At Marsh Hen Mill food is first. The focus is on providing the best heirloom products and milling the finest grits and cornmeal. What began with a couple of crazy kids with a dream is now a whole cadre of crazy characters filling the world with flavor one bag of stone ground goodness at a time.
Who We Are
Greg Johnsman has been milling in his mind for his entire life. As a boy in the upstate he learned the process of milling grits the old-fashioned way from a third-generation miller named Jack Brock. Betsy has been farming with her family on the sea islands in the Lowcountry for her entire life. As a girl she grew up among the rows of crops on with brother bean and sister corn.
Emmie, our marsh hen mascot, dwells happily in our roadside market.
When providence brought Greg and Betsy together at Clemson in a poultry science class it was clear these two would grow a life together. Greg eventually began farming with Betsy’s family, working the land with her father and brother. When he discovered a 1945 mill and separator in Saluda, SC owned by Lamar Berry he needed just the slightest encouragement from Betsy to bring it to their Edisto Island home. In 2007, with restoration of the equipment complete, milling commenced on weekends and after work and Geechie Boy Mill was born. It wasn’t long before this passion project grew into a thriving business.
The opportunity has arisen for Betsy and Greg to share more of their personal experience as they share their goods with the world. With this in mind, much thought and prayer has been put into the way in which their products are represented in the marketplace. One morning as Betsy gazed at the freshly washed rough cypress boards of the little roadside market in the summer haze the golden brown hue brought to mind a little hen set down in a field. The smell of the nearby marsh filled her senses and the name Marsh Hen Mill flashed in her mind. Her sister Katie and uncle Grainger both reacted positively to the avian imagery and because it brought to mind the feeling of safety as described in the 91st Psalm of being under God’s wing. Greg agreed that the unassuming little bird with the distinctive call is a fitting representative for an unassuming little mill nestled on a sleepy sea island.