4 Ways Hayden Flour Mills is Going Against the Grain of Agribusiness

By now, you’ve probably caught a glimpse of this iconic vintage rose logo peaking from the shelves of your nearby retail shop, or you’ve heard chatter about Hayden Flour Mills at the farmer’s market. Perhaps you’ve seen the name featured on a menu of your IMG_4244neighborhood eatery, highlighting the restaurant’s dedication to sourcing locally.

Whether you’re familiarized yet or not, allow us to introduce you to Hayden Flour Mills: a humble operation in Arizona on a hearty mission to bring back ancient and heirloom grains.

With just six employees, three years under their belt, and a recent relocation of operations to accommodate their mounting success, Hayden Flour Mills is making (amber) waves in the grain industry.

Here are 4 ways Hayden Flour Mills is going against the grain of modern agribusiness:

1. They are doing things the good old-fashioned way
From manner of farming to the method of milling, it’s back to the basics for the best quality. Founder of Hayden Flour Mills, Jeff Zimmerman, grew up on a farm in North Dakota where he became disenchanted with the emerging prominence of hybridized wheat in America (a term for plants that are cross bred for higher yields in industrialized agriculture). Zimmerman recognized we were losing variety, flavor, and the health benefits of grains in agribusiness endeavors. His solution was to bring back ancient and heritage grains, as well as the lost art of milling.


Austrian mill, left

Stone milling is one of the major elements that makes Hayden Flour Mills something special. Unlike industrialized metal mills that reach high temperatures and kill off natural bacterias and nutrients, stone mills crush the grains below 135 degrees F., resulting in nutritious and flavorful flour.

As with any great craft, the industrialized IMG_4259process is no match for the quality that comes from a miller’s understanding of the grain as it sifts through his hands. It is tedious work, especially since a lost art means lost instruction, or in their case, foreign instructions for replacing broken parts on an Austrian mill. But the superior results are worth it!

 2. They know fresh is best
Flours here are milled as the orders roll in. The result? Wholesome, fragrant, nutty flours that truly smell alive. Trust us, we took a whiff.
There’s no sitting in storage for months at a time becoming rancid and bitter, as is the norm with most flour you’ll find in stores. What’s more, just a “hop, skip, and a jump away” the Sossaman fields grow the grains that Ben, the Master Miller, grinds.


Jonathan, miller’s assistant

 3. They are all about community
Hayden Flour Mills wouldn’t be what it is today without the local support and partnerships that got it here. Long story short, Jeff Zimmerman connected with Chris Bianco, the notorious chef of the Bianco restaurants. With similar pursuits of change for the better in our food system, they partnered up and the back room of Pane Bianco became the starting grounds for Hayden Flour Mills. Today, their facility is found on Sossaman Farms, which not coincidentally, is where the majority of their grains are grown.

IMG_4291Back in 2012, Steve Sossaman joined in on the Hayden Flour Mills mission- a fitting partnership considering the history of Hayden’s namesake from the Tempe, Arizona mill, along with the Sossaman family that has been farming in Queen Creek since 1919. Of the 800 acres of farmland (mostly alfalfa), 30 acres are now dedicated to growing heritage grains, but with the company’s success, that acreage is set to increase.

In the first few years, it was local chefs and restaurants that were the biggest champions of Hayden Flour Mills. They recognized the exceptional quality and became regular buyers. Transparency, collaboration, and communication became key to the operations. Customers gained personalized feedback about the crops, catered to the needs of the products they would make. The bridge between the farmer, miller, chef, and the public was being built, along with the brand.

By 2014, Hayden Flour Mills products were in demand from over 100 restaurants and retailers. One mill just wouldn’t cut it. 200 lbs of flour per hour was the max production capacity. With the acquisition of two more mills, it was time to move to the larger space at Screen Shot 2015-04-26 at 12.34.28 PMSossaman’s. The main mill now produces 700 lbs per hour. In a general day, two mills are in operation. A third is dedicated to gluten-free grains.

The company’s partnerships reach beyond restaurants and retail. For two years, on the site of Phoenix Renews, the group nurtured the growth of heirloom grains for the sake of community involvement. They hosted educational events where the public could share in the process of planting and harvesting. In the future, Hayden Flour Mills hopes to expand its reach by opening up the mill for educational tours.

4. Their red, white, and blue grains are more “green”
You know the Arizona joke about how “it’s a dry heat?” We might not thrive in it, but wheat sure does. Hayden’s most popular selling White Sonora wheat originated from Europe and was brought to the southwest in the 1600s where it adapted to the arid climate. In comparison to modern resource-intensive wheat production, White Sonora is a hearty, drought tolerant grain that requires little water.


Blue Beard

Hayden Flour Mills is all about agro-diversity. They grow over 10 varieties of heirloom grains including Red Fife, Blue Beard, Durum Iraq, and Bronze Barley. More variety means diverse flavors to experiment with, but also, it’s a continuation and celebration of Arizona’s unique heritage. In the words of Native Seeds/SEARCH, one of Hayden’s community partners, “The resiliency of our food system depends on agricultural biodiversity, as farmers can draw on the myriad genetic combinations as raw materials to develop new varieties better adapted to an uncertain and changing environment.”

Posted in Agriculture, Farm to Institution, Local First Movement, Local Food, Sustainability | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

3 Simple Mother’s Day Brunch Recipes

What better way to show appreciation for the important women in your life than to prepare a healthy, seasonal brunch? Arizona is unique in that this time of year we have the luxury of enjoying beautiful tomatoes and sweet peaches while still enjoying spring delights like greens, onions, and potatoes. You can find local sources for fresh baked bread, bacon, farm fresh eggs, beet greens, heirloom tomatoes, onions, potatoes, and even peaches, honey, and pecans by searching Good Food Finder and visiting your nearby farmers market.

Egg, Bacon, and Beet Green Sandwiches


8 slices whole wheat, rye, or pumpernickel bread, lightly toasted
4 eggs
4 slices of bacon
1 bunch of beet greens, stems removed and roughly chopped
2 tbs shallot, peeled and thinly sliced (about one medium)
Salt and pepper to taste
Mayonnaise (optional)


  1. Fry bacon over medium heat, flipping often to ensure evenness, until just beginning to foam. Remove from pan and place on a paper towel lined plate. Set aside.
  2. Remove all but one teaspoon of bacon drippings from pan. Reserve remaining drippings. Return to medium heat and add the shallot, stirring often, for 1-2 minutes until just starting to brown.
  3. Add beet greens to pan and stir until wilted, about 3-4 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Place beet greens in a bowl and set aside. Add 2-3 teaspoons of bacon drippings back to the pan and return to medium heat. Add eggs one at a time to pan. Cook 1-2 minutes per side to achieve your desired doneness.
  5. Assemble sandwiches with mayonnaise on bottom piece of toast (if using), then bacon slice, topped with fried egg.

Tomato, Onion, and Potato Gratin


1 yellow onion, thinly sliced crosswise
2 pounds gold potatoes, scrubbed and thinly sliced
1-1 1/2 pound tomatoes, preferably heirloom or roma that are very ripe, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
1 tbs fresh thyme, minced
Olive oil for drizzling
Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Preheat oven to 375. Lightly drizzle olive oil into a 9×9 inch square or oval glass baking dish with at least two inch sides.
  2. Layer onions, potatoes, and tomatoes in that order so they are overlapping. In between each layer season lightly with salt, pepper, garlic slices, and thyme.
  3. Drizzle with olive oil and white wine. Add enough vegetable stock to fill the dish half way up the sides. Cover with foil.
  4. Bake for one hour, pressing mixture down half way through bake time to ensure moisture permeates throughout.

Roasted Peaches with Honey, Cinnamon, and Pecans


2-3 pounds ripe peaches, stones removed and sliced into wedges
3 tbs butter or coconut oil, melted
2 tbs honey, brown sugar, or agave syrup
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 c pecans, hazelnuts, or walnuts, roughly chopped
1-2 c fresh ricotta or plain yogurt (optional)


  1. Preheat oven to 400.
  2. In a 9×9 inch glass baking pan, layer peaches and pour over butter, honey, cinnamon, and pecans. Toss to combine.
  3. Bake for 15-20 minutes until peaches are caramelized and pecans are toasted.
  4. Serve warm or at room temperature with fresh ricotta or yogurt, if using.
Posted in Good Food Finder, Local First Movement, Local Food, Recipes | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

8 Conversations on What’s Working Locally in AZ

BALLE2014Wed-44The 13th annual BALLE Conference is coming to Phoenix this June 10-12. The BALLE Conference is the national forum for visionary local economy connectors who are making a difference in their communities. We’re planning to bring hundreds of business owners, social entrepreneurs, community funders, policymakers, conveners, network builders, and local economy leaders from around the country to Phoenix as visionary thought leaders and practitioners share their wisdom and experience advancing the emergence of a new economy that’s just, fair, and healthy for people, place, and planet.

At the conference, there will be 8 key conversation tracks that you can participate in, covering working models that increase economic inclusion, build community wealth, change what ownership looks like, and more. These are the most cutting edge, innovative, and important conversations happening in Localism right now – led by the brightest lights in the movement and their respective fields.

Check out the important conversations we’ll be having at this year’s BALLE Conference:

BALLE 2015 local-firstRLOCAL FIRST 3.0
This track represents the intersection where land use and planning meets local ownership and culture, and the importance of measuring what matters. We’ll hear how community foundations are partnering with local first networks to strengthen entrepreneurial innovation,  and get an update on the BALLE Quick Impact Assessment. – Track & Session Info

BALLE 2015 soil-naturePSOIL & NATURE
This track will dig deep into the ways we can better feed us and feed the soil in which all life depends. We’ll focus on two regions that are trying to feed themselves: a big initiative that has brought together policy and partnerships that include farmers, Cornell University Extension, investors, and farm incubators around an intention to feed NYC locally. – Track & Session Info

BALLE 2015 localist-policiesYLOCALIST POLICY
Organizers for economic justice are finding common ground with new economy economic development. In other words, not just rights in an old system, but a new economy that works for all. One example featured in this track is the great work happening between Kentuckians for Common Wealth, which is organizing for political power. – Track & Session Info

Community entrepreneurship is not a solo sport and this track is all about building a winning team. We’ll see how Detroit is bringing together all the right players to support an ecosystem for community entrepreneurship and community economist Michael Shuman will share his research. – Track & Session Info

BALLE 2015 community-capitalOCOMMUNITY CAPITAL
Forging partnerships between investors, local financial institutions, community foundations, and the business organizations that support and strengthen Localist entrepreneurs is critical. In this track, we will be exploring how to map, connect, and grow that capital ecosystem in your place. – Track & Session Info

BALLE 2015 shared-ownershipYSHARED OWNERSHIP
Dansko and Tanka Bars will walk us through a company transition to employee ownership and Project Equity will show how to scale employee and cooperative ownership more broadly. City governments are increasingly cultivating the conditions for more public and community ownership, investors are joining together to invest together, and more. – Track & Session Info

Building from Gandhi’s concept of swadeshi and Martin Luther King’s teachings that the problem of racism, the problem of economic exploitation, and the problem of war are all tied together, there is a convergence of movements underway calling for less corporate control and more to community control. - Track & Session Info

BALLE 2015 magic-soul-inspirationRMAGIC & SOUL
Etsy.org, a brand new foundation endowed from Etsy stock, will focus on developing an open-source curriculum and “regenerator” to build a different kind of economy rooted in well-being. Founder Matt Stinchcomb is coming to Phoenix for input from our community. – Track & Session Info

It’s a huge opportunity to be able to attend the BALLE Conference here in our home state, we hope that you can join the conversation and help shape solutions to build strong local economies in Arizona and across the nation. Register before May 1 to save $100! We look forward to seeing you at #BALLE2015!

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Repost: Keeping it Local with Merit Foods

tucson-foodie-logoThis post was written by Edie Jarolim, and was published on Tucson Foodie

Tucson Foodie is a proponent of the local food scene in Tucson, Arizona. With a focus on quality content on Facebook, Twitter, and through the Tucson Foodie website, their goal is to bring you current, food related information and to encourage a healthy, fun, and entertaining dialog online. Tucson Foodie also organizes food related events at restaurants and venues in Southern Arizona. You can find the full story at Tucsonfoodie.com/2015/03/20/keeping-it-local-with-merit-food

Merit Foods trucks.jpg

Photo Credit: Miranda Morrison, Merit Foods

Merit Foods might be the most successful Tucson grocer you’ve never heard of.

You can bet that many of your favorite local restaurants and caterers are loyal customers, however. And now the word is getting out: Home cooks can also take advantage of this bulk distributor’s discounts.

Since the 1960s, when Irving Sadowsky founded the poultry business that morphed into Merit, the family enterprise has been a part of southern Arizona food service circles. A member of the Tucson Originals and the statewide Local First Arizona, Merit is known for its fresh, high quality products, from hand-butchered meat to fresh vegetables, as well as for associated dry goods like paper plates. Some 500 dining rooms, hotels, casinos, and retirement homes as far south as Nogales, Arizona, and as far north as Black Canyon City depend on the company’s reliable, fast delivery service.

More on this story at Tucsonfoodie.com/2015/03/20/keeping-it-local-with-merit-foods 


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The Quality Beef Moooooovement in Corneville

Franch1-2or the past several years, a food movement has been sweeping the nation – or, at least, the Arizona region. Arizona residents have been placing a huge emphasis on knowing where their food comes from – which is incredibly important, if you think about it. You know your doctors and your dentists by name, so why shouldn’t you also know the people who are helping you put food on your table? That’s the theory behind this week’s feature, the Tres Hermanas Ranch in Corneville.

Tres Hermanas is suring up PureLifeBeef, 100% grass-fed cattle. These cows do not eat corn or grain. The beef at Tres Hermanas is not subjected to hormones, steroids, pesticides, or herbicides. They graze on irrigated grass pastures, lounging in the shade of Sycamore and Cottonwood trees on a wide, open field. What does this mean for you? Well, for starters, it means that the beef you get from Tres Hermanas is healthy and all-natural. You’re getting beef the way that it was meant to be consumed – without the inflammation, disease, and chemicals that are commonly byproducts of grocery store meat. Additionally, Tres Hermanas cows are raised in an ethical, happy environment with impeccable standards, so you can feel good about how your hamburger got to the table, too. To learn more about the beef at Tres Hermanas, visit their website here.


Tres Hermanas Ranch (that’s Three Brothers, if your Spanish is rusty!) has been running out of the Northern Arizona region for over twenty years. Originally established in 1984, Tres Hermanes has long been hailed as one of the most beautiful places in the Corneville area. It is located in close proximity to Page Springs fed Oak Creek. The ranch is run by Arizona natives, Ernesto and Isabel Castro. The operation is family run down to the core – the Castro’s have even employed their three daughters and seven grandchildren on the farm for the past several years, which means that you are getting all the love and quality that comes with being part of a family.

NOTE: If you would like to reserve a beef package, orders will be starting up again in June 2015. The farm is sold out until that time. In the mean time, you can call ahead for individual cuts of meat. Orders can be placed here and will be processed as soon as possible.

Posted in Farm to Institution, LFA Member Spotlight, Local First Movement, Northern Arizona | Leave a comment

Dining Out for Life is Good Food for a Good Cause

Dining Out for Life
 is an annual event inspiring local restaurants in Phoenix and Prescott to raise funds in support of the fight against HIV and AIDs. On the last Thursday of April every year (next Thursday!), restaurants sign up to donate all or portion of their nightly proceeds to organizations pursuing the cure and care of those diagnosed with HIV/AIDs.

On Thursday April 30th, you can help by dining at any of the following participating restaurants.

To learn more about Dining Out for Life or view participating restaurants in other states visit their website at www.diningoutforlifeaz.org.

Participating Local Restaurants


Barrio Cafe

Mazie’s Cafe and Bistroguest-check-FIGHT-AIDS-crop

Pizza People Pub

FEZ Restaurant & Bar

Bliss ReBar

HULA’s Modern Tiki

The Vig


Sierra Bonita Grill


Tuck Shop



El Gato Azul

Participating restaurants are donating anywhere from 10% to 100% of the night’s profits to The Southwest Center for HIV/AIDs Research or Northland Cares. You can see how much each restaurant is donating by viewing the Dining Out for Life website here.

Posted in Excellence in Localism, Greater Phoenix, Local First Movement, Local Food, Northern Arizona, Restaurants & Dining | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Good Libations

Known as the friendliest and original wine bar in Scottsdale, Terroir Wine Pub is a great location for engaging in deep conversation, taking in the lovely desert spring weather outside in their tranquil patio complete with a waterfall, and enjoying a glass or two of wine imported from around the world. Terroir offers 30 continuously rotated wines by the glass, as well as a large selection of beers, cheeses, chocolates, and cigars.


Terroir is conveniently located in the Scottsdale Seville Center at the intersection of Scottsdale Road and Indian Bend. More than just a wine pub, this charming neighborhood bar offers weekly events, wine storage, a private meeting room, special order services, in-house tasting, wine storage consulting and much more. Terroir is best known for the friendly staff who are knowledgeable and passionate when it comes to wine and finding the right pairing of wine that matches your palate or craving.

You can even check out owner Brian’s weekly podcast on the internet radio program, Good Libations every week on Fridays at 1pm MST when he spotlights the value wine section of the show. At Terroir, the wine list changes almost every day and the unexpected is sure to arise when you stop by. Its diverse client base and warm hospitality provides a memorable, engaging evening out that begins with a simple pour of wine. Plan your visit to this Scottsdale staple soon!

Written by Somlynn Rorie

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Banking Locally: Venue Projects and Gateway Bank

The Newton Front

The Newton at 3rd Avenue and Camelback is one of Venue Project’s concepts.

In celebration of Community Banking Month this April, we are profiling some of our community banking members and their local business clients!

At last year’s speed dating event for local businesses and local financial institutions, Venue Projects, a local redevelopment and construction firm, was matched up with Gateway Bank, a community bank based in Mesa. “We attended the banking event last year and met James Christensen, president of Gateway Bank,” said Lorenzo Perez of Venue Projects. “James has personally come out to see our projects and is excited to lend us the funds for our next development. Community banks understand the local climate and are much more likely to fund infill projects for local companies. We bank locally and have been very pleased with our relationships.”

According to the Institute of Local-Self Reliance, one of the top reasons for banking with a community bank or credit union is that you keep decision making local:

At local banks and credit unions, loan approvals and other key decisions are made locally by people who live in the community, have face-to-face relationships with their customers, and understand local needs. Because of this personal knowledge, local financial institutions are often able to approve small business and other loans that big banks would reject. In the case of credit unions, control ultimately rests with the customers, who are also member-owners.

The experience with Venue Projects and Gateway Bank illustrates just how true this is. If you’re interested in personalized banking on a local level, join us for our meet and greet with local financial institutions on April 29! Click here for more information.

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Local First Charmed by Glendale’s Cottage Garden II

IMG_5940Visiting downtown Glendale anytime soon? If you’re in the market for charming and unique gifts for yourself or a friend, look no further than the Cottage Garden II! Located just off the main drag of historic Glendale, Cottage Garden II features beautiful jewelry, clothes and artful accessories. If there’s one thing that Local First Arizona can recommend, it’s to explore all that Glendale has to offer. Take yourself off the beaten path and wander down a side street where you’ll find a plethora of charming boutiques and antique shops stacked full of great show pieces perfect for your home.

Local First Arizona made our way to Cottage Garden II for our April Evening Mixer. Owner Carol Migray pulled out all the stops to showcase the best that Glendale has to offer. The Spicery provided delicious deli sandwiches on incredible rolls and Linda of Papa Ed’s graciously gave generous ice cream and sorbet samples.

IMG_5944Local First Director Kimber Lanning warmed the room noting an exciting upcoming local banking event we’re hosting on April 29th. Community banks and credit unions will be gathering at the Hotel Valley Ho to talk face-to-face with local business owners about how to easily shift their dollars back into the community. Here in Arizona, 96% of all our money is held in national banks with headquarters outside of our state. Local banks and credit unions are funding more infill projects and providing local business loans when the big guys don’t.

“We attended the banking event last year and met James Christensen, president of Gateway Bank. James has personally come out to see our projects and is excited to lend us the funds for our next development. Community Banks understand the local climate and are much more likely to fund infill projects for local companies. We bank locally and have been very pleased with our relationships.” – Lorenzo Perez  & Jon Kitchell, Venue Projects

Learn how you can shift your money into a local bank or credit union Wednesday, April 29th. Click here for more details and to RSVP for our free informational meet & greet!

IMG_5941Among the attendees were our newest members, Bob and Sarah of Spinning Wheel Antiques. After years of collecting antiques from estate sales, the two decided to open their very own shop. We’re excited to welcome them as business owners and as Local First Arizona members!

Even after we packed up our registration table, members stayed late to continue networking. We’re grateful to Carol at the Cottage Garden II, Linda with Papa Ed’s Ice Cream and Matt from the Spicery for hosting another successful mixer. Join us next month as we head to Phoenix Ale Brewery! Click here to register for May.

Thank you to all attendees:

Affiliated Children’s Dental Specialists
Arizona Correctional Industries
Blue House Boutique
Cottage Garden II
Danzeisen Dairy
DePaul Creative
Float Balloon Tours
Glendale Women’s Club
Sole Sports Running Zone
Spinning Wheel Antiques
Surprise AZ Web Services
The Tole Shop
Papa Ed’s Ice Cream
The Country Maiden
The Spicery

Posted in Business Member Event Recap, Local First Movement | Leave a comment

Mixer at Originate shows the beauty of recycling

originatemixer1At Local First Arizona, we are longtime fans of Originate Natural Building Materials Showroom. Originate is a natural building materials showroom specializing in interior finishes that are environmentally friendly, non-toxic, durable, and made from natural, renewable and recycled resources. Comments owner Natasha Winnick , “We offer innovative and unique materials that rival the aesthetics and performance of more traditional interior finishes.” Originate’s products include: flooring in bamboo, cork, and natural linoleum, recycled glass countertops & tile, alternative plywoods, natural paints and plasters, stains, sealers and adhesives. Originate was established in 2003 and functions as a community resource, in addition to being a showroom for building supplies.  Originate’s showroom  is a renovated 1950’s warehouse located in the Historic Warehouse District just North of Downtown in the Dunbar Spring neighborhood. Originate provides creative consulting for a range of projects involving planning, remodeling and/or new construction.

originatecollageLocal First Arizona members gathered to connect and check out the amazing products on display as well as enjoy some amazing food from The Tasteful Kitchen. The Tasteful Kitchen is one of Tucson’s most beloved vegetarian restaurants, and is only open for dinner so the restaurant fills quickly. Having owner Keanne on hand serving up some of The Tasteful Kitchen’s dishes was a real treat.  In addition to connecting, we shared great news about the localism movement, including the upcoming Business Alliance of Local Living Economies Conference coming to Phoenix June 10-12.

We look forward to seeing everyone on May 6th downtown for our rooftop mixer at The Playground Bar and Lounge.  Please make sure to RSVP in advance so that we can provide an accurate headcount to our hosts.
Thank you to all in attendance –
26 Point 2 Designs, LLC
A-1 Mattress
A&E Recycled Granite, L.L.C.
America’s Mattress
Arizona Jewish Post
Barbara McNichol Editorial
BBB of Southern Arizona
Beth Surdut Visual Storyteller
Chef Police
Dependable Personnel
Enerjoust, LLC
Flying Leap Vineyards
Gentle Ben’s
Gentner Consulting Group
Hotel Congress and Maynards Market & Kitchen (Sustaining Member)
Jeff Harman Astrological Consulting
Jennifer Mead Creative
Julie DeMarre Photography
Julie Originals
Mama’s Hawaiin Bar-B-Cue (Sustaining Member)
MetroGnome Music
MJGrushka Consulting
Ms. Fix-It Home Solutions
Mrs. Green’s World
The Arrotta Group
VIP Taxi
Wellness Key Chiropractic
Western Sky Communications

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