Hi everyone. I am the new miller, George Whitley, here at Gray’s Grist Mill. Actually, I started on July 1, 2015, but since this my first blog, I am still new!
I was trained last June by the previous miller, Thornton Simmons, and took over when he retired. I am grateful for his guidance. Milling is not something that is generally taught anymore. It is learned hands-on through trial and error and experience. It is not really a job, it is more of a calling.
Currently, this is a one-man show. I pick up our Jonnycake Corn from our farmer, bring it back to the mill, inspect it and the freeze it until just before grinding. I grind it, bag it, package and store it. I market it, sell it and deliver it. I go out to find new retail customers –boutique and gift stores, restaurants, and specialty food markets . I handle the mail order and shipping. I run the social media – Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc. – and now, blogging. I also maintain the equipment – the motors and mechanical and dressing of the stones. I also conduct tours of the mill – a true working museum. And I love it all.
You may have noticed a lot of “I’s, but this is not about me. This is about a very special place, Gray’s Grist Mill, and the even more special and rare corn that is Gray’s Jonnycake Meal. I will be talking more about both soon. Please follow us here and on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
And please visit the mill and say hi!
Experience Johnnycake Day at Gray’s Grist Mill
Sunday, October 12, 2014 from 12:00-4:00
638 Adamsville Rd, Westport MA
Come by and sample Rhode Island Johnnycakes made with Gray’s Grist Mill Johnnycake meal. Most historians say Johnnycakes have been around in one form or another for centuries. Basic recipe is corn meal with some salt, hot water and perhaps some sugar fried on a hot griddle. There are a variety of different methods to cook and serve them.
Along with the sampling of Johnnycakes, there will be tasting of Gray’s Daily Grind new coffee blend “The Osprey” (Smithsonian Certified Bird Friendly Coffee).
There will be some cool critters like ponies, goats and alpacas as well as lots of skillful artists spinning, blacksmithing, weaving, and painting. A number of local businesses are coming together to show off what they do best.
The event promotes local culinary specialties, agriculture, handmade art, history, and education. We value the importance of supporting local products.
Meet local vendors, take a tour of the mill, watch demonstrations, visits with the animals and listen to live music. The children can ride ponies and paint pumpkins and enjoy a petting zoo.
Come join us for a family fun day!
Yankee Magazine has Mentioned Gray’s Grist Mill in March/April issue. An article “celebrating the sweet culinary heritage of a native New England staple” contains the history of our nations love for the North American Indian staple.
Included in the article is the recipe:
SWEET NEW ENGLAND CORNBREAD
1½ cups all-purpose flour
1 cup stone-ground cornmeal preferably Gray’s Grist Mill
¼ cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled, plus more for pan
2 large eggs
1½ cups whole or 2% milk
Preheat your oven to 425º and grease a 9-inch square baking pan.
In a medium-size bowl, whisk together the floor, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Set aside. In a small bowl, whisk together the butter, eggs, and milk. Pour over the dry ingredients and fold together until just combined; don’t over mix.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake until the top is lightly golden and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool; then cut into squares and serve warm or at room temperature.
If you’ve ever wondered where to get the best that the area has to offer, you can find a few in this month’s Rhode Island Monthly. There’s plenty to choose from like Gray’s Grist Mill in Westport, Mass.
“This mill is the oldest continuous mill in the country. It’s still going on after 365 years I guess,” said miller, Thornton Simmons.
Their product can be used to make Johnny cakes, Indian pudding, biscuits, and granola bars. The corn is indigenous to the area and grown in Exeter. Simmons then packages the meal and sells to local markets and restaurants.
Click Here to see video:
RI Monthly Local Foods
We are very excited to be opening additional retail space that will include European style coffee, Espresso, Organic Teas and Fruit Smoothies.
There will be an expanded retail space which will include your favorites – Gray’s Grist Mill Jonnycake Meal, Gray’s Grist Mill Waffle and Pancake Mix along with Rhode Island own Maple Syrup and Local Jams and Jellies.
“Gray’s Daily Grind” will be a reflection of the history and the charm of our historic mill.
We look forward to giving you more news on our Grand Opening!!
FOOD, CULTURE, ART, AND EVENTS OF FARMCOAST NEW ENGLAND
Discover Farmcoast has a wonderful blog full of interesting retailers, great lodging ideas and places to eat along the Tiverton, Little Compton, Westport and Dartmouth coastline.
One of their recent blogs featured Gray’s Grist Mill. The blog entitled ”Worth the Journey” has some beautiful descriptions and photos of our old mill.
They write, “A fresh cup of coffee and hot breakfast, like most other things in New Enlgand, come with a long history, especially if your griddle-compainion of choice are jonnycakes….” to read more about the history of Gray’s Grist Mill and our authentic Jonnycake Meal go to: http://farmcoast.com/blog/2012/02/worth-the-journey/
Thank you Farmcoast for your great article.
Gray’s Grist Mill has received communication from Kathleen Daelemans. She is one of the country’s “Top Ten Rising Star Chefs”. Chef Kathleen Daelemans’ recipes have been showcased in respected food and wine journals including Bon Appetit, Wine Spectator, Gourmet, Food & Wine, and Eating Well. She is also a frequent media expert on the well-known Today Show.
Ms. Daelemans thinks,”The Miller’s Choice” Gift Box would be a wonderful selection for a special segment they are putting together to air Dec. 14th at 11:00 AM on the “Kathie Lee Gifford and Hoda Kobe Show”. The Segment “Holiday Gift Idea” will feature last minute gift ideas for Christmas with Free Shipping.
Our Special Shipping Offer will run Dec. 16th only and will be exclusive to the “NBC Today Show Exclusive Miller’s Choice Special Christmas Box” for $40.00. This is a wonderful opportunity for Gray’s Grist Mill to introduce our products to an audience of new Jonnycake Lovers. Already Kathleen Daelemans loves are products and hopes word will “spread like warm Maple Syrup on a plate of hot Johnnycakes!”
The Red Hat’s toured Gray’s Grist Mill in Westport, MA on November 16, 2011.
The Red Hats of Little Compton, RI started their day at the Barn Restaurant down the street from the mill where the enjoyed Gray’s Grist Mill Jonnycakes. After a delicious breakfast they arrived at the mill around 11:00am. Several of these hardy ladies walked over to the Mill from the restaurant for the tour. The Miller told of the history of the mill and explained the workings. After the tour and a visit to the gift shop many of the ladies shared recipes and stories of the jonnycake tradition in their families.