About our Virginia-grown Grains

Posted on January 19, 2018 by William Brockenbrough

At Woodson’s Mill, we are committed to milling only non-GMO grains grown by local farmers using the best agricultural practices possible – in many cases certified organic.   By working with our growers, we are able to source varieties known for their historic regional presence, character and texture, and superb flavors. We are currently milling:

Hickory King White and Yellow Corn – Developed sometime before 1875 in the Appalachian region of Virginia.   With very tall stalks, can be difficult to grow.  Produces large kernels almost the size of nickel.  Known for its exceptional flavor and smoothness.  Grown for us in Hanover County.  

Bloody Butcher Corn – Originated in Virginia around 1845 with likely earlier origins from Native American corn.  Named for the red kernels that produce red flecks in the milled meal and grits, which were said to resemble a butcher’s apron.  Carries a true corn flavor lost in more modern varieties.  Grown for us in Hanover and Amherst Counties.

Turkey Red Wheat – Brought to the United States by Mennonite immigrants in the 1870’s, a hard wheat known for its excellent flavor and good protein quality.  Grown for us in Hanover and Rockingham Counties.   

Abruzzi Rye – A highly-sought rye with old-world origins, known for its nutty flavor.  Grown for us in Hanover County.  

Buckwheat – Touted by Jefferson and Washington as an excellent cover crop and small grain.  Believed to have been brought to the Americas by Dutch settlers, produced through the 1860's, when wheat flours began to dominate the food culture.  Known for its strong, unique flavor.  Grown for us in Powhatan County.

Woodson’s Mill produces products that are unique and unmatched.  Our historic grains are stone-ground using water-power in a mill dating to 1794.  Today, we produce a product that is nearly identical to those produced in the Mid-Atlantic a century or two ago. 



Posted in buckwheat, corn, grains, philosophy, wheat

Buckwheat! and our commitment to local grains

Posted on October 11, 2012 by William Brockenbrough

Good news! Our long wait for local buckwheat has ended. This Saturday afternoon, we will grind buckwheat into flour at Woodson’s Mill. This will reintroduce buckwheat flour and our famous three-grain pancake mix to our lineup. We will grind this Saturday, spend the week mixing, and make our finished pancake mix available October 20th.

Why the long wait for this popular pancake mix? We are committed to sourcing local grains, and buckwheat has proven to be one of the more difficult to find in the region. Our first batch will come from the Shenandoah Valley, then a continual supply will come from our friend Brian Walden at Steadfast Farm in Red Hill, Virginia. Pictured above is his field of buckwheat ready to be harvested!

So, if you are in the neighborhood this weekend, stop by in the afternoon as we grind a variety of grains the only way we know how; with our ca. 1840 water-powered stones.

Posted in buckwheat, cornmeal, farmers, grinding, philosophy, wheat

Our Packaging and Our Commitment to the Environment

Posted on September 23, 2012 by William Brockenbrough

Using water-power to grind Woodson’s Mill grains takes advantage of the lessons learned by generations of Virginia millers, but the process is also inherently environmentally sustainable. We strive to extend this commitment to the environment to all aspects of the products we sell, including packaging.

According to the EPA, about 31% of Municipal Solid Waste generated in the US in 2008 was containers and packaging, or 76,760 thousand tons. Only 43.7% of that was recycled. Excessive food packaging has been greatly reduced in the UK due to consumer demand, but here in the US, large food companies continue to make use of multiple layers of packaging and materials that are not recyclable or compostable.

In order to do our part to reduce excess food packaging, we use a kraft-paper bag that is made of 40-100% recycled content. In addition, the liner of the bag is made of a plant-based material called PLA (polylactic acid). PLA is a corn-based film product and along with the kraft paper is 100% compostable. This allows us to use only one bag as opposed to a plastic liner and cloth or paper outer bag. It allows you the opportunity of composting or recycling the bags when you finish your grits. To-date, this it the best alternative we have found for packaging our products.

At Woodson’s Mill, we are committed to doing our part to help protect the environment all while providing the freshest, locally-grown, stone-ground products possible. If you know other ways we can meet these goals, let us know. In the meantime, be on the lookout for excessive, non-recyclable packaging at your grocery store!

Posted in packaging, philosophy

A thank you to all of our supporters

Posted on July 23, 2012 by William Brockenbrough

We can hardly believe it has been three weeks since we re-opened. Woodson’s Mill has always been a place of community. Even still, we have been stunned by and grateful for the support of the people around us. Our family and extended family have been helped in so many ways: Fitz's knowledge of all things technological, Stuart's beautiful carpentry work and willingness to pitch in at any moment, and to Dee and John, Spencer, Ann and Kay for lending their time and talent to seriously dirty work, press, and anything else we asked. We love Kim's beautiful designs and appreciate her endless patience. And of course the Lowesville community, who are responsible for so much good in our lives. David and Alice, John and Susie, Joe and Robin, Chris and Don, Ted, Wallace, and the rest of the gang helped when they did not have to, were always willing to lend a hand, and we are so glad to have them as neighbors.

We owe a special debt of gratitude to our Miller, Steve Roberts, whose friendship and dedication to Woodson’s Mill has brought new life to us and to this place. Steve and Woodson’s Mill have become practically synonymous, and we are lucky to have him with us. To the next 218 years…

Posted in philosophy

What we believe

Posted on June 17, 2012 by William Brockenbrough

Our philosophy is pretty simple.  We believe that great ingredients make great food.  Fresh, local, corn makes the best grits.  When you stone-grind them slowly in a water-powered mill with nothing else added, they get even better.  That’s why Woodson’s Mill meals and flours are made the same way they were in 1794.  Better for the planet.  Better for the grits.  Better for you.

Posted in grits, ingredients, philosophy