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Inside this edition
Goobers - all grown up
Three Roanoke-Chowan area companies really “dig” their jobs - capitalizing on the bountiful harvest of peanuts.
Local family enjoys string of fortune over several generations by capturing Homecoming Queen titles.
‘Tis the season
R-C area towns and or ganizations announce long list of Holiday themed events.
Strength in numbers
Roanoke Valley Breast Cancer Coalition provides support for local women diagnosed with this disease.
The Pearce family model train museum in Eure is dressed for the holidays, opening its doors to the public Dec. 1.
The Bertie County Peanuts oﬃce team are, from left, Jon Powell, Jack Powell, Vicky Hoggard and Alice Tayloe.
Goobers – all grown up CHAPTER 1
Bertie family taps into worldwide popularity of peanuts STORY & PHOTOS BY CAL BRYANT
hey can be deep fried, parched, or eaten green right from the field. They can be r oasted in the shell, salted in the shell, or finely chopped for use in fudge as a sweet treat. You can cover them with chocolate or butterscotch. For an old-fashion Southern treat, pour a handful of these salted morsels into a bottled Pepsi or Coke and enjoy the wild mix of flavors. Whichever way you like ‘em, most people go nuts over peanuts.
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Here in northeastern North Carolina, especially in sandy soil left centuries ago by a receding ocean, peanuts are a hearty crop. Long, green rows bask under the summer sun. The stalk at the base of the ovary , known as the pedicel, elongates rapidly, and turns downward to bury the fruits several inches in the ground where they complete their development. Early fall is harvest time. The plant is dug from the warm soil and turned, leaving the peanuts to begin the drying process before a
tractor-assisted combine plucks the goobers, vines and all, from the ground. Other than a tasty snack, peanuts have additional applications, to include oils, solvents, medicines, textile materials, cosmetics, nitroglycerin, plastics, dyes and paints. For a trio of local businesses, peanuts have provided a way of life. These entrepreneurs have developed individual brands that attract customers worldwide.
(for cooking purposes) and we had an abundance of lard stands, complete with their big lids,” he continued. “We’d take a newspaper, lay it across one of those lids, fill it with fried peanuts and daddy would stand over it and salt ‘em down.” The end result is now legendary. “Everybody loved our fried peanuts; we’d cook up two batches (roughly four pounds) every day and those that worked here along with the farmers who traded with us would come in and snack on fresh fried peanuts,” Powell stated. Those fried peanuts eventually found their way to meetings of the Windsor Rotary Club where Jack Jr. was a member. “Everybody thought they were great; they, along with others who had tasted our version of fried peanuts, encouraged us to offer them for sale,” he said. What was once just a friendly gesture by the Powell family to their workers, farmers and friends set the table for what is today Bertie County Peanuts and its ever-increasing variety of flavors. “We had no clue of what we were getting into, but Jon (his son) had just graduated from Davidson (College) and was in-between jobs and was home at the time,” Powell recalled. “Between us we kicked around some ideas, to include what type of jars to use to extend the shelf life of our product. Lillie White, Daphne Mizelle and Virginia Hoggard process a pan full of We opted for a plastic jar so the customer fried peanuts at the Bertie County Peanut kitchen. can see what they’re buying.” it’s just a fun crop to raise.” ‘Peanut junkies’ There was also a need to develop stanLike many in a heavily agricultural reFounded in 1919 by W.L. Powell and his dards pertaining to cooking time and tembrother-in-law, J.T. Stokes, Powell & Stokes gion, Powell stressed that he always looked perature, and, of course, something other of Windsor has become an agricultural icon forward to October and the smell of freshly than an old popcorn popper in which to fry in the region. As is the case nearly 100 years dug peanuts. the peanuts. later, the company sells fertilizer, land plas“We’re peanut junkies,” laughed Powell. Another important element that the ter and farm supplies. The story of how Powell & Stokes first younger generation (Jon) brought to the Due to the fact that the bulk of the fertil- ventured into cooking peanuts is one for the table was to get Bertie County Peanuts conizer was shipped by bar ge, the company ages. Powell first explained the background nected to the rest of the world. That opened originated at a warehouse down by the of what is now a modern-day staple at the the door for Internet sales as well as proCashie River near the now closed railroad company – saying when peanuts arrive at moting the home-grown product on Facedepot. Later, rail was the popular mode of the facility, they are graded for quality . book, Twitter and YouTube. The company fertilizer shipments. Those samples have to be shelled for accu- also publishes a catalog to help drive mail In the early 1930’s, Powell & Stokes built rate weighing and testing. order sales. a warehouse on King Street (across from “When that process is complete, you have The company didn’t rest on its traditional Bunn’s Barbecue). The company remained huge handfuls of jumbo peanuts,” he said. two products – Blister Fried Peanuts and there until 1978 where it moved to its pres- “Back around 1980 or so, my dad (Jack bagged peanuts (salted or unsalted in the ent-day location on US 13 North. Powell Sr. – aka “Papa Jack”) went uptown shell, roasted in the shell, or raw – shelled or “I’ve been around farming for a long time and bought an old popcorn popper . He unshelled). and 99 percent of the farmers I deal with bought some oil and we began frying “It’s an amazing market,” Powell said. just enjoy raising peanuts,” said Jack Pow- peanuts in that popper during peanut harvest “Jon keeps up with all the new trends, the ell, the third generation of his family to op- season. newest flavors.” “Back in those days people still used lard erate this business. “It’s not rocket science; Now, the business offers a wider range of See BERTIE GOOBERS page 8
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BERTIE GOOBERS from page 7
peanut products, to include chocolate covered, brittle (plain and chocolate), honey roasted, butterscotch covered, Batchelor Bay seasoned (a spicy Outer Banks style seafood seasoning), Red Hot Hexlena, Sea Salt & Black Pepper , Weeping Mary’s Ghost Pepper, boiled (green peanuts, a Southern tradition), Goobers & Stix (mild or spicy), dark chocolate candy bars, and all natural peanut butter. Additionally it offers a line of cashews, pecans, trail mix, cheese straws, collegiate packaged peanuts (for ECU, UNC, NC State and Wake Forest “tailgaters”), and Big Buck’s BBQ Sauce. “We continue to make products that make us proud to be from Bertie County,” Powell said. “We’ve been able to distribute our peanuts to several markets, here locally and outside our region, and have received positive feedback. That fact alone makes all of us here strive to do even better.” Beyond Bertie’s borders Jon Powell is the company’s fourth generation front man. He attends as many as 15 trade shows each year, marketing the product line and looking for outlets in an ef fort to broaden retail sales. He has even attended the Fancy Food shows in New York City and Washington, DC where thousands of companies gather to push their wide variety of products. “We use the retail shows as our advertising vehicle,” Jon said. “W e believe that when we can put our product in someone’s hand and they taste it, they’re going to buy it. We still use traditional advertising (printed media sources) locally and regionally, but the shows give us an opportunity to reach a much broader market, those that have never heard of Bertie County Peanuts.” Social media is another area where Jon promotes the company and product. “We have gotten good results of f our Facebook posts and we continue to grow our number of likes,” he said. “W e’ve put all of our photo albums on Facebook; people seem to enjoy the photos.” As far as the future of the business is concerned, Jon said he strongly believes the sky is the limit. “That will happen because of two simple ideas that we’ve built upon since the start – all of our peanuts are grown locally and we
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Martha Early drops freshly coated chocolate peanuts onto the drying belt at the kitchen of Bertie County Peanuts.
start the process with the blister fried method,” he noted. “W e will continue to grow, how much will depend on time, effort and energy. There are other avenues out there, TV advertising is one thing we may look at. We have brought onboard a sales representative to help us market our product. “We’re not going to just sit back and coast, we’re always looking to expand…every year we’re putting more pressure on our production facility to produce more and more product,” he continued. “That’s a good thing. What use to be a parttime job during the non-Christmas season (January through September) is becoming more and more a full-time job at our production facility. Now that facility doesn’ t shut down much at all. We don’t want to throw all our eggs into one basket (Christmas sales season); we want to spread that out year-round.” The production facility, located within the Bertie County Industrial Park south of Windsor, was buzzing with activity. On the “dry” side, work crews were frying, sorting, and packaging. Another crew on the “wet” side busied themselves producing chocolate covered peanuts. Meanwhile, facility manager Jamie Forehand was on the forklift, stacking the finished product in the warehouse, preparing for the next shipment via tractor-trailer. Jon said the next step for the company
was expanding production and storage capabilities. At this time of the year , 20-30 part-time employees are needed to help fill the Christmas orders, while another crew handles the packing and shipping. There are conversations that may add a second shift at the kitchen. “We feel we’re going in the right direction,” Jon concluded. That direction includes purchasing only Super Extra Large peanuts. Taste and size does matter for Bertie Peanuts. “Our farmers here put peanuts on their best land and the end product is so much better,” said Bill Powell, Jack’ s brother in the family business. “The farmers lost their government support price and we lost a lot of peanut farmers when that happened, but those left growing them know what it takes to produce a quality peanut, one that grades out well, and that fact leaves our company with a better product to sell.”
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Goobers – all grown up CHAPTER 2
Peanuts, just not a snack food anymore STORY & PHOTOS BY CAL BRYANT
ust a stone’s throw across the Northampton-Bertie line near Roxobel, amid fields containing seemingly endless rows of peanuts, sits a small complex of buildings. A farm lot adjoins that property, making it appear the entire area is simply an extension of a large agricultural operation. However, once inside those buildings, it becomes extremely apparent that peanuts are king. Bakers’ Southern Traditions Peanuts, located at 101 Baker Road, was buzzing with activity on a mid-week day in October. The phone was ringing; orders were being received via an Internet site and employees were hustling to meet the demand. Such is a typical day at Bakers, especially one during this, their
busiest time of the year as Christmas orders are coming in. The business is co-owned by Danielle and Joey Baker. He tills the fertile soil; she, up until six years ago, was a farm wife, helping to raise three sons and keeping the financial records for her husband. “The boys were getting older and Joey and I had always talked about one day doing something of a value added nature to a crop we were growing,” she said. “Peanuts seemed to be the logical choice.” Thus, Southern Traditions was born in 2008. “The first year, I cooked some peanuts at the house and gave them away as gifts,” Danielle said. “Then the word spread and I had other people asking for our style of peanuts. “We were really not sure how well we would do, simply because we have so many good peanut companies here in our area,” she continued. “My idea from the beginning was to market our product outside of our area. I didn’t want to be in direct competition with the Powells over in Bertie or Katrine (Spruill) up in Como.” After checking into the legalities of the peanut product business, Baker hit the trade show trail, particularly food and wine shows, in an effort to get her brand in front of the public. “It started slow, but grew and it’s still growing,” she bragged. “I do a lot of shows up north and take these good Southern peanuts to the folks up there who have never tasted the quality of what is grown down here. I now have a loyal following up north.” That’s not to say her brand isn’t popular on the home front. “We have a lot of customers here in North Carolina and right here in our area, which I’m glad of,” she said. “I try not to market my brand in a store where another one of the local producers has already established their product, not unless the store specifically asks for mine.” Up until the last few months, Baker has done all the legwork in scouting potential retail markets to place her product line. She has also used the trade shows to make retail outlet connections. Baker said she prefers specialty shops, mom-and-pop stores, wine shops and gift shops as retail outlets. Currently, Bakers’ style of goobers are sold in shops in North Carolina, Texas, Florida, Oklahoma, Tennessee, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, New York, Maryland and Virginia. The market is much See BAKER S GOOBERS page 12
Facing Page: Danielle Baker labels one of the numerous peanut products oﬀered by her company, Bakers Southern Traditions. Left: Storie Outland weighs a jar of Choco-Scotch Covered Peanuts, part of the process at Bakers Southern Traditions.
BAKER S GOOBERS from page 11
broader with online and catalog sales. One customer from Hawaii called and asked Baker to stuff as much product as possible into a flat rate box and ship it. Broadening the base “A couple of months ago I hired a sales rep and she is working on getting us established in other shops she is already involved in with other product lines she represents,” Baker stated. “I also have a chef friend in New Jersey who works with me on recipe development and he is doing some market scouting for me up there.” Peanuts, Baker said, are a traditional snack food and that’ s what they’re best known for. However, she is trying to show that peanuts can be used for other food applications. “They can be used in meals, in dishes; that’s where my chef friend comes in with the recipe development,” she stressed. “Up north you find more vegetarians and they’re looking for more of a protein source food. We can highlight the positive protein source that peanuts have as well as other vitamins and minerals. That angle helps us get into some specialty shops that deal only in all natural foods.” Armed with that knowledge, Baker has developed a peanut soup to her line, a premixed recipe where water is the only other needed ingredient. “Peanuts are not just a snack food, they can be used in other ways as well,” Baker observed. “There’s a big emphasis now on Asian cooking and Middle Eastern cuisine and peanuts and peanut paste are a big part of that style.” While peanut butter is on her company’s list of products, the wheels are already turning in Baker’s mind on how to re-invent that long-time favorite. “I’m thinking of an adult peanut butter , with chili oil for spice, that can be used as a spread on a cracker as a hors d'oeuvre,” she said. “It never hurts to think outside the box, to have a dif ferent take on how to use peanuts.” Baker’s product line includes the traditional blister fried (lightly salted or unsalted), Redskins, Carolina Cajun style, candied peanuts (coated in sugar), Better Bites (chopped peanuts rolled in caramel and dipped in milk chocolate), peanut brittle, bagged (roasted in the shell), southwest
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Tanya Revelle places a pan of hot peanuts in the cooling rack.
jalapeno, ghost pepper, barbecued, and several varieties of chocolate covered goobers. Corporate and individual gift baskets are available. Her cooked peanuts are used at UNCChapel Hill for a peanut butter machine (grind your own goobers) in the university’s student dining halls. Soon, the Baker line of products will also be available in the 12 student stores that dot the UNC campus. “The kids love it,” she said of the peanut butter. For Bakers’ Southern Traditions, the future is much like the past. “Sure, we’ll add to our line, but the key to our success tomorrow is for people to continue to know that when they purchase our product, it’s not just your run-of-the-mill brand you can buy at most any grocery store; we want it to be special,” Baker said. That pride in product is evident in the fact that the process is all done the old-fashion way – by hand. “People like the fact that there are people, not machines, behind this product,” she stated. “People like the homemade touch, they support small business and they sup-
port farmers. Likewise, we support small business.” Baker employs three-to-four workers year-round. To handle the traditional rush during the Christmas season, that staff normally doubles to handle the orders. “It gives me a good feeling as a business owner to put people to work,” she stressed. “One is the main wage-earner in her family and I have another that is supporting two daughters and trying to put them through school.” Hopefully, down the line, the next generation of Bakers will continue the “Southern Tradition.”
Goobers – all grown up Goodness grows in Como STORY & PHOTOS BY CAL BRYANT
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roadside sign on the edge of a peanut patch in northern Hertford County says it all – “W e grow heart healthy peanuts.” That same level of pride can be found within a small building in the same area. Just by walking in, visitors can smell goodness, especially when Katrine Spruill has just finished cooking peanuts. Your nostrils flare with anticipation of popping a handful of those freshly fried, lightly salted goobers in your mouth. In 2001, Spruill purchased Taylor’s Home Cooked Peanuts from
its founder, Hugh Taylor. His Franklin, VA based business had been around for 25 years before he opted to retire from that line of work. “We bought him out, moved the business here to Como and kept the brand name,” See TAYLOR S GOOBERS page 17 Spruill said. .................................................... A nurse by proThis sign graces a peanut fession, Spruill said ﬁeld located near the she opted to beHertford County community of Como. come a business
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A Hertford County farmer in the Como area is shown picking peanuts in mid-October.
TAYLOR S GOOBERS from page 15
owner for the simple reason of wanting to be at home with what were then her small children – a son, Denton, now age 25 and a fourth generation farmer for his dad’s (Dennis) 2,000 acre agricultural operation, and a 23-year -old daughter, Shirley Lee, currently employed by Enviva of Ahoskie. “It had just gotten to the point where it was tough to balance my career as a nurse with the typical daily duties of being a mom and a farm wife,” she noted. “I decided that if I could do something different and do it right here on the farm where it’s convenient, then go for it.” Eleven years later , Taylor’s is still going strong and peanuts, at least from a farmer ’s standpoint, are enjoying a revival, so to speak, after the government axed the support price program decades ago. The family had their best peanut crop ever last year, yielding a shade over 5,000 pounds per acre. “The Como area always seems to grow good peanuts, quality and quantity,” she bragged. Spruill uses those jumbo peanuts to produce four main products – Home Cooked (salted cocktail type), Redskins (cooked with the skins intact), Cajun (blanched with spices) and Sea Salt & Black Pepper. “What we haven’t changed was Mr. Taylor’s cooking technique,” she noted. “We have added some different things, to include vacuum sealed cans, and added some candy lines.” Spruill said she was “dabbling with some other variations” to include vinegar and ranch. “I just cooked up some ranch flavored peanuts and will take them to my next (Murfreesboro) Chamber (of Commerce) meeting for a taste test,” she promised. “I love to experiment and I’m not shy when it comes to asking customers and friends about what they would like to see (in product variety).”
Cans of Taylor s Home Cooked peanuts are stacked in the kitchen area of the business, awaiting purchase.
See TAYLOR S GOOBERS page 18
FRONT PORCH LIVING • PAGE 17
TAYLOR S GOOBERS from page 17
In the candy line of peanuts, Spruill has added butter toffee, chocolate covered brittle and peanuts, old-fashioned peanut squares and blonde peanut brittle (made with blanched peanuts). Spruill also offers raw shelled peanuts in hand-sewn burlap bags. Additionally, she sells homemade preserves, cheese straws and chocolates. An independent salesman aids Spruill in getting her product line “on the street.” Other than the local outlets that carry her brand, Taylor’s Home Cooked Peanuts are popular along North Carolina’ s Outer Banks. “Most of our orders come online and through mail order sales,” she said. “W e also do a lot of corporate sales with gift boxes and gift baskets.” Spruill continues to market the brand at food shows, some as far away as Atlanta, GA. “You’ve got to put your face and your name out there,” she stressed. “I find more success on the retail end rather than wholesale. I’m just looking for that little momand-pop store – a gift shop or wine shop – that wants a niche product like mine to compliment their offerings.” Other than handling the typical rush of orders before Christmas, a time period where she hires extra help, Spruill is basically a one-person business. “Dennis usually helps me a lot when his harvest season is over,” she said. Discovering peanut paradise When the Christmas rush subsides, Spruill has enough of the sales market to keep her busy through other times of the year, saying she normally cooks twice a week after the holiday season. And even though Taylor’s Home Cooked Peanuts is off the beaten path (located in an area affectionally known as “DC” – Deep Como), Spruill said the volume of traf fic finding her business is surprising. “Right now the GPS, even though it seems to never help me, brings people looking to travel from Murfreesboro to Courtland (Virginia) right down this road,” she laughed. “The state line is a quarter mile from here and this road will lead you to US 58 (near Courtland). Some people stop by that never knew we were here.” She is grateful for the business she has,
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Katrine Spruill, owner of Taylor s Home Cooked Peanuts scoops fresh fried goobers into a can.
especially the repeat customers. “I’ve been in this long enough to get to know my customers; it’s a personal touch thing with me,” Spruill stressed. “I have many customers that prefer ordering by phone, they want that one-on-one contact and not stare at a computer screen. That’s fine with me because I love to talk.” For packaging the product, Spruill prefers tin cans over plastic or glass. “What’s inside speaks for itself, I don’ t think you need to see the peanuts to make a spontaneous purchase,” she said. Other than experimenting with flavors to possibly add to the product line, Spruill closed by saying she has discovered the secret of future success. “You need to find your comfort level and
then do that very well. Every time you grow, it costs to grow . You have to weigh all the options associated with that growth, is it the most beneficial in the long run,” she said.
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Kira Hall was named Homecoming Queen 2012 at Hertford County High School following in a family tradition. Her aunt and great-aunt were also so honored. She is shown with Homecoming King Dorrien Askew during festivities which were held Oct. 5
Royal Family Jones/Hall clan capture Queen titles STORY & PHOTOS BY THADD WHITE
oyalty runs in the family . That has certainly held true for the one Hertford County family. The royalty in question is that of the Homecoming variety at Hertford County High School and one of its predecessors, Ahoskie High. Linda Hall sat in the stands of Hertford County High School on Oct. 5 smiling proudly down at her granddaughter , Kira Tracy Hall as the latter was named 2012
Homecoming Queen at the Ahoskie-based school. The honor was a special time for the family as they enjoyed basking in the glow of the honor bestowed upon Kira by the student body of HCHS. It was an extraordinary time for the family, but also somewhat familiar. It was the third time Linda Hall had been there to see a member of her family
crowned at halftime of the Homecoming football game. The first time dated back to 1971 when Jeanette Jones Amaker, Linda’s sister, was chosen as Homecoming Queen at Ahoskie High. It happened again just 16 years later when Hall’s daughter, Angela Hall Humes was named Homecoming Queen at AHS. She was escorted that evening by her brother , McClary Hall III. It was 25 years later on See ROYAL page 22
Linda Jones Hall (left) and her granddaughter, Kira Hall, look over the memories of the family s history of being named Homecoming Queen at Hertford County schools. Kira Hall was the latest in a line of three family members who were honored.
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ROYAL from page 21
Oct. 5 that McClary Hall was able to see his daughter follow in the family footsteps when she was crowned. “Great. Amazing. Awesome,” is how Kira Hall described the feeling of being chosen Homecoming Queen at HCHS. “It feels like being a good person paid off.” While she was excited about being selected by her peers, Kira Hall was also cognizant of the history her family had in that area. “I can’t explain the feeling,” she said. “Keeping it the family was a big deal. It meant a lot to me.” One of the reasons it was so special is because her aunt was sitting in the stands cheering her on as she took the field. “Looking in the stands and seeing her was awesome,” Kira Hall said. “She was smiling and taking pictures and it meant a lot because I wasn’ t sure she would be there.” The feeling of seeing her niece crowned was just as special to Humes. She said plans had to be altered to make the trip from Greensboro to Ahoskie, but she was more than happy to do it. “I was very excited, thrilled even,” she said. “To have both of my nieces out there (Kira Hall’s sister, Felecia, was a sophomore attendant) was special. Who won wasn’t as important as having them both out there.” Looking back a few years to her selection, Humes said she was proud of the honor, even more so since it came during
.................................................. Top Right: Janette Jones Amaker was named Homecoming Queen at Ahoskie High in 1971. Her sister, Linda Jones Hall, has had three members of her family honored as Homecoming Queen. Following her sister were her daughter, Angela Hall Humes, and her granddaughter, Kira Hall. Right: Angela Hall Humes was named Ahoskie High School Homecoming Queen in 1987, pictured here escorted by her brother, McClary Hall III. Twenty-ﬁve years later, his daughter, Kira Hall was named Homecoming Queen at Hertford County High School. Contributed Photos
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the final year of Ahoskie High School. “It was a big honor , especially to be the one and to be selected by your peers,” she said. “When I was on the field I was very nervous.” Humes said she was proud to carry on her family’s legacy because Ahoskie meant so much to her familial unit. Linda Hall said she was thrilled over the outcome of all three ceremonies. “I was very excited,” she said. “It was a historical moment for me.” The most surprising to Hall? Her sister ’s selection in 1971. “I think I was more surprised when my sister received it because she was the first black person to get it since the schools integrated,” Hall said. Looking back over the ceremonies, Hall said she sees an improvement in racial relations and the way the student body makes their choices. “I think things are coming together ,” she said. “As far as black and white coming together, I don’t think it’s about who you are now, but it’ s who deserves it. With my granddaughter, it’s been about being a people person. She is a very respectful child who treats people well and I’m sure that won her a lot of votes.” Miss Homecoming 2012, Kira Hall, is the daughter of McClary Hall III and Kim Harrell while Ahoskie High School Miss Homecoming 1987 Angela Hall Humes is the daughter of Linda Jones Hall. Janette Jones Amaker, Miss Homecoming 1971, is the daughter of the late Ernest and Carolise Jones.
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‘Tis the season
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Parades and other holiday themed activities scheduled STORY BY THADD WHITE PHOTOS BY STAFF
hhhh… the sights and sounds of the season. A beautiful holiday season is upon us in the Roanoke-Chowan region and those wishing to spend time enjoying festivities will have a variety of choices. From Christmas parades to home tours, there is something to please just about everyone as the holiday season approaches. Bertie, Gates, Hertford and Northampton counties boast of a plethora of Christmas parades. There will be fun for those young and young at heart as the area is filled with bands, dignitaries, church groups and of course, Jolly Old St. Nick. In addition, those wishing for indoor fun can find it at historic Hope Plantation or the friendly confines of the Christmas home tours in Murfreesboro and Windsor. Christmas parades in the region will be held on the following dates and times: Saturday, November 24: 10 a.m. - Town of Conway Saturday, December 1: 10 a.m. – Town of Murfreesboro 10 a.m. – Town of Rich Square 10 a.m. – Town of Jamesville 2 p.m. – Town of Seaboard 3 p.m. – Town of Colerain 5 p.m. – Town of Winton Sunday, December 2: 2 p.m. – Town of Roanoke Rapids
See SEASON page 30
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The annual Murfreesboro Candlelight Christmas tour features a collection of seasonal music, decorations and plenty of good food.
SEASON from page 29
Thursday, December 6: 4 p.m. – Town of Windsor 5 p.m. – Town of Williamston Saturday, December 8: 10 a.m. – Town of Ahoskie 10 a.m. – Town of Bear Grass 1 p.m. – Town of Jackson 3 p.m. – Town of Gatesville 7 p.m. – City of Suffolk Other Christmas-related activities are planned throughout the region as well. Some of them include: Thursday, November 29: Christmas Wreath Workshop The workshop will be held at Historic Hope Plantation, located near Windsor. The workshop is planned from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. and is co-sponsored by the Bertie County Master Gardeners. Reserve a spot by calling 794-3140. Saturday, December 1:
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Tree Lighting The town of Ahoskie will hold its annual Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony at 6:30 p.m. Train Museum opens The Pearce Family Model Train Museum will open for the Christmas season at 6 p.m. and remain open for the rest of December from 6-9 p.m. daily. Those wishing to see model trains decorated for the season may visit the facility which is located on Little Island Road in Eure. Winter Wonderland Each year, Therman Hoggard of WIndsor and his family display the region’ s largest collection of Christmas lights and decorations. Numbering in the hundreds of thousands, the display is lit up on Dalton Drive each night at dusk and remains on until 10 p.m. The time gets later as Christmas nears. There is no charge for the display, but a collection box is available for those wishing to
donate. Dalton Drive is located off U.S. 17 Business North in front of Windsor Assembly of God Church near Cooper Hill Road. Sunday, December 2: Christmas Open House at Historic Hope Plantation The Historic Hope Plantation and the King-Bazemore House of f NC 308 near Windsor will be open to the public free of charge from 1-4 p.m. The public will be invited to see the homes decorated for the season with natural products. There will also be period music in the houses. The Visitor’s Center and gift shop will also be open during that time frame. Open House The Bertie County Arts Council (King Street, Windsor) will hold a Christmas Open House from 3-5 p.m. in conjunction with a day full of activities in the town.The Open House will be between the Christmas Open House at Historic Hope and the Tour
of Homes. Historic Homes Tour The Bertie Historical Preservation Society will sponsor its annual Christmas Tour of Homes from 4-7 p.m. Saturday , Dec. 2. Nearly a dozen homes have already been added to the tour. Maps for the tour will be available at Historic Hope Plantation, the Bertie County Arts Council and the Inn at Gray’s Landing, both in Windsor.
Sunday, December 4: Carriage rides The Windsor/Bertie County Chamber of Commerce will sponsor its annual Carriage rides from 6-9 p.m. The carriage rides, which cost $10 per adult, will tour historic Windsor. The carriage rides will also be offered on Sunday, Dec. 11 and Tuesday, Dec. 13 at the same times. Tuesday, December 6 and Wednesday, December 7:
Candlelight Christmas Tour The Murfreesboro Historical Association is sponsoring the 27th annual Candellight Christmas Tour of the town from 4-8:30 p.m. on both days. The 2012 theme is “The Magic of Christmas.” The event will allow patrons to tour the Murfreesboro Historic District, including 12 stops in historically significant structures as well as traditional holiday food and a horse-drawn carriage and tram rides. Tickets are $30 for adults and $10 for those 12 and under.
The Town of Conway annually leads oﬀ the Christmas Parade season in the Roanoke-Chowan area.
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Strength in numbers
STORY AND PHOTO BY AMANDA VANDERBROEK
Pink warriors: from left Patricia Peele, Audrey Hardy, Angela Carter, Dr. Pudden Gorlesky and Brenda Bracey are a few of the members that make up the Core Team for the Roanoke Valley Breast Cancer Coalition (RVBCC), which helps link women in Northampton and Halifax counties to the services and resources they need.
Breast Cancer Coalition rallies support to assist local women
here is strength in numbers and if you’re ever in doubt just ask the Roanoke Valley Breast Cancer Coalition. For those involved with RVBCC, it’s not about waiting for help, rather it’s about tapping in the available resource and knocking down the statistics in a team effort. For the past three years, R VBCC has aimed to create breast cancer awareness in Northampton and Halifax counties as well as provide information to breast cancer survivors and work together to create a supportive environment for women in the Roanoke Valley by pulling together local and statewide resources. Another key focus for the organization is to assist in strengthening frontline healthcare workers by es-
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tablishing a continuum of care for under served women. With breast cancer mortality rates for African-American women higher than the statewide average in Northampton and Halifax as well as lower than average health outcomes, the Coalition’s work has never been so vital. “We felt if we improve services for any particular group in the community it will improve services for everybody,” said Audrey Hardy, RVBCC project coordinator. “That is our focus area, but our whole thing is that we try to improve services, access to care, knowledge based awareness for the entire community of the Roanoke Valley to make it healthier.” At an average meeting, the Core Team,
which includes Hardy , Patricia Peele, Brenda Bracey, Dr. Pudden Gorlesky and Angela Carter, works together like a family to meet the Coalition’ s mission and ultimately help their communities. After three years of working on securing funding and forming RVBCC, the journey has cumulated in a one day conference on Nov. 3—one that will focus on “The State of the Valley” with the aim of creating awareness of the breast cancer disparities in the Eastern North Carolina service area, introducing the evidence-based breast cancer continuum for linking people to services, and presenting a resource fair of available resources. It will also feature a new cancer “warm line” along with promotional materials.
“I think that the interesting story is how we came to work together in the Roanoke Valley and for the first time to bring all of us who have an interest in women in our community together without the threat of having to compete, but to work together and combine our resources and our energies to create this ‘Pink Print’,” said Peele, RVBCC project consultant and content expert. “The Core Team is just the nucleus of the organization and just the working group, but the Coalition itself has about 45 members,” said Hardy. Those 45 members come from approximately 18 partners and stakeholders who are involved with breast cancer care in the community and across the state. “We have healthcare organizations, volunteer groups, grassroots organizations, physicians, the hospital (Halifax Regional Medical Center), health departments, faith-based communities, local and state politicians,” said Hardy. The origins of the Coalition came about in 2009 when Peele was working with Rural Health Group. “We had an opportunity to apply for funding through Morehouse School of Medicine in order to address needs in our community for women to access breast care,” Peele said. Rural Health Group selected the Gregory B. Davis Foundation to partner with in order to establish a program that would meet the needs of women as well as the continuum of care. Hardy, on the other hand, recalled a shared idea between herself and Peele that came before the initial funding oppor tunity. “Even before that for some reason, Pat and I, our paths crossed and we had lunch and we talked about a vision of a conference for people in the
Roanoke Valley about breast cancer care to bring the services to the area,” said Hardy. Peele said the idea was to bring on other agencies, organizations and members who shared an interest in helping women access care. By 2010, RVBCC was established and the training began for those involved. To continue and expand the effort, a grant award of round two funding was received in November 2011 from Legacy Southeastern United States Collaborative Center of Excellence for Eliminating Dispari ties (SUCCEED) under the auspices of the Morehouse School of Medicine. A grant of $25,000 was officially awarded to the Gregory B. Davis Foundation (GBDF) who will serve as the lead organization providing overall management and coordination. GBDF, who partnered with the Rural Health Group under the previous
grant, will continue to partner with all key or ganizations that make up RVBCC. Peele spoke about how major funding sources tend to trickle down to small Tier I counties like Halifax and Northampton. “By us working together we feel we can create enough action over here in Northeastern North Carolina to say to the rest of the state and to those major funders and those people responsible for divvying out the resources that we have the capacity here—we can pull ourselves together and we have the capacity to do the work on the ground to bring up our outcomes and that can help the state,” she said. One major objective for RVBCC has been the breast cancer continuum, which involves: risk assessment, where women are educated about breast cancer and they deter mine their risk; screening, where a woman gets her clinical breast exam and mammogram; and diagnosis, where a woman’s breast condition is determined. If diagnosed with breast cancer, the woman moves to survivorship where patients and providers are connected. The last stage is end of life cycle. “However, for us, we’re not considering it end of life cycle, we’re considering it quality of life cycle, it has to do with the
quality of care at that stage and also family members and community support,” Peele said. At the conference R VBCC plans to announce a “warm line”, funded by a grant from the Susan G. Komen Foundation, where women can call and get information about services and providers along the continuum. RVBCC members have learned first hand that there is strength in numbers. Peele and Hardy describe the working relationship as a sisterhood among the Core Team and notes those who are involved with the Coalition have a vested personal interest in the work the organization does. “Everybody, no matter who you ask to do something, they’re willing to do it because they realize their stake in the over all picture, not worried about their own individual or ganizations,” said Hardy. “We know that we’re talking about bringing about change, systemic change because what were hoping is that the medical community as well as our faithbased community, our neighbors—everybody will adopt this as a way to help women along the continuum and the services that they need and we’ll all be working together to focus in our community,” said Peele.
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Steam rises from a pan of beef tips and gravy as prepared by Velma Jenkins.
Velma Jenkins prepares a meal ﬁt for a King - beef tips and gravy, snaps with potatoes and rice.
Meatball was destined to become a chef STORY & PHOTOS BY CANDACE MATTHEWS
f you have dined at a restaurant in Hertford County in the last 40 years, chances are you have had a dish prepared by a chef affectionately known as “Meatball.” That nickname belongs to Velma Jenkins, born and raised in Ahoskie. With a nickname like Meatball, she was destined to one day become a culinary artist. “I don’t know why people call me Meatball, they just always have. My family and friends have always called me that,” Jenkins said. Her initial foray into cooking came at the
age of 11. “I would sneak in the kitchen when my mom would leave and make chocolate cakes from scratch, with homemade icing,” she recalled. “The family would eat the cake and enjoy it, but mom would always say I was using up all of her sugar.” Meatball said he learned to cook alone and through trial and error . Perfecting a chocolate cake and the praise of her friends and family encouraged her to pursue other recipes. She was soon marinating meat and seasoning vegetables. “Growing up we didn’ t have any cook books at home so I just did what I thought would taste good,” she noted. As it turns out, her tastes are shared by most of the community. Her style of cooking can best be described as Southern, Country, or Soul Food. The food she is most famous for is her collard greens.
“People want a big pot of collards for most occasions. Everyone loves them and there is never any left over,” she bragged. Her chicken salad, fried chicken, and hamburger steak are also local favorites. She loves to cook everything from sweets to vegetables. Her popularity first grew when she started working for EastCo Aluminum in Winton. There, supervisors found out she had a gift for cooking and asked her to cater company holiday parties. She had never cooked for such a lar ge group before, but stated she really enjoyed it. The word soon spread of her cooking talents and Meatball found herself catering for other company events, church socials, and special occasions for friends and family . She says it is not strange for her to be asked to cook for over 100 people at an event. Her dream is to one day have her own catering business. Until she can achieve this See MEATBALL page 40
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Seasoning is critical to Southern chefs like Velma Meatball Jenkins. MEATBALL from page 39
dream she enjoys cooking for community businesses. Since her humble beginning in her mother ’s kitchen, Meatball has worked at many local restaurants, to include O’Connors, Charlie West, and The Diner. She continues to cater for churches and friends as a hobby. As a member of the Soul Saving Station in Ahoskie she lends her skills to their events frequently. When asked what she loves the most about cooking, Meatball says it is bringing people together . Her favorite time during the week is Sunday dinner. She cooks a big meal and invites the family over to spend time together. This writer was lucky to be invited to her home for dinner one evening. I arrived early to watch her prepare our meal. Her years of experience in restaurant kitchens is obvious as she cooks….dishes are washed as pots boil and surfaces are wiped before and after she uses them. Cleanliness and efficiency are just as important to her as the flavor of her food. A conversation with Meatball will immediately show you that she has never met a stranger . It could be her friendly manner , or maybe it is her knowledge of the area and its people. If you have family in the area, she knows at least one member. Her many years in the service industry and her involvement in the community helped her build lasting relationships with many residents. Both her personality and her food leave a lasting impression on those she meets. Those interested in her catering services can contactVelma Jenkins at (252) 287 – 3799. Be sure to ask for “Meatball,” since that’s what her friends call her and she has never met a stranger.
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An old railroad crossing signal marks the spot of the Pearce family model train museum in Eure.
This old store was once owned by Linda Sugar Eure and her now late husband, Henry. They purchased it in 1946 from Linda s father, Charlie Eure, and operated the store until 1992.
From ‘Scratch Hall’ to Eure Station STORY BY CAL BRYANT ¦ PHOTOS BY KRISTI GROVES PHOTOGRAPHY
Despite decline in post-railroad era, Gates County community maintains its home-spun legacy
magine boarding a train and riding the rails to most anywhere your heart desired. Imagine leaving your doors unlocked and windows open without fear, trusting that your worldly belongings will remain intact. Imagine a happy heart after attending a show at the local high school auditorium featuring tomorrow’s stars from Nashville, Tennessee; or the taste of parched peanuts, fresh from the field; or bartering for groceries by trading with a live chicken or fresh eggs. For some, it may prove hard to imagine a place like that, but not for those born and raised in Eure. This quaint little farming community, nestled on the eastern edge
of the Gates County Sandbanks, has come full circle. Originally known as “Scratch Hall” (early settlers were of a robust, not to say rough, nature, the community traces its modern name to Nathaniel “Nat” Eure. He owned a general merchandise store and ran a sawmill in the late 1800’s when the railroad first came through the area. Until they could construct their own building, railroad of ficials used a back room and porch of Eure’s store for a depot. Thanks to the railroad, Eure became a boom town – complete with a boarding house, cotton gin, bank, livery stable, numerous general merchandise stores and even an ice cream parlor. The train, this particular line operating between Norfolk, VA and Rocky See EURE page 46
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EURE from page 45
Mount, not only provided transportation, but served as means to deliver goods to the local merchants and residents…the latter placing orders through catalog sales. Through the eyes of a child Linda “Sugar” Eure has fond memories of growing up in Eure. Born to Charlie and Linda Eure five years before the Great Depression, she lost her mother when she was only three weeks old. With her father unable to care for a growing family, Linda was sent to live with her uncle and aunt – Charlie and Carrie Sawyer. It was her aunt that gave Linda the nickname of “Sugar.” There were five or six stores in Eure at that time. Other than the one owned and operated by her father, local residents could patronize C.R. Felton Dry Goods, Block Furniture Store, Joe Landing’ s Butcher Shop, P.D. & Carey Merchandise Store, and John and Charlie Sawyer ’s General Merchandise and Hardware Store. Leslie Umphlett operated the ice cream parlor; John Williams, who once served as Eure’ s Mayor during a time when the village was incorporated, was a barber by trade; Mrs. A.M. Johnson had a boarding house; and Paul Hale ran the blacksmith shop and livery stable. “He (Hale) also rented horses and car riages,” Eure remembered. “Then when the automobiles came he switched over to a Chevrolet auto repair shop.” There was also the Bank of Eure, or ganized in 1912 and closed during the Great Depression of 1929. The legendary Thad A. Eure served as the bank’s vice president and attorney. He later became North Carolina’s Secretary of State and in the process established a still unequaled record by serving 53 continuous years. Eure said she could also remember the men coming to Eure and, “visiting from store to store,” while the women of the community would stop at her home, located next door to her father’s shop. “We always seemed to have a front porch full of women; I liked that because that meant our front yard was full of children for me to play with…hide-and-seek, kick the can, hopscotch,” she said. “I’m now the last one of that group I grew up with, but I have so many good memories here.” She recalled the old-fashioned quilting bees where women would go from home to
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Linda Sugar Eure reminisces through one of her photo albums at her home in the Eure community.
home to help make quilts in advance of the cold winter months. The men would assist each other in farming chores and killing hogs. On Saturday nights as a teen, Eure remembers piling in a car with six to eight others her age and traveling to Ahoskie to catch a movie at the Richard Theatre. The passenger train was also a popular mode of travel. Four would rumble through Eure in a daily basis, the first around 5:45 a.m. “You could catch the train to Norfolk and come back that night around 9:30 or catch the one to Ahoskie at 10 in the morning and come back that afternoon by 4 o’clock,” she recalled.
One of her most vivid memories of riding the rails was an annual shopping excursion to Norfolk on the Saturday before Christmas. And, of course, it didn’t hurt to have connections back then – both her foster brothers, Darcy and Clarence, worked as agents with Atlantic Coastline Railroad. “We’d get on Granby Street and shop all day, coming home at night with all those presents,” she said. Eure High School was also a centerpiece of the community. It sprang to life in the summer of 1920 and closed in 1948. The school auditorium was used by the public, even for movies. “We’d have fairs and festivals on the schoolhouse grounds,” Eure said. “I re-
There s a lot to see inside the Pearce family model train museum, located on Little Island Road in Eure. The museum will be open between the hours of 6-9 p.m. from Dec. 1-31.
member seeing Sunshine Sue, Minnie Pearl, Grandpa Jones and others from Nashville performing at the school. It liked to have killed the folks over here when they closed our school and carried the kids to Gatesville. People got along so much better in small schools; it kept the community together.” Prior to 1920, Eure boasted of three small educational facilities: one-teacher schools at “Chunk” and “Hill Lane” and a twoteacher school on the same property of Cool Spring Baptist Church. There was no electrical service in Eure until 1938. The first road was paved in 1947. If you wanted water you used a well with a bucket. You can come home again After graduating from high school in 1941, Eure attended Chowan College in nearby Murfreesboro. That opportunity for higher education ended abruptly just after the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor in December of that same year.
“I was at home that Sunday and was with several teenagers up at daddy’s store when a man came outside and said he heard on the radio that the Japs had bombed Pearl Har bor. Nobody knew where Pearl Harbor was but we knew it was bad,” Eure recalled. “I went back to Chowan that night and one of the girls there had a brother at Pearl Harbor. We had one little radio, we sat up all night listening to that radio. The next day America declared war. I had a cousin from Gates that was killed in that war; he was killed on the Rhine River.” With Chowan closed during the war years, Eure opted to move to Norfolk where she landed a job as a payroll clerk atVyrene Construction, a company that built most of the housing for Navy personnel. That job lasted until the end of the war (1945) and paid her $28 a week. She lived in a boarding house ($6 a week) and rode the train home on weekends for a 65-cent fee. “Growing up there were only two people in Eure that had a car, one was the mail carrier and the other was a mechanic,” she said.
“The train was the way to travel.” There were only two telephones in town at that time…one in her father ’s general store and the mailman owned the other. She recalled that during World War II the phone in the family store was used to report air planes flying overhead. “There weren’t a lot of planes back then, so you didn’t know if they were ours or the enemy,” she said. “The Germans were of f our coast bombing ships back then.” While most of the attention was on the war at that time, “Sugar” also focused on the love of her life….her high school sweetheart, Henry Eure. “When he got out of high school he went to the Newport News Shipyard to work and then joined the Navy,” she recalled. “They sent him to the Pacific and that’ s where he stayed. He was in most all the really bad battles.” The couple married in 1944 and raised four children – three daughters, Linda, Brenda and Nancy, and a son, Henry Curtis (aka, “Bud”). See EURE page 48
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EURE from page 47
After the war, “Sugar’s” father experienced health problems and she and Henry purchased the store he operated. “You might say I was in that store all my life, until my husband passed away in 1992,” she said. The store was divided, one side used as the Eure Post Office and the other as a general merchandise store, including a soda fountain….a popular attraction back in that era. The store was also once the home of an ice cream parlor and later a barber shop. “We sold everything from plow ropes, to saddles, work clothes, groceries and yard material,” she recalled. “Customers would bring in their home-cured side meat, eggs and even live chickens to trade for groceries and other supplies. We had a chicken coop at the back of the store.” The store was also the place to buy (or trade) for a precious item back in that time – ice. Eure said the store had a big, wooden ice box and they purchased block ice (each weighing 300 pounds) from Gatesville. “In the summer months people would want to buy a pound or so of ice for their sweet tea,” she said. “We’d chip it off with an ice pick, wrap it up in a piece of newspaper and off they went.” The going price for that “ice-cold” service – one egg, Eure said. “There wasn’t a lot of money used back then,” she noted. “Daddy got stuck more than once, and so did me and my husband, but we all got by.” Eure is the oldest active member of Eure Baptist Church, one that her father helped to organize in 1913. The old brick hole (a place where bricks were made) at the church use to freeze over in the winter, providing a natural skating rink, while serving as a swimming hole in the summer months. Among the many “characters” to call Eure as home was Kenny Hare. He made his money (pennies) by dancing in front of the store. “Every Christmas morning we’d take the turkey out of the oven and my husband would stick his head out the door and yell to Kenny to come over for a hot turkey leg,” Eure recalled, breaking out in a huge grin. “Old Kenny would go away from there with a turkey leg in one hand and a cigar in the other, hooping and hollering with joy.” That pure joy wasn’t confined to Hare. “Back then everybody knew their neighbors, you could leave the door unlocked and
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The bell that once reminded students that classes were about to begin at Eure High School has been preserved. It is now attached to the building that houses the Eure Volunteer Fire Department.
the windows open; no one would mess with what was yours. If you needed help, all you had to do was holler. I cherish those memories,” Eure concluded. The passenger trains stopped rolling through Eure in the 50’s or 60’s. The freight
trains continued for a few more years until the line between Tunis and Norfolk was permanently closed. Business dwindled in Eure; its heyday was over, but the spirit of a warm, caring community remains intact.
Family bonds build foundation for the future E
verybody is a part of some type of family and valuing them is impor tant. Family has always been significant to my parents, sister , and me. Sometimes my family gets on my nerves, but I have learned many things from them. They have always been there for me. Family to me means to love and care for each other, but loving and caring is not just giving hugs and saying, “I love you.” It means having rules such as having to ask my parents if I can go somewhere. This lets them know where I am so if something bad happens they know where to find me. Rules are there to protect and teach me. My dad loves to teach. He was bouncing my sister and me on his knee teaching us to count when we were one year old. My family has taught me many things about everything. One thing they have taught me is to respect others. When it is time for supper , my family and I always sit down and eat together . I think this is important because it brings conversation and communication. When we are at dinner, everybody has to tell their favorite and least favorite part of their day. Sharing and supporting are important parts of family.
I think because of our communication I can talk to my parents about anything. I talk to them about school, sports, and everything else. This communication is a big part of family. If we did not have good communication then we would not be as close. My family also supports me at my athletic activities. They try to come to every game and that is special to me because
some parents cannot always make it to games. My grandparents also come and support me. This support helps me do my best for them and everybody else. I am very close to my extended family . My cousins and I can always hangout and talk with each other. Whenever we are together, we are always talking and sharing stories. I have learned a lot from them from what they have told me about their experi-
ences in life. My family and extended family gather at holidays and the beach. I love it when we get together because it is always fun to visit and listen to each other. My family regularly goes to church together. Going to church as a family has played a big part in my life. God brings people and families together for the better. My teacher has told me, “If you don’t have something to stand for then you will fall for anything.” When I go to college I will have a strong family foundation to stand on. Being thankful for family can be hard sometimes because they may irritate you and know every little thing about you, but they are always there for you and will be there for you. Appreciate your family and value the time with them, the support you are given from them, and the lessons you learn from them. (This column was submitted by Priscilla Lunsford, Lawrence Academy Senior.)
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Parting shots T
his issue of Front Living marks my first year anniversary here in the Roanoke-Chowan area. It is also marks our first edition of the third year of publishing Front Porch Living. The old cliché “time flies” is definitely true. It seems only a few days ago Debbie and I were unpacking boxes, getting utilities cut on, and trying to meet our new neighbors in Ahoskie. I’m sure the staf f here at Roanoke-Chowan Publications feels as if it were only a few days ago they were birthing the very first Front Porch Living. One the first things we noticed when we arrived in the Roanoke-Chowan region was the important role that agriculture plays here. Being from a rural agriculture area in Southwest Georgia we were amazed at the similarities in the crops grown here and the ones grown down south. Peanuts, cotton, corn, soybeans, sweet potatoes, and some tobacco were huge cash crops there also. Inside this edition of Front Porch Living I hope you enjoy Cal Bryant’s series entitled “Goobers - All Grown Up.” It’s a threepart article where he interviewed a trio of local companies that turned our little peanuts into big business. Amanda VanDerBroek has an excellent story about the Roanoke Valley Breast Cancer Collation and the wonderful work they do for this area, helping women and their families who come face-to-face with this disease. The amazing story of how one family turns out three beautiful women, all earning the title of Homecoming Queen at their respective schools, was penned by Thadd White. You’ll also find a list of upcoming holiday events for the Roanoke-Chowan area.
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This once booming railroad village of Eure in Gates County is featured in the quarterly “My Town” installment. Even though the train tracks were removed decades ago, Eure remains home to local families who love the quiet life. There’s even a model train museum, open to the public in December , that recalls Eure’s proud past. Again we try to make your mouth water with our HomeTown Eats feature. In this issue we featured the infamous “Meatball” - aka Velma Jenkins - who inspires her friends and customers with just plain ole good southern country cooking. Our staff enjoys writing and putting together Front Porch Living; it truly is a labor of love. Each time we publish an edition our goal is to make it better than the last issue. So far I think we have done just that and I hope you feel the same as I do. Front Porch Living Magazine is the only magazine published exclusively for the people of Northampton, Hertford, Gates and Bertie counties and we hope you, the reader , enjoys thumbing through the unique stories photos about our home. As always we welcome your feedback on this issue of FPL and your story ideas for upcoming editions. We look forward to hearing from you. Until then I’ll see you on the front porch.