Frequently Asked Questions
Your pottery is made to last for generations and we hope you’ll consider them pieces that you can pass down in the family. It is very durable, but there are a few things you need to know when using, cleaning and storing your pieces. Our pottery is oven, microwave, dishwasher, and of course, food safe, with the exception of some decorative pieces.
When using your pottery to cook you need to ensure that you never shock it. By that we mean that you never want to apply direct heat to it, such as on the stove top. You also never want to take it from one extreme temperature to another, such as sitting a casserole dish that you just removed from the oven onto your granite countertop.
When using it to bake in the oven, do not preheat your oven, but rather start out your filled dish in a cold oven and allow it to come to temperature as the oven heats up. You will simply need to add a few extra minutes to the cook time. You also want to be very careful when broiling and not get it too close. Shocking the pottery can cause it to crack or break into several pieces.
When serving on your pottery be mindful that the bottom surfaces are not glazed and therefore are still a bit rough. We recommend that you use placemats under plates and bowls, coasters under mugs and tumblers, and hot pads or mats under serving pieces. This will help reduce the possibility of scratching your tables and counters.
We recommend hand-washing your pottery, but it is dishwasher safe. If you wash it in the dishwasher, be mindful of how you stack it so that it does not touch or can rattle during the cycle, which could cause it could chip or scratch.
If you notice a chip or crack in you pottery, it is not considered safe to continue using. Chips expose the raw pottery below the glaze. While there is nothing in the clay that will hurt you, the raw pottery is rough and can harbor bacteria from food particles that can be absorbed. The glaze could further chip or flake and you would never want that in your food. Cracks make it very fragile. The crack could easily spread and the pottery could likely break into multiple pieces. If you end up with a piece of pottery that has chipped or cracked, it cannot be repaired but can make a nice display piece if the flaw can be concealed from view.
The Old Mill sits on the banks of the Little Pigeon River, exactly where it was built nearly 200 years ago. As it was the day it was built, the river is the source of energy needed to turn the large stones.
Water powered refers to the source of energy used in the milling process. There is a turbine located in an area under the mill and next to the river, called the pin stock. At the end of the dam, there is a door that’s raised to allow water on the upper side of the dam to flow into that pin stock. As it does, it passes through the turbine and flows back out to the river. That turbine begins to spin from the force of the water passing, allowing it to turn the shafts, gears, and belts that turn the stones. There’s absolutely no electricity needed or used to power the stones. The large water wheel on the front of the building also turns when the millers are grinding, but it operates belts with cups on them called grain elevators. Those elevators carry grains and ground products up to the second and third floors, where gravity brings back down in shafts where it waits for the next step and will finally be hand-bagged.
Stone ground means that the grains pass between the large flint granite stones. As they do, they are slowly ground to the coarseness that the miller desires. This slower process means that the grains are never heated, preserving the natural nutritional value of each grain. Our stones lay horizontally and the miller can adjust the grind by raising and lowering the top stone. The more he raises it, the coarser. The more he lowers it, the finer. That’s the difference in grinding grits and cornmeal, respectively.
We do not add any preservatives or pesticides to our products. That makes them more attractive to you, and to bugs and critters. To preserve the freshness, we recommend you store them in airtight containers and keep them in the freezer. The next best place to keep them is in the refrigerator. Any meal or mix can be used right from the freezer or fridge. We do not recommend keeping them at room temperature or exposing them to warm, damp areas, such as a cabinet close to your stove or under the kitchen sink.
All of our cornmeal is unbolted, even if it says self-rising. Unbolted simply means that it is unsifted, so nothing has been removed.
Plain is just that, nothing added. It is great to use in your favorite recipes, breading meats and vegetables for frying, and baking.
Self-rising has the leavening agents already added, so if you are making your heirloom family cornbread, just eliminate any salt, baking powder, and baking soda that it may call for.
Well, we didn’t! We built the Old Mill Restaurant building in 1993, right next to The Old Mill, and opened as The Cornflour Restaurant. A couple of years later The Old Mill and General Store became available for purchase, so we bought it. We had already been using many of the stone ground products from the Mill, but we decided that we would change the name of our restaurant to The Old Mill Restaurant to really tie the two together. In building it, we did use lots of rough-hewn posts and beams and lots of wood, lending the feel of an old mill.
The Old Mill is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and we are honored to preserve it. And we are proud to keep it operational, just as it has been for nearly 200 years.