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Jul 19, 2008 03:23 PM

White Lily (Knoxville) disappears from shelves

For my kitchen, I decided the I needed wall decorations that weren't the chili pepper posters. With the loss of White Lily flour from just down the river, I decided that a collection of some of the last flour bags from Knoxville would be interesting and worth having (even for the recipes).
Today Mr. Shallots got the last Knoxville bags of All-Purpose and Unbleached from our IGA.
It hasn't been that long that they closed the Knoxville facility. Most of the White Lily today said it was from Memphis.
Memphis!A lot more humid and a lot hotter. Gonna be an interesting cooking year.

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  1. I will never buy a single Smuckers product ever again. Ever.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Will Owen

      I am with you. I sent them an e-mail which they didn't even answer. How can you mess with a national treasure? A pox upon their house!

    2. Smucker's also owns Pillsbury and Martha White. Are they simply trying to add to their "stable"?
      Why in the hell would they buy this old Southern institution and then move the mill?
      The early reports are that it just is NOT the same. What ever possessed them? Or White Lilly? Couldn't they have found a local buyer instead of some Yankee corporate giant?
      The South has risen again with flags flying and Ohio is whining about economic problems. Stupid business decisions like this are probably why!

      1. I called White Lily last month and ordered 2 cases of the Knoxville flour. At that time, they told me Smuckers was moving the whole operation to OROVILLE, OHIO! (Oh, the shame!)

        They SAY the flour from Ohio is the same, but the blind testers said different. Shirley Corriher said she could SEE the difference in the two flours!

        Biscuits will never be the same. 8<(

        1 Reply
        1. re: ChefJune

          It is not the same.The wheat,milling and formulaic bleaching processes have
          ALL been changed.Smuckers makes the claim,still the same,thinking no one can tell the difference.Major glitch,everyone offered a chance at sniffing out or tasting samples can distinguish two products NOT THE SAME.

          Then add on the folks that can see a structural difference in baked goods/finished products.It is one thing to kid the cook,but not fool the non
          cook in the house is fairly lame.An insult to say ALL STILL THE SAME.

        2. Shallots, what happened to the Knoxville mill?
          Is it going to be torn down or converted to condos (shudder) or could someone else buy it for a flour mill?
          Seems as though someone could do a good boutique business with the true fans of the Real Deal. They'd have to change the name since Smucker's probably bought that, but we'd all find out pretty quickly.
          Word would spread through the South quicker than Sherman through Georgia!

          3 Replies
          1. re: MakingSense

            The mill is right next to the railroad tracks that go to the northeast from downtown. It's not in an area that currently going condo and most of the buildings around it are falling down brick in desparate need of tuckpointing (the train rumbling isn't making them stronger).

            I have a hope and I need to follow up on it. A regional grocery store chain called Food City has in the past year resurrected "Lays meat products" (which started three blocks from White Lily" You guessed it, Lays was sold, moved, and only a store remains on its original butcher site.
            Food City has also brought back Kerns Bread. (Same story)
            They've also done this with a line of potato chips (which I'm not familiar with).

            But maybe it's time to call Food City about bringing our flour back, with publicity, call it Depot Street Flour or Calla Flower flour. I'll try to find out if the building's for sale.

            (Mr. Shallots came home muttering that he wondered if Memphis were a port of import for the flour.

            Smuckers is dead to me. WIth a name like that, it used to be good.

            1. re: shallots

              Maybe Smucker's just bought the name if they have changed everything about the flour. The article in the NYT said it's even a different color!
              Possibly they bought the proprietary formulas for bleaching, etc., so no one else could compete, but it shouldn't be THAT hard for someone to purchase the old equipment, move that to a better location, and start up again.
              Technology being what it is today, some food scientists (calling Shirley Corriher) should be able to figure out how to make our Magic Flour again!!!
              Biscuits shall not disappear forever!!!

              I am so tempted to make very unladylike rhymes with Smucker's name!!!

              1. re: MakingSense

                We went by the mill today. Their parking lot was empty. There might have been a watchman (with Texas plates on his pickup truck) near a back entrance.
                There's no for sale sign.
                The building is called Knoxville Milling Company, a division of Guenther .........and son.

                They must have left in a hurry. A UPS truck was trying to make a delivery.