The story of Campo Claro: A mill in Carlos Keen absorbs up to 500 tons of organic grains to produce health food.

28 May 2023

Campo Claro is one of the most sought-after brands of organic and whole foods, a business line that exploded during the pandemic lockout and is now called – as in code – “health stores” by its most regular customers.

Arno Tomys, 29 years old, is currently in charge of this company, which is still a family business and had its origin in the concerns of his father, Harald Witomir Tomys, in the early 90’s, when he began to be interested in the milling of wholemeal flours and cold pressing of oils, at the same time as his work as a biodynamic farmer at La Choza dairy farm, in General Rodríguez, province of Buenos Aires (that brand still exists in the hands of a cooperative that produces dairy and other farm products and has a good commercial present).

At La Choza, Harald met Angela Tomassini and they formed a large family. The story continued with the move in 1995 to an 8-hectare field in Carlos Keen “with the idea of giving added value to agricultural production”, always keeping the north of doing “organic production: the name of the company has to do with having very clear ideals”.

In this field they built a mill for the production of flours, oils and other products that they developed. “The choice of products was influenced by the ideas of Swiss doctor Catherine Kousmine (one of the founders of orthomolecular medicine), to include in the diet essential fatty acids that the body does not metabolize and, therefore, must be incorporated. Oils such as sunflower oil, which provides linoleic fatty acid (Omega 6) and also linseed oil, which has a high percentage of linolenic fatty acid (Omega 3)”.

But they also work with whole grains, whether in flours, noodles or rolled oats, because, in addition to fiber and trace elements, they provide healthy polyunsaturated oils present in their germ.

The establishment has four main processes: processing cereals (oats and millet), milling whole wheat flours (bread wheat, candeal and rye), making four varieties of dry noodles with their own flour and, finally, cold pressing sunflower and flax. In addition, they fractionate honey during the summer months and offer some organic products from other producers in their store to the public.

Beyond the company itself, the curiosity of Bichos de Campo was to know more about the interest in rescuing old crops, such as flax, spelt or millet, and the relationship with producers to obtain special raw materials (such as wheat and high oleic sunflower). In addition to the requirement that they be certified organic.

“We are not primary producers -Tomys clarified- but we are working in the accompaniment of a local development of organic production related to the mill with nearby producers from Carlos Keen, Luján and General Rodríguez”, he explained. He added: “In addition, we have raw material that comes from extensive producers who have been certified as organic for years. They are from the southwest of Buenos Aires and stockpilers from Carmen de Areco in the case of wheat and oats”.

Regarding flax “it comes from producers in Entre Ríos. The rye we currently have comes from Mendoza, but now we are looking for something more local: a small amount is being brought from the town of Espartillar (south of Buenos Aires)”.

What arrives at the mill in bulk is stored in aerial silos for the different cereals since “organic production is based on traceability and lots of different origins cannot be mixed”. On the other hand, smaller producers send the raw material in bags.

Flour milling is done in a hammer mill, which grinds by impact. All the components of the grains (bran, germ, endosperm) are reduced until they pass through a 500-micron sieve, to go to a packaging hopper. It is then divided into 1 kilo bags in the case of those going to stores, 5 kilos for bakeries and 25 kilos for larger processors.

They require between 300 and 500 tons of raw material per year. The largest volume is wheat and rye (around 200 tons) and sunflower (120 tons). And regarding the old and rescued flax, Arno Ponderó: “We have been producing flax oil since our beginnings because it is a seed with an exceptional nutritional contribution: its oil has 52% of linolenic fatty acid or Omega 3”.

Source: Bichos de Campo