OUR PEOPLE

Filling the Table

Driven is a word used to describe many successful people, and it’s no different for Robert St. John. Most chefs have their plate full with a restaurant or two. Robert St. John has eight in Hattiesburg, Mississippi and all eight are good–very good, with the emphasis on serving great food and treating people right. St. …

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Eli’s Coming

The tradition of Southern Blues-Rock is in great shape, in the capable hands of Eli Cook of Nelson County, Virginia. Located west of Charlottesville, Nelson County is farm country, home to orchards and vineyards, as well as traditional crop farming. But young Eli had different plans. He started guitar at a young age and by …

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It Takes a Village

Two men sit at a picnic table on a sunny day. The contrast is striking. On one side sits Craig Martin a white, fifty-something producer at the helm of a TV show called The Good Road, here to document life in Alabama Village. Across from him sits a young African American man, Da’Cino Dees, describing …

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Native Son

Sonny Landreth plays a mean slide guitar. From his humble beginnings in Mississippi to stages around the world, he has managed to stay grounded, his roots firmly set in the South. Oddly enough, his first instrument was the trumpet, guitar came later.  [dropcap letter=”G”]uitar was my first love.” Landreth is on the phone from Lafayette, …

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Jupiter Unbound

I wanted coffee to start my morning. I gave a whiff of the stuff in the hotel lobby and decided that coffee could wait. I struck out down I-95 and figured I would find a shop on my way to Gilliard Farms. I settled for a Starbucks and ordered two cups of dark roast. As …

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Among Friends

Outfitted in the camo baseball hat he often wears, Chef David Bancroft kneels down and pushes lettuce between a space in the wire fence separating him from two hogs and a wiggly pack of piglets. “Hey girl.” He’s addressing a black sow who gladly and greedily devours the offering, the large curly green leaf disappearing in …

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New Life at Pontotoc

Driving from Llano to Brady, Texas along TX-71 you might miss the roadside hamlet of Pontotoc. It’s not a large place. From edge to edge it’s about the length of a long, par-5 golf hole and there’s not much commerce happening to catch your eye. No billboards. No storefronts with neon. Not even a gas …

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Enduring Traditions

Cowboy Culture in the Mississippi Delta   At the 2016 Christmas parade in Cleveland, Mississippi, I had an epiphany of sorts. Finishing up the end of the parade was a small group of African American cowboys. Their presence instantly struck me. My entire life, I had failed to consider the diverse history of cowboy culture. My …

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Growing a Dream

The line of people stretched out the door of Tri-County Family Ministries. Third-grader Katie Stagliano helped to serve the more than 275 guests who waited for what might be the only meal they would have that day.  It forever changed her life. [dropcap letter=”B”]acktrack to early 2008 when Katie’s class participated in the Bonnie Plants …

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Carolina Troubador

Caleb Caudle explores new musical territory and in the process reaffirms his country roots. The result is the best record of his career.   On the surface Caleb Caudle would seem to be a puzzle. A native of Winston-Salem, North Carolina, Caudle is a rising country star who absorbs a world of diverse musical influences, …

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Fright Night

Q & A with Author Bryce Gibson Bryce Gibson is a farmer by day, writer by night. He’s lived in South Carolina his entire life, grew up on a farm, and when he’s not writing, that’s where you’ll find him. Though he was a voracious reader as a teenager, he doesn’t really remember any “wow” …

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The Bees Knees

“It’s intoxicating,” Justin Hill says as he leans over an open bee box and inhales deeply while 40 or so bees buzz around his head and his constant companion, Jake the hound dog, bounces around behind him, chasing cloud shadows across the grass. The perfume of still-curing honey, a slightly more floral fragrance than harvested …

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Lessons From the Past

Q & A with Author: Augustus Jenkins Farmer A self-proclaimed “plantsman,” Augustus Jenkins “Jenks” Farmer began growing his own plants as a young boy after stealing some seeds from the nuns at a convent, near where he went to school. “I think I was sitting there with my Scooby Doo lunchbox and I saw some …

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The Dexateens

Formed in Tuscaloosa, Alabama in the late 90’s, The Dexateens have since been redefining the sound of Southern rock n’ roll. They’re one of a handful of bands in the Southeast currently coupling the mix of country and rock, made famous by originators like Lynyrd Skynyrd and The Marshall Tucker Band, with punk rock influence …

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Runaway Chef

Food has consequences. To sustain our lives with nourishment, something else must perish. Plants are cut and harvested, animals are butchered. All of it comes to the table for our sustenance. It sounds like a clichéd trope, but the taking of life to sustain life is truly the “circle of life.” Over time we’ve lost …

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