Our family come from a long line of artisan millers. For six consecutive generations our family fathers have passed down their craftsmanship and love for milling to their sons. It could, however, all have come to a sad end.
The story begins in the poverty ridden Sweden of the 1850s when our ancestor Anders Nybergh built a wind mill on the island of Öland and initiated a milling tradition that would permeate every aspect of life in the family for generations to come.
The forefathers Gustaf and Arvid with a young friend and a sack of flour on the handlebar. Outside of the mill Nybro Kvarn ca 1910.
In days of old, the mill was at the very heart of the rural Swedish communities. The farmers would arrive with the harvest from the fields and the villagers would come to buy fresh flour. The mill was a living place - a place where people met and talked.
The life of the miller was in many ways rewarding; he was working close to nature, enjoying the blessings of sunshine and rain as the crops grew strong, partaking in the joys of harvest. At the same time his work was physically taxing. Jute sacks with grain - which often weighed over 100 kg - would be loaded on his back and carried up the stairs of the mill to the top floor - where the grains were poured down through the mill, being grinded to fine flour.
Limabacka Kvarn, Värö peninsula. 1947-48.
For generations, this was life for the men in the family, and it was a life they enjoyed.
In the beginning of the new millennia, however, dark clouds appeared on the horizon; threatening to cast a hard rain on the family, capable of ruining what had taken them generations to build; capable of washing the family's cherished artisan tradition into oblivion.
By this time the artisan mill Limabacka Kvarn was a small enclave surrounded by big industrial mills that had already engulfed most of the rich Swedish soil where the small artisan mills once stood proud. Those same industrial forces now threatened the very existence of our beloved Limabacka Kvarn, and by 2013 Bengt and Andreas - who are the current millers in our family - found themselves standing by the dreaded crossroads.
A friend of the family with bags of flour on a pushcart. 1930's.
In order to save the mill and their family tradition they decided to gamble all they had and started the work of renovating the mill. It was a monumental task that was either going to make them or break them.
The story of my cousin Andreas and my uncle Bengt; from those early days of blood, sweat and tears, the late nights of back breaking work and untold sacrifice - to the glorious moment when the work was completed and the mill stood strong - is a story of passion and love, of hard work and faith.
Andreas and Bengt outside of the mill. September 2016.
Today Limabacka Kvarn enjoys a solid reputation among bakeries. In the last years we've been blessed by the opportunity to realize the dreams of our forefathers by opening a sour dough bakery, Kvarnbageriet, as well as the coffee shop & food hall Kvarnskafferiet.
For the millers Andreas and Bengt, the love of the craftsmanship and their sustainable vision lives on stronger than ever.
DInkel wheat growing in the evening sun at Linus Källgårds farm - a stone's throw from the mill.
At the very foundation of everything we've accomplished together is Andreas and Bengts profound love and respect for the earth - and I hope this shows in the work we've done.
Our work together has been characterized by high creative standards and a healthy challenging of each others visions until reaching a satisfying result. I would be compelled to call it team work at its best. The creative feed back provided by Andreas Nielsen, and the insights into milling history and vintage photos provided by Bengt Nybergh, have proved invaluable for the projects.
A series of video portraits dedicated to highlight the farmers who cultivate the soil. Their craftsmanship and organic knowledge is a prerequisite for good flour and tasty bread.
Inspired by the heartfelt stories of Andreas and Bengt I embarked on a personal documentary project that resulted in "The Dream of the Mill" - a short film made with the support of Kultur i Halland, the municipal of Varberg and Stråvalla Hembygsförening.
First relased as episodes, the full lenght documentary will be published in the summer of 2021.
The soundtrack for the documentary was made by the guitar maestro Richard Olausson.
Built on six generations of craftsmanship. Driven by a passionate love for the land and the everlasting quest for genuine ingredients and unforgettable gastronomic experiences.
Kvarnskafferiet is a food hall & coffee shop in central Kungsbacka loaded up with organic flour from Limabacka Kvarn, newly-baked bread and buns from Kvarnbageriet and a smorgasbord of delicious goods from selected food artisans.
The short films are meant to bring it all back home; and illustrate the organic cycle between farmer, miller and baker.
We wanted Kvarnskafferiet to reflect the history of the mill with an interior dominated by wood and steel. To ensure that our vision wasn't lost in process of renovating and moving in, we made extensive 3D sketches of the interior using SketchUp.
The logo is an homage to Anders Nybergh who initiated the family's milling tradition by building a wind mill on Öland in the 1850's.
Coffee has a special place in the heart of the miller.
Just like with the flour, the taste will tell when one has used genuine organic ingredients and grinded the coffee beans with care.
When the millers launched Mjölnarens Blandning and Först till Kvarn in co-operation with Nordiska Kafferosteriet, it was a pure declaration of love to coffee.
"A frozen winter a few years ago, we worked almost all of our waking time at the mill to catch up. Some mornings it was tough. The sacks were heavy and the 9:30 am coffee break seemed far away.
Those mornings the clucking from the brewery and the smell of strong coffee from the second floor were very worthwhile. To be able to sit down and enjoy for a while. Change a few words, look out and see the gentle glow of the winter sun on the field outside.
Something happens when you get a hearty cup of coffee."
Social media has been an invaluable tool to connect with people who share our passion and organic values. Our philosophy has been marked by simplicity and content telling soulful stories of passion and craftsmanship.