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franklin county times

Earthgrains improving former pony ranch

By Staff
May 13, 2001
A local business is making environmental improvements on its property along Interstate 20-59.
Earthgrains Baking Co., located off the 31st Street exit, is continuing work on an area that was a pony ranch years ago, according to engineering manager Lamar Smith.
In recent years, the lake area has been cleaned up to become a picnic area for employees. And the pond has recently been stocked with fish.
The Earthgrains property in the late 1950s was a pony ranch owned by Phil Hardin, Smith said. The storage building behind the plant was originally a stable.
There was usually supervision on the property to help visiting children with the pony rides. A water well was installed on the property to water the animals. Later, it was capped because there was no water treatment plant. But recently, the well was reopened, Smith said. A new water pump was installed, and water was piped to a spray head in the pond. Lights are set up to shine on the spray at night and it looks like a fountain.
The water is now being treated and the pond has been stocked with bream, bass and catfish. Earthgrains employees will be allowed to fish at the pond once the fish have grown large enough.
The original Hardin's Bakery was on 22nd Avenue across from Trustmark Bank. The company built a new bakery on the pony farm property which went into operation in 1980, Smith said.
It was purchased by Campbell Taggart in 1985 and spun off from Anheiser Busch as a new company in 1996. That's when the name was changed to Earthgrains.
Today, the plant can produce 140 loaves of bread or 1,000 buns per minute, Smith said. It uses 1.4 million pounds of ingredients per week.