Ground Up
, ,
Email Address:
About Us
Our Stone Mill
The decision to start a flour mill in Massachusetts was made after hearing through the grain rumor mill about the New American Mill. At 4 feet wide and over 6,000 pounds, this mill is not only sexy but it is hand made in Elmore, Vermont from local granite. These mills are being made with love and intention by Andrew Hyen with the purpose of getting more local grain milled into a high quality flour and with these means, strengthening our communities through our food.

It was July 2010 when Andrea and Christian had just harvested their first 10 acres of malt barley from a field in Hadley. The grain was layed out to dry on tarps in their 2 car garage because Valley Malt had little money, no location, and no infrastructure for drying or storing grain. One thing they did have was a bright red Clipper 2B grain cleaner they had just gotten from Illinois. This cleaner was a relic but it worked and served a vital role in cleaning locally grown grain to be used for malting and brewing.

Ben Roesch had started Wormtown Brewery in March 2010 and when he found out the the Stanley’s were starting Valley Malt he reached out to say, “I’d like to be your first customer". This eager attitude to use local malt reinforced the Stanley’s purpose but they did not yet have malt to sell. Andrea suggested that Ben contact Misty Brook Farm in Hartwick, MA where a young couple was starting to grow grains as part of their organic crop rotation. With a little flexibility and creativity Ben was able to develop a recipe for a beer that would use raw rye and wheat from Misty Brook. However, when he went to pick up the grains for this new “truly local” beer project, it became apparent that the grain needed to be cleaned first and nobody around had a grain cleaner.

Reaching back out to the Stanley’s, Ben was invited to come to Hadley after work one afternoon and use Valley Malt’s little red Clipper grain cleaner. As the sun was setting over the Hadley soils, Ben, Andrea, and Chris started pouring grain into the hopper of this antique piece of equipment to discover that it still worked quite well and cleaned the Misty Brook grain for Wormtown’s Misty Brook Pale Ale.

Only time would tell that this collaborative endeavor to use local grain in a local beer - no matter how challenging - would evolve into Valley Malt now producing 600,000 lbs of malt per year and Wormtown continuing to be one of their loyal supporters.

The adventure and passion that brought together these three in 2010 continues to fuel their work and inspired them to start Ground Up and together and continue to play a role in developing and supporting a local grain economy. The goal of Ground Up is to look back in another ten years and see more acres of grain, more thriving farms, more fresh and nutritious flour - all important signs of a more sustainable and resilient food system.