At Central Milling Co., workers strive to provide customers with quality products while also supporting American farmers, Marketing Leader Nicky Giusto says. “That’s what we really set out to do,” he states.
The Logan, Utah-based firm sells premium organic flour and grains to retailers and bakeries while dealing directly with small farms. “[That allows us] to bring organics closer to the homes of Americans,” Giusto states.
Central Milling started operations in 1867 and today, it has a staff of 80 and locations in Utah and California. Its location in Logan is the oldest continually operating business in Utah, Giusto says.
In addition, the company owns a seed firm that allows access to heirloom varieties of wheat that it thinks retain higher levels of color and flavor. “We’re able to work with farmers that grow exceptional quality wheat,” he states.
The company’s clients include Safeway Inc., Acme Bread Co. and Whole Foods Market. “We’ve been supplying companies with super-high standards,” he says, noting that the retailer holds the company to a high standard. “That’s been key to our success – not only our eye on quality products, but an equal amount of attention to good manufacturing practices.”
According to Central Milling, its 143 years in operation have given it extensive farming, milling and baking experience. “Even though we are really good at what we do, we are constantly learning and finding new and better ways of doing things,” it says.
“Good flour starts at the farm, and we are always on the hunt for wheat with exceptional color and flavor,” Central Milling continues. “These two factors contribute to what we call premium baking qualities. Once we find wheat with these characteristics, we work directly with local organic family farmers to grow the grain in a manner that is advantageous to the environment.”
Its mill location next to the Logan River in Utah also is advantageous. “The Logan River provides the momentum for our water turbine, which we use to power our milling operations,” it states. “Being green is easier than people think – you just have to be a bit creative.”
Family in Food
Giusto represents the fourth generation of his family to work with flour and grains. Although he was encouraged by his family to pursue another line of work, “I had a love of grains and a love of baked goods, [and there] came a time where I wanted to do it professionally,” he recalls.
“Our family has a long lineage in organic farming, baking and flour,” he says, adding that his uncle, Keith Giusto – one of the partner/owners of the company – is an award-winning master baker who has won the James Beard Award for his work.
According to Nicky Giusto, Central Milling’s versatility has been key to its success. “We mill and blend a lot of different products,” he says, noting that Central Milling works directly with bakers to achieve new flavor profiles.
“We also are very conscious of our carbon footprint,” he says, noting that some of the company’s products are milled using waterpower.
In recent months, Giusto says, Central Milling has enjoyed continued interest in organic products. “[An] amazing thing is through this whole recession, we didn’t see to much of a drop in organic flour,” he says. “It’s definitely on the rise. It doesn’t have [a] jolting effect if you look on a bar graph, [but] it definitely looks like some people subscribe to it. When they choose to go organic, they usually don’t turn back from it.”
Giusto adds that he would like Central Milling to keep doing what they’re doing. In addition, “I’d like to see a lot of our conventional farmers turn over to organics [and] get their land certified,” he says.