Bale Grist Mill

| June 29, 2005 | 2 Comments
  • 2 Comments


Imagine meandering down a pretty forest trail next to a babbling brook that leads you to an old mill. With no sight of cars or the highway you may feel like you’ve stepped back in time. This past weekend up in Napa I had a chance to visit the Bale Grist Mill which is a State Historic Park between St. Helena and Calistoga on Highway 29.

The Bale Grist Mill is the only working mill left in all of California. At one time there were 30 mills in the Bay Area alone. Mills used to be gathering points for local farmers. They would have their grain milled into cornmeal or flour and they would come to gossip and even have meetings.

In addition to seeing how it works, I bought some bags of freshly milled corn and wheat and heard the stories associated with the mill–about the owner, his wife and the history of the time. While Edward Turner Bale built the mill, it was his wife Maria who made it a success. Bale abandoned his family after only a few years to head to the gold country, returned ill and died soon after. Maria installed a conveyor system and built a bolting and threshing machine.

Visiting the mill you also learn about the origin of mill expressions.

Here is a list of all the mill expressions I could find, let me know if I’ve missed any!

have a millstone around one’s neck
put through the mill
hung on tenterhooks
grist for the mill
rule of thumb
manhandle
run of the mill
keep your nose to the grindstone
show me your mettle

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Category: Bay Area Bites Food + Drink

About the Author ()

Amy Sherman began blogging in 2003, because all her friends and family were constantly asking her where and what to eat. Three months after it launched, Forbes chose her blog, Cooking with Amy, as one of the top five best food blogs, praising her writing as “smart, cozy and witty”. Since then her blog has been featured and recipes reprinted in many newspapers and magazines in the U.S. and the world. In addition to regularly updating her blog, Amy is a guest contributor to the Epicurious.com blog, and Contributing Editor of Glam Dish. She also writes restaurant reviews for SF Station. Her focus on Bay Area Bites is primarily cookbook reviews along with some interviews and current events. Amy is a recipe developer and freelance food writer. She is author of WinePassport: Portugal and wrote the new introduction to the classic cookbook, Jane Grigson’s Vegetable Book, published by the University of Nebraska Press. She recently completed 45 recipes for a Williams-Sonoma cookbook and wrote her first piece for VIA magazine. She is currently serving on the board of the San Francisco Professional Food Society and is a member of the International Association of Culinary Professionals. Amy lives in San Francisco with her husband, tech journalist Lee Sherman.
  • Tim Kellogg

    My great, great grandfather, Florintine Erwin Kellogg,Did all the iron work and owned land north of the mill where there was a tiny town named Kellogg.He also had one of the first vineyards.
    I was given all of the family history that goes back to the early 1800’s.I have several pictures of the mill and the area.
    Tim kellogg
    Stockton,ca.
    tokay1971@yahoo.com

  • Tim Kellogg

    My great, great grandfather, Florintine Erwin Kellogg,Did all the iron work and owned land north of the mill where there was a tiny town named Kellogg.He also had one of the first vineyards. I was given all of the family history that goes back to the early 1800’s.I have several pictures of the mill and the area.