While I liked the whole grains and ground flax seeds and other products, I especially liked the story behind the business. Bob Moore retired in 1978 and moved from Redding, California, where he had operated a small mill in the 1960s, to Oregon City, Oregon. One day while out for a walk, he saw an old mill for sale and decided to buy it. That mill was lost to a fire in 1988, and the business was relocated to Milwaukie where it now occupies a 320,000-square-foot building on 17 acres. The maintenance guys use tricycles to move from one place to another. And all employees get a coffee break at 10 a.m.
Bob's Red Mill now has 400 products, including 50 gluten-free products made in a separate facility so there is no contamination. Last year, 7.5 million pounds of flax were sold.
The mill still uses old-fashioned quartz milling stones to grind grains.
Since Bob's Red Mill was so close by, I had to tour the facilities. Fortunately having a food blogger friend, namely Darlene of Blazing Hot Wok, around was handy since my siblings weren't interested in seeing it at all. Tours are held every Friday at 10 a.m. at the World Headquarters. We mistakenly went to the Bob's Red Mill Whole Grain Store, Restaurant, and Bakery (pictured above) first by mistake.
A variety of Bob's Red Mill products.
Gluten-free products now make up 1/4 of the sales at Bob's Red Mill.
Most of the facility was very modern.
An electric mill. The stones are inside the machine so we couldn't see them. The tour guide mentioned something about Bob experimenting with different kinds of stones since the huge quartz stones they had to import from France were really expensive because of the sheer size and weight. You'll see in a bit.
Different kinds of grains being held in various bins.
I made a YouTube video although it's really just of the fork lift operator doing his job.
The packages being processed.
And lots of empty space for future growth.
Bob and the giant quartz stone wheels that are used to grind the grains.
"John Goffe's Mill" by George Woodbury was the book that got Bob interested in operating his own mill.
The giant quartz stones that are used to grind the grains.
It's really hard to see how huge these stones were in the pictures.
While we were looking at some of the items that were on display, Bob, wearing his trademark red jacket, even stopped off for a bit to play the piano.
All in all, it was a pretty interesting tour. A lot more modern than I expected. What was also surprising was the revival of a lot of ancient grains such as quinoa and teff, used to make Ethiopian injera.
Afterward, Darlene and I went back to the visitor's center since we didn't get a chance to check it out before the tour. You can't see in the picture but there's a pond and an outdoor dining area. Really great if you want to eat at the restaurant and linger a while. We would have, but Darlene and I opted to have lunch at Ha & VL - Portland instead.
So many products.
Sooo many products.
I bought some local marionberry preserves and some bulk spices. So cheap! The herbes de provence was only 55 cents an ounce. I've seen small containers in stores for way more than that. I also got a sample of a breakfast grain medley and some magnets and clips after the tour.
And I leave you with a shot of my mom's Canh Chua Ca (Vietnamese Sour Fish Soup) that I had for dinner that evening.
All Oregon posts can be found with the tag Series: Oregon, but I suggest reading this particular trip in this order:
Giant Catfish and Family Trips Home
Mom and Dad's Garden Again
Pacific Oyster - Bay City - Oregon
Tillamook Cheese Factory - Tillamook - Oregon
Barview Jetty County Park - Rockaway Beach - Oregon
Searching for Tide Pools
Campfire S'Mores and Other Breakfast Treats
Dismantling Camp and Leaving Rockaway Beach - Oregon
Short Beach - Oregon and Home
Rice Krispies Treats
Chasing Waterfalls - Columbia River Gorge - Oregon
Behind the Scenes: Bob's Red Mill - Milwaukie - Oregon
Whiffies Fried Pies (Food Cart) - Portland - Oregon
Potato Champion (Food Cart) - Portland - Oregon
Bob's Red Mill Whole Grain Store, Restaurant, and Bakery
5000 SE International Way
Milwaukie, OR, 97222
503-607-6455 or 800-553-2258
Monday to Friday 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Saturdays 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The Restaurant closes at 3 p.m. each day
13521 Southeast Pheasant Ct.
Milwaukie, OR 97222
Tours take place every Friday at 10 a.m.
1 year ago today, Butrint and Saranda - Albania.
2 years ago today, Pickled Grapes.