In Barnardsville, a plan to grow GMO-free corn, make artisanal grits


A picturesque farm in Barnardsville is the site of an ambitious new plan to grow GMO-free, organic corn and produce artisanal grits.

Barkley’s Mill on Southern Cross Farm just north of Asheville is located on about 250 acres owned by one of Asheville’s most well-known businessmen: car dealership owner Jim Barkley

Last week, I toured the farm with Allison Barkley, who is handling marketing for Barkley’s Mill. She showed me where Hickory King Dent heirloom white corn was grown on about 20 acres last year. (There’s ongoing work to clear more land for farming; Micah Stowe manages the farm operation.) She also showed me a stash of last year’s crop in the farms corn cribs. The grits are made in a hydro-powered grist mill built on the property a couple of years ago. It’s a beautiful, wooden structure.

More about the grits from Barkely’s Mill website:

Unbolted or Unsifted Grits

Unbolted grits hold the most natural flavor and hearty texture of our signature grits. These varieties are packed right after being ground with our dual 1919 Williams Stone-burr gristmills to keep their texture hearty. This coarse grade includes corn kernel skins and kernels ground to various sizes instead of the one-size kernel variety you’re probably used to. So, if you’re looking for a full bodied nutty and chunky taste for your warm breakfast or need some texture for a main entree our unbolted grits are what you’ve been looking for. While the chaff has been blown off, the texture of our unbolted grits comes from them not being sifted through an old-style bolter to remove the larger pieces of corn kernels or kernel skins.

Bolted or Sifted Grits

Bolted grits come form the next step in the process. We take unbolted grits and sift them through an old-style bolter to remove the larger pieces of corn and corn kernel skins left by the corn’s pass through out gristmill. Bolted corn grits make a hearty yet less chunky texture than unbolted grits, however, it provides a heartier texture than finely sifted quick-grits or pre-cooked instant grits.

The plan to produce the grits is in its earliest stages. The Barkley’s Mill website is up, but an online store won’t be ready for another couple of months, Allison Barkley said.

Finally, the grits are the first phase. Phase two? A distillery producing white corn vodka and whiskey. Stay tuned for updates.

1 Comment

Mary Lou Surgi March 25, 2015 - 8:11 pm

Are these to be true hominry grits, being nixtamalized?? I sure hope so!! They are so much more nutritious and tasty!!!

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