230-Year-Old Mississippi Mill Makes Some of the South's Best Grits
The fabled grounds are well worth a visit.
Grits have an incredible history in Southern cuisine, with the kitchen staple mushing and mashing their reign on spoons all over our region to this day.
From a North Carolina family farm growing some of the best grits in the South to the best-selling grits on Amazon hailing from a tiny South Carolina farm, there's no shortage of incredible grits legacies in our neck of the woods. Now, we've learned about a historic mill that may just take the (corn) cake: Sciple's Mill outside of De Kalb, Mississippi.
The water mill, perched on the bank of Running Tiger Creek has been operating since 1790, continues to mill corn or grits for the public thanks to the devotion of the Sciple family.
"I've been around it since I was born," Sciple's Mill owner, Eddie Sciple, 53, said to the Clarion Ledger. "I used to help my grandpa when he was milling.
"I helped my daddy mill, too. Our family bought it around 1850 or 1860 — somewhere around that time frame. I'm the fifth-generation owner. We have seven generations that have worked at it," Sciple continued. Watch Eddie Sciple talk about the mill's history in a video from the Clarion Ledger below.
Amazingly, Sciple's Mill charges growers precisely what the original owners did in 1790: one-eighth of the corn or wheat being ground, which the mill can then bag and sell. If you come to visit on your next backroads Mississippi adventure, you can pick up 10 pounds of cornmeal for $6, a grits and fish fry for $3 for two pounds, and three pounds of flour for $3. The mill still employs the same technology it did in the 18th century, using water from Running Tiger Creek to power its operations.
WATCH: This North Carolina Family Farm is Growing Some of the Best Grits in the South
Even though Sciple teaches at a local community college, running the water mill is a time-intensive, full-time responsibility that involves much labor and scheduling his travel around rainfall to keep things at the mill running smoothly.
Regardless, milling is built into the fibers of his being just like a taste for grits are embedded in our Southern palates. "It's not something you can really retire from," Sciple said. "You just keep doing it until you can't anymore."
Sciple's Mill is located at 525 Sciples Mill Rd, De Kalb, MS 39328-6955. If you're lucky and in town on a Saturday night, you may even catch a live performance at the "Water Mill Opry," a memory bound to be engraved into your travel reel for years to come.