The American West was built on blood, sweat and wheat. After the Homestead Act inspired the migration west, and after the consequences of early technology—drill sowing replacing broadcasting seeds, cradles taking the place of sickles, and the cradles in turn being replaced by reapers and binders—grist mills were established in lots of farming communities. In the 1870s, Turkey red wheat, a hard variety, was introduced, completing the West’s commitment to wheat. Huge grist mills largely replaced the small local mills. But Utah’s Lehi Roller Mills remains, one of the oldest continuously operating mills in the country.
From the outside, the mill shows its age. It looks like it belongs at a Heritage Park—the old red-roofed buildings look antique. Inside the shop, the shelves are packed with flours and mixes and you can imagine running into Laura Ingalls Wilder picking up some supplies for Ma. But behind the folksy facade and up the rickety wooden stairs, the workings of the mill look like they could be grinding wheat for the starship Enterprise—everything is shiny, automated, up-to-date and highly efficient.
The Robinson family have been millers for five generations, Lehi Roller Mills has been in business a century and despite changes in ownership, the family is still heavily-involved in the business and still buys wheat from Cedar Valley Farm, whose owners work to develop new strains of wheat and still have a check from Lehi Roller Mills dated a hundred years ago. So the past becomes the future. On your plate. 833 E. Main St., Lehi, 801-768-4401.
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