My Visit with Bob Moore from Bob’s Red Mill
Posted by by Bea James, senior manager of organic, natural and sustainable programs
Wednesday, October 24, 2012
This summer I took a special trip to Milwaukie, Oregon where I met a legend in the natural food industry: Bob Moore, owner and creator of Bob’s Red Mill. Bob has built this company with sales that now exceed $75 million a year in whole-grain flours and cereals.
Bob Moore in front of his whole grain store, restaurant and visitor center
What truly makes Bob’s products remarkable is that the grains are stone milled, or ground. Stone grinding creates rough edges that give character and preserves the wholesomeness without stripping it apart and diminishing the true flavor of the grains. “Whole grains are a better bet,” says Bob. “There is an art to stone grinding them. I design and make my own stone mills so I know the grains will be milled the best way.”
Starting left: Tony Kvale from Lunds and Byerly’s, Bob Moore and me in front of his visitor center water mill
Bobs product success comes from his passion, hard work, integrity and people who believe in his goods. He owes much of his retail success to the persistent Fred Meyer, an Oregon-grown merchant, who came calling on him in the early 80s. Fred Meyer had a vision to buy Moore’s fresh milled products and sell them in small, 1-2 pound bags under the Fred Meyer Nutrition Center label. In 1982, Moore expanded his commercial milling to retail and began packaging more than 20 varieties of his stone-ground products for Fred Meyer, including barley flour, buckwheat flour, seven-grain cereal, cornmeal and soy grits.
Bob stands proud in front of one of his stones for grinding grains
Years later, Bob’s Red Mill is a widely successful and highly respected company, with annual growth rates up to 30%, a remarkable testament to his high quality products. Today, the same product quality and integrity are produced, but under enhanced leadership. In 2011, Bob remarkably instituted an employee stock ownership plan and ceded possession of his 35-year-old company to more than 200 of his employees. “Giving my business to the people who love it as much as I do and know how to run it gives me confidence that my vision of creating something good will remain intact,” claims Bob.
Ground flax hot off the mill
This holiday season wow your family and friends with a warm-from-the-oven batch of Bob’s Red Mill Buttermilk Biscuits. Here’s his proprietary recipe for your holiday baking. I recommend you keep some printed copies near. Your friends will want it, trust me, they will.
Bob’s Red Mill Bakery Butter Milk Biscuits
- 4 cups Bob’s Red Mill Unbleached White Flour
- 3 ¾ cup Bob’s Red Mill Whole Wheat Pasty Flour
- 2 tablespoons baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- 2 ½ ounces evaporated cane sugar (organic unbleached sugar will work too)
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- 12 oz. butter, unsalted
- 3 ½ - 4 cups buttermilk
- 2 tablespoons Bob’s Red Mill flaxseed meal
1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees
2. Mix unbleached white flour, whole wheat flour, baking powder, baking soda, sweetener and sea salt thoroughly
3. Add butter and mix until evenly distributed (cut in with pastry cutter or fork until well distributed)
4. Add buttermilk slowly, mixing until a dough forms that is slightly sticky
5. Gently roll out on a heavily floured surface to about 2” thick; sprinkle on 1-2 tablespoons of the flaxseed meal, and cut with a 3” round cutter
6. Place biscuits on a baking sheet and bake in oven for 10-15 minutes or until golden brown
Makes about 2 dozen biscuits