a little more of the story
With only 67 hours to go, I should continue on with the rest of the story...
We still needed to bring the mill to the United States and that, in and of itself, was going to be a hurdle to clear. We had our group of bakeries (and I should back up a bit and explain that the way we got funding for the NC Organic Bread Flour Project was that Roland McReynolds of the Carolina Farm Stewardship Association heard about me and these meetings and he called and said his organization, CFSA, would like to take on this project and seek funding to get this effort off the ground.) With CFSA's help, the NC Organic Bread Flour Project was officiated, working in collaboration with another grant funded effort- the New Market Opportunities for NC growers-- an initiative of the NCDA, USDA-ARS, and NCSU (NCSU's NC Organic Grains Project, began in 2004 with the focus of equipping farmers in NC with the skills and agronomic support needed to produce and market organic grain crops). When everyone heard about this mill sitting in a holding container at the port in Hobart, it began to take on greater significance than simply a machine to grind grain to flour. This mill signified a future for NC grains; bringing it to NC meant we were committed to establishing the market for growers.
I had been trying to make contact with the folks in Austria that built the mill, so I could get more details. I sent maybe 10 emails and received no response. I had arranged for a phone conference with the folks on the New Market Opportunities project so we could discuss the possibility of bringing this mill to NC, but I needed more details on the mill to bring to the group, and was getting nothing from Austria. But then, 30 minutes before our conference call was to begin, my phone rang and the voice on the other end of the line spoke with an enthusiastic Austrian accent. He said, is it true that in America there is beginning to form interest in signature flours?? And I said, yes!! yes!! it is true!! this is why I emailed you 10 times. This was the mill builder calling me. He filled me in with enough details to bring back to my group and we were all convinced this mill would produce a quality of flour that could showcase these regionally adapted bread wheat varieties. The bakeries had just sampled varieties of wheat from the Uniform Bread Wheat trials. I had milled the grain on my bakery's small mill. The bakers loved the flour-- the freshness, the quality, the flavor, and the performance. Dr Marshall, our USDA wheat breeder, was thrilled for the feedback. A mill devoted to NC grains made sense to everyone. A re-budget request was made to our funder to pay the frieght.
The mill’s records show a journey that involved passage through Denmark, East Midlands, UK, Leipzig, Germany, back to East Midlands(?), London's Heathrow, Sydney, AU, to Hobart, Tasmania... and then
Hobart to Melbourne onto a ship bound for Long Beach, CA. Other items on the boat with the Mill: stamped metal coins/tokens; safety products; personal effects; vine labels; Zusralian canned abalone; Zustralian wine; drum of parsley herb oil; craftwares; ergologics corkscrew; screw compressor; machine parts returned to supplier; saltwater spares...
Upon arrival in Long Beach, the Mill was put through numerous examinations before it was placed onto a railcar, bonded, for Charlotte, NC. It took only 5 days for the Mill to cross this country by rail, but the check from NCSU to pay for all the processing and shipping charges took 10 days to get to Long Beach, so the customs warehouse in Charlotte kept the Mill hostage, until the check finally arrived. The NCDA Research Stations arranged to have the Mill picked up. The Salisbury Station did the initial pick up and brought it back to the Station, and then the Waynesville Station came with a flatbed rollback. We all expected the Mill to have been in a crate, but no, it was just on a pallet, exposed for all to see as they drove from Salisbury all the way to Asheville.
What a sight.