Anson Mills mills food for thought

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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WOLO) — You’ve driven by it countless times without knowing. A world-renowned mill sits behind a car wash on Gervais Street. From the outside, Anson Mills is quiet, but go inside on a work day, and the place is milling with activity. The heirloom-grain mill is small scale. Everything is done by hand. Though, it ships product to about 5,000 chefs around the world. Founder Glenn Roberts says the mill is about breeding food, for flavor. “We do this not for show,” he says. “We do it because it tastes better.” Anson Mills jump-started the heirloom grain business in 1998. “It’s part of what’s gone in South Carolina that we want to bring back,” Roberts says. “We want the flavors back, and let people decide what they like and don’t like.” Beyond Roberts’ land here in the state, 30 farmers make up the immediate Anson Mills family from Virginia to Georgia. Across the country, farmers have replicated Roberts’ process. “If you’re someone who wants to grow your own food, the seed is free,” Roberts says. Beyond the quality, and heritage, it’s this concept, Roberts says, that really defines what he’s milling. “Instead of making us big, we want to make a lot of people small.” It’s his hope that free seed, serves as food for thought. “The concepts are really powerful,” he says. “The practice is simple: just start.” Roberts says in this sense, it’s not a farm-to-table movement, but a table-to-farm one. If you want to give Anson Mills’ grains a try, they’re available at the Soda City Farmers’ Market on Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Keep an eye out for them in other markets across the state. Roberts gives those farmers he’s partnered with free product to sell at their local markets.

Categories: Calhoun, Local News, News