THE 3-MINUTE INTERVIEW: Mason Maddox

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People,Liz Essley

Maddox is the miller at Colvin Run Mill. He makes flour, cornmeal and grits at the water-powered mill, built about 1810 and now operated by the Fairfax County Park Authority. Their last grinding demonstration for the year is Sunday from noon to 3 p.m.

How did you become the miller?

I was the lead carpenter for the restoration crew for the park authority. I took care of all their historic sites, and they advertised for a miller. I knew how to run the mill because I'd been working on it, so luckily I was the winning applicant. Since then, I've gone to England to spend a month studying milling techniques with millers over there. I'm very active in groups for the preservation of milling.

Does this job make you want to live in a different time period?

Oh sure. I'd very much like to experience life in 1810, when this was the height of technology. I enjoy passing on this technology to the younger generation. One of our biggest goals here is educating children. Children today have lost the connection between what it took in 1810 to make a loaf of bread to what it does today. In 1810, there was the farmer, the baker and the miller. Today, you ask them where a loaf of bread comes from, and they tell you, "Giant Food."

How does your flour taste?

It's fantastic. We grind all local grains. I buy my grains in Ashland, Va. We have no preservatives or additives or anything, so we keep them refrigerated. They're a lot fresher and more flavorful. Once people try our grains, they're pretty much hooked. It's so much different when you have local products that are ground fresh, rather than the ones that have all the extra chemicals in them. Right now, there's a big movement to natural and local foods. A lot of local restaurants are buying our grits and using them.

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Author:

Liz Essley

Staff Writer - Transportation
The Washington Examiner