The Grainery, fresh milled oats

Kristin Coppens

| 3 min read

Oats are a naturally healthy grain suitable for meals or snacks. In Kalamazoo, one man is working hard to bring the community the healthiest, least processed oats available. The Grainery works towards five different values in the product it delivers: simple, local, pure, transparent, and honest.
Fresh milled oats from The Grainery provide the highest nutritional value (versus store bought oats) due to the fact the pod of seeds preserves the nutrients, and the mill directly presses said seeds into oats. Thus, making the milling process simple and quick. In other words, rolled oats are steamed which cooks the oat and makes it softer; The Grainery oats are not steamed, so customers receive the freshest, best textured, and most flavorful oats.
Scott Below, owner of The Grainery, comes from a background in corporate brand marketing at large companies like Kraft and Kellogg’s. Below’s vision of The Grainery comes from his desire to “remove the curtain hiding our manufacturing process. I want our customers to see exactly where their food is coming from.” He also wanted to create a better way to buy oats in bulk without having customers put their hands directly in the bins.
The Grainery fixes this discrepancy by allowing customers to mill their own oats on site in the grocery store or at farmers markets. Below is currently expanding in the West Michigan area, but working to scale to other markets like Detroit, Chicago, and more. In fact, Bronson Methodist Hospital uses The Grainery’s oats in their cafeteria and patient meals.
Below supports the community focus of local fare and the desire to understand where our food comes from. The oats are currently sourced from Iowa; however, Below’s goal is to have partially Michigan-sourced oats by next year through an existing agreement with a Michigan farmer.
The Grainery oats are a perfect combination. Steel cut oats are delicious, hearty, and full of texture, but usually take a long time to cook. Instant oats are quick to cook, but usually end up mushy and flavorless. As Below summarizes, “Our oats are the perfect marriage of the two: hearty texture like steel cut, but quick cooking with only 2 minutes in the microwave or 8-10 minutes on the stove. We’re looking for that Goldilocks, ‘just right.’”
The Grainery’s Fresh Apple Pie Oatmeal
½ cup fresh milled oats
1 cup cider (for less sweetness, use ½ cup cider, ½ cup water)
1/3 apple, diced (use your favorite kind!)
1-2 t brown sugar
Small handful of pecans
Cinnamon, to taste
-Prep oats as directed (with cider, or cider/water mixture). Add apples to already prepped oats and cook for 2 minutes in the microwave (or 10 minutes on a stovetop). Once cooked, add brown sugar, pecans, and dash of cinnamon. If you would like thicker oatmeal, let sit in for a minute or microwave for 20-30 additional seconds.
*Note: If you want apples to be crunchier, add them after cooking the oatmeal.
What is your favorite ingredient to add to your oatmeal?
Photo credit: The Grainery

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