Adventure Us: Reed’s Mill
Monroe County, West Virginia is a hidden treasure. Nestled deep in the heart of Appalachia, it is full of quaint towns, picturesque valleys, scenic mountain ridges, rolling pastureland, and history. It escaped the ravages of the coal and railroad companies, and its peaceful agricultural landscape has been largely unchanged over 200 years.
There’s a spot in Monroe County that is particularly close to our hearts: Reeds Mill. Tucked away beside a small creek a few miles north of the town of Union, this mill is both a supplier of rare heirloom-variety flours and a historic destination.
The mill has been in continuous operation for almost 230 years, since its first establishment in 1791 (under the name of McDowell’s Mill; the Reed family took ownership in the early 1900s). Over the years this water driven stone gristmill has continued to process locally grown wheat and corn. Many of the grain varieties that can be purchased here date back to the days of the pioneers and Native Americans, and have been cultivated by local families for generations. These heirloom strains, though more susceptible to disease, also tend to be more nutritious and far tastier. Everything you buy at Reed’s Mill is preservative free and unsifted, providing the authentic texture, flavor, and nutrition of an era before mass-produced food. Among the products offered are Bloody Butcher cornmeal, Buckwheat flour, and a number of wheat flours.
We are in our second season of profiting from Reed’s Mill. On our first visit, we purchased (in addition to cornmeal and flour) some Bloody Butcher seed corn, brought it home, and grew our own (something you can’t do with hybrid varieties). Though it was only an experiment, we enjoyed homemade cornmeal much of the winter. This year, we recently planted seed corn saved from last year and are watching a second generation of corn pop up.
A visit to Reed’s Mill is not a visit to the grocery store. It needs to be scheduled, and it can take a while. The owner and operator, Mr. Mustain (a Reed on his mother’s side), is a great character with deep knowledge of not only the mill but the history of the area. He gave our family a tour of the mill and the adjoining historic broom factory, as well as a great deal of interesting information about the area. To visit Reed’s Mill, stop by on a Saturday from 9-3, call ahead and schedule an appointment at 304-772-5665, or visit https://www.facebook.com/reedsmill1791/. And while you’re in the area, follow the beautiful Monroe County country roads to visit such historic places as Cook’s Old Mill, Salt Sulphur Springs, Indian Creek Covered Bridge, Old Rehoboth Church, and the town of Union.
Slow down, step back in time, and enjoy a restful visit to Monroe County and Reed’s Mill, and bring a tasty bit of history home with you!
Name: Reed’s Mill, 1331 Second Creek Rd, Sinks Grove, WV 24976.
Time from Roanoke: 1 hour, 45 minutes
Activity Options: Authentic food, history, mountain
Nearby Food: Pickaway Pickins; Kalico Kitchen and other options in Union
Nearby Attractions: Moncove Lake State Park; Hanging Rock Raptor Observatory; historic district of Lewisburg. Check out https://travelmonroe.com/ for many historic local places!
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