Profiles: New Hope Mills, Walnut Acres Community Center, and Middletown Science Fair

This installment of an ongoing feature profiles the founder of New Hope Mills, the founder of Walnut Acres, and a teenager whose junk food diet experiment was the highlight of the Middletown science fair.

| May/June 1979

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Dave Queenan with one of his experimental subjects.


In celebration of little-known MOTHER EARTH NEWS-type folks from all over.  

Leland Weed: Natural Miller

"I've never used additives here at New Hope Mills," says Leland Weed. "Why, I've been waging a three-year battle in order to keep chemicals out of my flour." Leland owns a 155-year-old flour mill, run on the water power of New York State's Bear Creek, and he makes his flour the same way the job was done back at the turn of the century. "I dry may grain at a considerably lower temperature (95°F) than most mills use today," says Weed. "The process at New Hope is so gentle that you could plant my grain after it's dried, and it would still grow. Grain processed at higher temperatures is killed," says Leland, "and if it is not ground immediately it ages, leaving a taste that can be compared to that of two-year-old nuts! "

Weed sorts his flour differently from most mills too: "At New Hope the tailings are set aside and sold as pig feed, whereas those from other mills often end upon your dinner table," says Leland.

"But worst of all," Weed declares, "is the amount of chemicals people today are accustomed to eating. It's getting to the point where there are hardly enough foods without additives on the market to keep us from starving.

"There's even a law in New York State now which prohibits the sale of flour without preservatives except cornmeal and corn products. But I've got something better than lawyers working for me in my fight against that law," says Leland. "I've got a good deal of the public behind me all the way. 10,000 letters in my behalf have already been sent to Albany. "

And meanwhile, Leland and his sons are still making flour—chemical-free as always—at New Hope Mills and selling that flour nationwide. "One thing is certain," says Leland Weed, "I'll keep additives away from my flour as long as water keeps flowing down the banks of old Bear Creek."—Elisabeth Varak. 

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