Our system consists of several stone mills running in sequence, which is designed to gradually and gently reduce the kernels into flour. Meadows Mills in North Carolina cut the 20-inch and 30-inch granite stones. The vertical stones run at relatively slow rpms, dividing the workload between different machines to reduce heat and physical pressure.
We farm and mill in New York State—not the arid west or vast fields of the former tall-grass prairie. Because of our climate and relatively small farms, producing organic grain of milling quality is a challenge. Similar to farmers markets, mills can be levers in building a regional food system. We are motivated to help New York State farmers step out of the volatile commodity market by building long-term relationships, and providing a stable price and consistent market.
After growing up in the suburbs of Washington D.C., Greg Russo began his college career in Maryland studying religion and philosophy. On the recommendation of a friend, he spent a summer working at Wheatland Vegetable Farms in Virginia. That summer sparked a love of agriculture and an interest in local food systems, which turned into many years working on organic vegetable and grain farms throughout the Northeast. After a brief detour to finish his degree in Agricultural Economics at Cornell University, he was psyched to connect many of the dots by starting up Farmer Ground Flour. Greg might be responsible for a few Rube Goldberg style contraptions at the mill and can always be counted on to have permanent marker notes decorating his right hand.
A west coast native, Neal Johnston was raised on organic food from the local co-op. Some of Neal’s fondest childhood memories are of helping out at his grandfather's peach farm in California. Through the many twists of Neal's dynamic life, who would have guessed that he'd find himself creating beautiful, artisan flour in the Finger Lakes of New York? Among other fine virtues, Neal is our resident electrician, safety officer and witty storyteller whose laugh cannot be mistaken for another’s.
Part of what has tied Neal to FGF is the opportunity to put his labor where his heart and mind reside: in local, organic food; in endlessly trying to figure out how to make things work.