Arizona's Hayden Flour Mills Brings Back Ancient Grains

By Michelle Edelbaum, "Phoenix’s Grain Revival," July/August 2014

Family-owned mill is reviving heritage and ancient grains in Phoenix.

"Sounds great and are these grains GMO free? "

Who They Are

Jeff Zimmerman dreamed of selling the kind of fresh flour he’d enjoyed as a boy growing up on his family’s farm in North Dakota. But living in suburban Tempe, Arizona, he had no farmland, no wheat, no mill and no buyers. Through a series of connections with local chefs, farmers, brewers and seed savers, he was able to start Hayden Flour Mills in Phoenix four years ago. With his daughter Emma running the company’s daily operations, the pair are working to revive the area’s historical tradition of growing and milling heritage grains.

What They Do

The Zimmermans’ mill is a boutique operation, located in one of their farmer’s barns. Five ancient and heritage grains, as well as corn and chickpeas, are turned into 20 flours and mixes. Bread bakers in search of a perfect loaf love their creamy, yellow-colored flour, with its sweet, fresh flavor. “I don’t eat regular flour anymore,” says Emma. “When you put our flour next to store-bought flour it is evident that there is something missing in industrial flour.”

Why It’s Cool

One variety they’re bringing back is White Sonora wheat, which hasn’t been widely grown since the 1970s. It’s suited to Arizona’s climate because it is drought-resistant and requires 25% less water than modern wheats. Each year they’ve doubled the acreage grown. But diversified farming is just part of a bigger-picture plan, says Emma. “The mill is at the center of building a grain economy. There are a lot of people in the chain. It’s about creating a community.”

To order flour from Hayden Mills ($5-12 per bag):

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