Fill your holiday table with bounty from rural Alabama
From juicy turkeys to decadent desserts, Alabama’s rural counties can help fill your holiday table with a tasty spread.
Small farms, major food manufacturers and longtime family businesses contribute to the bounty, while also being key drivers of jobs, investment and economic growth in their communities.
“The companies behind some of Alabama’s most beloved flavors are based in our rural counties, and the holidays are a perfect time to share those favorite foods,” said Brenda Tuck, Rural Development Manager for the Alabama Department of Commerce.
Since 1923, Bates Turkey Farm in Lowndes County has been raising organic free-range turkeys and has developed a loyal following across the state and elsewhere.
The family also owns Bates House of Turkey, opened in 1969 and a short drive from the farm down Interstate 65 to Butler County, where the menu is filled with turkey delicacies such as turkey nachos and turkey salad.
The restaurant also offers catering, including the traditional turkey dinner with all the trimmings, along with specialties like turkey pot pie, turkey lasagna and turkey tetrazzini.
Besides the farm and the restaurant, Bates also has a pop-up shop in Montgomery.
ALABAMA SWEET POTATOES
Sweet potatoes are a staple of the holidays here and across the U.S.
They’re also a solid crop in Alabama, bringing in about $9 million annually, according to an effort that saw the sweet potato named the official state vegetable earlier this year.
Most sweet potato farms are located in Cullman and Baldwin counties, but they are sold in stores and farmers markets around the state.
The Alabama Sweet Potato Association says that while its members’ farms are not the largest, they offer quality sweet potatoes in retail and wholesale sales, by the box and by the truckload.
SISTER SCHUBERT’S ROLLS
Look no further than Crenshaw County to get your fill of carbs this holiday season.
Luverne-based Sister Schubert’s Homemade Rolls, one of the county’s top employers, produces frozen rolls that are sold in stores across the U.S.
From the popular dinner yeast rolls to pans of cinnamon rolls and sausage pinwheels, there’s an option for any type gathering.
Alabama native Patricia “Sister” Schubert founded the company using her grandfather’s recipe. Today it is a major player in the bakery industry, with more than $60 million in annual U.S. sales.
What Southern holiday table is complete without a pecan pie? Or at least a smattering of them atop the sweet potato casserole?
Alabama is home to a plethora of pecan growers, shellers and processors, which is no surprise considering it’s the state nut.
Commercial pecan culture began in Alabama in the early 1900s, mainly in Mobile and Baldwin counties, according to the Alabama Pecan Growers Association. But it has grown across the state, and rural counties are a hotbed for production of pecans and pecan-related goods as well.
DEAN’S CAKE HOUSE
A fitting finale to any holiday feast is the old-fashioned seven layer cakes — just like Grandma used to make — from Dean’s Cake House in Covington County.
With flavors including chocolate, lemon and caramel, each cake is individually baked and iced at the Andalusia bakery, which was founded by Dean Jacobs in 1994 when she was 60 years old.
Over the years, the shop has drawn visitors from across the U.S., and the cakes are distributed and sold at grocery stores around the Southeast. The Dean’s Cake House staff bakes more than 300 cakes per day, along with cookies, fudge and other treats.
Dean’s Cake House was one of the companies from rural Alabama that made a splash during Governor Kay Ivey’s inaugural ‘Made in Alabama’ Showcase.