All the years that I have been visiting Calistoga, I've driven past the Bale Grist Mill. Today I stopped and took a tour. The mill was central to Napa Valley life in the last half of the 19th century. The crops back then were winter wheat, corn, barley, and oats. The mill, started by Edward Turner Bale, became so successful that he put plans in place to expand it. Unfortunately he died before he could start the expansion, but his wife Maria Soberanes Bale carried out the plans and became quite wealthy when the mill's capacity increased.
Thanks to volunteers, the operation of the mill and its history are kept alive today. The tour included the in-depth story of the mill's past and an impression demonstration of how to operated the mill. The volunteer miller showed how to grind rye into rye flour. I left with a bag of corn meal that was milled yesterday.