Here at The Old Mill, our products are milled the old-fashioned way. We grind corn into cornmeal or grits using French Buhr Flint Granite stones, just like this mill has done since 1830. The power comes from the sheer force of the Little Pigeon River being diverted by the dam so the water moves through a turbine, which turns the shafts, wheels, and belt connected to the stones. We then have what is called a “grits machine,” which sifts the grits, removing the hull so you get the heart of the kernel of corn. It is electric-powered today, but originally it was fueled by the power of our big water wheel turning. The iconic water wheel still operates grain elevators, which carry the corn to the stones. We think it’s important to stay true to the way corn has always been ground to feed the residents of the Smoky Mountains. Stone-grinding produces meal and grits with more flavor. In our grits, you can taste the corn! And their stone-ground texture works in all kinds of great recipes, from shrimp and grits to a simple bowl of grits with butter for breakfast.
Grits have been milled in the South ever since the native Americans introduced the settlers to the process. They are the backbone of many great mountain recipes, but you need to see for yourself. Come visit us and have our freshly milled yellow grits for breakfast and take home a bag of the yellow or white grits. If you can’t visit the Smokies, you can always order our grits online. September 2nd is National Grits for Breakfast Day, so plan now and you can celebrate with us!