantee and email subscription information.
The world is coming to visit central Kentucky this year for the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games. To help our visitors know more about Kentucky's food and food ways, Savoring Kentucky is rolling out 116 Savory Kentucky Bites, one for each of the 100 days before WEG begins, and 16 for the days during WEG, September 25 - October 10. Today's Savory Bite is number 83.