The Shell family has been farming these 60 acres since 1959, when our dad Parmalee Shell bought the land and started his family here. We've grown everything from tobacoo to hay and wheat over those years, seeing the farm through recessions, gas strikes, and more. The world has changed around the farm, but we're still here, raising cattle and raising our kids.
When Parmalee bought an old stone mill from a man in North Carolina in the sixties, he was thinking that one day he would retire, let his sons run the farm, and run a little milling business to keep busy. He sent the mill back to the Meadows Mill company to have it completely overhauled, ready for the day when he'd be less busy on the farm and could start tinkering with it.
Unfortunately, that day never came. Parmalee passed away from cancer in his fifties, and the mill sat stored away for another twenty years.
The world changed around us again, and during this last recession, we started looking for new ways to keep the Shell Farm running. We decided to get out dad's old mill, and see whether anyone still wanted old-fashioned stone ground flours and grits. We have been blown away by the response -- around here, people still remember going to the local mill every week with their corn, and they remember how their cornbread used to taste with those fresh ingredients.
Parmalee's mill now runs every day, and we're now sending our grits and cornflour as far as Chicago and Scotland. We think dad would be happy to see that the Shell Farm is still kicking, and that his mill will help keep the farm going for another three generations.