FULTON – Jim Valk of Fulton had to wait more than a year to share his knowledge of how de Immigrant windmill makes grain into flour.
“This is only the second day we’ve been open since 2019,” Valk said Sunday afternoon. “We’ve had 25-30 people stop by.”
The 100-foot Dutch windmill was manufactured and pre-assembled in the Netherlands. It was assembled and installed by Dutch craftsmen and dedicated during Fulton’s Dutch Days Festival in 2000.
Rick Daehler, head miller, said Sunday’s “Blessing of the Bikes” also helped bring people to de Immigrant.
“We’ve been getting a few from there,” he said referring to Fulton’s downtown.
Daehler and Valk are two of about two dozen local residents who volunteer at the popular attraction. Some help run the mill, and others give tours and work in the gift shop.
“One day, before the pandemic, we had people from five different countries in here,” he said as he stood in the windmill’s center.
The windmill will be open on weekends for now “and we’ll see how it goes,” Daehler said.
The windmill stands on the flood control dike on the east bank of the Mississippi River. It is fully operational, with a head that can turn and the sails that move by wind power. The mill also is fully functional, with a set of blue basalt millstones that can produce a variety of flours.
Stone-ground buckwheat, corn, rye, and wheat flours all are manufactured at the windmill and are for sale in the gift shop at the nearby Windmill Cultural Center.
Millers can grind about a bushel of grain every 10 minutes, wind permitting. “We need at least 10 mph wind to run, 15 mph is even better,” Daehler said.
The Windmill Cultural Center was dedicated in April 2010. It houses a collection of 22 European windmill models that vary in size, up to 6 feet tall. There’s also a gift shop with fresh stone-ground flour, Delft pottery, and other souvenirs.
That’s where the Gorbach family of Milan was shopping Sunday.
“It’s wonderful to get out and have summer kind of returning to normal,” said Danielle, who watched as her husband Alexander and sons Matt and Nick made purchases.
The windmill and cultural center are open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and from 1 to 5 p.m. Sunday.