top of page



Local History

The Legacy of Bob’s Red Mill

The Legacy of Bob’s Red Mill

By Robert Matsumura

Shoppers strolling the health food aisle in their local grocery store are likely familiar with the congenial
image of Bob Moore in his signature cap gracing the label of Bob’s Red Mill products. The homey design of the packaging, with its early 20th century fonts and engaging slogans, has become synonymous with fine, organic milled flours and staple food products.

Today, Bob’s Red Mill products are sold not only throughout the U.S. and Canada, but overseas as well, covering 60 countries spanning the entire globe. But where and how did it all start? If you don’t know already, Bob’s Red Mill is a locally-based company with its headquarters in Milwaukee, Oregon. With Bob’s recent passing at the age of 94, it seemed an appropriate time to appreciate not only the accomplishments of Bob himself, but of this iconic Oregon brand that has played a significant role in facilitating organic foods and healthy living.

It seems only fitting that we start the story of Bob’s Red Mill with the man himself, Bob Moore. During the 1950s, Moore, after failed attempts at owning and operating two gas stations in California, eventually bought a five-acre goat farm with his wife Charlee. It was here that they raised their sons and began baking whole grain breads. By the 1960s Bob became fascinated with stone-ground flours after reading a book titled “John Goffe’s Mill.” The book was about an archaeologist who rebuilt a flour mill, and with
no prior experience, turned it into a successful business. In time, Moore purchased some traditional stone-grinding flour millstones, and with the help of his wife and sons, opened Moore’s Flour Mill in Redding, CA.

During the 1970s, Moore and his wife moved to Portland, OR to pursue studies at a seminary. It wasn’t long, though, before Bob was back in the flour business. After purchasing a commercial flour mill in Oregon City and painting it red, Bob acquired additional millstones and launched Bob’s Red Mill, which produced stone-ground flour for the local Portland market. Initially, the flour and cereals could only be purchased directly from the company itself, but in 1978 Moore struck a deal with Fred Meyer who began selling his products in their grocery stores.

In 1988 tragedy struck when an arsonist’s fire destroyed the original mill. Fortunately, the millstones themselves were spared, and the Moores borrowed $2.5 million to construct a new 60,000 square-foot facility in Milwaukie, Oregon. Bob’s Red Mill was one of the early companies into the whole grains movement, and their 1991 gluten free mill was one of the first of its kind. The Moores were also one of the first to introduce retail-sized packaging for specialty grains and cereals. In addition to these innovations, Bob’s Red Mill established a laboratory to test their products in order to certify them organic and gluten-free.

In February of 2010 Bob transferred ownership of the company to his employees through an employee stock ownership program. By 2018 Bob’s Red Mill had expanded operations to a 325,000 foot facility, and the products were being distributed both regionally and overseas with annual revenue over $100 million. Bob Moore passed away in 2024 at the age of 94, but Bob’s Red Mill, the organic whole foods company that he founded, not only helped improve the way America and the world eats, but continues to deliver the healthy products we know and love!

bottom of page