There really is a Bob at Bob’s Red Mill and he was there to warmly greet writer Sam Gregory, and me to the Bob’s Red Mill tour. Looking far younger, at age 85 he’s still going strong and loving what he does. Given that Bob is especially fond of his oatmeal products it is not surprising that his cholesterol levels are far better than mine. Bob is a living, breathing example of what healthy foods can do for you.
The tour is free and starts at 10:00 AM, Monday through Friday. It is well worth spending an hour and a half with the nice folks there. I think this would be a really fun activity for out of town guests. Tour Information:
Although it was a blustery, rainy day in Portland it was bright, shiny and bustling in the main Red Mill manufacturing facility. Sam and I were immediately struck with how clean and orderly everything was. With most processes automated on a large scale it is not unusual to see a 2000 pound sack of flour trundle by, headed for a spotless mixer making pancake mix. With the sheer number of products and mixes they produce it is a 7-day, 24-hour operation.
Most raw materials are grown in the United States and Canada. Some products such as quinoa come from South America or other far away lands but everything is cleaned, sifted, sent through metal detectors and inspected for quality. Quality is clearly a Bob’s Red Mill requirement. All products are kosher and all gluten-free products are produced in a separate building so that there is no risk of gluten contamination.
Stone-ground flour is indeed stone ground. Some of the original stone grinding wheels are 100 years old and still in use. A certain type of stone containing quartz, quarried in France, is the stone of choice. I came to appreciate more and more how much work and care goes into every one of their products. I should note that the Dave’s Killer Bread operation is headquartered across the street from Bob’s Red Mill and they use a number of Red Mill products in their baking processes. No wonder Dave’s bread tastes so good.
Down the street from the factory is Bob’s Red Mill store and restaurant. We enjoyed a tasty lunch and good coffee and then launched into browsing aisle upon aisle of Bob’s products. It would take you a long time to sample and become familiar with everything they stock. Every major supermarket chain in the country carries Bob’s Red Mill products but to see all of the products together, some in large 25 – 50 pound, bags is quite impressive. You can also order Bob’s Red Mill products via their website: Bob’s Red Mill
Cooks of all stripes will find this a fascinating and inspiring place to see and enjoy. My inspiration? I am going to use Bob’s Red Mill, gluten-free pie crust mix tomorrow to make a lemon meringue pie. I will report back here to let you know how it came out.