Camas Country Mill Brings the Wheat to Portland's Bakeries and Pizzerias

Meet the miller behind your favorite local slices, loaves, and bagels.

By Kelly Clarke October 19, 2015 Published in the November 2015 issue of Portland Monthly

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Tom Hunton’s son Jason harvests Camas Country Mill’s organic buckwheat on the family’s third-generation farm near Eugene.

Camas Country Mill

Eugene, Oregon

Tom Hunton has a full day: checking in on the fields of organic whole wheat at his third-generation farm near Eugene, popping over to his stone-churning grist mill, and conference-calling with customers. “I like the term ‘keeping the frogs in the wheelbarrow,’” says the flour baron. He’s got a lotta frogs: In 2011, the commodities farmer built an old-timey mill and gambled on planting tougher-to-grow, baker-friendly wheats. Today, the company sells more than 1.2 million pounds of flour—so earthy, nutty, and bran-heavy it makes corporate whole-wheat flour taste like baby powder—in Oregon and beyond, including 3,000 pounds of flour per week just for Grand Central Bakery’s whole-wheat loaves and pastries and Ethiopian restaurants buying teff flour for injera. This array of single-origin and heritage flours puts Camas on the leading edge of a revolution in locally sourced wheat. Just this year, the cadre of Oregon farmers who supply the mill planted 1,500 acres of new crops that stay in the region. Even bakeries known for milling their own, like Portland’s fastidious Tabor Bread, have signed on as whole-grain customers. “They’ve busted open west-side wheat for us. They made what was not available, available,” says Grand Central Baking culinary director Piper Davis. “And it tastes great.”

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