It’s Wednesday morning or as I like to call it these days, Tuesday (I’ve started calling all days of the week Tuesday). As I am making my way to meet up Colton Steiner (AKA Chief Grain Smasher) and Kevin Nguyen (from Regular Architecture) so they can show me around Kelly Whitaker’s latest project, the Dry Storage Mill, I let my mind wander. I don’t know if it's because summer is approaching or that we’ve moved to a ‘Safer at Home’ phase, there seems to be a sense of hope slowly awakening in every one of us. While I know that this marathon has just started, we’ve clearly reached our first-aid station where we get to take a breather and replenish ourselves.
I finally arrived and excitedly waved at both of them and went in. As I opened the door, I was welcomed by giant bags that can hold 2500lbs, very tall ceilings, and the high-spirited excitement of a new project simmering.
We quickly got lost in conversation, it's been a while since I’d seen them both. We talked about our glasses fogging up with our masks and about using soap to help with it (not car soap though!). We glorified and romanticized the ritual of going to a coffee shop in the morning and getting our daily fix.
We of course talked about restaurants opening again and what that might look like. All while I took some pictures of them, the space, and avoided Colton from seeing me click so I could get a picture of him without his signature hand move. I might’ve been successful for a bit, but Kevin quickly followed and started making Colton’s exclusive hand sign. Send help!
I finally asked Colton and Kevin to give me the goods. The Dry Storage Mill will be a full-on milling factory where the team is hoping they can, yes, mill and educate people about grain. Most people don’t know flour is an agricultural product. Just like produce, flour should be eaten fresh and grown locally and organically (that’s why it costs $4 a pound).This is the time to recreate habits, re-format what we hold close to us, and question our old ways. Do they still hold true?
While flour is a commodity product (and should remain one), the team believes the bar of the kind of wheat we eat everyday should be way higher. Plus geography and varieties of wheat with unique flavor profiles all mix into creating a beautiful product that should be valued for what it is, and most importantly have it be accessible for everyone. I believe I remember Colton and Kevin joking about flour somms and how that could be a thing. Never say never….
This team believes and lives by their ethos. This team believes that there are always more options than the ones given. This team is relentless and their leadership goes beyond what we can see. We hear restaurants are shutting down and they hear it's time to swivel, twirl, or any word that is not pivot (we also agreed that that word has been overused) and change the game of flour.