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Putting his nose to the grindstone

Sharing granules of wisdom and his business philosophy, Bob Moore of Bob's Red Mill will be sharing his success story during the West Linn Rotary Club's July 27 meeting. The public is invited to attend.

Bob's Red Mill's story began with Bob's wife, Charlee, who always valued whole-grain foods and provided them for Bob and their three boys. This eating lifestyle - coupled with a chance reading in 1968 of a book about old stone-grinding flour mills - started Bob on a search for usable stone mills from the 1800s. (Around 1880, high-speed steel roller mills for making white flour ended the need for the old, slow-turning stone mills that had supplied the world with whole-grain flours for centuries.) He soon found that almost all stone mills had been scrapped generations ago. But he was able to acquire several sets of millstones from an old North Carolina water-powered flour mill and set up the family's first milling operation in Redding, Calif.

In 1978, Bob and Charlee moved to the Portland area to retire, and Bob's milling enthusiasm resurfaced. Together they opened a one-of-a-kind business in an old mill building near historic Oregon City, stone-grinding grains into flours and cereals and blending whole-grain mixes for the Portland area.

Bob's Red Mill's growth has continued over the years and, in 2007, the company moved to a larger facility totaling 320,000 square feet on 17 acres, with 230 employees working three shifts. From its roots in natural foods, business has flourished across the United States, where its products can be found in supermarket chains, specialty grocery stores and health and natural food stores. Bob's Red Mill products can also be found in stores around the world in 60 different countries.

The Rotary Club's meeting will be held at noon at the West Linn Lutheran Church, located at 20390 Willamette Dr. Lunch will be available for $15, along with coffee and desert for $5.

For more information, contact Connie Sutherland at 503-709-1880.