VISITING A LIVING, BREATHING, WORKING FLOUR MILL IN OLDE VIRGINIA
“Here is bread, which strengthens man’s heart, and therefore is called the staff of life.”
The VIRGINIA SHOPPER loves out-of-the-way places to explore and this is a venue where the sights, sounds and tastes of Olde Virginia combine to make the perfect visit and the perfect loaf of bread!
INTRODUCING WADE’S MILL
There is a mill – a beautiful working mill located in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. The Valley was always known as “the breadbasket of the South.” Raphine is just five miles from where Cyrus McCormick invented the reaper and halfway between Historic Lexington, Virginia and Staunton. If you visit this amazing operation, you will find yourself in a country setting with breathtaking views of the Blue Ridge and Allegheny Mountains.
HOW IT ALL STARTED – THE HISTORY
Wade’s Mill is a working flour mill, c. 1750, built by Captain Joseph Kennedy, a Scotsman who was one of the earlier settlers in the Shenandoah Valley. His family owned it for at least 100 years until, in 1882, James F. Wade bought it. The Wade family took over operations for the next four generations, and today, the interior and workings are much as they were when Mr. Wade first took over.
It’s powered by a 21-foot water wheel, fed by a nearby stream, and is one of the few remaining flour mills still producing a wide variety of flours exclusively on mill stones. Wade’s is on the National Register of Historic Places.
WADE’S MILL TODAY
Owned by Jim and Georgie Young (the Miller and his wife), the mill today is operated in the same traditions as in the 1700’s. They offer whole grain, stone- ground grits, stone ground flours and mixes. There is also stone-ground, whole grain whole wheat bread flour, stone-ground white bread flour, stone-ground all purpose flour, stone-ground white and yellow corn meal, stone-ground polenta, buckwheat flour and whole grain rye. And more! Phew!
Visitors are welcome and the Miller and his wife encourage folks to “mill around.” If you are milling around Historic
Lexington, Virginia, be sure to stop in at Virginia Born and Bred too. They also carry many of the Wade’s Mill mixes and flours in their wonderful shop at 16 West Washington Street (the place with Sam-the-Bear standing outside their door). Some of their gift baskets (that can be ordered on line) also include Wade’s Mill mixes and flours.
RECIPE FOR OLD-FASHIONED VIRGINIA SPOON BREAD
Ever hear of Spoon Bread? If you haven’t tried traditional Virginia Spoon Bread, you are in for a treat. The VIRGINIA SHOPPER highly recommends it as a side instead of potatoes or rice. It’s absolutely delicious! And here’s a traditional recipe using Wade’s Mill cornmeal.
Stir one cup stone-ground Wade’s Mill cornmeal into one pint of boiling water, which contains a teaspoon of salt. Stir one minute and remove from the fire and add two tablespoons butter. Beat well. Add 4 beaten eggs and beat in one cup cold milk. Beat again and pour into a hot buttered baking dish. Bake 25 minutes in a hot (400 degree) oven and serve from the baking dish.
Wade’s Mill is located at:
55 Kennedy-Wade’s Mill Loop, Raphine, Virginia
Telephone: 540 348-1400 or 800 290-1400
‘TIL WE MEET AGAIN… The VIRGINIA SHOPPER