Georgia Magazine - June 2020 - 18

The natural oil content makes the difference between Nora Mill's products and the mass-produced
ones in stores.
"The grits are richer, with a real corn flavor. It
adds moisture, too; cornbread doesn't turn out dry,"
Martin says.
Fain's move to offer whole-grain products was
well-timed amid the health-food movement of the
late 1970s, and soon the mill was shipping all over
the country. His daughter, Joann Fain Tarpley, took
their sales online in the early days of the internet,
catching another retail trend.
These days, Tarpley's son, Joe Vandegriff, sells
Nora Mill's products to consumers and restaurant
owners for their high-end interpretations of classic
Southern dishes, such as shrimp and grits. Basketball legend Shaquille O'Neal, who owns Shaquille's
in Los Angeles, is among Nora Mill's customers.

Freeman's Mill
A family history of milling sparked Stacey Freeman's interest in building his own gristmill in Bulloch County. Freeman's Mill uses granite millstones
that are more than 100 years old. He sourced vintage
Georgia-built milling equipment, powered by old
electric motors, to turn the stones, and also owns a
1930s cotton gin engine and an Atlas steam engine.
For Freeman, a retired educator who holds

18

Georgia Magazine

June 2020

Parrish Mill at George L. Smith State Park, Twin City

When you go

* Nora Mill Granary, Helen. (706) 878-2375, noramill.com.
* Freeman's Mill, Statesboro. (912) 852-9381, freemansmill.com.
Two other historic gristmills in Georgia offer picturesque views of life
in the past:
* Parrish Mill at George L. Smith State Park in Twin City is a combination
sawmill and gristmill on a pond popular with paddlers and anglers. The
mill still runs but only for demonstration purposes upon request.
(478) 763-2759, gastateparks.org/georgelsmith.
* Although farmers no longer congregate at Prater's Mill in Varnell, near
Dalton, the site is still a community gathering point during the Prater's Mill
Country Fair. Described as "a North Georgia tradition of Appalachian culture
[featuring] the best Southern food this side of heaven," this year's event is
scheduled for Oct. 10-11. (706) 694-6455, pratersmill.org/fair.

COURTESY GEORGIA STATE PARKS

HELEN NEWLING LAWSON

4
ISTOCK.COM / WLAD7

This steel roller mill is no longer
used at Nora Mill Granary but is
kept to educate tour groups on the
Industrial Revolution's effect on
food production.

degrees in religion and history, milling
is an expression of both his faith and his
interest in the past.
"Mills are something that are talked
about extensively in the Bible," he says, noting
that both fine-ground flour and meal were mentioned by Moses as offerings to God. He explains
that mills of biblical times would have been powered
differently than his, but "the stones would be very similar to
what we have: flat, round stones that turn against each other."
Freeman believes the flavor of traditionally milled whole grain makes
history come alive.
"Milling goes back thousands of years. Preserving the machinery that's
been traditionally used for grits and flour, I think that's an important part
of our history," he says. "You can't understand the taste of the food that our
ancestors had until you have not only grown it but processed it, too."
Still, modern-day concerns have affected how he runs his mill. He no
longer grows his own corn, as storing grain over long periods turned into a
food-safety issue.
"When you're talking about food and people's safety, it's not worth
taking on the risk," Freeman says. Instead, he buys tested, food-grade grain
from a licensed grain dealer, one month's worth at a time.
Food-safety regulations also prohibit local farmers from bringing their
corn in to be ground, as once was allowed.
"I'll be honest: That's why you don't find many gristmills around," he
says. "We're under very strict standards."
Helen Newling Lawson is a gardening, lifestyle and travel freelance
writer from Forsyth County.


http://www.noramill.com http://www.freemansmill.com http://www.gastateparks.org/georgelsmith http://www.pratersmill.org/fair

Georgia Magazine - June 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Georgia Magazine - June 2020

Contents
Georgia Magazine - June 2020 - Intro
Georgia Magazine - June 2020 - Cover1
Georgia Magazine - June 2020 - Cover2
Georgia Magazine - June 2020 - Contents
Georgia Magazine - June 2020 - 4
Georgia Magazine - June 2020 - 5
Georgia Magazine - June 2020 - 6
Georgia Magazine - June 2020 - 7
Georgia Magazine - June 2020 - 8
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Georgia Magazine - June 2020 - Cover3
Georgia Magazine - June 2020 - Cover4
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