The Arrowhead Mills® process is a powerful reminder of the vigor found in the local organic farming community.
The April earth in Hereford Texas is softening up after a winter of frigid nights and whipping winds. Average daily temperatures have begun to creep back toward the mid-70’s and the sweet southern soil gives off a renewed, earthy pungency.
Dale Hollingsworth senses the change that permeates the air; it fills him with a rush of warm nostalgia. “I miss being a farmer most at spring time,” he speaks in a comforting Texan drawl, “I was farming three major plots of crops across 1,800 acres.”
These days, Dale is the dedicated Purchasing Manager at Arrowhead Mills®, a role that allows him to preserve his connection with the familiar farmland he grew to love over the course of 22 years of planting, while also granting him a sense of pride and commitment in upholding the stringent organic standards of Arrowhead Mills®.
Dale’s primary concern as Purchasing Manager is to ensure that Arrowhead Mills® remains a pivotal pillar of the local organic community. This involves visiting nearby farms, maintaining relationships with farmers and taking samples to ensure that each farm’s organic practices meet Arrowhead Mills’® stringent standards for their products.
Many of the farms Dale visits are ones he is familiar with from his time as a farmer. “Sometimes I’ll visit farms just to talk,” he muses, “we’re a pretty small, tight-knit community in this area.”
20 miles from the Mill is one such frequently-visited farm: the 3rd generation Grotegut family farm, which has been operated by Chris Grotegut for the past 25 years.
Their partnership with Arrowhead Mills® began in the late 90’s, after the Grotegut farm became officially certified USDA organic. “[Since we went organic] we’ve only farmed using 100% organic techniques,” states Grotegut, “we put grasses back into the fields so we don’t worry about the wind blowing the soil away. We rotate crops to naturally get rid of pests. We replace what we take off the land and work diligently to keep that balance, to maintain the sustainability of the environment.”
Further reflecting the earth-friendly commitment of Arrowhead Mills®, the Groteguts have also resisted succumbing to the dubious trend of GMO farming. “I don’t know why they would use that technology to focus on herbicide resistance instead of nutritional enhancement,” he says, “when you plant non-GMO crops, you run the risk of having future failures, it’s a short lived trade off. The best way to keep soil fertile and pest-free is with proper irrigation and rigorous rotation.”
These, and other organic techniques are what make the Arrowhead Mills® approach to farming, harvesting and product production such a wholesome process.
From all of us at Arrowhead Mills® to the local, organic farmers that help make us who we are: thank you, and happy planting season!