Golden Grain Flour Mills, Lake Culleleraine Milling up to 60 tonnes of flour a week Expanding sidelines in chickpea and maize flour Family business also include a farm, producing cereals and almonds
FOR THE most part, the Australian flour milling industry is shrinking, with aggregation meaning there are less and less small players remaining.
However one Millewa-based mill is bucking the trend, carving out an impressive niche in the four years since it opened.
The Grewal family, from India’s Punjab region, via Renmark in South Australia’s Riverland, arrived at Lake Culleleraine to farm in 2005, before opening Golden Grain Flour Mills in 2005.
Kamaljit Grewal, who runs the business along with brothers Manjinder and Agyakar, said the mill was now milling up to 60 tonnes of wheat a week for Golden Grain’s whole wheat product.
The flour now has a cult following among restaurateurs and home cooks alike.
“It’s very popular in specialty stores across Melbourne,” Kamaljit said.
The ranges of wheat flour, including a premium line and a baking line are all produced using a stone grinding system.
“Using a stone grinding system allows us to mill a little slower which allows us to keep more of the wheat’s nutrients in the flour.”
Although the mill is growing, a lot of the work remains a hard slog, with the flour manually bagged up in five, ten and 20 kilogram packages.
The mill was initially designed as a value-adding proposition for the wheat produced on the Grewals’ Millewa farm of 1250ha, which they bought in 2005, but has since expanded sufficiently that the family now buy in grain from neighbouring farms.
While the focus is on high protein flour, Kamaljit said when the mill had made biscuit flours in the past they had sourced lower protein flour for the product.
But it is not just wheat processed at the mill, with a rapidly expanding focus on besan (chickpea flour) and maize flour.
“There’s a lot of interest in gluten free products at present,” Kemaljit said.
He said initially the chickpeas and corn were milled in the wheat flour mill, which was then cleaned, but due to the increasing demand for both types of flour, the brothers invested in dedicated equipment for the gluten free lines.
Last year Golden Grain milled over 300 tonnes of besan, and Kemaljit said this figure looked set to grow again.
He said Golden Grain was cashing in on the fact it was one of the few Australian manufacturers of chickpea flour.
“There might be a few doing some bits and pieces, but overall its still quite a small industry and there is a lot of demand, a lot of cultures traditionally use chickpea flour in their cooking.”
The chickpeas are sourced mainly from Deniliquin in the Riverina, while the maize comes across from Swan Hill.
Along with the mill and the cereal growing business, the Grewals also produce almonds which are sold to an almond processor.
There are also grain cleaning facilities.
“We’ve got a few things going on,” a deadpan Kamaljit said.