Arva Flour Mills, where the past is meticulously woven into the present.
This article appears in Delivery Rank
By Katarina Todorovic
Arva Flour Mills 2023: We Produce a True Artisan Flour, Using Our Antique Goldie & McCullough Cold Roller Mills That Replaced the Stone Ground Grist Mills in 1904!
Step into the realm of culinary excellence with Arva Flour Mills, where tradition meets innovation under the guidance of its visionary leader, Mark Rinker.
As the President of Arva Flour Mills, Mark Rinker embodies the essence of preserving heritage while embracing modernity.
Nestled at the heart of this culinary journey is Arva's commitment to producing authentic artisan flour, a commitment that harks back to a pivotal moment in history.
The year 1904 saw a transformation that revolutionized the milling industry – the Antique Goldie & McCullough Cold Roller Mills emerged, ushering in a new era by replacing the age-old stone-ground grist mills.
Join Delivery Rank in exploring the narrative of Arva Flour Mills, where the past is meticulously woven into the present, crafting a flour experience that transcends time.
As the President of Arva Flour Mills, you oversee a historic and unique operation. Can you share with us the fascinating history behind the mill and its significance in North America?
The Arva Flour Mill is North America’s oldest water powered flour mill. Established in 1819, the Mill is Canada’s 6 th oldest business, and the property and buildings are of local historical significance.
The original mill was a stone grist. This was replaced in 1901 with 10 cold roller milling stations made by Goldie & McCulloch in Galt, ON.
These milling stations were state-of-the-art at the time and would have cost a small fortune in today’s dollars.
These roller mills are still in use today and produce approximately 4 tons of flour daily. The best way to preserve a 204-year-old mill is to keep it operating.
The mill’s water-powered operations are a testament to sustainability and environmental consciousness. How has Arva Flour Mills embraced eco-friendly practices, and what impact do you believe it has on the community and beyond?
When we purchased the Arva Flour Mill 2 years ago we immediately went through the B-Corp certification process. We embraced sustainable and environmentally friendly production processes, responsible corporate governances for community involvement - and for the well-being of our employees.
We are happy to be aligned with B-Corp values and carry the B- Corp logo on our products. I can’t speak for the local community, but I sense folks are somewhat aware of some of the changes we have made.
Flour milling has evolved significantly over the centuries. How has Arva Flour Mills managed to maintain its traditional methods while also embracing innovation to stay competitive in the modern market?
Our Goldie & McCulloch milling stations were installed in 1901 and we mill today very in line with how flour was produced 122 years ago. We produce a true artisanal flour with wonderful baking characteristics that modern mills can’t replicate - so that gives us an edge vs. commercially produced flour.
Our sole input cost is grain, so we also pay close attention to how and when we make our grain purchases.
Wheat is a commodity and large commercial mills are paying the same cost we are, so we are actually surprisingly competitive.
What do you think draws people to your products, and how does the mill’s heritage play a role in their purchasing decisions?
I think our Customers are drawn to the quality of our products and also the tradition of the Mill itself. 204 years of existence is not something that can be replicated or manufactured, and I think our customers appreciate the long and colorful history of the Mill.
Last summer we purchased the iconic, nearly 100- year-old Red River Cereal brand and that has added to the lore of both the Mill and the brand itself.
The mill’s location in North America adds another layer of cultural and historical importance. How has Arva Flour Mills engaged with the local community and honored the mill’s role in shaping the region’s identity?
To the extent possible we have opened up the Mill and have taken many individuals, school groups, and other organizations for a tour of the Mill.
Many think the Mill is a museum and are surprised to hear we are a thriving producer. These tours are an opportunity to talk about the historical significance of the Mill, demonstrate how our mills convert local grain into artisanal flour, and to show the construction and architecture of a bygone era.