A few days ago my husband and I took our first trip to the mill to buy wheat, and feed for the pig. It was a freezing cold day! We bundled the kids up in the backseat of the pickup truck, and headed down the country roads.
When we arrived there, it was bustling with men loading the back of a truck with sacks of wheat. I wasn’t sure where to go, until a nice older woman stuck her head out of a door and beckoned us in. It was nice to get out of the bitter cold and into the warmth of that little store.
She stepped behind the counter and asked us how she could be of service. I told her that I’d never been to the mill before, but that we were interested in buying some wheat to grind, and some feed for our pig. I asked her what their prices are.
She flipped through a little notebook, then looked up and told me that the wheat berries I wanted would be $7.00 for a 50 lb bag. Whoa! I was really surprised at that… that’s super cheap!! She asked how much I would like. I wanted a lot, but didn’t want to seem preposterous. “I think I’d like 200 lbs. of the wheat,” I said. It felt strange saying that. It’s not exactly every day that I go to the store to buy 200 lbs of wheat. But she didn’t even blink at my request. I really wanted to buy 500 lbs of wheat, but I just couldn’t bring myself to say that. Plus, I’m sure I don’t have enough storage for that much wheat right now anyways.
She then told me the price of the hog feed. The premixed sacks were cheaper than at Tractor Supply, but after looking at the ingredients, I felt like there was a lot of stuff that my pig, since free ranging, doesn’t need. So, I decided to just get some corn instead. The 50 lb bags of corn were $5.50 each.
As she totaled me up, the man who had been loading up his truck outside came in to pay. He was a middle aged guy, with a dark, full beard. I was flipping through my cash to pay when he said to the lady behind the counter, “She can get mine too!” I laughed and said, “Well, I have about $15 left, would that cover it?” She laughed and said, “Oh no. He’s getting quite a bit more wheat than you!” I asked him what he was getting. He said he had 1000 lbs of wheat. I asked, “Is it to grind, to cook with?” He said yeah. I asked, “Like, are you storing it?” wondering if he was doing the same thing we are. He nodded. Now I was really interested! I asked, “What are you storing your wheat in?”
He explained that he had big, 50 gallon barrels he was keeping it in. I shared with him that we are trying to store food too. I really wanted to talk to him more, but I was done checking out and we needed to get the kids back in the truck to pull around and get our order.
As we were backing the truck to the loading dock, the bearded man came out and motioned for us to roll down our window. He told Jerry that he’d like to talk to us some more. Yes!! I was thrilled! He seemed like a fascinating guy to talk to, like he knew something we needed to know.
Jerry got out of the truck to stand and talk with the man, and I hopped over to the driver’s side and stuck my head out the window to listen in. He told us that he was glad to meet like-minded people. He said that most people think he’s crazy. He went on to tell us that him and his brother, and several other people, have been doing this for 10 years now. They meet up every so often to talk about things, like food storage, the economy, and preparedness in general.
I asked him how he preserves the wheat, how he keeps it protected from bugs. He said he gets Diatomaceous Earth (from a pool supply place), and sprinkles it within layers of the wheat berries. It’s safe to eat and keeps bugs out. I haven’t heard of this stuff, so I need research it more, but he’s been doing this for 10 years and it’s been working for him!
He told us that he will soon be getting some 50 gallon (I think) pickle barrels, for $10 each, and that he could get us some if we were interested. I told him we would love to get some! We were finished loading up, and needed to go on home, so we exchanged names and numbers.
It was really nice talking with our new friend. I think it’s funny that we were both there at the same time. The Lord meant for us to meet. I’m sure there’s more we can learn from this shy, soft spoken man. And huge food grade barrels would be such a blessing!
So now I have 200 pounds of wheat berries to store. I’m so excited!! But more on that another day…