Bob’s Red Mill Takes a Giant Step Backwards to Ancient Grains – like Farro

By on September 17, 2017

Bob’s Red Mill is a familiar brand to those seeking ancient grains, organic foods, or other pure and natural dried products. Sold coast-to-coast in grocery stores, this brand can solve the eternal question – but where I can I find THAT?

I’d been buying this for about a hundred years before I dug down to find out what the story was. When I lived in Oregon, this brand was as well known as Quaker Oats, and a whole lot purer.

But by the time I’d moved to the greater New York area, Bob’s had grown so that it was as easily found in New Jersey supermarkets as it had been in Oregon.
But who was this Bob who founded this brand? I began to poke around on the internet for an answer.

Not that I was the first journalist to come knocking. In 2011, a writer named Suzanne Snider wrote a long, extensive piece about Bob Moore, of the red mill’s fame. The mill is still located in suburban Portland, Oregon.

Seems like your classic American-dream story. Moore started out in Los Angeles after world war 2 with a gas station. Then his wife couldn’t stand the smog, so they moved to Mammoth lake.

But eventually even that air was too polluted to breathe, so they moved to pure-air Oregon. Now all this time, while Bob had been tinkering with various jobs, his wife had stayed home and baked. She loved whole grains and learned they made her feel better. Sort of the same story you hear today from those who find gluten-free products. But in those days, to get that sort of thing, you had to grind the grains yourself.

So the Moores poked around and found an ancient stone ground operation in North Carolina, but decided it was more reasonable to have the whole apparatus shipped to them than to move again.

And there in hangs the tale. Oregon was a leader in whole grain adoption back in the day, and the Moores got their outfit up and running.His products sold to hippies (like me), and pure food fanatics, and now to celiac and gluten free folks.

Bob Moore only buys whole grains from certified organic growers. He’s picky. And his clientele is too.

Fast forward to the twenty first century when ancient grains find their way into recipes for Italian and other old-world cuisines and the Moore’s business booms.

Bob Moore did another great thing. He sold the company to his employees so today, with an ever-growing list of organic and other pure grains and dry mixes, Bob’s Red Mill is a brand as robust as ever and clients as devoted as they ever were.

Check out their website, you’ll surely find some products you’d like to try. Bob’s Red Mill is a brand produced by employee-owned American company: Bob’s Red Mill Natural Foods of Milwaukie, Oregon, United States. The company was established in 1978 by Bob and Charlee Moore. Headquarters: Milwaukie, Oregon. Founded: 1978. Employees: 209.

My newest find is an ancient Italian soup recipe that calls for cauliflower and farro, once as hard to find as hen’s teeth but now available everywhere Bob’s Red Mill is sold. Yes.

Warm and Spicy Cauliflower Farro Soup

You may find this hard to believe, but Thanksgiving is just around the corner.

Try this silky bright soup as a first course. It does just what an appetizer is meant to do. It sets your palate up for the feast to come. You may want to give it a whirl a time or two before the holiday. It’s become a standard in my house. It’s easy to prepare, rich and fulfilling and once I figured out to use the stick blender to turn it into this silky puree, I was off and running.

Farro has served as a tasty and satisfying grain since Roman times. You will quickly understand how the Romans ran the world once you try this soup. It is even better the second day. Farro is sold in grocery stores featuring Italian specialties. Bob’s Red Mill is the go-to brand.

Makes 10-12 servings
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 EACH: large red onion and carrot, peeled and chopped
1 teaspoon EACH: crushed coriander seeds, cumin seeds, smoked paprika, sugar, and Worcestershire sauce
1/4 teaspoon EACH: turmeric and red chili flakes
Sea salt and freshly milled black pepper to taste
10-12 sprigs fresh cilantro, chopped (divided. Reserve some for garnish)
1 head cauliflower, coarsely chopped
4 cups chicken broth
2 cups water (or more to taste)
1-2 cups farro, cooked
Sour cream garnish
Warm olive oil in a large, heavy bottomed pot over medium heat. Add the onion, carrot and spices and cook until softened stirring often.
Add the cilantro, cauliflower, broth and water.
Bring soup to a boil, stirring occasionally.
Reduce heat to a simmer and cook until the cauliflower is tender, about 45 minutes.
Meanwhile, cook farro following box directions.
Stir in the farro, puree with a stick blender and serve warm. Top with a dollop of sour cream and chopped cilantro.

About Linda Eckhardt

Linda West Eckhardt, is an award winning journalist, food writer, and nutritionist. Her more than 20 cookbooks have garnered prizes including the James Beard prize for the best cookbook for a text she wrote with her daughter, Katherine West DeFoyd, entitled Entertaining 101, Doubleday. Their follow-up book, Stylish One Dish Dinners, Doubleday, was also nominated for a James Beard prize. Their next book, The High Protein Cookbook, Clarkson Potter, remains a best seller after 12 years. That book was designed to accompany low carb diet plans. Her ground-breaking book, Bread in Half The Time, Broadway Books, was named the Best Cookbook in America by the prestigious IACP, The Julia Child award. Her award winning radio work with Jennifer English, for a national show on the Food and Wine radio network, was nominated for a James Beard Prize for a show called, “I Know What You Ate Last Summer.”