Co-owner Tony Rosenfeld making bagels at One Mighty Mill on Exchange Street in Lynn. (Owen O'Rourke)
Business, News

Co-founders of B.GOOD open One Mighty Mill in Lynn hoping to revitalize local food systems

LYNN — One Mighty Mill, which mills wheat into flour in a way that hearkens back to the turn of the 20th century, opened for business on Exchange Street Thursday.

Co-founders of One Mighty Mill Jon Olinto and Tony Rosenfeld, the latter of whom serves as the company's chef, started the venture after leaving B.GOOD, a farm-to-table food chain they co-founded 15 years ago.

Olinto said their stone ground flour is made on their 7,000 pound mill, which is 48 inches across. The two granite stones weigh 1,200 pounds each. The wheat being milled is grown on a farm in Maine.

One Mighty Mill bakes the flour into bagels, tortillas and pretzels. The company is two-pronged. It operates as a manufacturer, making products wholesale for large clients, and their 68 Exchange St. site is a retail component, a cafe that also sells coffee.

One Mighty Mill is open from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Plans are to expand the menu over time.

The company is starting out small. Their only wholesale client is Boston Public Schools, but plans are to sell to supermarkets. Other products will include pizza dough, flour, pancake mix, and pasta, with some sold in the cafe.

"We decided that the idea is going to be rooted in the concept of wheat you can eat," Olinto said. "Behind that, (you) can only do that by revitalizing local food systems. (You) have to build a mill. We did that and built a bakery to support that."

Olinto said they left B.GOOD about a year ago after discovering there was a hole in the farm-to-table story. He said it took about a decade to get the awakening that farms weren't talked about when talking about bread. He said he never knew anything about flour.

Olinto said when they started their quest, they started going to local farms and learned about milling. In 1900, he said, there were about 25,000 grain mills in the country, but by 2000, there were only about 200 mills left in the country.

Growing wheat has also become industrialized, he said. There are a lot of local farms, but they don't grow wheat and grain, and there are no mills to support that food system.

Olinto said wheat grown and milled the right way helps sustainable agriculture and improves the health of the country. Industrialized wheat and flour is more processed, he said.

"(The idea was) to tell a new story around a really old idea and take us back to the way we should be eating, the way we used to eat," Olinto said.

According to their website, from about 8,000 B.C. to 1900, wheat was the original farm-to-table food, which was packed with nutrients and a healthy staple of the human diet.

According to Rosenfeld, One Mighty Mill makes 2,500 bagels and 1,200 tortillas a day, and mills 200 pounds of wheat an hour, or 1,000 pounds a day. Plans are to increase those numbers as they increase clientele.

Olinto said they were sold on opening in Lynn after taking a meeting with U.S. Rep. Seth Moulton's office. Staff there sold them on how there was an opportunity to do something that mattered to the community. After doing a tour, he said they moved their real estate focus from Boston to downtown Lynn.

James Cowdell, Economic Development & Industrial Corporation of Lynn (EDIC/Lynn) executive director, said EDIC/Lynn received a phone call from Moulton's office six months ago saying Olinto was looking at Lynn for his business.

From there, he said the city had been working to find One Mighty Mill a home.

"We're excited to have a new manufacturing company in downtown Lynn," Cowdell said. "If you go back to Lynn's history, that definitely is our roots."

 

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