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As It Was: Newspaper Relates Local Flour to War Effort

During early pioneer days, nearly every small town in Oregon had its own grist mill to grind flour for local farmers. In those days, flour was an important staple, and buying local was the only choice shoppers had.

When the railroad came to the Rogue Valley in 1884, local flour mills began to disappear, and wheat was shipped to large cities like Portland and Chicago. Then the flour was shipped back to small towns that used to produce their own.

In 1918 during the final days of WWI, the Medford Mail Tribune wrote: “You can help win the war by using only flour made in the Rogue River Valley.”  The newspaper argued that local flour was more nutritious, and that buying local would help the war effort by saving space in train cars for moving troops, not wheat.

The Rogue Valley still grows and mills wheat on a small scale, resulting in fresh local bread for its residents.  Dunbar Farms of Medford, Ore., sells whole-grain, freshly stone-milled flours, and other milled corn products, whole grains and beans.


Sources: "Dunbar Farms Grains and Staples." Dunbar Farms, Dunbar Farms, www.dunbarfarms.com. Accessed 23 Nov. 2018; "One Way You Can Help." Mail Tribune, 4 Oct. 2018 [Medford, Oregon], p. A3.

Sharon Bywater of Ashland, Oregon grew up in Southern California. She taught English literature and writing at Syracuse University in New York, where she also wrote and edited adult literacy books and published freelance articles in local media. Later, she lived in Washington, D.C., where she worked as an international telecommunications policy advisor at the U.S. Department of Commerce. She has Master’s degrees in English and Communications Management.