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Stories | Recipes | Events | People | Places | Things | Local News August 2016



Raising the steaks Alabama cattle farmers setting the bar high

College football : Can Bama repeat?



Manager Stan Wilson Co-Op Editor Rick Norris

POSTMASTER send forms 3579 to: Alabama Living, P.O. Box 244014 Montgomery, Alabama 36124-4014. ALABAMA RURAL ELECTRIC ASSOCIATION

AREA President Fred Braswell Editor Lenore Vickrey Managing Editor Allison Griffin Creative Director Mark Stephenson Art Director Michael Cornelison Advertising Director Jacob Johnson Graphic Designer/Advertising Coordinator Brooke Echols Communications Coordinator Laura Stewart Graphic Designer Tori McClanahan

Preserving the bounty Putting up vegetables and fruits from the garden lets you savor the season all year long.


VOL. 69 NO. 8 n August 2016

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ALABAMA LIVING is delivered to some 420,000 Alabama families and businesses, which are members of 22 not-for-profit, consumer-owned, locally directed and taxpaying electric cooperatives. AREA cooperative member subscriptions are $3 a year; non-member subscriptions, $6. Alabama Living (USPS 029920) is published monthly by the Alabama Rural Electric Association of Cooperatives. Periodicals postage paid at Montgomery, Alabama, and at additional mailing office.




National Country Market 611 South Congress Ave., Suite 504 Austin, Texas 78704 1-800-626-1181 USPS 029-920 • ISSN 1047-0311

Printed in America from American materials Alabama Living

GM Stan Wilson explains the importance of being safe and having a plan after the storm.


Football forecast


Collier’s on Main

Coach Brad Bradford is back with his annual college football prognostications.

Brundidge restaurant serves contemporary cuisine in a historic setting.



340 TechnaCenter Drive Montgomery, Alabama 36117-6031 1-800-410-2737 E-mail:

Be Prepared


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9 Spotlight 29 Around Alabama 32 Gardens 40 Outdoors 41 Fish & Game Forecast 46 Cook of the Month 54 Snapshots ONLINE:

ON THE COVER: Andy Tipton has raised wagyu cattle on his farm in Sardis since 2009. Wagyu beef has a unique taste and a tenderness that has chefs and customers clamoring for it; Tipton sells his beef directly and can’t keep up with demand. PHOTO: Michael Cornelison AUGUST 2016 3

Be Prepared OFFICE LOCATIONS Jackson Office 1307 College Avenue P.O. Box 398 Jackson, AL 36545 251-246-9081 Chatom Office P.O. Box 143 Chatom, AL 36518 251-847-2302 Toll Free Number 1-800-323-9081 Office Hours 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday - Friday (Drive-thru Hours) Pay your bill online at Payment Methods Payments can be made at our Chatom and Jackson offices with cash, checks, debit or credit cards

Stan Wilson Manager of Clarke-Washington EMC

4  AUGUST 2016

Well, we are right in the middle of hurricane season once again. As of this writing, we have not been threatened by a hurricane. August and September are typically the more active months as far as hurricanes go. I read the other day that only five July hurricanes have hit the east coast since 1950, and all of those were less than Category 3 storms (including 2014’s Hurricane Arthur). We have, however, had some damage and outages from thunderstorms this summer. During one thunderstorm in late June, we had over 5900 calls come through our customer response center. Our linemen and supervisors worked for over 21 hours on that particular storm. If a hurricane sets its sights on our area, I want you to know that we will be prepared to respond and get the lights back on safely, efficiently and as quickly as possible. Electric cooperatives deliver electricity to their members at rates that recover all the costs of

doing so. Those costs are split between energy supply (costs relating to the electricity itself) and distribution (costs associated with transporting the electricity from our substations to members). Our electricity (energy supply) is purchased at wholesale rates through our generation and transmission cooperative, PowerSouth (who also operates as a cooperative with the same not-for-profit business model). The rate that is reflected on your bill includes this “at-cost” wholesale rate and all the other costs associated with distributing the electricity to you. Please make sure that you prepare your emergency hurricane kits before any storm hits. On the next few pages will be more information and advice on what to put in your emergency supplies. I hope you won’t need them. Thank you!

1.800.323.9081 to report an outage

Remember: If you do not call from a phone number that is listed on your account, the outage management system will not recognize you. Make sure all the phones that you would use to call in an outage are listed on your account before the storm comes.

| Clarke Washington EMC |

Energy Efficiency Tip of the Month Is your room air conditioner working overtime? Reduce air leaks by installing rigid foam panels instead of the commonly used accordion panels in between the window frame and unit and secure it with duct tape.


Basic Disaster Supply Kit •Water, one gallon of water per person per day for at least three days, for drinking and sanitation •Food, at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food •Battery-powered or hand crank radio and a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert and extra batteries •Flashlight and extra batteries •First aid kit •Whistle to signal for help •Dust mask to help filter contaminated air and plastic sheeting and duct tape to shelter-in-place •Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation •Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities •Manual can opener for food •Local maps •Cell phone with chargers, inverter or solar charger Alabama Living

AUGUST 2016  5

Handy Apps for Energy Conservation Tracking your steps, tracking your children, monitoring your banking activity or locating your parked car––these days, it seems like there is an app for everything. If you are efficiency-savvy and want to manage your energy use, there may be an app that works for you. While there are several energy use apps to choose from, some can be difficult to use, particularly those aimed at general efficiency. There are no clear standouts, so try a few, and choose the app that works best for you. Purchasing a smart thermostat for your home is a great way to begin managing your energy use. But, if you are looking for a more granular way to obtain information about your energy use, an app can provide useful insight into how specific actions impact your utility bill. The following is a snapshot of a few energy efficiency mobile apps. All of the apps mentioned in this article are available for Apple and Android systems.

Nest Owned by Google, created by Nest Labs and linked only to the Nest thermostat, this free app has several useful features. You can adjust your home thermostat by simply using your smart phone, iPad or iTouch––whether in your car or on your couch. App users can view and edit a thermostat schedule and keep an eye on how much energy is being used. You can also opt to receive extreme temperature alerts before your pet overheats or your pipes freeze. In addition, there is an option for smoke and carbon monoxide alerts, among others.

Together We Save Touchstone Energy® Cooperatives offers the Together We Save app, which enables users to calculate the energy use of many household appliances based on national averages. This

free app includes roughly 100 calculators that determine the projected energy use and cost of particular appliances and activities. The app also offers 100 practical energy-saving tips. For Touchstone Energy® Cooperative members, the Together We Save app calculates energy costs based on your actual utility rates for even greater accuracy.

Lennox iComfort Like the Nest app, the Lennox iComfort app is only compatible with Lennox products – in this case, the Wi-Fi thermostat. It has similar features to the Nest, in that users can remotely control their home thermostat and other settings. In addition, the app allows users to program the system to an energy savings “away mode” when no one is home. For example, you can select the settings you wish to run, then cancel the “away mode” as you return home to ensure a comfortable temperature awaits you.

Your trusted energy resource While these apps employ the latest technology to maximize your ability to manage your use, the next generation of energy apps will likely integrate across multiple platforms––managing your thermostat, appliances, water heater, home electronics and other devices from the convenience of your smart phone. In the meantime, while app technology continues to evolve, your best resource for saving energy and money is your local electric coop. CWEMC can provide guidance on energy savings based on your account information, local energy use and weather patterns for your region and other factors unique to our location. Contact CWEMC Member Services Dept. to learn more.

800.323.9081 • 6  AUGUST 2016

| Clarke Washington


Stay Safe in a Power Outage

Storms can happen any time of the year. Clarke Washington EMC wants everyone to be aware and cautious of potential hazards that could be encountered during storm clean up and recovery: When you see power lines on the ground following a storm, stay away, warn others to stay away, and contact the electric utility. Lines do not have to be arcing or sparking to be live. Any utility wire, including telephone or cable lines sagging or down, could be in contact with an energized power line making them also very dangerous, so stay away from all of them. Never drive over a downed line; it could cause poles or other equipment to come crashing down. Be alert to the possibility that tree limbs or debris may hide an electrical hazard. Keep in mind a downed power line that is energized can cause other things around it to become potentially hazardous, traveling through the ground to other metal objects like chain link fences or metal culverts. Keep in mind that a line that is indeed “dead” could become energized during power restoration efforts or improper use of generators.

Alabama Living

If you are in a car which has come in contact with a downed power line, stay in your vehicle and wait until the utility has arrived and de-energized the line. Warn others not to approach the car. If you must leave your car—only in the case of fire—jump free without touching the ground and auto at the same time, keeping both feet together. Then continue to keep both feet together and hop to safety. A live wire touching the ground causes electricity to fan out in a pool and the action of walking or running allows one foot to move from one voltage zone to another. Your body then becomes the path for the electricity and electrocution is the tragic result. If you use a portable generator, be sure a transfer safety switch has been installed or connect the appliance(s) directly to the generator. This prevents electricity from traveling back through the power lines, what is known as “back feed.” Back feed creates danger for anyone near lines, particularly crews working to restore power.

AUGUST 2016  7

Flipping the Switch

WORD SCRAMBLE Do you know you can save energy every day in your home? By turning off appliances that are not in use, you have the power to save energy! For example, while the sun is shining, windows can allow sunlight into your house without having to turn on a lamp or a light switch. Unscramble the letters to reveal the names of common appliances and electronics that you should turn off when not in use. Use the pictures below for clues.





8 AUGUST 2016

August | Spotlight | SAFETY TIP |

Dispose of prescription medicines safely Help keep powerful medicines out of the hands of those who shouldn’t have them. “Smart and Safe,” a campaign sponsored by the Medical Association of the State of Alabama, suggests these guidelines: • Unless the directions on the packaging say otherwise, don’t flush medicine down the drain or toilet. • An alternative: mix the medicine with kitty litter, coffee grounds or another unpleasant substance. Don’t crush tablets or capsules. • Put this mixture in a sealed plastic bag and throw it in your household trash. • To protect your privacy and prevent unauthorized refills, remove all information from the prescription labels of empty pill bottles. For more information, visit

Historic sites make annual Places in Peril list Many of Alabama’s historically and architecturally significant buildings are at risk of being lost, due to neglect or inappropriate development. Some of these threats are more urgent than others. To highlight these threats, the Alabama Trust for Historic Preservation, along with the Alabama Historical Commission, identifies a handful of structures that require prompt attention to ensure preservation. The structures on this year’s Places in Peril list: • The Revis House in Birmingham, also known as the Bethel Church Guardhouse; • Whispering Oaks in Opelika; • The old post office in Guntersville; • Grace Episcopal Church in Clayton; • Manitou Cave of Alabama in Fort Payne. For more information on these historic structures and the Places in Peril program, visit or www.

Whereville, AL In this feature, Alabama Living readers are asked to identify and place an Alabama landmark or scene. The winner is chosen at random from all the correct entries and will receive $25. Multiple entries from the same person will be disqualified.

Guess where this is and you might win $25! Submit: By email: By mail: Whereville, P.O. Box 244014, Montgomery, AL 36124

If you know where this landmark is, send your answer by Aug. 5 with your name, address and the name of your electric cooperative. The winner and the answer will be announced in the September issue. Contribute your own photo for an upcoming issue! Send a photo of an interesting or unusual landmark in Alabama, which must be accessible to the public and easy to identify. A reader whose photo is used in the magazine will also win $25.


This sculpture carved from oak, titled Mus-Quoian, is located next to the library in Dothan and is one of a collection of sculptures known as The Trail of Whispering Giants. The sculptures were done by Hungarian-born artist Peter Wolf Toth, and there is at least one in each of the 50 states. Toth created the sculptures to honor native Americans in his adopted country. Thanks to Deanna Albritton, an employee of Wiregrass EC, for submitting the photo. Congratulations to John Stahlhut of Baldwin EMC, the correct guess winner.

Alabama Living

AUGUST 2016 9


| Power Pack |

Back to school checklist:

supplies, clothes, Social Security form


f your son or daughter is a high school student turning 18, you’ve probably spent some time shopping for school supplies and the latest fashions, working out the schedule for the academic year, maybe even looking into colleges. If your young senior is collecting monthly Social Security benefits, here’s one more thing to add to your “Back-toSchool” checklist. To make sure that Social Security benefits continue beyond age 18, eligible students must obtain certification from school officials that they are still in high school and provide it to Social Security. Otherwise, monthly Social Security benefits automatically stop when a student turns 18. For more information about Social Security student benefits, visit The website outlines how the process works with instructions on what the student and school

official must do to ensure that benefits continue past the student’s 18th birthday. With the appropriate certification, Social Security generally does not stop benefits until the month before the month the student turns 19, or the first month in which he or she is not a full-time high school student, whichever is earlier. Some students receive Social Security survivors benefits because a parent is deceased. Others may get dependent benefits because their parent receives Social Security retirement or disability benefits. Benefits for minor children generally continue until age 18 — or 19 if they’re still in high school. The only exception to this rule is if a student is disabled and eligible for childhood disability benefits. In that case, a separate application for benefits is required.

quired Student’s Statement Regarding School Attendance (Form SSA-1372) that must be completed by the student, certified by the school, and returned to Social Security; • answers to frequently asked questions for school officials and students; and • a field office locator to find the address of your local Social Security office. So as you’re buying school supplies, trying out back-to-school fashions, and figuring out when the holiday break begins, don’t forget the important step of visiting

Kylle’ McKinney, SSA Public Affairs Specialist, can be reached by email at

Social Security’s website also includes: • a downloadable version of the re-

Letters to the editor

E-mail us at: or write us at: Letters to the editor P.O. Box 244014 Montgomery, AL 36124

Via Facebook:

Magazine wins national awards


labama Living magazine won three awards at the 2016 Cooperative Communicators Association annual conference in Omaha, Neb. Freelance writer/photographer David Haynes won first place in the words and photos category for his feature on the Cahaba lilies published in the April 2015 magazine. The magazine won second place in the photo illustration category for the August 2015 cover photo of several Alabama foods geographically placed on a state-shaped cutting board. And the Inside Statewide e-newsletter won third place for improved publication. The Cooperative Communicators Association is an organization of professionals who communicate for business cooperatives of all types, including the electric, agriculture and service industries in the United States, Canada and England. 10 AUGUST 2016

More theater groups

Thanks for article

I want to congratulate you on the good quality of the Alabama Living magazine. I had put the December issue aside and missed reading it until today. We have three community theater groups in Tuscaloosa. Theater Tuscaloosa is housed at Shelton State Community College & performances are at the theater on the campus. Second, The ACT performs several shows each year. They also function as a charity. The full name is the Acts Charitable Theater. Tuscaloosa Children’s Theater has been active here for many years also. Also, my husband & I thoroughly enjoyed "The Joys of a Boyhood Lived Outside" (June 2016). Rick said it reminded him of his boyhood summers walking through the woods to fish in Lamar County. It brought memories of staying at my grandmas and playing in the cow pasture, wading in the creek, & watching the goats playing. (Chilton County) Thanks for the chuckles! I look forward to reading every issue.

(Addressed to Gary Smith, CEO of PowerSouth) I appreciate your willingness to state your views and positions regarding global warming in the June issue of Alabama Living. I find myself totally in agreement. Your article was very informative and I particularly liked your conclusion “This is hardly the type of return we should get for billions of dollars.” Well said. I find it amazing, actually, that “The global warming movement is now focusing on silencing and punishing people who disagree with the climate change “consensus view”.” I applaud your courage to present this information in print for us. It is unbelievable the threats and attacks on free speech that are in process today. The threat of the use of RICO in this case to silence all objectors is like reading science fiction. It reminds me of forcing us all to “drink the kool-aid”. Thank you for your article, and yes, I WILL visit you.

Tricia Lett White Tuscaloosa

Rita Dean China Grove


We do love our trucks in the South ickup trucks didn’t start that way. Early on in the automobile age, people who needed to carry stuff other than passengers began to adapt car bodies to the task. If you had more riders than cargo, you just put them in the bed in the back, which some folks still do, despite laws that say they shouldn’t. Since most of the adaptations were made by farm folks, and the South had more than its share of farm folks, the association was made and it stuck. Today, in the popular mind, if not in actual sales, the good old boy without a truck is like a cowboy without a horse. But I am getting ahead of myself. These adaptations had limited hauling and toting value. And they weren’t safe. There were traction problems: It could “spin out in its shadow,” the saying went. Overloaded, they were difficult to steer. “Drives like a truck” was both an explanation and a complaint. Automakers took note of the changes being made to their vehicles and decided to begin making the changes themselves. Thus the pickup truck was born. Over the decades, something happened to pickups. Tapping into a desire to cling to rural roots that were left behind when farm folks moved to town and the increasing need of suburban families for a “second car,” automakers began the redesigning that transformed pickups into the stylish vehicles that today captures half of the South’s new car sales. So it came to pass, thanks to skillful marketing and image polishing, a jacked up, off-road ready pickup 4X4 in the driveway became a status symbol for the bourgeois Bubbas who seldom if ever took it off the road, while the more utilitarian model with an extended cab, served guys with a growing family – like me. It also became the dream car for small town, country guys who added a gun rack to the interior décor – a convenient place for an umbrella if you didn’t hunt, though most did. Yes, guys. The target in this campaign were the Bubbas -- the male, especially the southern male.

Alabama Living



Although “good old girls” can and do drive pickups, the very names of the new models drip with out-of-doors masculinity: Silverado, Sierra, Ranger, Bonanza. While slogans like “where men are men and trucks are Ford V8s” leave no doubt whose attention automakers are trying to grab. There is a Dodge Ram, but not a Dodge Ewe. Who would buy it if it was? “Dodge Trucks, Ewe Tough?” I don’t think so. It also made the pickup a poignant symbol of love gone bad, as in the lament, “that ain’t my truck in her drive.” The ultimate recognition of the pickup truck as a symbol synonymous with the South may have come in 1996, when the Summer Olympic Games in Atlanta opened with cheerleaders, gospel singers, and “the dance of the pickup trucks.” Right. With approximately 3.5 billion folks looking on, worldwide, 30 brand-new, chrome finished Chevrolet Silverado pickups, with “high energy dancers” prancing in the beds, roared on to the field, and drove through an intricate routine that culminated with the trucks circling up, lights inward.

How much more Southern could they get? How many of the 3.5 billion watching caught on? How many Southern viewers cringed just a bit? How many Southern viewers called out to the wife in the kitchen, “Honey, come see this. I want me one of them.” Try as I might, I have not found out what happened to those trucks, nor can I determine if Silverado sales spiked or tanked as a result. But I like to think that not long after the Olympic torch was extinguished, out in Atlanta’s upscale suburbs, 30 chrome Chevy pickups sat in 30 driveways, and 30 good old boy wannabes were about as happy as a good old boy wannabe could get.

Harvey H. (“Hardy”) Jackson is Professor Emeritus of History at Jacksonville State University. He can be reached at hjackson@

AUGUST 2016  11

Alabama Food Issue

field fork From their

to your

Some of the vegetables grown at Spencer Farm in Marion Junction.

12 AUGUST 2016

Buy loca l, eat f r e sh O ur

Alabama’s farm-to-table movement and why it matters Stories by Jennifer Kornegay


f you’ve paid any attention to restaurant news in the last decade, you’ve no doubt heard the term “farm-to-table” describing a new hot spot or a shift in an established favorite’s menu. It’s been especially ubiquitous in our region, and the concept really gained traction and took off in the late 1990s in Alabama when folks were introduced to Birmingham’s Chef Chris Hastings and his fresh and local food philosophy. Soon, the farm-to-table label was showing up everywhere and was the big restaurant biz buzzword for years, trickling down from upscale establishments to more casual eateries, with restaurants of all sizes emphasizing their sourcing of local ingredients (produce, meat, cheeses, eggs and more). But as is often the case with anything “trendy,” farm-to-table has become a vague catch phrase that is sometimes mis- and over used. Still, the movement’s original intentions and authentic practitioners remain committed to the concept, listing its many benefits: It’s more sustainable, offers better tasting products and supports local economies. It’s not a new idea in Alabama: Our grandparents and generations before them ate farm-to-table all the time. At least a portion of the food on their plates on an ordinary Tuesday night probably came from their garden or a nearby farm stand or market. They ate food when it was in season, not before or after. It probably would never have occurred to our great-grandparents to look for a fresh tomato in January. Winter was for enjoying the summer produce they’d preserved by canning.

state boa sts an abundan ce of fa r mers markets, and man y are selling fa r more th an f ruit s and veg g ies. At so me, yo u’ll fi nd bake d go o d s, raw hon ey, orga n ic meats handmad , e soaps and mor Visit fma e. .alabama .go v to find a f ull list o f far mer markets s and far m stand s listed by county.

“The farm-to-table movement is a new thing for us at this point in our lives, but if you go back just 40 or 50 years, before fast food, before mass production, that is what everyone did, how most people ate; it was very commonplace,” says Don Wambles, director of the Alabama Farmers Market Authority. But as grocery stores began offering “ripe” produce all year long, trucking fruits and vegetables in from perpetually warm spots like southern Florida, the tradition of eating almost exclusively by the seasons began to change. Within a few decades, many Southerners got in the habit of buying produce from the same place they got the rest of their food. Trips to a farmer’s market became special occasions where getting a handful of juicy heirloom tomatoes was like striking gold, a rare treasure. The tide has now turned. We care again about what we’re eating and where it came from. When you consider a local food system from a community perspective, that’s a good thing, as Chip Spencer, a farmer in Marion Junction, explains. “When you buy from local farmers, you get food that is often cheaper than what you get in the grocery store, but beyond this aspect, when you know your farmer personally, you’re going to get a better product,” he says. He and most of his customers

Continued on Page 38

Chip Spencer speaks to a group at last year’s “Farm to Feast” event at Spencer Farm, an event that benefits a local community garden in Selma. Spencer donates the use of the farm and whatever produce it has available; the Black Belt Benefit Group provides a speaker and a chef to prepare the local farm food.

Alabama Living

AUGUST 2016  13

Alabama Food Issue

Non-profit helps streamline process from farm to table


t’s coming full circle, but there are gaps in the farm to table process, gaps a new non-profit organization called Heirloom Harvest is hoping to bridge. Founded by Will Dodd in April 2016, Heirloom Harvest is creating a more streamlined process for getting locally grown products to consumers and chefs. Dodd saw the need while working in Washington D.C. “I was working on the big farm bill in Congress and realized that the regulations and public policy of agriculture are not set up to benefit the medium and small farms. These guys are having a hard time getting their product to market and expanding their market. They don’t have the resources,” he says. The farmers spend so much time farming that they don’t have the opportunity to “sell” themselves well. “We want to get the harvest from a farmer in Selma and take it beyond his immediate area; we want to get it into a restaurant in Birmingham,” Dodd says. The organization is setting up a database of the state’s farmers to show who is growing what, how much and where. “Our mission is to grow our local food economy and make farming more profitable so more people consider going into farming,” Dodd says. “We’re losing a lot of farms here.” To do this, Heirloom Harvest is gearing up to become a wholesale market for farmers’ foods. It will buy from farmers and assume the risk of then selling the products to restaurants and farmers markets. “This helps them solve issues like transportation,” Dodd says. “They don’t have the means to get their products across the state.” It also gives them a more consistent income.

And Heirloom Harvest will be providing other business services too, in addition to the overall promotion of the “eat local” concept. “We want to create a narrative that is tied to our state’s agricultural heritage and our food culture,” Dodd says. “We want to inspire people to get back to the tradition of eating this way and to also get interested in growing their own food.” As Dodd pointed out, you don’t have to have a restaurant reservation to dive into the farm-to-table movement. You don’t need a lot of space or specialized equipment to have your own flourishing vegetable patch. But if you’re not into gardening, turn to the experts and shop at farmers markets. It’s easier than ever to find one near you. According to Don Wambles, director of the Alabama Farmers Market Authority, in 1999, there were approximately 17 farmers markets around the state; today there are 162.

Will Dodd is the founder of Heirloom Harvest, a nonprofit group working to grow the Alabama food economy. PHOTO BY MELISSA BROWN

14 AUGUST 2016

Alabama Living

AUGUST 2016  15

Alabama Food Issue


o matter which area of Alabama you call home, there’s probably a cattle farmer nearby. According to the Alabama Cattleman’s Association, cattle are found in every county in the state. They might be part of a herd several hundred head strong. They might have only a handful of hooved companions whose main purpose is looking pretty in a small pasture and serving as its low-tech lawn mower. From tiny farms to cattle raising on a grand scale, you’ll find it all in Alabama, and it brings a serious boost to our still agriculture-driven economy, with an annual economic impact of $2.5 billion. And the industry is on the upswing, according to Dr. Billy Powell, executive director of the Alabama Cattlemen’s Association. “On January 1 of 2016, there were 1.25 million head of beef cattle and calves in the state,” he said. “That’s a 4 percent increase over 2015.” Among that massive number is a select group of cattle, a special breed that’s gaining popularity. “It’s the best steak you’ll ever put in your mouth,” said Rob Whitesell of Whitesell Farms in Vinemont, Ala. He was bragging about the taste and tenderness of wagyu beef, the breed he’s raising on grass-covered hills in Cullman County. His is quite a boast, but it’s a claim that has sound science and the praise of legions of steak lovers around the globe behind it.

Raising the steaks Several Alabama farmers are setting the bar high for beef raised in our state By Jennifer Kornegay Photos by Michael Cornelison

From Japan to Alabama

The wagyu cattle breed originated in Japan, and the cows were once used as working animals. Today, they are best known as the source of famed Kobe beef, a “brand” of beef that comes from wagyu cattle raised in the Kobe region of Japan using very specific techniques and standards. (Some Kobe ranchers are rumored to massage their cows.) While only this beef can be called “Kobe,” all wagyu cattle share a genetic trait – a high concentration of unsaturated fat interspersed among its muscle tissue – that makes their meat stand out from other types of beef. “Wagyu’s calling card is the kind and amount of its marbling,” Whitesell says. “They have a very specific fat profile; it has a very low melting point.” This gives wagyu beef its deep, rich beef flavor that’s coupled with a soft, buttery texture. “It’s a real melt-in-your-mouth experience,” he says. The tech industry brought Whitesell, a Florida native, to Huntsville in 1990 where he works for a software company.

16 AUGUST 2016

Andy Tipton’s Wagyu of Alabama beef cattle graze in the fields in Sardis.

Alabama Living

AUGUST 2016  17

In 1998, he decided to move his family to the country, and ended up buying what is now Whitesell Farms. He started farming cattle – while still working in Huntsville – in 1999, but only got into raising wagyu six years ago, when he began breeding some wagyu bulls with his commercial heifers. His focus moved to raising fullblood wagyu (while still growing some of the cross breeds) in 2014. It started when he changed his business model to sell directly to consumers. “One year, we started selling meat to some family and friends, and it worked so well, I decided that was how I wanted to run my business,” he says. Making that move meant he’d be in the “custom beef ” market, and if you’re going to grow custom beef, why not go with the best? “That’s wagyu,” he says. Several members of his herd are now registered with the American Wagyu Association, and most of Whitesell Farms’ wagyu beef is sold directly to customers, although he is experimenting with wholesale to markets. “Our primary market is our repeat clientele who buy a side of beef at a time,” he says. “We’re currently selling to an independent grocery in Huntsville, too, though, and we’ll see how that goes.” Farther south, Andy Tipton has been raising his wagyu cattle on his farm, Wagyu of Alabama, in Sardis, near Selma, since 2009. He’s been around farming all his life, and earned a master’s degree in animal science with a concentration on cattle from Auburn University. After farming commercial cattle for more than a decade, he started researching ways to get more money out of each acre in less time. The answer was to produce a premium product, but Tipton had never even heard of wagyu before 2008. Then his brother ate an amazing steak. “He is one of those people with very discriminating tastes, and he had a wagyu steak out in Colorado that he was raving about,” Tipton says. His brother’s description sparked his interest, and the more he learned, the more he liked the idea of raising some. “I knew it would be a new thing here,” he says. “Everyone has heard of Angus beef; there are 30 million Angus cows in the United States.” There are only 7,000 fullblood wagyu. The price of buying a whole herd of full-blood wagyu was too high, so Tipton, like Whitesell, created his herd by “breeding up,” which takes some time. He now has 25 calves that will be harvested next year; his goal annual harvest is 50 cows. 18  AUGUST 2016

Tipton feeds breakfast to one of his wagyu beef cows.

While the basics of cattle farming remain the same across breeds, working with wagyu requires a little more time and technical skill, particularly the selection process for continuation of the herd. “We ultrasound our females to see the fat in their muscle so we can quality grade them and then decide which ones to breed,” he says.

Demand for custom beef is growing

He doesn’t use antibiotics or steroids on his wagyu. He also takes care to treat them right. “They have a nice disposition; they’re very docile,” he says, “so we are always very calm around them and careful not to stress them out. That can affect the meat.” Whitesell’s wagyu are also free of antibiotics, except in rare cases when they’re needed for medical treatment, and none of the animals he’s currently selling have been treated with antibiotics.

Like Whitesell, Tipton sells the majority of his wagyu beef direct, mostly working in quarters and halves, although he does sell ground beef and individual steaks at the EastChase Farmer’s Market on Saturdays in the summer and early fall in Montgomery. He’s got a few Montgomery chefs chomping at the bit to serve his steaks, too. Look for Tipton’s wagyu on the menu at the Vintage Year. Finding folks to buy his beef is no issue; he currently can’t keep up with demand. When he is able to expand his production, he hopes to take website orders and ship his wagyu all over the country. “We’ve already done a bit of that,” he said. “We’ve sent our beef to Texas and Oregon.”¢ Check out these websites to find out how to get your hands on some Alabama-raised wagyu beef:

Alabama Living

AUGUST 2016  19

Thelma Bradley, mother of AREA Quilt Competition coordinator Linda Bradley Partin.



Alabama Rural Electric Association’s

Our 2017 theme is:

In Honor of Mom


Quilt Competition

Design your quilt square recognizing what makes your mom special to you!

Mail, E-mail or Fax form below for your entry package. Deadline to submit quilt square is January 27, 2017. Name: ________________________________________________ Address: ______________________________________________ City, State Zip: __________________________________________ E-mail: ________________________________________________ Phone: ________________________________________________ Cooperative: ___________________________________________ (The electric cooperative name on front of this Alabama Living.)

Mail to: Linda Partin AREA 340 TechnaCenter Drive Montgomery, AL 36117 or Phone: 334-215-2732 Fax: 334-215-2733 E-mail:

It’s back! Once again, Alabama Living readers have a chance to vote on the places and things that make our state great! We’ve got some new categories this year. So check out the questions, pick an answer for each one, or tell us what’s your choice for the “Best of Alabama!” Best non-franchise place for ice cream Best themed trail Peach Park (Clanton) Tasty Dip (Heflin)

Trowbridge’s (Florence) (Other)

Best non-franchise place for fried chicken

Crowe’s (Troy/Sylacauga) Dot’s Soulfood Diner (Hillsboro)

Martin’s Restaurant (Montgomery) (Other)

Civil Rights Trail Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail

Alabama Food and Wine Trail (Other)

Best family outing location Alabama beaches Zip line tour

Barber Marina (Bamahenge, dinosaurs) (Other)

Best football player to play in Alabama

Best “spur of the moment” weekend trip

Bo Jackson Joe Namath

Rent a cabin (Northeast Alabama) Alabama wineries

Bart Starr (Other)

Best campground

Gulf State Park Joe Wheeler State Park

Wind Creek State Park (Other)

Best state park Gulf State Park Cheaha State Park

Oak Mountain State Park (Other)

Best small town art Murals in Dothan & Andalusia Fairhope’s downtown galleries

Studios & museums in the Shoals area (Other)

Best prehistoric/archeology site Russell Cave National Monument Rickwood Caverns

Best waters to fish

Lake Guntersville Pickwick Lake

Old Cahawba (Other)

Mobile Bay

Gulf beaches (Other)

Best sports venue Bryant-Denny Stadium Jordan-Hare Stadium

Talladega Superspeedway (Other)

Best waterfall DeSoto Falls Noccalula Falls

Little River Falls (Other)

Best Native American site Moundville Archaeological Park Fort Mims State Historic Site

Horseshoe Bend National Military Park (Other)

Best wildlife park or sanctuary Harmony Park Safari (Huntsville) Oak Mountain State Park

Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge (Other)

Best thing about living in Alabama


Best waters to play Lake Martin Lake Guntersville

Coosa River

Best compliment you hear about Alabama


Best outdoor annual festival/jubilee National Shrimp Festival Jubilee Hot Air Baloon Classic

National Peanut Festival (Other)

What was your favorite article you read in Alabama Living this year?



Name: _______________________________________________________________ Address: _________________________ City: ___________ St: ___Zip: ________ Phone Number: __________________Co-op: ______________________________

Mail to: Alabama Living Survey • P.O. Box 244014 • Montgomery, AL 36124 No purchase necessary. Eligibility: Contest open to all persons age 18 and over, except employees and their immediate family members of Alabama Rural Electric Association, and Alabama Electric Cooperatives; and their respective divisions, subsidiaries, affiliates, advertising, and promotion agencies.

Cast your vote for the Best of Alabama for the chance to win



Deadline to vote is Oct. 31, 2016.

Alabama Food Issue

Alabama’s Food Fests


ot an appetite for a food-focused celebration? Each year in Alabama, more than 30 events highlight some form of delectable edible and include tastings of the title ingredient among their


ua r b e F

ch Mar l Apri

main activities. Check out our list of annual eating events held all over the state and in every season, and mark your calendar now so you don’t miss out. Visit their websites for exact dates and more details.

Jewish Food Fest Montgomery, German Sausage Festival Elberta, Alabama Chocolate Festival, Rainbow City,

Tri-State BBQ Festival, Dothan,

Bob Sykes BBQ & Blues Festival Bessemer, Strawberry Festival Cullman, Poke Salat Festival, Arab, Orange Beach Wine Festival Orange Beach, Catfish Festival, Scottsboro,


Alabama Blueberry Festival Brewton, Blueberry ice cream, blueberry pie, blueberry cobbler, blueberry jelly, blueberry bread pudding. The ways to enjoy the sweet-tart pop of flavor packed into this tiny indigo berry are many and varied, and there’s no better place to taste at least three of four of them than at the Alabama Blueberry Festival in Brewton. This food fest has grown to bring anywhere from 8,000 to 10,000 blueberry fans to the town for the fruit-filled event. Area growers bring in bushels and bushels of their crop. You can buy berries by the pint, by the crate or by the flat, just picked and at the peak of their freshness. Or if you’d like to grow your own, you can buy a few blueberry bushes. Chilton County Peach Festival Clanton, Athens Grease Festival Athens, Slocomb Tomato Festival, Slocomb, Slocombtomatofest


Watermelon Fest, Grand Bay, Sand Mountain Potato Festival Sand Mountain Franklin County Watermelon Festival Russellville,


22 AUGUST 2016

Okra Festival, Burkville, The annual Okra Festival draws hundreds to a field in tiny Burkeville in Lowndes County. Last year, more than 800 people enjoyed the event. It pays homage to one of the South’s humblest but also heartiest vegetables, okra, and how its toughness is symbolic of Southern grit. Pounds and pounds of locally grown okra are picked, cooked and then consumed at the festival, including fried okra, pickled okra, gumbo with okra, okra wrapped in bacon, okra casserole, and even okra pie.



er b m e t

The Wharf Uncorked Orange Beach, Breaking Bread Birmingham, Sweet Tater Festival Cullman,


National Shrimp Festival, Gulf Shores, German Sausage Festival Elberta, Evergreen Sausage Festival, Evergreen, Peanut Butter Festival, Brundidge, This free “harvest and heritage festival” honors and celebrates the role peanut butter processing has played in Brundidge’s past and present. Today, anywhere from 5,000 to 7,000 people congregate in downtown Brundidge for a 5-K Peanut Butter Run, live entertainment, contests, games, a George Washington Carver presentation, a peanut butter recipe contest, the Nutter Butter Parade and more.

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Hangout Oyster Cook-Off Gulf Shores, Cane Syrup Making Day Beatrice, National Peanut Festival, Dothan, Alabama Pecan Festival, Mobile,

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er b m e

Chili Fest, Linden Sippin’ Cider Festival Athens,

Alabama Living

AUGUST 2016  23

Can Alabama repeat & can Auburn rebound? By Brad Bradford


ast year may have been Nick Saban’s BEST coaching job at Alabama. After losing to Ole Miss at home on September 19, Bama’s obituary for the season was already in ink. Every game after that became an elimination game. There was no room for error. The turnaround happened two weeks later when the Tide beat a favored Georgia team on the road 38-10 in a game that was not near as close as the final score. Ryan Kelly, Reggie Ragland, Derrick Henry and A’Shawn Robinson (all now in the NFL) kept the team focused on the task ahead. Saban constantly reminded fans of the “team chemistry” and how much he liked this team. Alabama’s depth played a huge role all the way to Arizona and the Crystal Ball against Clemson. Last year may have been Gus Malzahn’s WORST coaching job at Auburn. The Tigers finished the regular season 6-6 and last in the SEC West. Auburn had two quality wins: the opener against Louisville and at Texas A&M. Beating Jacksonville State in overtime and the 3-point win at Kentucky made Auburn bowl eligible. There is some momentum going into 2016 after the win over Memphis in the Living, I Birmingham Bowl. Last year in Alabama Living wrote that the excitement centered around defensive coordinator Will Muschamp and quarterback Jeremy Johnson. Auburn’s defense finished 13th in the league (only ahead of South Carolina, who coincidentally now has Muschamp at the helm). Jeremy Johnson never materialized at quarterback and the offense finished 10th in the SEC. IF I COULD MAKE ONE CHANGE ABOUT ALABAMA: Starting in 2008, Alabama’s opening Classic 24 AUGUST 2016

games read like a Who’s Who of college football: Clemson, Virginia Tech, Michigan, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Southern Cal. The next 2 years, 2017 and 2018, feature Florida State and Louisville. It is the weekend before the Auburn game that is laughable. Alabama has played Western Carolina three times, Chattanooga three times, Charleston Southern, Georgia State and future games with the Citadel and Mercer. There is nothing wrong with playing FCS (the old 1-AA) teams this warmup week. But why in the world do you skip over Samford, Alabama A&M, Alabama State and Jacksonville State? These are in-state schools that would gladly come to Bryant Denny for less money and keep the money in state. If looking for “easier” non-conference games, play South Alabama, UAB or Troy instead of Kent State and Florida Atlantic. It would help high school football in the state and would encourage season ticket holders, like myself, to attend and watch some of the locals compete. Auburn plays these schools already. It is time for Alabama to do the same. IF I COULD MAKE ONE CHANGE AT AUBURN: Last fall was the debut of “college football’s largest video board” at a total cost of $14 million. It is truly state of the art. The problem is that is has become more of a distraction on Saturdays in Jordan Hare. The Atlanta Braves need a video board to entertain and keep the fans awake between pitches and between innings. Auburn does not. Last year at a crucial time against Ole Miss, my family witnessed fans busy watching some goofy guy with an ugly mustache stare into the camera and hold up one finger instead of making it impossible for the Rebels to hear the quarterback’s signals. The players feed off the energy of the crowd. It doesn’t help when the crowd is watching a “dance off ” or cartoon cars racing on the video board. Auburn has always been an

Alabama Living

AUGUST 2016  25

intimidating place to play. The spirit and enthusiasm has always been second to none. Watching the replay of the previous play adds to the game day experience and is great for nosebleed seats. However, the Tigers must find out what happened to that spirit. ALABAMA SCHEDULE: The Tide lost a number of great players from last year’s national championship team but continues to reload with more five-star recruits. The toughest three games this year are all on the road: Ole Miss, Tennessee, and LSU. These games, on paper, should be toss-ups. Bama has lost to Ole Miss the last two years. With all the off-field distractions for Ole Miss, this should end this year. Tennessee returns 18 starters and the top quarterback in the SEC in Josh Dobbs. The Vols’ three games leading into Alabama are going to be tough: Florida, at Georgia and at Texas A&M. Butch Jones is going to have a tough job keeping his team from looking forward. This cannot be overlooked: Tennessee has not beaten Alabama in nine straight contests. LSU has close to the same talent level that Bama does. The Bayou Tigers have the leading Heisman trophy candidate in Leonard Fournette but Les Miles’ biggest recruit was getting defensive coordinator Dave Aranda from Wisconsin. He inherits 10 starters. For LSU, much like Tennessee, this game has become a mind game. Saban has beaten Miles five times in a row, including the 2014 overtime game in Baton Rouge that should have been won by LSU if not for Miles’ bone-headed clock management. The Tide will end up 11-1 with a loss to either Tennessee or LSU. AUBURN SCHEDULE: The 2016 team will be improved but may not have much of an improved record. It can be summed up: 5-3-4. There are five probable losses: Clemson, LSU, at Ole Miss, at Georgia and at Alabama. Three toss-ups will make or break the season: Texas A&M, at Mississippi State, and Arkansas. The other four are probable wins. If Auburn can steal one or two (Georgia and/or Ole Miss) from the first category and win two of the toss-ups, they could have a seven-win season. The first five games are at home but include Texas A&M and LSU. The opening road game in week six against Mississippi State will be crucial since the Bulldogs are open the week before. If the Tigers go into this

game at 2-3, a 6-6 record and bowl eligibility becomes the goal. The Clemson game in Jordan Hare on Labor Day weekend could be a barn burner if Auburn can slow down Deshaun Watson. Traveling to Ole Miss, Georgia and Alabama in three of the last five weeks is going to be difficult. Loyal Auburn fans and alumni expect and deserve better than a 6-10 SEC record in the last two years. The Tigers will end up 7-5 with an interim head coach for its bowl game. SEC WEST PREDICTIONS: 1. Alabama 2. LSU 3. Ole Miss 4. Texas A&M 5. Arkansas 6. Auburn 7. Mississippi State. The winner of the Bama at LSU game on Nov. 5 will represent the West in Atlanta. The loser will still be alive for the playoffs. If Ole Miss can beat Alabama for the third time in a row, their crossover game with Vandy will make the difference. SEC EAST PREDICTIONS: 1. Tennessee 2. Georgia 3. Florida 4. Vandy 5. Kentucky 6. South Carolina 7. Missouri. Tennessee plays Florida and Georgia back to back on the 4th and 5th weekend. Wins here wrap it up. Georgia gets the benefit of hosting Auburn in a crossover game while Florida has to play LSU. Tennessee plays Bama. These crossover games will decide the champion. SEC CHAMPIONSHIP: Alabama over Tennessee 27-17. NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP CONTENDERS: SEC: Alabama, Tennessee and LSU. ACC: Florida State and Clemson. Big 10: Michigan and Ohio State. Big 12: Oklahoma. PAC 12: Washington. Independent: Notre Dame. FINAL FOUR: Alabama, Florida State, LSU and Michigan. 2016 NATIONAL CHAMPIONS: Alabama over LSU; 37-21. Brad Bradford served on the coaching staffs at Alabama and the University of Louisville. He and his wife, Susan split time between their homes in Wetumpka and Destin, Florida. Brad can be reached at

Alabama Living

AUGUST 2016  27

| Worth the drive |


serves up contemporary cuisine in a classic setting Story and photos by Liz Vinson


t 118 N. Main St. in Brundidge sits a historic building that the community has known and loved since the mid 1900s. What was once a glove and shirt factory is now a hip and eclectic restaurant whose cozy and comfortable ambiance has people lining up to enjoy a meal amid an array of interesting décor. From unique art that decorates the warehouse-style interior, to walls and tables made of refurbished wood, to antique, red metal doors dating back to 1966, Collier’s on Main stays true to its industrial origins. Beyond that, the restaurant aims to please, serving the community a mix of contemporary cuisine combined with friendly and prompt customer service. Since opening in September of 2015, Col-

Get a look at Collier’s online at

28 AUGUST 2016

lier’s on Main has seen great success, but manager Mo Caraway insists the popularity can be boiled down to one thing: the people of Brundidge. “The customers are what make the restaurant special. We have people from all walks of life come in. Farmers, businessmen, and bankers can all gather here together as one. You can wear overalls or a three-piece suit, and it’s a good place to work due to the customers we serve,” Caraway says. Collier’s on Main is more than just a restaurant. It features an outdoor patio where guests can dine by candlelight under the stars, and there is an extra space used to host large parties and events. Known as The Warehouse, the elegance of dripping

chandeliers makes for an interesting juxtaposition to the exposed brick walls in a room that can seat 240 people. While guests come to Collier’s on Main for a multitude of reasons, Caraway’s agenda is to ensure the establishment serves one purpose.

Relax and unwind

“This is a spot to relax and unwind,” Caraway says. “It’s a relaxed place for people who want to enjoy good food and entertainment and be treated with respect. This is affordable dining where everyone is welcome, and we feel like it’s a place people like to be to enjoy themselves and have fun.” To add to the restaurant’s appeal, Caraway brings in live music on Thursday and Friday nights. Guitar players of all ages

August | Around Alabama Foley, Kick off those flip flops and put on your boots because “It’s time to rodeo!” The 19th Annual Jennifer Claire Moore Foundation Professional Rodeo will be at the City of Foley Horse Arena, 113 East Rosetta Ave. This “rodeo with a reason” benefits the Jennifer Claire Moore Foundation, supporting Peer Helper Programs in Baldwin County. Children’s activities, including free horseback rides, face painting, games, a bouncy house, and an inflatable obstacle course will begin at 7 p.m. The professional rodeo begins at 8 p.m. with calf roping, barrel racing and bucking bull riding. Tickets are $12 for adults, $6 for children ages 4-12, and free for ages 3 and under.


Gadsden & Decatur, A once-a-year 690-mile shopping trip brings thousands of bargain hunters and treasure seekers on a trek through northeastern Alabama. The World’s Longest Yard Sale features shopping, treasure hunting and bargaining, and sightseeing along the North Alabama stretch that begins in Gadsden and travels along Lookout Mountain Parkway through DeKalb County and into Chattanooga, Tenn. Many shoppers begin the journey in Gadsden, taking the scenic Lookout Mountain Parkway to Chattanooga and following Highway 127 north to Addison, Mich. Everything from antiques, collectibles, furniture, and dishwares to local fresh produce and homemade jams and jellies along with food vendors and live entertainment can be found. Vendors are typically up and running by 8 a.m. and operate until late in the evening. For lodging information, directions, road closures,

and more information, visit or call DeKalb Tourism at 888-805-4740 or Greater Gadsden Area Tourism at 888-565-0411.

Photo courtesy of the Jennifer Claire Moore Foundation.



Dothan, Prattville native Jessie Lynn (Nichols) will open for the Oak Ridge Boys at the Dothan Civic Center. 7 p.m. Tickets on sale at


Albertville, The City of Albertville will host its 7th Annual Main Street Music Festival featuring vendors, children’s activities, two music stages and entertainment each evening. Free.


Auburn, Explore the Kerher Preserve and Nature Center, 2222 North College St., and learn all about the fascinating world of bogs and the incredibly adaptive plants that live there. The Discover Hike will be with a trained naturalist who will offer your family fun opportunities for hands-on learning, exploration and exercise. Discover Hikes will meet at the pavilion at 9 a.m. Free, donations accepted. Cancelled in event of rain.


Dothan, Annual Dothan Indian Artifact Show will be at the Westgate Gym, 501 Recreation Road, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Entry fee $2. Features artifacts such as pipes, pottery, spears, arrowheads, clothing, jewelry and books at reasonable prices. Educational displays for Pre-Columbian artifacts, Civil War memorabilia, fossils, and other Southern antiquities. Family friendly.

Photo courtesy of Jessie Lynn.


Prattville native Jessie Lynn will open for the Oak Ridge Boys August 5 at the Dothan Civic Center.

Russellville, The annual Franklin County Watermelon Festival in Downtown Russellville will feature live entertainment, a bike ride and 5K run, beauty pageant, tractor, truck and car show and more. Free.


Priceville, Celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Town of Priceville Cruise in. $20 entry fee with various raffle tickets

The 19th Annual Jennifer Claire Moore Foundation Professional Rodeo will be August 4-6 at the City of Foley Horse Arena.

avaliable for purchase. Car entry is located behind Foodland at Veterans Park off Bethel Road and will begin at noon. Event is 5-10 p.m., fireworks begin at 9:15 p.m. In the event of rain, event will be held Aug. 27.


Talladega, The Afternoon of Praise will feature singers and musicians from North Central Alabama and parts of Georgia who will perform contemporary Christian classics and Southern gospel favorites to raise funds and food for two local organizations that provide for those in need. Performance times are 2:30 pm and 4:30 pm. Admission is a ticket and a bag of non-perishable food items. Tickets are $15 and may be purchased by calling The Ritz Theatre, 115 Court Square North, at 256-315-0000. Trucks will be parked in front of The Ritz on the day of the event to accept food donations as you enter. All monetary proceeds go to The Red Door Kitchen. All non-perishable food items go to The Samaritan House. For updates and more information, please follow us on For additional information, contact Susannah Herring at 205-368-5222 or


Birmingham, 18th Annual Sidewalk Film Festival, a celebration of new independent cinema in downtown Birmingham. Filmmakers from across the country and around the world have come to Birmingham to screen their work at Sidewalk. Low-priced weekend passes provide easy access to Sidewalk venues. For more information and ticket prices, visit


Montgomery, More than 70 teams from Central Alabama will converge downtown at Riverfront Park to paddle for a cause while in pursuit of the Grand Championship Trophy. The Dragonboat

To place an event, e-mail or visit You can also mail to Events Calendar, P.O. Box 244014, Montgomery, AL 36124; Each submission must include a contact name and phone number. Deadline is two months prior to issue date. We regret that we cannot publish every event due to space limitations.

Alabama Living

Festival benefits two local non-profits, Bridge Builders Alabama and Rebuilding Together Central Alabama. Wander the grounds of Riverfront Park for a taste of some local food vendors, browse various goods from local exhibitors and artists, and find a spot to enjoy live music from the Amphitheatre stage.


Luverne, The 1st Annual Crenshaw County Emergency Summit at the Luverne United Methodist Church Dei Center from 10 a.m. until. Open to the public as an educational opportunity. Speakers are scheduled throughout the day representing different agencies that provide emergency services and emergency information. Representatives from local and outside agencies will be present for educational lectures. Lunch will be provided and door prizes will be given away. For more information, contact Crenshaw County EMA Director Elliott Jones at 334 335-4538 or 334 508-2434.


Tu s c a l o o s a , Statewide veterans reunion brings together the men and women who defended our country by providing a memorable weekend to show appreciation and gratitude for our many heroes in Alabama. All Alabama veterans and their families are invited to come and enjoy time together. Check the website for continued updates., 1900 Jack Warner Parkway.


Burkville, The 16th Annual Okra Festival will begin at noon off U.S. Highway 80 on Frederick Douglas Road. Features local food, music, cultural arts and crafts. For more information, visit

Like Alabama Living on facebook Follow Alabama Living on Twitter @Alabama_Living

AUGUST 2016 29


travel in from as far away as Florida to play a diverse mix of music. “The fact that we feature entertainment helps a lot, but it’s a place for people to gather socially,” Caraway says. “Everything in Brundidge is unique, and we think our restaurant fits in because we are unique. People enjoy the vibe of the restaurant because it’s in tune with its surroundings. This is a place where you can come sit in a laidback atmosphere with no pressure to hurry, and it provides a lot of social enjoyment.” The owners’ motivation for opening Collier’s on Main went beyond the idea to provide food and entertainment. The restaurant also serves as a way for Caraway and her team to honor the city and people of Brundidge who have been supportive to them throughout the years. “We opened this for the residents of Brundidge to enjoy, and it’s something we wanted to do for the city. We wanted to give back to those who have given to us, and it was done as a project to work in that way,” Caraway says. As for ensuring the people of Brundidge receive the respect they are due, Caraway is adamant that the customer service be excellent to make sure patrons feel at home. “We try to treat people the way you want to be treated, and that’s what we get the servers and staff to do. Everyone works in the kitchen as a team to bring customers the best of the best,” Caraway says. For those who come to Collier’s on Main 30 AUGUST 2016

solely to dine, they are in for a real treat. The menu features Southern favorites like fried green tomatoes and green beans to ever-popular entrees that include mahi mahi and filet mignon. “We use a lot of local produce, and we even have deep fried pork skins. Our salads have done really well, and we sell a lot of steaks. We try to run features every day at lunch and dinner, and the staff can always share menu ideas,” Caraway says. At the end of the day, Caraway credits the restaurant’s growing reputation to the people of Brundidge, and she hopes that the establishment remains a place that people hold dear to their heart. “If it weren’t for the local people, it would be very hard for us to survive. It’s important for everyone to feel welcome here, and we hope Collier’s on Main is a special place in this city that means so much to us,” Caraway says.

Collier’s on Main 118 N. Main St. Brundidge, AL 36010 334-735-2118 Email: colliersonmain@ Twitter: @ColliersOnMain Hours: 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Tuesday-Wednesday; 11 a.m.-close Thursday-Saturday; closed Sunday and Monday


Alabama Living

AUGUST 2016  31

| Gardens |

Alabama Food Issue

Preserving summer flavors and a fading art So many vegetables, so little time. That’s the story this time of year when we have an abundance of delicious summer fruits and vegetables — often more than we can possibly eat or give away — but, like summer itself, know that time is running on out them. They’ll be gone in the blink of a firefly. 

Betty Hightower is an exceptional cook who not only makes fine jams and jellies, but she’s also helped preserve the art of home food preservation by sharing her recipe and techniques with others. 32 AUGUST 2016

Alabama Living

AUGUST 2016  33

The colors and flavors of summer, like these gorgeous summer peaches, can be captured in a jar with just a little bit of effort. In fact, canned goods, if prepared and sealed properly, are safe to eat and will retain their quality for several years if they are stored in a cool, dry spot away from direct sunlight. Frozen foods, on the other hand, are best if used within a year. Photos by Katie Jackson


f course there is a way to save the flavors and nutrients of summer. Put some away for later. Even primitive humans preserved their food supplies (caching food in ice or soil, for example), and while we have made great strides in food preservation (Ball jars, pressure canners, etc.) there’s some concern that, thanks to our busy, processed-food, non-agrarian way of life, we’re losing those time-honored home food preservation skills and knowledge. The good news is that home food preservation may be declining, but it’s not yet a lost art. In fact, there’s been a resurgence of interest in learning home preservation techniques among consumers who are increasingly interested in using locally grown, less processed foods. I’ve done a bit of canning, freezing and jelly making myself through the years, but because I’ve usually been helped by practiced, patient mentors (most recently by jelly-maker extraordinaire Betty Hightower), I’m far from an expert on the subject. So I sought a little guidance on the art and science of home food preservation from another friend, Food Safety and Quality Regional Extension Agent Patti West. Patti is one of several Alabama Cooperative Extension System agents who teach folks like me how to safely (emphasis on safely) put up tasty, nutritious food. She and her Extension cohorts are the modern face of one of Extension’s oldest public services — home canning demonstrations. According to Patti, preserving food at 34 AUGUST 2016

home will not necessarily save money — it requires an investment in equipment, supplies and time — but it is an effective (and can be fun) way to preserve the bounty of summer, or any season’s harvest for that matter. According to Patti, it should all start with quality product picked at its peak of ripeness and freshness. “As horticulturists will tell you, it is best to pick produce early in the morning,” she says. “That’s because as the day gets hotter, the produce loses moisture.”

Process produce soon after picking

Once it’s picked, though, times a-wastin’. “Produce doesn’t get any better after it’s picked. It’s at its peak then and you want to process it as soon as you can,” Patti says, and six to 12 hours after harvest is ideal. Wash the produce thoroughly, trim away any blemishes or damaged areas and avoid using fruits or vegetables that are diseased, badly bruised or moldy. Patti also recommends having all equipment and supplies purchased and ready to use before starting. “You don’t want to have to stop in the middle and run to the store for something.” So what is the best food preservation method? Nutritionally, “fresh is best, frozen is second best and canned is third,” Patti says. The other vitally important detail in food preservation is food safety, with bot-

ulism being the primary concern, though other contaminants such as e coli and Salmonella can pose threats. Safe food preservation techniques vary depending on the type of produce you’re preserving, but avoiding food poisoning is easy. “You just need to follow a tested recipe and process it for the required amount of time,” she says. Obviously there’s much more to learn about food preservation than will fit in this column, but luckily there are easy ways to get that information. County Extension offices are a great place to start and personnel there can even help groups arrange a program led by Patti or one of her fellow experts. Another exceptional resource is the National Center for Home Food Preservation in Georgia ( nchfp/), where you can find loads of information and the fabulous and free, stepby-step online food preservation guide, USDA Complete Guide to Home Canning. Regardless of whether you dive headlong into canning and fermenting or simply freeze a few quarts of fruit or veggies, you can take pleasure in knowing you’re preserving the flavors of summer and an ancient art.

Katie Jackson is a freelance writer and editor based in Opelika, Alabama. Contact her at katielamarjackson@

Alabama Living

AUGUST 2016  35

| Consumer Wise |

Is your ductwork delivering? By Patrick Keegan and Amy Wheeless


I recently moved from a home with wall-mounted heaters to one with central heat and air, and a duct system. How can I ensure my ducts are working efficiently?


Homes with central forced-air heating and cooling systems, like furnaces, central air conditioners and heat pumps, use air ducts to deliver the conditioned (heated or cooled) air through the home. Ducts are often concealed in walls or in areas of your home you don’t go to often, like a crawlspace, so many people do not immediately think of them as an area to save energy.

A Duct Blaster test can show you how leaky your ductwork is. PHOTO CREDIT: KET555

Regularly vacuuming your air filters can extend their life and help your heating system work more efficiently. PHOTO CREDIT: JANWIKIFOTO

You may have received flyers in the mail with offers for air-duct cleaning and claims that doing so will improve the air quality and efficiency of your home. However, duct cleaning may not always be necessary for air quality, and there is no indication that just cleaning your air ducts will improve your system’s efficiency. Duct cleaning may be necessary if:  There is visible mold in your duct system or there was a recent flood that caused mold or mildew in your home.  There is something in the ductwork impeding airflow, like debris or an infestation. Major renovations or new construction can put construction debris into the duct system, so post-construction is an ideal time to consider duct cleaning.  Your heating registers are releasing dust into the air.  Home residents have allergies or asthma problems that have not been alleviated by other changes. While duct cleaning may not always be necessary, regularly changing your air filters can help your heating and cooling system work more efficiently. How often you change them depends on how much your system runs, whether you have pets and whether you

Patrick Keegan writes on consumer and cooperative affairs for the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, the Arlington, Va.-based service arm of the nation’s 900-plus consumer-owned, not-forprofit electric cooperatives. Write to energytips@ for more information.

36 AUGUST 2016

periodically vacuum your air filters. For the average home, air filters should be changed four to six times a year. Though duct cleaning may not do much for the efficiency of your systems, duct sealing is important for saving energy and lowering utility costs, particularly if your ducts are in unconditioned spaces, like a crawlspace or an uninsulated attic. In a typical home, 20 to 30 percent of heated or cooled air escapes through unsealed gaps and holes in the duct system, which can cost you money and make your home less comfortable. You wouldn’t put up a with a leaking water pipe, so why should you put up with a leaking air duct? The best way to assess the condition of your home’s ductwork is to have it tested by a professional home energy auditor who can conduct a Duct Blaster test. If you can easily access your ducts, you might get by with a visual inspection, which will identify the larger holes and disconnections. Where ducts meet or where they connect to a heating register are common places to find leaks. A professional trained in ductwork can help you identify and fix the gaps and leaks you may not be able to see. Talk to your local electric co-op to find the right person for the job. Once gaps and leaks have been identified, you can work to seal your ducts. Small duct leaks can be sealed with mastic, a type of caulk. Larger duct leaks and disconnections may require additional lengths of duct, mechanical fasteners or special heat-resistant tape. Do not use duct tape—ironically, it is not designed to adhere well to ducts. If you have ducts in unconditioned areas, like an attic or crawlspace, your ducts could be wasting energy by heating or cooling the surrounding air, even if there are no leaks in the ductwork. Insulation around the ducts can help reduce this energy loss. Consider adding insulation to the unconditioned space, such as in the attic or basement, which can further increase the efficiency and comfort of your home. This column was co-written by Pat Keegan and Amy Wheeless of Collaborative Efficiency. For more information on how to test and seal your ductwork, please visit: energytips.

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nother way to get farm-fresh local produce and products is to sign up for a Community Supported Agriculture program (CSA). With this model, you buy a “share” of a farmer’s harvest and usually get a weekly delivery of whatever is ripe and ready. According to Don Wambles of the Alabama Farmers Market Authority, this model is gaining traction in Alabama. “CSAs are becoming popular here,” he says. “We have between 40 and 50 in state right now.” Naturally Rad, a 10-acre farm in Millbrook, has been offering its CSA program for two years, and owner Rachel Dickinson says it has worked well for her farm that she runs with her husband Len. “Our CSA has been the most essential way

for us to share our products, and really the most satisfying,” she says. “It gives us regular repeat customers, and we love getting to know them.” She echoed others who note the economic impact of the CSA model. “Everyone is more interested in their own health these days, but when you support your local farmer, you’re helping make your community’s economy healthier too; I think that is one of the most important aspects.” And this message seems to be resonating with Alabamians. Folks concerned about the state’s food systems are excited by what they’ve been seeing in the last decade. “We are finally returning to our roots, and that’s a great thing,” Wambles says.

Continued from Page 13 are on a first-name basis. “That means I want to give them the best food I can. I know the kids who’ll be eating it, and what I’m providing them matters a lot to me.” But “eating local” also boosts the health of your community’s economy, a fact that Spencer sees as just as important, if not more so, than the other aspects. “When you think about the economic benefits, they can be huge,” he says. Products sold in big box grocery stores travel an average of 1,500 miles, and the money spent on them leaves the community and goes 1,500 miles back. “Kids go off to college and don’t come back here because they see no economic opportunity, but we can change that starting with creating a strong local food system,” Spencer says. “It has the potential to have major impact on our local economy and help us fix some of the issues facing us.”

Local demand boosts value of farm property

When the demand for locally grown products goes up, so does the demand for farmland. Then, property values go up and property taxes tick up, a cycle that benefits far more than the farmers. The key is education, and that’s where Alabama restaurants and chefs have been playing a crucial role. Johnny Fisher, owner

Johnny Fisher, owner of Fisher’s in Orange Beach. PHOTO BY MICHAEL CORNELISON

38 AUGUST 2016

Tomatoes grown by Naturally Rad, a certified naturally grown farm in Autauga County.

of Fisher’s at Orange Beach Marina on the Gulf coast, is passionate about promoting area farmers – as well as the bounty from Alabama’s Gulf waters – as is Fisher’s executive chef, Bill Briand. “The difference between good food and really exceptional food is usually the ingredients,” Fisher says. “It’s hard to beat a vine ripened tomato picked less than 24 hours before it’s eaten.” But his devotion to local food producers and fishermen goes beyond the ability to ensure the dishes on Fisher’s menu taste great. “There are so many advantages to local food,” he said. “It is more nutritious. Because it was harvested just a day or two before it’s delivered, it has a much longer shelf life than non-local food. The money stays in our local economy. Spending our food dollars locally generates almost four times as much economic benefit for the surrounding area as spending elsewhere. And supporting younger farmers is crucial for the future of our local food economy. Who’s going to grow our food?” Chef Randy Gresham of Montgomery’s A&P Social is equally dedicated to sourcing as much local food as he can. He likes to use the term “locally responsible” instead of farm to table. “It’s vital that we get folks thinking about food and their area farmers,” he says. “That’s why we work to showcase how great Alabama products are, and make sure folks know a little something about the farmer who grew them.” Gresham lists the local sources for A&P’s foods on a blackboard hanging right by the bar in the restaurant. He also educates his staff so they can tell people about the farmers. Despite the popularity of farm-to-table restaurants, it has sometimes been a struggle for chefs to get what they need locally. “It has to be sustainable, both for the restaurant, which has to turn a profit, and the farmer, who can’t grow a huge diversity if he doesn’t know that his products will get purchased,” Gresham says. For years, only a handful of products were readily available locally, but that has changed. “We now see farmers willing to grow more different things, and that’s because consumers are willing to try different things now,” Gresham says. And that’s due in no small part to chefs pushing people to expand their palates. “When restaurants buy local, it gives the farmers more income and promotion, and it can increase demand from people who are buying their products at farmers markets.”

Sunrise at Spencer Farm, a family farm that produces vegetables, meat, eggs and honey that are free of synthetic chemicals.

Alabama Living

AUGUST 2016  39

| Outdoors |

Everyone, not just hunters and anglers,

can financially support

conservation The more hunting and fishing licenses that a state sells, the more money comes back to the sportsmen of that state.

Conecuh Shooting Range: Many Alabama Wildlife Heritage License holders are purchasing this license to use at the WMA shooting ranges or community archery parks, according to the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.

40  AUGUST 2016


ll Alabama fishing and hunting licenses expire on Aug. 31 each year, but where does all that mon-

ey go? In 1937, President Franklin Roosevelt signed the Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration Act, known as the Pittman-Robertson Act. The act placed excise taxes on the sale of firearms, ammunition and other products used for hunting, with proceeds to be distributed to states for wildlife restoration. A similar law, the Federal Aid in Sport Fish Restoration Act of 1950, does the same thing for fishing products. And in 1984, Congress passed the Sport Fish Restoration & Boating Trust Fund to raise money for recreational boating. “When Pittman-Robertson passed, legislators understood the importance of the hunting heritage and having wildlife in the country,” says Chuck Sykes, director of the Alabama Wildlife & Freshwater Fisheries Division. “Whenever anyone bought a gun or ammunition, the manufacturer paid a portion of that money into a trust fund administered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to promote healthy wildlife populations.” By the 1930s, decades of habitat destruction, land clearing and market hunting seriously depleted many wildlife populations. In 1900, fewer than 500,000 whitetail deer remained in the lower 48 states. Just 50 years ago, seeing a deer track in the woods almost made the news in many areas. Now, many states hold more than a million deer. The federal government collects these excise taxes and returns money to each state, based upon its landmass and the total number of hunting and fishing licenses sold in that state. The more hunting and fishing licenses that a state sells, the more money comes back to the sportsmen of that state. “It’s a three-to-one match,” Sykes says.


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Alabama Living

AUGUST 2016 41

“For every $1 we collect in license sales, Alabama receives $3 from the federal government.” States must spend money on an approved project, and the federal government reimburses the state 75 percent of that cost. “For instance, we if wanted to build a $1 million boat launching facility, Alabama must come up with the first $250,000.” With this money, state conservation departments buy lands used for public hunting, fishing, hiking, camping, horseback riding, bicycling and other activities. States can also build boat launches, canoe and hiking trails and public shooting ranges as well as fund many other activities to promote outdoors recreation. In Alabama, this money funds the Conservation Department, among other things. However, federal money cannot go to law enforcement. Therefore, the state must spend 66 percent of the money collected from license sales to fund conservation enforcement. “The Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, with the exception of the state parks, receives NO tax dollars,” Sykes says. “We survive off of hunting and fishing license sales and federal monies attached to them.” Non-resident hunting and fishing license sales also figure into the equation.

Alabama sells more than 30,000 annual non-resident fishing licenses and another 25,000 short-term “trip” licenses each year. Hunters from other states buy about 12,000 licenses per year. Non-resident license sales generate more money for conservation efforts because they cost more. In addition, visiting sportsmen pay for lodging, fuel, supplies, food and other expenses during their visit, contributing more to the state economy. “Hunters and fishermen are bearing the

The license is $10.85 annually, or $220.25 for a lifetime license. In Alabama, outdoors enthusiasts can visit more than 1.3 million acres of wildlife management areas and other public lands with habitats ranging from tidal marshes to mountains. Wildlife heritage license sales also qualify for federal reimbursement, so one person’s contribution actually goes much farther for the state’s conservation efforts. For more information on buying wildlife heritage licenses, call 888-848-6887, or see www.outdooralabama. com/sites/default/files/ licenses/WHLBrochure. pdf. Previous generations passed a magnificent wild legacy to us. Now, it’s our turn to ensure the next generation enjoys the same experiences. The 2016-17 licenses should go on sale in late August wherever people buy sporting equipment. People can also buy licenses online. See

Previous generations passed a magnificent wild legacy to us. Now, it’s our turn to ensure the next generation enjoys the same experiences. burden for everyone, not just in Alabama, but all across the country,” Sykes says. “People who don’t hunt or fish, but enjoy hiking, bird watching, canoeing or otherwise enjoying public land are not contributing to the upkeep and maintenance of that property or future purchases of public land unless they buy a license.” That’s where the Alabama Wildlife Heritage License comes in. This license was designed for people who don’t hunt or fish, but who do want to contribute to the system and continue enjoying recreation on public lands. It’s an easy, affordable way to help conserve Alabama’s natural resources for future generations.

John N. Felsher is a freelance writer and photographer who writes from Semmes, Ala. Contact him through his website at www.

Oak Mountain Archery Park opening: Users must have a hunting or Heritage license to use the Oak Mountain Archery Park.

42  AUGUST 2016

Tables indicate peak fish and game feeding and migration times. Major periods can bracket the peak by an hour before and an hour after. Minor peaks, half-hour before and after. Adjusted for daylight savings time.

a.m. p.m. Minor Major Minor Major

AUG 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 SEP. 1 - 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30

04:52 -12:52 01:22 02:07 08:52 09:52 11:07 --12:52 02:22 03:22 04:22 05:07 -06:37 01:22 07:52 08:22 09:07 10:07 11:37 ---01:22 02:52 04:07 04:52 --07:22 08:07 08:52 10:07 11:22 ---02:22 03:37 04:22 05:22 ---

Alabama Living

11:52 05:37 06:22 07:07 07:52 02:52 03:37 04:37 05:52 07:22 08:52 09:52 10:37 11:22 11:52 05:52 07:37 07:07 01:52 02:22 02:52 03:37 04:22 05:22 06:52 08:07 09:22 10:07 10:52 11:37 05:37 06:22 01:07 01:37 02:22 03:22 04:07 05:22 06:52 08:22 09:37 10:22 11:07 11:37 05:52 06:37

12:22 07:22 07:52 08:22 08:52 09:22 03:37 04:22 01:07 07:37 09:22 10:22 11:07 11:52 12:22 07:07 01:07 07:52 08:07 02:22 02:52 03:07 03:37 02:07 11:07 09:37 10:22 10:52 11:22 11:52 06:37 07:07 07:37 02:07 02:37 03:22 04:07 01:22 12:22 09:52 10:37 11:07 11:37 12:07 12:22 06:37

06:52 12:37 01:07 01:37 02:22 02:52 09:52 10:37 11:22 03:37 04:37 05:22 05:52 06:22 06:52 12:37 01:22 01:52 08:22 08:52 09:07 09:37 10:07 03:52 04:22 04:52 05:22 05:37 06:07 12:07 12:52 01:22 07:52 08:22 09:07 09:37 10:37 03:22 04:22 04:52 05:22 05:37 05:52 12:07 12:37 AUGUST 2016 43

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AUGUST 2016 45

| Alabama Recipes |

Alabama Food Issue

You CAN do it “Putting up” summer’s fresh fruits and veggies lets you savor the season longer. By Jennifer Kornegay | Photos by Michael Cornelison


n the South, the past is often present. We hold on tightly to traditions, stories, cherished heirlooms and family recipes, keeping them with us and handing them down. It’s no different with the bounty that the land gives us each summer. Most of us eat our fill of fresh produce when it’s at its peak, but those with foresight place a little bit to the side and “put it up” (by canning it) to enjoy long after green vines and tender leaves are withered and gone. I have never been one of those people. Not because I don’t think it’s a good idea. It’s due to my phobia of food-borne illness, most specifically a slow and painful death brought on by botulism. I remember grocery shopping with my grandmother one day, and she grabbed a can of something but quickly put it right back on the shelf because it had a dent. “Never buy a dented can,” she told me. “It could have botulism.” “What’s that?” I asked. “It’s a poison that grows on food that gives you lock jaw and then you die,” she said, flatly. That was enough info for me, but she went on. “People who don’t know how to properly can at home can end having it in the jars with their preserves and pickles too.”

46 AUGUST 2016

So, thanks to grandma, I have grown up fearing botulism like some folks are afraid of sharks or flying. I didn’t ever trust my abilities to “can properly” and so I’ve never even tried. I’ve made pickles and jams, but I always made the “refrigerator” versions, meaning I didn’t heat and seal the jars. I just placed them in the fridge and made sure to eat them (or dispose of them) within their “safe time zone,” usually a couple of weeks. After doing the research for this article, I’ve learned that botulism is quite rare (whew!), can be treated and is only fatal in 5 to 10 percent of cases. I’ve also realized that canning is not that complicated. Following directions is key, and since I CAN read (and since my paranoia ensures I’ll execute every task to the letter), I’m looking forward to making some blackberry jam this year. And so should you. Use one of the tasty reader-submitted recipes or that old family recipe from your favorite kitchen-savvy relative and hold on to summer's deliciousness all year long.

Alabama Living

AUGUST 2016  47

Texabama Salsa 10 cups tomatoes, peeled and seeded 3 cups onions, peeled and chopped 1Âź cups of chili peppers, seeded and chopped (I use a mixture of jalapeno, Anaheim, Serrano and Habanero) 1 tablespoon fresh cilantro, chopped 1 cup apple cider vinegar 6 cloves garlic 1 tablespoon salt Start by sterilizing the jars and canning lids and set them aside. Place all of the ingredients in a food processor and blend to desired texture. Place the blended ingredients in a 6-quart saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes until salsa is desired thickness. Pour salsa into jars and tighten lids. As the jars cool you can hear the jar lids pop. Kirk Vantrease Cullman EMC

Condensed Tomato Soup 1 6 3 1 1 1 ½

peck tomatoes onions bell peppers stalk celery, chopped cup flour cup butter or margarine cup sugar Salt and pepper to taste

Peach Pickles


3 1 3 10

Cabbage Distilled water Canning salt Quart canning jars Canning rings and lids Cut up as much cabbage as you desire with a kraut cutter. Stuff cabbage in a quart canning jar, tight. Put 1 teaspoon of salt on top of cabbage. Pour boiling water over salt until jar is full. Screw canning ring and lid on jars. Put jars in an out building or carport for 6 weeks. Jars will work over the rim. After 6 weeks, clean outside of jars, tighten rings and put jars in your cabinet.

pounds sugar quart vinegar tablespoons whole cloves pounds peach halves (or more, if you have enough liquid)

Bring to a boil the sugar, vinegar and cloves. Drop peach halves into boiling liquid and cook until tender. Pour into sterilized jars and seal. Janice Hardy Pea River EC

Mix the vegetables and cook until tender (approximately 20 minutes) and strain. Mix the flour, butter, sugar and salt and pepper with a small amount of the strained vegetables while hot. Whisk until well blended. Add to the rest of the vegetables and cook in a heavy pot until thick. Seal in water bath for 10 minutes.

Canned Okra

Faye Rutherford Joe Wheeler EMC

Edna Watts Cullman EC

48 AUGUST 2016

1 1 8 4

gallon okra gallon water tablespoons vinegar tablespoons salt

Stir well, boil 5 five minutes and put in jars and seal.

Elaine Kitchens Cullman EC

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Pear Relish 1 peck pears (about 15 pounds) 5 red sweet peppers 5 green sweet peppers 3 hot peppers 5 large onions 5 cups sugar 5 cups vinegar 1 tablespoon salt

Peel and core pears, grind and drain off most of the juice. Prepare peppers and onions and grind (do not drain). Dissolve sugar and salt in vinegar and bring to a boil. Add other ingredients, boil for 20 minutes. Put in hot jars and seal.

Cook of the Month

Sue Robbins, Coosa Valley EC Sue Robbins and her husband developed their recipe for pear relish after enjoying a version made by some friends. “We’d let them pick pears from our trees, and they made a relish,” she says. “We liked it but came up with our own.” They use the abundance of fresh pears their two trees yield and also turn to their yard for other ingredients. “We use peppers I grow in our garden,” Sue says. The Robbinses add the relish’s mix of sweet, tart and heat to amp up all kinds of things: vegetables like fresh field peas, meats like pork and turkey – Sue always puts some out at Thanksgiving – as well as salmon. But they like it best spooned atop a grilled hot dog.

Send us your recipes! Please send us your original recipes, developed by you or family members, and not ones copied from a book or magazine. You may adapt a recipe from another source by changing as little as the amount of one ingredient. Cook of the Month winners will receive $50, and may win “Cook of the Month” only once per calendar year. Share a story about your recipe! Whether it’s your grandmother’s best cake or your uncle’s camp stew, every recipe has a story behind it. We’ll pay $50 for the best recipe-related story each month. Submit: Online: Email: Mail: Recipes, P.O. Box 244014 Montgomery, AL 36124

Recipe Themes and Deadlines: Oct. Nov. Dec.

Campfire Cooking Biscuits Christmas Cookies

Alabama Living

Aug. 8 Sept. 8 Oct. 8

Canning 101 There are two basic canning methods and which you use will depend on what you’re putting up: If you’re looking to can low-acidic foods that you’re not adding sugar, salt or vinegar to, you’ll need to use the pressure method to keep bacteria at bay and ensure the food stays safe (i.e. devoid of botulism!).

If you’re making jams or pickling something (therefore adding acid to the produce), you can go with the easier boiling-water method, which also requires less specialized equipment and is a great way for novice canners to dip their toes in the (hot!) water. Find detailed instructions for both methods along with a wealth of other canning and preserving information at the National Center for Home Food Preservation’s website ( Follow their directions and your recipe precisely.

AUGUST 2016 49

ATTENTION HVAC, PLUMBING, ROOFING, LANDSCAPING, CONSTRUCTION, AUTOMOTIVE, HEALTHCARE, INSURANCE, FINANCIAL SERVICES, IT & TELECOM, MANUFACTURING, ETC. As a local business, you may not need to advertise to the entire state. But what about the 15,000+ consumers in the Clarke-Washington EMC market? Alabama Living, the state’s largest publication, is offering this page to the first local business that wants to stand out from the competition and put its product/service in front of Clarke-Washington’s members.

This page will be gone fast. It’s efficient and effective marketing. Call 800.410.2737 or email:

50 AUGUST 2016

Summary of Bylaws The board will appoint a committee on nominations. The committee shall be selected from different sections of the co-op service area so as to ensure equitable representation. This committee shall meet and prepare a list of nominations for the three districts up for election. This list will be posted at the principal office of the cooperative, at least 30 days before the annual meeting. The secretary shall be responsible for mailing, at least 10 days before annual meeting, a list of nominations. The list may be mailed with the notice of the annual meeting. Any 15 or more members acting together may make other nominations by petition and these nominations will be posted at the principal office of the cooperative if they are received, at least, 15 days before the meeting. Later

Alabama Living

nominations by petition will not be accepted and no nominations may be made from the floor at the meeting of the members. In order to qualify for elections, no person shall be eligible to become or remain a board member of the cooperative who: (a) is not a member and bona fide resident in the area served by the cooperative; or (b) is in any way employed by or financially interested in a competing enterprise or a business selling energy, or supplies to the cooperative, or a business primarily engaged in selling electrical or plumbing appliances, fixtures or supplies to the members of the cooperative; or (c) is an employee of the cooperative or has been an employee of the cooperative within the preceding five years; or (d) does not reside within the district which he/she represents.

AUGUST 2016  51

| Our Sources Say |

Requiem for Gus Mayer


us Mayer – my faithful companion, my best friend and loyal super beagle – left me for the Rainbow Bridge at 3:30 p.m. April 14. I can talk and write about him some now without crying. Last November, I received the terrible news that his kidneys were failing and that he had only months, maybe weeks, to live. You may not know that kidney failure is fatal to dogs because there is no kidney dialysis for them. Gus Mayer survived five months, but finally, the poisons that healthy kidneys would have filtered overwhelmed him and took him from me. I have written about Gus Mayer a few times in these articles. In December 2009, I wrote an article on a dog’s carbon footprint based on the book, Time to Eat the Dog? A Guide to Sustainable Living. For a few weeks, Gus Mayer was a pet media star-dog. He received quite a few fan letters, two of which offered marriage proposals. He was impressed that Labrador Retrievers would be interested in him. A year later, I wrote another article based upon Gus Mayer’s listening abilities. He was the most patient listener and would lie by me for hours listening to whatever I wanted to talk about. However, he was more interested in dinner than he was in climate change. He said he was not unusual, either. Most people (and dogs) are more interested in what they will eat next than in climate change. I also wrote an article titled, “Who Stole Your Truck,” in which I talked about Gus Mayer and my adventures driving my Chevrolet Tahoe. I received an irate letter about that article from a gentleman who was outraged that I would drive a vehicle with such a poor emissions profile. Gus Mayer was mildly amused by the letter but was still always ready to go, especially if we were going through the magic windows at fast food restaurants. Dogs are man’s best friend. That was more than true of Gus Mayer. He was my friend, but family, too. Kalli, my middle daughter, adopted him while she was in college. He was very sick when she got him from the Humane Society, and one of her roommates said, “…That dog will be more expensive than a shopping trip to Gus Mayer” (an expensive Birmingham women’s store). And he was. After Kalli’s landlord threw him out of their house, he adopted me. He was always happy to see me. He trained me well. I knew when he wanted to be fed and when he wanted to go out. He loved to drag me around the neighborhood smelling and marking all the shrubs and bushes. He went to the beach with me and took me walking in the sand. He was always there for me to talk to. He never disagreed with my ideas. He was not perfect, but no dogs are. He was a glutton and was obese – a very chunky beagle. He was selfish. He would eat his food and the cats’ food, as well. They and I had to fend for ourselves over food. He had lung disease brought on by antibiotic

Gary Smith is President and CEO of PowerSouth Energy Cooperative

52 AUGUST 2016

Gus Mayer giving me instructions.

treatments for pneumonia when he was a puppy. The treatments for the lung disease probably ruined his kidneys. Lots of songs and stories are about dogs. John Hiatt sings, “I never felt so free, just my dog and me,” about traveling with his dog. Fred Eaglesmith sings about his dog in his song, “A Good Dog.” However, he notes, “…dog stories never end well,” and they don’t. Dogs don’t live as long as we do, and we usually have to let our dogs go on before us. Probably the best dog story is Willie Morris’ short story, “My Dog Skip,” which was also made into an acclaimed movie starring Kevin Bacon. The plot recounts the adventures of Skip and a teen-aged Willie as they encounter bootleggers, race relations, football heroes and friendships in Yazoo City, Mississippi. When Willie goes to Oxford, England, as a Rhodes Scholar, Skip sleeps in Willie’s room waiting on him to return but passes away while he is abroad. The book concludes with the line, “…they said they buried him under the elm tree. That wasn’t totally true. For really, he laid buried…in my heart.” Like Skip, Gus Mayer is really buried in my heart. I still miss him. I still look for him in all his favorite places. I know he is at the Rainbow Bridge waiting on me. I don’t know if there is a dog heaven, but I can’t imagine a heaven without dogs and without Gus Mayer. I hope you have a good month.

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AUGUST 2016 53

| Alabama Snapshots |

My garden

My backyard flower garden. SUBMITTED BY Dave Johannes, Montgomery.

Erby Womack of Sylvania. SUBMITTED BY Trina Glassco, Sylvania.

Dixon Massey picking peppers with his PawPaw Larry Dixon. SUBMITTED BY Shannon Dixon, Phenix City. Ryan Storey volunteering at Chaney’s Chapel garden in Dutton. SUBMITTED BY Dale Crawford, Dutton.

Doris McInvale, 86 years old, still gardens and cuts her grass. SUBMITTED BY Lynn Nelson, Georgiana.

Submit Your Images! October Theme: “My first car” Deadline for October: August 31 SUBMIT PHOTOS ONLINE: or send color photos with a self-addressed stamped envelope to: Photos, Alabama Living, P.O. Box 244014 Montgomery, AL 36124

RULES: Alabama Living will pay $10 for photos that best match our theme of the month. Photos may also be published on our website at and on our Facebook page. Alabama Living is not responsible for lost or damaged photos.

54  AUGUST 2016

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