“Growing up on the farm was really fun. But we don’t think of it as the good old days. We all hated it at the time,” says Jeff Zimmerman of his childhood in North Dakota. “It was a lot of work. We’d leave the house in the morning and we’d come back at night. My brother and I, we were just talking about it, the things we did. You’ve got space, so you burn things and you build things.”
Though Zimmerman never thought he’d become a farmer himself, in 2011 he established Hayden Flour Mills, which churns out flours like stone-milled Artisan Bread Flour and nutty, stone-ground Pasta Flour from heritage Arizona crops like White Sonora wheat and Blue Durum heritage wheat.
And those family farming ties still run deep. Zimmerman’s daughter, Emma, is now taking an active role in the business.
“It’s a delight,” he says. “When she was a little girl, when I would fix something, work under the car, work under the sink to fix the drain—she’s with me doing it. She was always my sidekick.”
Photo credit: Courtesy of Hayden Flour Mills