Being a fifth-generation farmer, and running a mill in the time of industrialization and gluten-free becoming a ‘fashion trend’.
In this weeks episode of the Humans of Hospitality podcast, Mark talks to Michael Stoat – who has inherited his Mill from generations of farmers. Here are all the time stamps, and a summary of what you can expect in this weeks episode.
00:00:00 Marks introduction
00:01:58 Setting the scene and introducing Michael
00:04:36 Michaels history – how long has he been at the Mill?
- 00:06:34 “The original building that was here, she burnt down in the 1950s”
00:09:57 The responsibility and pressure of picking up a multi-generational business
00:11:08 What’s special about Michael’s mill and how does it compare to the way flour is being made these days?
- 00:11:54 “We like to think that it’s a natural as possible. That it’s tampered with as little as possible.”
00:15:16 When did we start to have an obsession with modern flour and nutrition?
- 00:16:16 “If you look at the history of mills in the late 18 hundreds, so 1880 to 1900, there are a huge amount of mill fires and it’s because all this high output technology was being crammed into old rickety buildings.”
00:17:21 Is traditional milling becoming niche?
00:18:47 Do we need to see a growth in traditional milling to be able to go back to making nutritious breads?
00:22:14 Are the premium, ‘nutritious’ breads sold in the big super markets actually more nutritious or is that rubbish?
00:23:56 Is most of the flour from the UK, or is it imported? The growth of supplying flour from the UK, and why it has grown over the past ten years
00:26:34 Why is organic important in making flour?
- 0026:57 “How we treat the grain and the of flowers exactly the same. There’s no difference at all. Um, but it’s just the way the grip, the grain has been grown, uh, on from the organic systems. No artificial fertilizers, insecticides, herbicides.”
- 00:28:39 “I mean when we started, when my father started doing milling, after doing the animal feeds, organic hadn’t really been invented.”
0032:02 Animal welfare, looking after the planet and how industrialisation of farming has challenged this
- 00:31:25 “The supermarkets just sort of took all the organic produce off the shelf overnight. So it wasn’t the consumer led, it was a decision by the supermarkets to take it up because they wanted to fill the shelves with the economy range of things”
00:33:13 What have been the key challenges throughout Michael’s milling career?
- 00:35:48 “There are all these continental breads would appear. They weren’t great, but they looked interesting and I think it before then it had just been standard British loafs and suddenly you saw more diverse range of breads and I think that got people interested.”
00:37:21 Is the demand now coming from the bakeries, the consumers – or are whole food shops making a comeback?
00:37:57 The domination of the internet, and new opportunity to reach consumers that care
00:38:54 Michael’s thoughts on allergies and gluten free options
- 00:45:01 Does the gluten content depend on from the flour, or the way the bread itself is made?
- 00:42:45 “Bakers are learning how to make a gluten free in a way that doesn’t have an impact on quality and taste”
00:44:12 Is it possible to farm traditionally, and feed the world?
- 00:44:55 “So it’s going to be that those with less disposable income, those who are on a tight household budget that are less likely to be able to afford, which seems a bit unfair in lots of respects because why should they miss out on having a healthy, nutritious diet?”
00:46:16 When did nutrition come less important?
00:47:50 Michael’s motivation to keep going with milling
00:48:40 Michael’s advice on starting a milling business – is it still possible?
00:51:08 What’s next for Stoat & Sons?
00:51:46 Where to go if you’d like to hear more about Stoat & Sons and milling
00:53:03 Marks sign off & final thoughts
Looking to learn a bit more about Michael, his traditionally produced flour and how you can get ahold some? Listen to the full Podcast here, or check out Stoat & Sons on their website: