We’ve gone back to gourmet quality heirloom white corn in order to find a truly robust natural flavor to delight your palate. In order to preserve the natural flavor and heirloom nature of our corn to its fullest, we’ve gone through the process of growing our own seed corn.
We’ve also arranged and plowed our own fields in a way to allow for open or natural pollination while preventing cross-pollination from other varieties of corn or other vegetables. We use only heirloom, non-GMO Hickory King Corn Seed for our Happy Stone Grits and Cornmeal.
Once our corn reaches maturity, we harvest and shuck it in one step. Next, we use a traditional corn crib to naturally dry our corn. After the corn has dried, we inspect it by hand to protect the quality of corn we grind and shell it before grinding.
After we've shelled our corn, we start up our dual 1919 Williams Stone Burr Gristmills and begin loading their hoppers. Our dual gristmills are powered by a gravity-fed overshot waterwheel which is assisted by a small engine to supplement the power provided by the waterwheel. Adding a small engine to assist the waterwheel simply allows us to grind our corn with greater efficiency. The mill house is designed to stone-grind our heirloom gourmet white corn slowly and carefully into Barkley's Mill grits. The slowness of the vertical millstone stone-grinding prevents the corn from getting heated to the point of it being cooked by the process. We use vertical grinding stones which grind cooler and installed temperature gauges we monitor while grinding to help us ensure that the temperature never reaches a point that would degrade the flavor. This delicate care prevents the natural flavor from escaping more effectively than other methods. We take our farm-to-table goodness seriously.
Once the corn has gone through our gristmill our unbolted (non-sifted) grits are separated, packaged, and cool stored at 0 (zero) degrees Fahrenheit to await your order. Bolted grits are additionally run through a sifting or "bolting" process that shakes out the larger pieces of corn and corn kernel skins in order to yield a slightly less chunky or gritty texture.
We’ve carefully built a mill house that operates the way gristmills were run by the master millers of the past. It was patterned after the designs you would have found in the early 1900's. Before that time, mills could only be made as part of a larger structure. We included a gravity feed water system to run water naturally over a waterwheel capable of powering our dual 1919 Williams Stone Burr Gristmills. During this process, no preservatives or artificial flavoring are added. Instead, we simply stone-grind and then sift our grits using an old-style bolter, package them, and then cool store them until we ship them to meet your order.
Unlike mill houses and gristmill houses of the past, our mill house is located on its own farm, Southern Cross Farm. Historically, mills would locate within or near farming communities. These communities would then bring their produce to these facilities in order to have their produce ground.
The Mill would simply receive part of the end product whether flour, meal, grits, or some other end product while providing a service to the community. Barkley's Mill on Southern Cross Farm was designed for one purpose, to stone-grind and store the heirloom gourmet white corn grown on Southern Cross Farm in order to provide the highest quality grits available. No other grains, corns, or any other products are ground at this facility which unwaveringly guarantees that our grits are uncompromised and will always be both non-GMO and gluten-free.