Stafford County Flour Mills Company, Hudson
Hudson Cream flour label. Photo Kansas Sampler Foundation.
Stafford County Flour Mills elevator located in Hudson, Kansas. Photo Marci Penner.
Flour bags being filled on the production line. Photo courtesy Stafford County Flour Mills Co.
Flour bags on belt on their way to be packaged for shipping. Photo courtesy Stafford County Flour Mills Co.
Bags of flour packaged for shipping. Photo courtesy Stafford County Flour Mills Co.
Thousands of bags of flour are produced each day at the mill and are shipped and sold throughout the country. Photo courtesy Stafford County Flour Mills Co.
108 S. Church, Hudson, KS 67545 [map this location]
Stafford County Flour Mills is one of the 8 Wonders of Kansas Commerce because they are one of the last independent flour mills remaining in the U.S. and specialize in flour for the home baker.
Stafford County Flour Mills has been perfecting the fine art of flour milling in the slow, traditional way for 100 years. Hudson Cream Flour (bleached) is the signature short patent flour made from the heart of the wheat berry. Used as all-purpose flour, it makes baked goods with a light texture like no other flour can!
WHY IT'S THE BEST
Hudson Cream flour is made using a "short patent" milling process, a method that was much more common a century ago than today. The difference is that in short patent milling the wheat is ground more times and sifted with finer-meshed sieves than in standard milling. Also, the short patent process sifts away more by-product, leaving only the heart of the wheat kernel to make Hudson Cream flour. The result is flour that is smoother in texture and produces baked goods that are consistently light and fluffy.
AN INTERESTING TIDBIT: What does a cow have to do with flour?
Our specialty is flour for the home baker. We're recognized by the distinctive cow logo, and we're often asked: how does a cow symbolize flour? In the early 1900s when the mill was built, many people owned their own cows for milking and it was commonly believed that the Jersey cow produced the best milk and cream. The mill's founder chose the Jersey cow and the word "cream" to symbolize the white richness, smooth texture, and high quality of the flour.
STRONG COMMUNITY ADVOCATE
Located in Hudson, pop. 125, the company takes pride in being a company that actively supports the community -- and the community is proud of this milling business. Organizations in town have pancake feeds as fundraisers and Stafford County Flour Mills is glad to provide the flour!
INTERESTING TIME LINE THAT REFLECTS THE TIMES
1881 Gustav Krug migrated from Saxony, Germany and settled on a farm north of Hudson, Kansas. His father, Karl, was in the milling business in Germany
1904 Gustav's interest in milling outweighed his love of farming. He built a house in the town of Hudson and with his brother-in-law Otto Sondregger organized the "Hudson Milling Company"
1905 Production began at the newly built mill. Capacity was 75 barrels per day
1909 Financial problems forced the brothers-in-law to reorganize with a group of investors as the "Stafford County Flour Mills Company"
1913 Original wooden mill burned to ground. Krug borrowed $50,000 in funds to build a new mill and erect the first four concrete storage tanks.
1914 Milling began at the new mill. Capacity was 300 barrels per day. At the time, it was one of the most modern flour mills in Kansas. This is the mill that continues to be in operation today.
1920 Founder Gustav Krug passes away and son, William, becomes second president of Stafford County Flour Mills
1922 "Never underestimate the influence of a good lady" Leila English Reid, who was born and raised in Stafford County, moved to West Virginia and was not satisfied with any of the flour she found on the shelves there. She convinced her local grocer to accept one train car shipment of Hudson Cream Flour, and, as they say, the rest is history. Today, a majority of Hudson Cream Flour is sold in West Virginia, Virginia, Kentucky, and Ohio.
1937 Alvin Brensing, president of Stafford County Flour Mill from 1986 to present, began work at SCFM as a bookkeeper
1943 Prior to World War II, most flour was sold in 25 and 50 pound cloth bags. During the war, sugar was rationed and many women began buying bread already baked so they could use their limited sugar in other recipes. This had a lasting impact, as women became accustomed to not baking bread, even after the sugar rations were lifted. It was following WWII that flour began to be packaged in smaller bags (at first, they were cloth bags in 5 and 10 pound quantities), and a growing portion of flour was sold to commercial bakeries.
1950 Growing methods for agricultural crops improved rapidly throughout the 1950s, including the introduction of better fertilizers. In the early part of the decade, Stafford County Flour Mills began selling dry fertilizer as a service to farmers to assist them in growing better crops. Selling fertilizer is now a major part of our business.
1952 Self-Rising flour was developed at the request of consumers in the Appalachia region. It is now by far our best selling Hudson Cream flour variety.
1954 Storage capacity is added for 750,000 bushels of grain
1961 Paper bags began to be used for packaging flour rather than cloth.
1964 Remodeling and expansion project was completed that included automating the mill, electrifying the plant and increasing milling capacity to 1,000 hundredweights per day.
1972 Leonard Brim named third President of Stafford County Flour Mills Co.
1984 Packaging plant was built, which included bulk flour storage along with automated packaging equipment
1985 While the general trend for flour packaging over the years has been to make bags with smaller quantities, it was not until the mid-1980s that our 140 pound bag of flour was discontinued. Most of these huge bags were sold for export.
1986 The Krug family, ready to retire and without a family member of the next generation to take over, was looking to sell Stafford County Flour Mills. Several members of the community were concerned that selling to a large company would mean a loss of jobs, and perhaps the entire mill would eventually be shut down. A holding company was formed to pool the resources of many members of the community, and the holding company purchased controlling interest of the mill from the Krug family, keeping Stafford County Flour Mills a locally-owned company.
1986 Alvin Brensing is named fourth President of Stafford County Flour Mill
1990 Hudson Cream Self-Rising White Corn Meal Mix introduced, again largely at the urging of consumers from the Appalachia region.
1991 Purchased English Grain Company in neighboring town of Macksville
1992 Hudson Cream Whole Wheat flour is introduced, taking advantage of the new hard white wheat varieties being grown in the area. The white wheat offers the nutritional benefits of whole wheat but is naturally sweeter in flavor than traditional red wheat varieties.
1992 Mill was remodeled and expanded, including installation of new cleaning equipment. Milling capacity was increased to 2,400 cwt per day.
1999 New packing equipment installed along with increased wheat and bulk flour storage
2000 Bread Flour, which has added gluten to improve dough strength, is added to the Hudson Cream product offering.
2000 Tornado destroys Stafford County Flour Mills Co. office.
2001 New office built and dedicated
2004 In December of 2004 we celebrated 100 years of making Hudson Cream Flour.
2007 Company president Alvin Brensing celebrated his 70th year with Stafford County Flour Mill.
Reservations for group tours are appreciated. Phone 620.458.4111.
In the brick scale house, you'll find a scrapbook about the history of the mill, a small retail area, and a few artifacts. Open Monday-Friday 8 a.m.-5 p.m.; Saturday 8 a.m.-noon.
LEARN MORE AT www.hudsoncream.com