Meet our local producers!
Deep Roots Milling
How did Deep Roots Milling get started?
Deep Roots Milling was started by Charlie Wade in 2016 in his garage in Roanoke with a small 8 inch stone mill and a homemade sifter.
Charlie's family previously owned and operated Wades Mill in Rockbridge County and has a long history in the milling business. He is a 6th generation miller in his family. Family history was the main motivation to take up the trade, but Charlie also saw an absence of local grains/flour in the growing local food movement. Deep Roots Milling started out initially selling at a farmers market and a few bakeries in Roanoke. We quickly grew and picked up more bakeries and retail. We upgraded to a larger milling machine and commercial sifter. Starting in 2020, Aaron Grigsby, Ian Gamble, and David Woodson joined the team. We had the chance to work out of historic Woodson's Mill in Nelson County and jumped at the chance. Woodson's Mill is was originally built in the 1790s and is the last commercially-run water-powered mill in the state. We are currently milling our product on massive 48-inch stones that we installed in the 1840s.
What is unique about Deep Roots Milling?
Deep Roots Milling made a commitment to source grain from small regional growers. All the grain we use comes from Virginia and surrounding states and helps support family farms.
Can you give us a snapshot of what a typical day looks like for you?
A typical mill day for us starts out by checking the water levels at the mill. Since we run completely off water power, water management is crucial. If we do not have enough water, then we won't be able to work a full day. The mill has a pond that acts as a battery for the mill. We can control the water level of the pond by opening and closing the gates at the dam and by controlling how much water is leaving through the tailrace. Generally a day prior to milling we will open up the gates and close off the tailrace to build the water level up. On the mill day, we start by greasing up all the equipment and pulleys. We then get the millstones set up and put together. We will then set up our sifter to the appropriate configuration which depends on the type of product we are producing that day. After that, the day is mainly spent monitoring the stones and packing product.
What is your favorite way to eat any of the Deep Roots Milling products?
Cheesy grits for sure.