Butte Creek Mill’s Bob Russell grinds it out

Butte Creek Mill’s stone ground mix; delicious pineapple muffin high in fiber

Bob Russell had a perfectly good life in toney Lake Oswego. He also had a huge collection of antiques- and “corporate uniform”neckties. But when Bob and His wife Debbie found an old mill along Little Butte Creek in Eagle Point, Oregon, the world changed for them.

Falling in love with the lifestyle along the Little Butte, a salmon tributary to the Rogue River, Bob and Debbie purchased the mill, a house across the street and an old cheese factory next door to the mill for an antique store. And Bob got rid of all of his neckties!

Bob greets me with a big smile from the flower-lined front porch of the 136 year old mill. “It’s the only grist mill in Oregon still grinding flour,” Bob tells me and the couple gathered in the entryway as he offers us a tour of the mill. He recites some history as we queue up behind him and waddle like ducklings behind Bob down the narrow stairs to the basement. “From as far back as1872 and far afield; farmers pulled their wagons filled with grain to the mill to have their flour ground. Every seventh bag of flour belonged to the miller as payment, to sell in the adjacent Butte Creek general store. Even the Klamath Indians came walking 90 miles from Fort Klamath to trade berries and leather goods for flour.”

At Butte Creek there is no water wheel. To our puzzled group Bob explains,” Butte Creek Mill is not a water wheel operated mill, rather the water in the millrace flows into a penstock twelve feet deep, where its weight provides pressure to activate the turbine that runs the wheels, belts and pulleys. This movement also turns the large millstones that grind the grain. “ Fearing he may lose us- he points to each part as he progresses through his delivery. Collectively, the lights turn on in our brains.

Clambering behind Bob again we stop in front of massive French buhr stones that still grind the grain today. Bob flips a switch and slowly the behemoths come to life. “ The sound of the working mill was very quiet,” his eyes twinkling as he continues,“ today we underplay the green power thing here!” Ad then he flashes that smile of a man who has found his passion in life.

Visit Bob and Debbie, antique store, and Mill store with it’s extensive collection of old food cans and bottles and purchase their scone mixes, pancake mix, fresh stone ground grains and much more at www.buttecreekmill.com . From the website click on a you tube version of Bob’s famous mill tour.
Here is a recipe for some delightful muffins found right on the back of Butte Creek Mill’s Bran Muffin Mix. But you’ll have to send for the mix! It contains all the wheat bran, stone ground whole wheat flour, wheat germ, buttermilk, baking soda, spices and salt you need. As it says on the bag, “ they’re addictive!”

UPSIDE DOWN PINEAPPLE BRAN MUFFINS

Make the bran muffin mix and stir in 1/2 cup crushed pineapple (juice drained and pressed out) omitting the raisins the mix calls for. Instead of mixing the 4 Tablespoons Honey the mix calls for add 4 tablespoons melted butter to it. Spoon the honey/butter mixture into the muffin cups to cover the bottom. Spoon muffin batter into cups to almost full. Bake at 375 degrees for 15 minutes or until done. Serve upside down.

 

About the Author:

Michelle is a freelance journalist specializing in luxury and experiential travel. Her readers number in the millions through her various online outlets and print magazines. She loves to explore a culture through their culture and food. "Sometimes, " she says , "luxury can be a shack on the beach with a sand floor and a ceiling of stars."

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