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VIII. GRAINS OF TRUTH

One bushel of wheat weighs sixty (60) pounds and contains one million individual kernels.

One bushel of wheat yields:

  • 42 pounds of white flour which will make 70 one-pound loaves of white bread

or

  • 60 pounds of whole wheat flour which will make 90 one-pound loaves of whole wheat

bread

or

  • 45 24-ounce boxes of wheat flake cereal

or

  • 43 pounds of pasta – spaghetti is the most popular

THEN . . . in the 1840s it took a farmer more than 64 hours to prepare the soil, plant the seed, harvest and thresh one acre of wheat. Most families grew only 2.5 acres of wheat.

NOW . . . with mechanization it takes a farmer approximately 3 hours to prepare the soil, plant the seed, harvest and thresh one acre of wheat. Most wheat farmers grow about 1,000 acres.

In California, before the Gold Rush, flour cost about 1.5 cents per pound, during the Gold Rush about $1.50 per pound.

The average American eats approximately 136 pounds of flour each year.

Approximately 925 million pounds of crackers are sold in the U.S. each year.

Approximately 3 billion pizzas are sold in the U.S. each year.

Every American eats approximately 46 slices of pizza each year.

52% of Americans say the chocolate chip cookie is their favorite cookie.

IX. NOTES ON AGRICULTURE AND THE GRIST MILL AT SUTTER’S FORT

The grist mill may have been the single most important place at Sutter’s Fort. It was probably in operation day and night. It not only had to provide flour for the hundreds of people living and working around the Fort, but until 1846 it was the only source of flour for anyone living in the Sacramento Valley. Agriculture was the backbone of Sutter’s empire and would have been the key to future riches.

Prior to Sutter establishing New Helvetia, the nearest grist mill was in Sonoma. In 1846 a man named Sheldon opened a grist mill near present day Sloughhouse. The grinding stones were originally cut from a place called Stony Creek, about 25 miles from the Fort. Archaeologists and geologists suspect they probably came from the area of present day Rocklin. There are

ELP Agriculture-Grist Mill

Page 4 of 6

Rev 8/08

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