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Shop, cook and eat Canadian, U of G Food Day Canada event hears

A local business in Fergus featured at the U of G Food Day Canada event uses the process of stone milling to make flour

Shop Canadian. Cook Canadian. Dine Canadian.

That was the message of an event at the University of Guelph Tuesday ahead of Food Day Canada on Aug. 5. The event featured local food related businesses and restaurants to kick-off the celebrations.

In May 2022 Bill S-227, an act to establish Food Day Canada was passed after it was introduced by Perth-Wellington MP John Nater, who was at Tuesday's event.

“What we encourage everybody to do is shop, cook and dine Canadian,” said Jeff Stewart, event speaker and son of Anita Stewart who was U of G’s food laureate and the driving force behind Food Day Canada.

“Look at the ingredients. Go out to the farmers markets. Visit your farms,” said Stewart.

The event featured local businesses created by U of G alumni who spoke about their food products.

One of these businesses is located in Fergus called 1847 Stone Milling. It is run out of, you guessed it, a mill at a farmhouse built in 1847. The year is also a nod to how flour was made back then. The business produces several different types of flour. 

Melissa McKeown has lived in the farmhouse for 11 years. She started the business with her brother Trevor McKeown and husband Sasha Scattergood and it's been running for the last nine years. McKeown graduated from U of G in 2008 with a degree in biology.

“We basically could find local meat, local cheese, local fruits and vegetables. But one in three fields are cereal grains and we couldn’t find any local mills. We thought well that’s bizarre. And of course this was at the height of the gluten free movement,” said McKeown.

The grains are from local farmers. The grains are cleaned, put through an Austrian mill then fall through the centre and pass through two large stones and out comes flour.

“When it comes out the end we’re able to leave the germ, the natural oil,” said McKeown. This adds flavour and health benefits because there are natural vitamins, she said.

There is no bleach or additives added to it like conventional flour, “which is why a lot of people can’t eat flour in Canada or North America but they can go to Europe and eat all the flour they want there,” said McKeown.

The mill emulates the practices of flour mills in Europe.

Online and in some stores 1847 Stone Milling sells seven different kinds of flour. McKeown also sells home mills so people can mill grain into flour themselves. She said it’s like grinding peppercorns into pepper, it’s fresher and tastes better.

“During the pandemic everyone was baking bread. We went a little crazy. And just haven’t looked back,” said McKeown. She and her family worked non-stop and at one point were behind by 900 orders.

Luckily 1847 Stone Milling already had an online platform they use to sell directly to consumers and it was helpful for sales during the pandemic.

“We had our nose to the grindstone,” said McKeown. “And we were milling.”


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Santana Bellantoni

About the Author: Santana Bellantoni

Santana Bellantoni was born and raised in Canada’s capital, Ottawa. As a general assignment reporter for Guelph Today she is looking to discover the communities, citizens and quirks that make Guelph a vibrant city.
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