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MailTribune.com
  • History in the Bag

    New flour produced using traditional methods benefits Historical Society
  • Draft horses supplied the power for sowing and harvesting a wheat crop at Central Point's historic Hanley Farm.
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  • Draft horses supplied the power for sowing and harvesting a wheat crop at Central Point's historic Hanley Farm.
    The resulting flour empowered a community to explore its agricultural past and the feasibility of restoring those traditions in the future.
    "I think it's going to be the start of something a whole lot bigger," says Bob Russell, co-owner of Butte Creek Mill in Eagle Point.
    One stop on the wheat's journey from field to foodstuff, Butte Creek Mill has converted about 1,500 pounds of the grain into whole-wheat flour. The 2-pound sacks of "Hanley Farm Horsepower Flour" are stocked at a half-dozen local retailers, just in time for holiday baking and gift-giving. Sales benefit Southern Oregon Historical Society.
    "It is incredible flour," says Mary Shaw, culinary educator at Ashland Food Co-op. "It's so fresh."
    The flour combines several entities' efforts over nearly a year. SOHS provided 2 acres of land at its 37-acre Hanley Farm. Members of Southern Oregon Draft and Harness Association volunteered their time and horses' labor in February, July and September to plow, plant and harvest the wheat — a hard, red variety called "Hank."
    After Hanley Farm's public threshing demonstration using a circa-1930s, tractor-driven machine, the Grange Co-op donated its services to winnow the grain. Butte Creek Mill also volunteered its facility for milling and packaging. Retailers — in addition to Hanley Farm, the Grange and the Mill — are Ashland Food Co-op, Jacksonville Mercantile and Rogue Creamery. Prices range from $3.99 to $5.99, depending on the store.
    "It's a beautiful Christmas gift," says Shaw, adding that she's wrapping up homemade preserves and biscuit recipes to accompany sacks of the flour for family and friends.
    Although it isn't certified organic, the flour is labeled "naturally grown." Hanley Farm uses no chemical pesticides, herbicides or fertilizers, a management decision the SOHS board of directors handed down several years ago, says Allison Weiss, the nonprofit organization's executive director.
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