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An Unlikely Duo

     It’s a tale as old as time.  An unlikely duo teaming up to save the day and teach us all a valuable lesson.  Our hero’s: Tom Hunton and Charlie Tilt, owners of Hunton’s Farm and Hummingbird Wholesale respectively.  One a grower of grain, one a distributor.  Both located here in the scenic Willamette Valley.  So what is it that brings these two businessmen together?  

To answer this we must start at the beginning and ask another question.  How do those hard little kernels of grain turn up on your plate in the form of cereal and bread?  It is through the magic of milling!  And now, thanks to these two enterprising daredevils, for the first time in over 80 years, the Willamette Valley boasts its very own stone flour mill.
Years ago, these types of grist mills were common along many of the waterways of the Willamette Valley.  As grain farmers turned to grass seed production, and a preference for white bread developed among their consumers, many of these mills were forced to close.  Where there is no grain being grown, there is no need for a flour mill.  And so it went for a long time.  
As the economy began to change and the price of grass seed changed with it, the Hunton’s realized the need to re-strategize.  Enter Charlie and Julie Tilt and their business Hummingbird Wholesale.  If the Hunton’s were going to grow grains (and beans, as it turns out), it would only make good economic sense to mill them locally as well.  Hauling a commodity hundreds of miles to be milled and processed and then shipping it back is not only increasing the carbon footprint of a product, but also unnecessarily increasing the cost.

 
And so, with their forces combined, (and some help from eDev and the City of Eugene), they built a mill.  As with any construction project, things got complicated, but they persevered.  Working with an eye towards the future they created a mission statement and a set of goals to support continued viability, provide resources to farmers in the valley, implement innovative practices, and foster an environment of optimism and collaboration.  
As individuals, when we choose to support these products and businesses, we can have far-reaching effects on our local and subsequently global economies, standards of health and living, and what society holds as important.  We can all be heroes!       

Cousin Jack’s Pasty Company

Grocery Department:  Cousin Jack’s Pasties

You may have seen these delicious local savory pastries at the Farmer’s Market where they are served hot or frozen.  The Kiva was the first store to carry the pasties, and we are proud to have been supporting this up and coming local company from the beginning.  Tom recently visited their production facilities here in Eugene to learn more about how the pasties are produced.

From Left to Right: Luz, Ben, Rebecca, David Clark and Kim Gibson

Cousin Jack’s Pasty Company was founded by Kim Gibson and David Clark in June of 2009.  The goal of the company is to provide a fast meal for their customers without forcing them to compromise their food values. To accomplish this, as Kim and David are sourcing ingredients, they shop as they would if they were buying food for their own table. They buy from the Farmer’s Market and local distributors as much as possible. All the vegetables used are organic and all meat is local and free range (or wild-caught in the case of the Pacific salmon).  Beef comes from Knee Deep Cattle Company and lamb comes from Anderson Ranches.

  Listen to David explain the ingredient sourcing for the Wild Mushroom Pasty in these video clips showing the production of a batch:
 

Cousin Jack’s has nine employees and the company has been steadily growing.  They produce between 550 and 850 pasties a day during production. 

Rebecca and Luz making Wild Mushroom Pasties

Look for these mouth-watering pasty varieties:  Wild Mushroom, Lamb and Pesto, Steak and Ale, Broccoli & Cheese, Cheeseburger, Egg & Sausage, Smoked Salmon and Seasonal Offerings (currently a creamy Leek and Onion).

Do you like Cousin Jack’s Pasty Company?  Visit them on Facebook and “like” them!

Kim and David Sampling the Pasties