About Unified Mills Flour & Grain
I stumbled into the world of local flour. I was a journalist, and before that I got a degree in digital mapmaking. What I loved about both was connecting dots to see a fuller picture. I researched and reported on farmers and land whenever I could: including when I lived in India, and when I worked for GrowNYC, which runs New York's largest farmers market program. There I helped build a regional grains and flour initiative, launched by June Russell. My eyes were opened to one of the starkest disconnects in our modern food system: that between grain and flour, and between flour and baker.
I started Unified Mills with a simple question: Why do most home bakers stick to the same 3 or 4 flours every time they bake – even though hundreds of varieties of grains grow across the U.S. with a stunning array of flavors and textures? It turns out the answer is just as simple: Because most home bakers don’t know they have options. And that’s because the American grain system is broken.
Unified Mills exists as a solution to the disconnect between bakers and their single most important ingredient - flour, by bringing it directly from the independent flour millers across the U.S. to the doorstep of the home baker. How do we do that? Unified Mills sells fresh, regionally distinct flour made by craft millers who buy grain directly from local farmers. The closer the flour mill is to the grain farm, the fresher and tastier it is, and the more it reflects the soil and climate in which it's grown. Flour may be a commodity, but behind its veil of anonymity is an endlessly rich ingredient with exciting culinary distinctions from field to field and mill to mill.
In linking the baker to the miller and the grain, we open home bakers’ eyes to the magic of REAL FLOUR. So what is real flour? It’s ancient wheats like einkorn, emmer and spelt. It’s heritage grains like White Sonora wheat and Appalachian Blue corn. It’s modern wheats like Glenn spring wheat and Warthog winter wheat. Our partner bakers are our guides into this world of flour, shining a light on the power of fresh, diverse, seasonal flour to level up the craft of baking. True artisans making their mark in communities across the U.S., they use their deep knowledge and experience to seek out new ways to combine their many flavors and textures to bring out their deepest, most unique qualities. The result is our Unified Mills Baker’s Blends – combinations of 3 to 4 flours already measured for a specific recipe. In one blend, the grassy brightness of spelt lifts the deep earthiness of buckwheat. In another, the buttery finish of einkorn smooths out the spice of rye. Whether a tried and true pairing or some delightful new alchemy, we invite you to let our bakers guide you on that journey of discovery.
WHY DO WE DO IT? Because we don’t want home bakers to miss out on the flavors, variety and nutrients of flour anymore. But that’s not the only problem we hope to solve.
Our centralized flour and grain system has led to these problems too:
- Independent millers miss out on high profit potential of the retail marketplace.
- Grain farmers have few places to sell their grains other than global market exchanges that require very high volume of just a few types of grain and offer prices that fluctuate with supply and demand.
- Soil degradation, erosion, higher carbon emissions, and loss of biodiversity result when just a few crops are grown on farms that cover tens of thousands of acres.
- Market, sell and distribute on behalf of independent millers so they can focus on what they do best: milling flour
- Create a high-value retail market as alternative to commodity system so farmers grow and sell a wide variety of grain crops that build healthy soil.
- Disrupt the centralized flour supply chain and replace with regional supply chains.
- Enable home bakers to level up their baking game by using local flour.
We want to make it as easy as possible for you to bake with as many different flours as possible. We give you the flour already blended and measured, and the basic steps to turn that flour into a delicious loaf of bread. We believe the easier it is, the more you’ll do it. Sort of like living abroad to learn a foreign language. Before you know it, you’re fluent! You’ll start getting creative, making the recipe your own. All while getting to know your region’s specialty grains and supporting the farmers and millers who grow and mill them. Baking is as much art as science. No two loaves will look or taste alike. And THAT’S THE POINT! We’re here to say, it’s all going to be great. Now get baking!
-- Heidi Dolnick, Brooklyn, NY