Mill grinds out nostalgia, nutrition

Blueberry Festival puts focus on local farms, unrefined flour

By Erin Middlewood, Columbian special projects reporter

Published:

 

If you go

• What: Cedar Creek Grist Mill Blueberry Festival.

• When: 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday, July 31.

• Where: Cedar Creek Grist Mill, 43815 N.E. Grist Mill Road, Woodland.

• Admission: Donations accepted.

• Info: 360-225-5832, http://cedarcreek...

A visit to the Cedar Creek Grist Mill takes you back to a time before the terms “locavore” and “whole foods” were bandied about.

Eating whole, local food wasn’t a matter of choice but of necessity. Refined flours were a luxury, not a staple.

At this Saturday’s blueberry festival, you can expect volunteers at the mill to talk as much about nutrition as they do about history.

“The makeup of the flour you buy at the grocery story has changed considerably. One-hundred years ago, when people were getting flour from the local mill, it had bran and germ in it. It was more nutritious,” said Tom Henrich. He’s the tour director for the mill, a national historic site located nine miles east of Woodland.

It’s the only grain mill in Washington that grinds with stones and is water-powered. The mill sits in a scenic woodsy gorge along a creek. Volunteers there demonstrate how mill founder George Woodham and his two sons ground grain back in 1876.

During the summer, the mill hosts special events on the last Saturday of the month. The event season culminates with apple cider pressing in October. This weekend is the first event, which focuses on blueberries.

“We were looking for an activity — something different — and there are blueberry farms on the way out to the grist mill,” said Joyce Sixberry, the mill’s activity coordinator. Blueberries won’t be available at the mill, but visitors are encouraged to stop at nearby farms to buy some. At the mill, visitors can sample silver-dollar-sized blueberry pancakes made with local berries and flour from the mill.

“It’s another way to present the merits of whole grain flour,” Henrich said.

As a nonprofit group, the Friends of the Cedar Creek Grist Mill doesn’t sell anything, but cookbooks and flour will be available for a donation.

Blueberry farms near Cedar Creek Grist Mill

• Annie’s Berry Farm, 39069 N.E. 41st Ave., La Center, 360-263-2289

• Bosch’s Blueberry Hill Farm, 3917 N.E. Cedar Creek Road, Woodland, 360-225-7103

• Bountiful Acres, 4008 N.E. Cedar Creek Road, Woodland, 360-225-9479

• Carlson’s, 217 N.E. Hayes Road, Woodland, 360-225-7514