Big Brains

Hayden Flour Mills: 2013 Big Brain Awards Finalist, Culinary

Page 2 of 2

If you're a local, the Hayden Flour Mill needs no introduction. The iconic mill for which Tempe's main drag gets its name has stood at the corner of what's now called Mill Avenue and Rio Salado Parkway for nearly 140 years. And though the long-abandoned building recently underwent a substantial renovation as an art space, the historic mill itself is indefinitely out of order.

But that hasn't stopped Jeff Zimmerman from bringing back the name and the grain that once thrived in the Southwest.

A quality management specialist turned slow food activist, Zimmerman's revival of the Hayden Flour Mills process began with his family's growing interest in the resurgence of authentic foods, "just like people bringing back heritage tomatoes, veggies, pork. We just thought, well let's just see if there are ancient types of wheat."

Zimmerman and his daughter Emma began their quest to reclaim the heritage grains lost in the age of industrialized farming by enlisting the help of farmers, anthropologists, and organizations like Native Seeds Search in Tucson.

Not long after the Zimmermans' operation launched, they connected with pizza-maker and slow food aficionado Chris Bianco.

"He's probably the original guy for using local ingredients in his food," says Zimmerman, "but the one ingredient he didn't have was wheat."

A champion of the Zimmermans' efforts, Bianco invited Hayden Flour Mills to move in behind his sandwich shop, Pane Bianco, setting up their 1,600-pound Austrian stone mill and sifter and producing the various flours used by Bianco's restaurants and other Valley chefs across town.

You can also buy the flour at farmers markets and specialty shops (including Pane Bianco) around town. For a complete list, go to haydenflourmills.com.

KEEP PHOENIX NEW TIMES FREE... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Katie Johnson
Contact: Katie Johnson