The Hastings Mill in Hastings, MN, operated by Denver-based Ardent Mills, was the first mill completely dedicated to roller milling in the U.S., and it was the first operating mill in Minnesota. It was established in 1853.
Roller mills use cylindrical rollers to crush grain as part of the flour refining process. The Hastings Mill was originally powered by the adjacent Vermillion River. Several industry firsts have historical connections to the Hastings Mill, including invention of the milling purifier and patent barrel.
The original Hastings Mill building has been preserved is home to corporate offices at the location.
The Hastings Mill sources spring, durum and rye wheat from the Dakotas and Canada. The mill yields over 400 different SKUs for snack and bakery products like bread, buns, pizza crusts, tortillas, pasta, cereal, snack foods and more. It averages 52 truckloads of product every day, operating on a round-the-clock schedule, employing over 110 team members. It’s estimated that the mill is responsible for feeding over 7 million people per day.
In honor of Whole Grains Month, we take a look at the history of the mill.
Hastings Mill Timeline
|1853||Harrison H. Graham builds the Hastings Mill on the Vermillion River and begins milling flour|
|1863||Stephen Gardner buys the mill, renaming it the Gardner Mill, and develops a reel sifter to create “patent flour,” the primary bakery flour used today|
|1885||Charles Espenschied, son-in-law of Stephen Gardner, assumes management of the mill, introducing use of magnets to remove metal objects from the wheat and improves the milling process with important barrel innovations|
|1897||Seymour Carter buys the mill and greatly expands its operations|
|1912||Fred Shane, George Shane and W. J. Wilson purchase the mill, renaming it the King Midas Mill, producing King Midas brand flour|
|1928||The Peavey Co., a Minneapolis-based flour company, assumes ownership of the mill, continuing production of King Midas flour, primarily durum flour for pasta|
|1939||The Peavey Co. moves production of durum flour to a mill in Superior, WI, converting the mill in Hastings to production of bread flour|
|1969||Production of durum flour returns to the mill in Hastings with the addition of a durum semolina and pasta flour unit|
|1982||The Peavey Co. merges with ConAgra Inc.|
|2014||ConAgra, Cargill and CHS combine their milling businesses to form Ardent Mills|