Nestled beside a wheat field in Middle Georgia, the Butts family has farmed the land for over a century, and what they do with their wheat is not much different than what they did with wheat 100 years ago. They have a stone mill that grinds the Georgia Grown wheat into flour, resulting in the purest form of “whole wheat” flour. By getting "back to the basics" with minimal processing, this whole grain wheat has more fiber, nutrients and rich, nutty flavors that you won't find in the baking aisle of your regular grocery store.
Our interview with Ginger Butts is below:
1) What inspired Back to the Basics 101 to begin?
Well first of all, my husband Johnny grows wheat. Secondly, I have a keen interest in nutritional wisdom. My children had asthma when they were young, and as a follower of Jesus Christ, I decided to switch my family to a diet of whole foods (and whole grains!) and an "if God created it, we ate it" mentality. My boys were healed of their asthma, and I experienced the power of healing through nutrition. In 2012, the nutrition director our school system asked if they could use my husband Johnny's wheat to make rolls for a "Feed My School" initiative. I'm a purist, and then I was grinding grains with a residential mill. So, I brought fresh milled flour to the school, taught the staff how to bake with fresh milled flour, and they experienced how delicious fresh milled products really are! I sold my flour throughout our local school system, and in the summers I would take fresh milled flour to farmers markets. I soon discovered although fresh milled flour is a rarity at farmers markets and beyond, not many people bake these days. Thus came the idea to produce homemade baking mixes. It quickly became a top seller to support my business as they are convenient and approachable to someone who has never tried, or had access to, real whole grain flour before. And that's the thing - a lot of people don't know that fresh milled whole wheat flour exists. They think their only choice is the "dead" flour on the baking aisle of the grocery store.
2) What makes your flour different?
My husband is a conventional farmer. However, the wheat he grows for my business, is grown using organic practices as much as possible. We mill the wheat ourselves, and it retains 35-40 nutrients that your grocery store flours do not have - and is often re-fortified with - during processing. I've noticed that wheat and gluten is the food to hate right now, but I want people to understand that wheat in and off itself is not the bad guy. Mass-production overly processes it makes it the bad guy, though, and creates health complications. Doing it simply and "back to the basics" like we do is another ball of wax!
3) You offer a variety of baking mixes, like Cheddar Garlic Biscuits! Do you have a favorite one?
So, I know I'm in the minority here, but I don't eat sugar. Many of the baking mixes I have created have sugar in it. But, we do have 4 mixes that don't have sugar in it. That being said, personally, I like the Pancake/Waffle mix because it's easy, delicious, and it's comfort food. I know it's simple, but our flour takes your basic pancakes to a whole new level. It's not rocket science, it's just good flour. I'll also mention that our Banana Bread and Sausage Cheese Balls were both Finalists in the Flavor of Georgia contest!
4) How does Back to the Basics 101 work with the community?
Although I started working with schools, my business has evolved. Competition came my way, and I decided to focus more on nutrition and wellness and education. My vision is too create a space for people to be nourished in their mind, body and soul. We're actually in the process of building a facility that will serve as a production site for me as well as a retail place for the community to purchase whole foods. We will have hydraulic pressed juice, fresh baked goods, organic produce and meat, fermented drinks/food as well as a place for educational enrichment. Customers will be able to see in our mill room and we hope to have field trips in the future. Back to the Basics 101's name refers to education because I follow the principle of "give a man a fish, feed him for a day, but teach a man to fish, feed him for a lifetime". I'm excited to build a healthy relationship with customers and retailers and the community in general - our space will be opening in the next few weeks!