Pride of the Valley Flour Mill
Since their origins in ancient Russia, Doukhobors have maintained a deep connection with their agrarian roots. Their horticultural skills were fine tuned on the Canadian prairies when they collectively farmed thousands of acres, cultivating wheat and other grains. Being self-reliant and self-sufficient, their early prairie communities made use of steam driven tractors and threshing machines and included grain elevators and flour milling operations.
As they emigrated to British Columbia in the early 20th century, the Doukhobors brought with them the tools and skills required to grow grain. Of all their collective properties in the West Kootenay Boundary region, Grand Forks proved to be the most favourable for agriculture, where orchards and wheat fields were cultivated with great success. A flour mill was constructed to process grain at the Kootnikoff village in West Grand Forks by the Christian Communities of Universal Brotherhood (CCUB) in the early 1920's. Although CCUB collective farming had long been abandoned and the adjacent village was dismantled by the 1970's the flour mill was brought back into service at that time in an attempt to reconnect with Doukhobor agricultural traditions and practices. Once again the mill began processing various local organically grown grains, producing the "Pride of the Valley" brand of flours.
The Pride of The Valley Flour Mill is located near the USCC Community Centre in West Grand Forks and is currently maintained by a non-profit group, the Doukhobor Milling Heritage Society, which largely consists of USCC members. Society members continue to mill grain on demand, although they now purchase their grains. They mill brown and white wheat, rye and triticale, a cross between wheat and rye which produces an excellent bread and waffle flour. They also produce an excellent bran. Pride of the Valley products are distributed in the Kootenay-Boundary area and the Okanagan in various retail outlets and are also used by the USCC Ladies Bread and Lapsha groups.
The heritage flour mill has been preserved in its original form and functions as a sort of museum housing a collection of old equipment and mill stones. It is not open on a regularly scheduled basis, but visits can be arranged in the summer months.
Telephone 250 442-8252 for further information.