Grinding out a success - artisan corn mill bakery sees rise in sales

  • Video report by Ralph Blumson

A newly restored corn mill with its own bakery in Cumbria is reporting increased business as a result of the lockdown. 

Managers at the Warwick Bridge Corn mill says they believe the pandemic has made people more aware of where their food comes from and there's an increasing demand for local produce.

It was built in the 12th century, but was closed in 1989. In 2015 it was badly damaged by Storm Desmond and since then has undergone a £2m restoration.

The building is run by a charity, but the produce side of the business is community owned through local shares. The bakery uses corn milled on site to make bread and cakes.  

Co-manager Geoff Crowe told ITV Border: "Its kind of a little bit of a boom and bust thing happening at the moment. While the lockdown is happening people are very interested in buying our stuff, lockdown eased and people just went back to the supermarkets. 

"We just focussed on the flour, but now that the bakery is coming online it's only been going since September. We only got our ovens installed in September so we feel that that's growing steadily and that'll be a good thing."

"Lockdown's coming back so people are wanting our flour again. We think the bakery is actually steadily growing.That was something that we originally wanted to do earlier than we actually did but the whole pandemic slowed those plans down. 

Credit: ITV News

Demand for their produce here is so strong during the lockdown, they've introduced their own click and collect service.

The mill is now fully up and running after a very long renovation. They're using original machinery where possible, much of it the subject of careful restoration work.   In charge of flour production is miller, Karen Mason. 

She said: ''It's great, it's lovely to have the old equipment running properly to be producing flour from it.

"When we under the building works I was constantly wanting to have it running and then the millwrights finished the works on it we've got it working I'm able to  produce flour and everything seems to be working quite nicely."

This is very much a working corn mill. Volunteers help pack small bags of flour which can be found in local shops. Demand is strong at the moment. They're hoping that will continue long after the pandemic is over.