Journée Arts sans frontières
July 27, 2019
Le Grand Baz’art
July 13, 2019
Miller at the Moulins de l’Isle-aux-Coudres
A valuable know-how
« I was born here and will die here. I love the peace and quiet, the fascinating landscapes, taking the ferry to Isle-aux-Coudres and the fact that there is little traffic and pollution. I went to school in Québec for 7 years and readily returned.
I became a miller because I enjoy communicating with people and it is one of the positions on the island that keep people busy for a good part of the year. There is no academic training in Québec for becoming a miller. One must leap into the void and be ready to learn every day. I was fortunate to work for three years with the previous miller who generously shared his vast knowledge with me. I started as a guide, became assistant miller and then the miller. It is a fairly complex trade which combines communication with the manual and mechanical aspects.
In May, when the season begins, our work is to grind grain into flour. We need to prepare the grain, install the mill’s equipment, assess the grain quality, negotiate an agreement with the growers, operate the mill and get the proper flour texture. When grinding, we often welcome people interested to learn about the process. We explain how things were traditionally done.
The Moulins de l’Isle-aux-Coudres is an economuseum promoting a meeting between visitors and artisan. The site, which is classified under the Québec Law on Cultural Heritage, hosts two distinct mills. The watermill dates back to 1825 and the windmill beside it, was erected in 1836. The mill house was added in 1911. We are the only location in the world with two producing flour mills on the same site.We grind 12 tons of grain every year and we sell our flour at our shop and in some of the region’s stores.
My personal favourites on the island are, as you may expect, the two economuseums: that of the mills and that of the Cidrerie des Vergers Pedneault. If you pay us a visit, you must cycle the island and go kite surfing! Honestly the place is also ideal for unwinding, enjoying a change of pace, relaxing and taking in the scenery of mountains and water as far as your eyes can see.