Member Profile: Roots Run Deep

Charlie Wade of Deep Roots Milling

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Charlie with his Meadows Mill.

Roanoke-based Deep Roots Milling is owned and operated by a sixth-generation miller, Charlie Wade. Charlie’s family owned and operated Wades Mill in Raphine, Virginia, from 1882 until the early 1990s, and continuing the family trade has long been Charlie’s dream.

In his great-great-grandfather’s tradition, Charlie uses stone mills to grind his flour. Stone milling is the old way; it predates roller mills and our modern concept of smooth (usually white) flour. The millstones grind slowly and at cool temperature, which enables the flour to retain the flavor of the grain as well as the nutritional germ and bran. The distance between the stones determines the coarseness of the flour.

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“Kentucky Rainbow” corn Charlie is custom-milling for a small bakery.

Charlie is a wholesale buyer of local grains for his wheat and corn flour products, which debuted at Roanoke’s Grandin Farmers’ Market in the spring of 2018. He is committed to purchasing from local growers to support Virginia’s grain economy, and he provides custom milling services for growers.

Deep Roots currently produces cornmeal and grits from heirloom and open-pollinated corn varieties, all-purpose and bread wheat flour, and buckwheat flour. Charlie plans to expand the number of grain varieties he uses and, in time, mill specialty nut flours.

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Coarse grits.

Restaurants and retailers currently carrying Deep Roots Milling products include Roanoke Natural Foods Co-op, Rockfish Food and Wine, and Scratch Biscuit Company in Roanoke and Eats Natural Foods and Tabula Rasa in Blacksburg.

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