Lending Successful

Equipment To Increase Capacity At Skagit Valley Flour Mill

by Cairnspring Mills
Equipment To Increase Capacity At Skagit Valley Flour Mill

Cairnspring Mills is a “back-to-the-future system” combining the heritage art of stone milling with modern equipment to yield nutritious, local flour.

Project Summary
  • Location: Burlington, WA
  • Products: Grain Value added/CPG
  • Loan Term: 60 months
  • Net Interest Rate: 8.50% APR
  • Repayments Begin: 1 month after disbursement
100% of $391,600

Funded on 12/12/2023



Cairnspring Mills is a one-of-a-kind craft flour mill in Washington’s Skagit Valley that sources from regenerative grain farmers throughout the Pacific Northwest to produce naturally nutritious, high-quality flour at a regional scale. Cairnspring’s market includes direct-to-consumer, retail bakeries, and wholesale food businesses. Their customer base is outspoken about their support of the mill because the benefits to this agricultural community are so tangible: new quality jobs, higher margins for local farmers, and better flavors in every kitchen.

Cairnspring’s mission is to spark a global movement to build regenerative food systems that lift farmers out of a commodity system and nourish the world with clean, healthy, flavorful grains and flour. Cairnspring Mills is working to:

  • Create solutions to keep local farmers financially-viable as they face growing pressure of urbanization and are often forced by the commodity grain system into a race to the bottom;

  • Preserve the unique agricultural heritage of the Skagit Valley and build amazing products from grain produced in the Pacific Northwest;

  • Shorten the distance between farmer and customer for a commodity crop like wheat;

  • And build soil health and conserve farmland.


Use of Funds

With customer demand maxing out Cairnspring’s Skagit Valley mill’s current production, funds from this loan will be utilized to improve operational efficiencies and increase capacity. In particular, an automated palletizer will make the flour bagging process 2-3x faster.

This new equipment will free up a staff member from the bagging line to cover other shifts (a critical need during the national labor shortage) and reduce the need for an extra night shift, leading to operational cost savings.

In 2024, Cairnspring plans to build a new flour mill which will operate in addition to this Skagit Valley mill—increasing Cairnspring's production capacity tenfold—and also making custom grain blending possible.


Regenerative & Sustainable Practices

“Buying a loaf of Tartine Bakery’s bread is nothing less than a pilgrimage,” writes The San Francisco Chronicle. For Tartine, and many other bakeries throughout the West, that pilgrimage actually begins with the farms and flour mill at Cairnspring:

  • Cairnspring’s process yields a higher-quality and more nutritious food source by preserving the natural germ and bran of the flour grains which are stripped away in conventional processing;

  • Sourcing from local, regenerative grain producers invests in the local economy and the health of the land;

  • Source farms are committed to sustainable soil practices like cover cropping, crop rotations, animal integrations, and in some cases no-till farming;

  • Cairnspring pays their producers top-dollar for higher quality flour and farming practices, yielding more margin and livable wages.



This loan will be made to Northwest Mills and Specialty Grains (DBA Cairnspring Mills), a Washington State Special Purpose Corporation, which stone-mills regenerative wheat into flour.

This loan will be used to purchase milling equipment to improve efficiencies at Cairnspring’s Skagit Valley Mill. Specifically a palletizer for more efficient bagging, a sifter, four sets of milling stones, and a new trailer will be purchased using loan funds. The total loan amount is $391,600.00 which will assist Cairnspring Mills in growing and expanding their business. 

This is a secured loan with a first lien on the equipment listed above, set at a 9% interest rate for the borrower, net interest rate 8.5% for lenders, with a 60 month term, and fully amortized monthly payments beginning 1 month after funds are disbursed.

Palletizer: $315,100 This includes a new palletizer which will increase the efficiency of bagging Cairnspring flour

Sifter: $16,100: This includes a new flour sifter for Cairnspring’s milling process

Four Sets of Milling Stones: $7,100: This includes new milling stones for Cairnspring’s unique stone-milled process

Trailer: $41,000: This is a new trailer for transporting Cairnspring product

Closing Costs & Fees: $12,300

Total Budget: $391,600

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