Wednesday, February 03, 2010

flour mill woes

We found out yesterday that in order to bring the mill into Canada from the U.S. it is going to cost us almost half the price of the mill just to get it here. I am constantly amazed at how nickel and dime processes add up so fast. The quote from the customs broker was over $500 and adding that to the shipping price, it equals a lot of money for something that in todays day and age should not be this difficult. So much for NAFTA and economy of travel and all those other things that modern civilization prides itself on. The other frustration is that there is apparently no Canadian manufacturer of small flour mills. Or at least not anyone who manufactures an affordable mill. The only place we found was in Saskatchewan. It was a stone mill that ground at 50lbs/hr and it cost over $16,000. The commercial mill we found out of the States was considerably less money for the same apparent quality and efficiency...without all the bells and whistles.

It just really bugs me to hand over money to people who apparently do very little. I am not privy to the processes that customs brokers go through, but I am willing to bet that they aren't extensive and yet here I am forced to hand over $500+ to them. It would be damn near the same cost for me to simply drive to Carolina to pick the thing up myself. If anyone has any suggestions for us on customs processes or another way to import a piece of equipment please let us know. I realize that $500 isn't a lot of money for some people...its just gets my Scottish blood boiling!


  1. Can you have it delivered to an address south of the line and go pick it up yourself?

    We use a gas station that has this service. They charge $3 for any parcel. Then of course you have to deal with customs and duty yourself.

  2. That is such a good idea. We live about 6 or 7 hours from the border so when I pencil it out, it isn't practical for us to drive down to pick it up, but I am glad you mentioned it. We have decided to just go ahead and pay the fees and be done with it. I just can't quite grasp the idea of a "broker" for paying duty and taxes etc. It just seems silly. Thanks for the tip though...super idea!

  3. Hello John,

    Thank you for visiting our site. I will place an order soon for your wonderful wheat and rye.

    I have imported over the years all kinds of equipments and it is shocking the price that the paperwork add, I hope soon that add a sifter to be able to produce our own organic white flour, will keep you posted.

    Am looking forward to meet you soon and hope to be able to visit your farm in the near future.

    Best regards.

    Yvan Chartrand
    Tree Stone Bakery

  4. My farm is in everett,wa about 2 hours south of the border with BC. A decade ago it was no big deal to drive up and through and do business with BC, but after the recent round of security precautions it's become something that I just wrote off the list.

    Wish that relations were back where they were. I'm unconvinced that all of these steps, and requiring a passport to re-enter the US for us citizens and so on has made us even one little bit "safer".

    Life is unsafe. America is the home of the brave, right?

  5. Glad to see you're well again Bruce! Was missing your posts! You're right about all that, we willingly give up our individual rights and freedoms so easily nowadays in the name of 'safety'. I suppose we are still relatively free, but you might have a different opinion with what you are dealing with on your farm!

  6. Sorry to read of your customs problems. I assume you intend to buy a Meadows mill from North Carolina. Here’s an odd story:
    This organization is in North Carolina, but decided to buy a mill from Austria, instead of the iconic Meadows. The Austrian mill ended up being shipped around the world and across the U.S.

  7. Yes, we are indeed buying a meadows mill from Pleasant Hill Grains out of Nebraska. We have gone ahead and ordered it. We just decided to go ahead and pick a horse to run with as far as brokers were concerned. I will post more as we get it up and running.