Oakesdale and the Historic Mill: This is the Palouse

Oakesdale, Washington:

The little town of Oakesdale's claim to fame, in my opinion, is the historic mill, formerly owned by Joseph Barrons.

When I was raising my family, I used to drive 30 miles to the mill to buy 50-lb sacks of organic wheat from the Barrons. I would then grind the wheat into flour and make 10 loaves of bread every 10 days for my family.

Ironically, the Palouse is one of the largest wheat-growing locales in the U.S., but most of the wheat grown here is soft white wheat, which is shipped to Japan and China to make noodles. Because it is low in gluten, it is also used as cake flour. Also because of the low gluten content, it makes terrible bread! So I bought non-locally grown hard red wheat to make bread for my family.

In the past decade or so, a new variety of wheat, Dark Northern Spring, which is a hard red, bread wheat, has become available for area farmers to raise. It's proven to be a very good crop for us, if spring weather conditions cooperate!

You can read about the mill's history here. It was recently purchased by Mary Jane Butters, who also lives in the Palouse, in Latah County, Idaho, and is famous for Mary Jane's Farm and the magazine by that name.

Newspaper article about the mill.
TV report about the mill.
More pictures of the mill.


  1. Wow, I admire your energy! We settled on buying our organic bread for the children - and organic everything else! Not suc hard work, but hard work for my OH to make the money to buy it all! What a lovely building, and quintessentially American - nothing like that here at all. So much space! We live in a 400 yr old cottage made of pink stone with 18 inch walls - about as far from that building as it is possible to get!

    If you'd like to visit my blog, I'm leaving you my A-Z link as blogger always identifies me as my shared blog with other poets - my A-Z is this one: http://www.lizbrownleepoet.com

  2. What a lovely picture. I am in awe of the fact that you used to bake the bread for your family. That is so awesome!

  3. In Kentucky we will be cutting out wheat by the end of May. It has already headed out and making seed. We had a very mild winter and the wheat did not go into hibernation. Amazingly we have also cut and rolled alfalfa. That was the earliest cutting in over 60 years.


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