We can thank the Native Americans for the grits that have long been a Southern staple and now are finding their way onto plates all over the globe. Grits are made from dried corn that has been finely ground in a gristmill like the ones used at Geechie Boy Mill. Using the antique mills and grinding the heirloom grains the way it’s been done for generations helps retain the natural oils and flavors of the corn – making Geechie Boy grits some of the most sought-after grits in the country. Restaurants from California to Chicago and from Charleston to Maine are serving dishes made with Geechie Boy grits.
Although customer preference is for white grits, Geechie Boy mills both white and yellow corn. The heirloom corn comes from different sources, including farms in Kentucky. This older variety of heirloom corn is an open-pollinated crop. That means Greg Johnsman works only with those farms that ensure no new genetically modified corn is being grown nearby, which could contaminate the heirloom varieties.
Geechie Boy Mill also grows and mills their own Heirloom rye (one of the earliest grains grown in the south). Stretching 8 feet tall, the rye makes an excellent wind break for their tomato crop. Plus, it’s one of the best strains of rye available in the country, making it appealing to high-end restaurants. The Restaurant At Meadowood in Napa Valley, California, uses Geechie Boy rye for its table bread. The Abruzzi Rye isn’t sticky so it’s much easier for bakers to use.