We love our producers, suppliers and vendors and we think most of them have some pretty interesting stories behind their products too. We’re sharing some of our favorites here in an ongoing series. Bob Moore, the man pictured on Bob’s Red Mill labels, still comes to work every day and is just as passionate about whole grains as he was when he established the company nearly 40 years ago with a single old-fashioned stone mill.
Bob’s interest in the old-world technique of stone milling actually began in the 1960s when he and his wife, Charlee, acquired their first stone mill in California. The couple sold it when they “retired” to Oregon in 1978, but when Bob took an afternoon walk and stumbled across a defunct mill, he just couldn’t resist. Soon they had the mill up and running, and they have continued milling grains ever since, even after a 1988 fire destroyed the building. They rebuilt in Milwaukie, Oregon, and the facility has grown to 320,000 square feet.
Bob’s Red Mill now offers hundreds of products — many of them organic or gluten free — ranging from flours, grains, beans and seeds to baking mixes and soup mixes. Bob’s offers more than 20 varieties of oats alone! The technology used to create them has changed little over the years.
“Our stone mills grind slowly at cool temperatures to ensure the most nutritious part of the grain remains,” Bob explains. “We don’t add anything or remove anything. One hundred pounds of whole grains go in the mill, one hundred pounds come out.”
Yet the company has always stayed on the cutting edge when it comes to gluten-free products, which they started offering more than a decade ago.
“We have a dedicated facility where only gluten-free products are milled and packaged,” Bob says. “Our in-house lab takes samples and tests to verify purity and make sure every ingredient is truly gluten free and meets our standards.”
The same trust and integrity that earns Bob’s Red Mill a loyal customer following has also kept their employees happy, and many have stayed with the company for more than 30 years. In 2010, on his 81st birthday, Bob decided to thank them for their dedication by giving employees the company through an Employee Stock Ownership Plan.
As a business leader whose mantra and biography title is People Before Profit, Bob believes the people best suited to run his company in the future are the ones who built it from scratch.
What are some cool things you’re making with Bob’s Red Mill ingredients?