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Barkley's Mill Gourmet Grits History

The story of the Barkley family goes back centuries and crosses many lands, waters, and languages along the way. Whether it was the journey to the Americas, or stories of ancestors battling one another in the Civil War, the Barkley family’s story is one well fit to remind us of the American Dream.

The origins of the Barkleys of Barkley’s Mill spread all across the southeastern United States; however, they have been calling Western North Carolina home since 1985 and Southern Cross Farm their homestead since 1986. Jim Barkley’s childhood family had been coming to the Blue Ridge Mountains for vacation and visiting relatives since the mid 1960s. So, when a move was brewing, Western North Carolina and the Appalachian Mountains called and Jim heeded that call.

Building Southern Cross Farm into what it is today has taken decades of dedication and hard work, and it has all involved the hands of the Barkley family and the community surrounding the farm. Friends, family, and local Western North Carolina artisans and farmers have all contributed throughout the years. As a matter of fact, digging post-holes by hand was a job that was notoriously given to any boys who came to call on any of the three Barkley girls.

There were seasons when the grass grew tall in the spring and summer, and bales of hay spotted the fields in the fall; seasons when Limousin cattle grazed the hills and horses were ridden from valley to mountain-top and back again. Today there are chickens and guineas that roam freely on the farm, goats grazing near the forest line, and, instead of hay fields, we have cornfields. Fields of beautifully tall Hickory King Dent white corn stalks.

Throughout the years, Barkley ancestors—on both sides of the family—have been discovered to have lived in these parts for generations past. For the Barkleys of Barkley’s Mill on Southern Cross Farm, they were just coming home, and they are proud to bring a little bit of their home to you.

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