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The Gingerbread Man gives this gift idea five stars

December 7, 2009

Mmmmm.  Christmas cookies.  Quick breads.  Pancakes.  

You know what all these have in common?  You use flour to make them.

Now, you might never think of giving flour as a Christmas present, but let me tell you why you should.

Give flour this Christmas and help support the National Historic Landmark Mill at Anselma, located in the countryside of Chester County, Pennsylvania, approximately 33 miles outside Philadelphia.  

This site could have met a fate similar to that of my great-grandfather’s mill — decay, abandonment, and due to a lack of vision, demolition.  

At the end of the 1990s, the site was simply a picturesque but lifeless assembly of buildings evoking the long-ago rural industrial and agricultural history of the area.

 The landscape was overgrown, the mill’s waterwheel was missing, and restoration work was needed on the various structures.

Today, just over a decade later, the buildings are all restored and visitors may observe a functioning waterwheel power the complicated machinery that produces the mill’s stone ground flours and corn meal.  

Children can follow the process of corn through interactive interpretation that allows them to shuck corn cobs at the top of the mill, crank a miniature waterwheel, and sift flour in the lower area.

None of those originally involved in preserving the site had prior experience restoring or operating a 250-year old mill, but the group honored the site’s vast potential by keeping open minds, employing creative approaches wherever possible and making community involvement a top priority from the start.

The Mill at Anselma has the perfect gift for the baker/preservationist on your list!  

  • Choose from a wide array of baking flours, including organic stone ground bread and pastry flours.* Options include The Miller’s Sampler ($15) and The Baker’s Special ($6).  Price includes recipes and gift packaging. 
  • Not so good with mixing it up?  Gift jar mixes make it easy to bake Dark Roasted Corn Bread, Chocolate Lover’s Cake or SuperFine Scones ($5.00 each includes decorative gift jar).
  • Volunteer Quick Mix ($6) comes in a decorative cloth bag and replaces that box of Bisquick on your shelf.  Recipes for pancakes, muffins, and snack cakes are included;  just add eggs, oil, fruit or nuts.  (I vote for chocolate chips.  I love a good chocolate chip scone!)
  • And don’t forget your furry best friend — Anselma also offers organic Peanut Butter Bones by PupBistro (a regular sell-out at the Anselma Farmer’s Market).  Only $3 a 3/0z bag!  Woof!

Order via the website or call 610/827-1906 to place an order or for more information.  Shipping available anywhere in the U.S.   Location mapped here.

Want to go over the top?  Create your own gift basket with Anselma organic stone ground flour, cookie cutters, and perhaps a copy of  The Gingerbread Architect:  Recipes and Blueprints for 12 Classic American Homes!  (Thanks to Kaitlin at Preservation in Pink for this book find!)

(For more fanciful structures, from castles to lighthouses, perhaps try Making Great Gingerbread Houses.)

A gift of country heritage is just a click away!  Order now.

Oh, and while you’re at it — add a membership to your order!

*The Mill at Anselma is licensed by the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture to sell its stone ground flour products, all ground, sifted and packaged by dedicated volunteers according to Pennsylvania food safety standards.

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