The second annual Farm to Table Dinner was served Thursday night, June 23, at the Park-Along-the-River in New Albany. We understand the tickets for this year’s event sold out within less than an hour of going on sale a few weeks ago.
Atop the Little Tallahatchie Bridge, guest enjoyed an interesting meal
The dinner emphasizes serving food produced locally, which is to say from sources up to a couple of hundred miles away as opposed to thousands of miles away. Last year all guests were served on the steel foot bridge across the Tallahatchie River at the downtown end of the park. This year about half of the diners were served on the bridge and the others served on tables set up under the cypress trees on the left bank of the river, just upstream of the bridge.
Chef Mitchell McCamey of the Neon Pig and Kermit’s Outlaw Kitchen in Tupelo and Pastry Chef Samantha Allen of Sugaree’s Bakery planned and prepared the dinner, using only locally obtained ingredients. Dinner also included wine and desert and was served by volunteers.
Even dinner music was provided
A vocalist and a three-piece band — two guitars and a saxophone — provided dinner music.
This year’s event was a fundraiser for Anita Alef’s New Albany High School culinary program to purchase a rotisserie that they can begin using to create ongoing fundraising opportunities.
The Farm to Table Dinner is a part of this year’s New Albany Freedom Celebration.
NEW ALBANY, MISS. – Online ticket sales will begin on sale Saturday, June 4th at 10:00 am for New Albany’s second annual “Farm to Table Dinner” which will take place on Thursday, June 23 on the footbridge across the Tallahatchie River in the Park Along the River in the heart of downtown. The fine dining inspired dinner for eighty guests will be prepared using only fresh local ingredients by Chef Mitchell McCamey of the Neon Pig and Kermit’s Outlaw Kitchen in Tupelo and Pastry Chef Samantha Allen of Sugaree’s Bakery.
Chef Mitchell McCamey has evolved and expanded Neon Pig, an old-school butcher shop and cafe, in the four years since creating the unique concept. Chef McCamey and his team have worked hard to grow special working relationships with local farmers. By breaking down cows, pigs, lambs, and chickens from local farms in his own butcher shop, and
Chef Mitch McCamey
innovating a curing process all his own (think Benton’s Bacon fat,) McCamey has become a household name in North Mississippi. All of Neon Pig’s hard work in the butcher shop, fresh never frozen seafood case, local veggies, homemade sauces, dry rubs, pickled vegetables, and sausage can be purchased in the grocery section and are also used in the café and on the Kermit’s Outlaw Kitchen menu. People literally drive hundreds of miles for the Smash Burger, which won “Best Burger in the United States” from thrilllist.com. This chef’s special event dinners always sell out before the menu is announced. What’s even more exciting is that Chef McCamey is just getting started. Chef McCamey has plans to open more restaurants, which he intends to bring to fruition in the near future.
Chef Samantha Allen
While the full menu has not yet been created, and cannot be created until the chef knows specifically what can be sourced based on the current growing season, all the items on the multi-course menu will have been grown and raised on local and regional farms. The Biscuits and Jam Farmers’ Market growers will help provide the produce. Wines chosen by Chef McCamey will be served with dinner and fresh bread and a dessert using locally grown fruit will be prepared by New Albany’s own Sugaree’s Bakery pastry chef, Samantha Allen.
Mary Jennifer Russell and Susan Hickman are the organizers of this year’s event. Susan says, “As a former caterer and food professional I love the excitement when a culinary team gets together and produces an event as satisfying and successful as last year’s “Farm to Table Dinner.”
This year’s event is a fundraiser for Anita Alef’s New Albany High School culinary program to purchase a rotisserie that they can begin using to create ongoing fundraising opportunities for their program by selling rotisserie chickens at the Biscuits and Jam Farmers’ Market.
“Sugaree’s is excited to be involved with the planning and to be providing dessert for the dinner again this year as well as fresh bread! This is exactly the type of cultural programming that we get very excited about leading in New Albany. I feel like these types of events are changing the brand perception of our town. This is what thoughtful and intentional progress in a small town can look and feel like.” says Russell.
Exactly eighty tickets to the event will go on sale Saturday, June 4th at 10:00 am online only at BrownPaperTickets.com/event/2553774 for $65 each. Links to the ticket sales site can also be found on Face Book pages: I Love NA, Sugaree’s Bakery, and Biscuits and Jam Farmers’ Market. For more information, call Mary Jennifer Russell at 662-538-9379.
The Down From the Hills festivities ended with a free concert from The Cakewalkers and the Eisenhauer band.
Amelia Hope Eisenhauer, vocalist and fiddle player.
The versatile Eisenhauer Band from Nashville played some traditional bluegrass music but also played an eclectic variety of crowd pleasers ranging from the music of Led Zeppelin, the Rolling Stones, Meridian’s own Jimmie Rogers, Cole Porter, Emmylou Harris, Dolly Parton and many others.
Sophie Taylor, student at New Albany Middle School, sang Dolly Parton’s “Jolene” with the Eisenhauer band.
Down From the Hills Saturday night concert
Down From the Hills concert, Saturday night
Jeffrey Willis and Jean Ashcraft
Listening to the Down from the Hills concert, Saturday night
Saturday mid-morning began the 2015 MS Bluegrass Championship competition.
Enjoying Bluegrass on a beautiful Saturday in New Albany.
Jill Smith, the director of the Union County Heritage Museum, is interviewed by a Columbus television reporter. City marketing and tourism director, Sean Johnson, is in the right background holding balloons. He and Smith worked together planning and managing the Down From The Hills Bluegrass Festival. The museum is the sponsor of the annual event, which showcases performing artists, crafters, and visual artists from around the South.
Glenn Tolbert of Birmingham, AL is well known in well known by bluegrass fans as guitar player but competed in two other events Saturday at the Down From The Hills festival. Dressed in his Liberty bib overalls and black John B. Stetson hat, Tolbert first played the mandolin then the dobro Saturday morning.
Hudson Hickman was heavily involved with planning and management of the 2015 Down From The Hills.
Gary Peters of Nashville was the first competitor in the first contest event: the Youth Mandolin Division. No pressure.
Listening to Bluegrass in New Albany
Down From the Hills Bluegrass competitor
Bluegrass competitors, Down from the Hills
Bluegrass festival visitors
Bluegrass fans and competitors
Comin’ down from the hills for a little Bluegrass fun.
Down from the Hills Bluegrass Championship festival, 2015
Bluegrass Championship judges
Fans and competitors at the Bluegrass Festival
Practicing up for the bluegrass championships
Fun for the kids at the Down from the Hills festival
A good day for a little Bluegrass
Just listnin’ and enjoyin’
Bluegrass Championship competition, New Albany
Festivities began early Saturday morning with the season’s opening of New Albany’s Biscuits and Jam Farmer’s Market.
A nice day to open the New Albany Farmer’s Market
Mary Jennifer Russell (center) and Susan Hickman (right): Russell is owner of Sugarees Bakery of New Albany and the founder, with the Union County Master Gardeners, of the Biscuits & Jam Farmers Market, held Saturday mornings through the summer at the Tallahatchie Bridge.
Biscuits and Jam Farmer’s market
Buying and selling at the farmer’s market
Biscuits and Jam Farmer’s Market drew a lot of early birds.
Looking over the Biscuits and Jam market in New Albany
Ready to open the new season at the New Albany farmer’s market
The Down From the Hills Weekend festivities began Friday May 22nd with a Farm-to-Table dinner, served on the Tallahatchie River bridge at Park Along the River. The dinner was followed by a free concert by Sean Watkins.
Farm-to table diners on the Tallahatchie Bridge at Park Along the River.
Local volunteers were servers for the Farm to Market Dinner.
Diners at the farm to table dinner, on the Park Along the River Bridge.
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One-hundred-and-twenty diners enjoyed a unique al fresco meal Friday night on the Tallahatchie Bridge in New Albany. Not the one in Bobbie Gentry’s iconic song, but the bridge over the Tallahatchie River in the Park-Along-the-River.
This was the view up river from the Tallahatchie Bridge during the Farm to Table dinner.
It was the first ever Farm to Table dinner, and was the kick-off event for the annual Down From the Hills Bluegrass Festival sponsored by the Union County Heritage Museum. Chef John Stokes of Oxford, with help from local businesses and many local volunteers, planned and served the meal, which featured foods harvested from nearby sources. The menu featured an onion and garlic rubbed bruschetta, a salad made of locally grown tomatoes and salt cured red onions, grilled quail served over delta grits, crispy hog jowl potato salad and succotash made of boiled peanuts and butter beans.
Diners at the farm to table dinner, on the Park Along the River Bridge.
Farm-to table diners on the Tallahatchie Bridge at Park Along the River.
New Albany Master Gardeners helped procure ingredients for the meal. Popular New Albany caterer Tallahatchie Gourmet assisted with the event, and dessert provided by Sugarees Bakery of New Albany put a delicious final touch to the meal.
Down From the Hills is the bluegrass championship event for the state of Mississippi, and more than $8,000 in prizes will be awarded to competing musicians on Saturday.
Breakfast at the Biscuits & Jam Farmers Market will start the festival events Saturday morning. The bluegrass music competition will begin at the stage in the Park-Along-the-River starting at 10 a.m. The festival will have local arts, a petting zoo and other fun for the kids, as well as a variety of foods, including Bar-B-Q and shrimp/crawfish boil. and local arts.
The weekend festival will close out with a free concert by The Cakewalkers and the Eisehhauer Band on the stage at Park Along the River.
Museum Moments on Thursday, May 21, will feature John Stokes, chef from Oxford , who is also will cook the Farm to Table dinner on Friday night at the music festival kick off Farm to Table dinner.
Stokes, an Oxford native, has spent the last twenty years cooking professionally in a variety of settings. He calls his style “old world cooking” with respect for quality ingredients, as well as the new southern style with its charm. He believes that the best way to get to know someone is to break bread with them.
He will talk about the larger Farm to Table movement and the importance of locally sourced food. Museum Moments will begin at noonon Thursday at the museum at 114 Cleveland Street in New Albany. It is open to the public. Friends of the Library will host a light lunch beginning at 11:30. For more information call the museum at 662-538-0014.
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Tickets are going fast for the Farm to Table Dinner to be served Friday, May 22. The dinner is a new feature of the annual Down from the Hills Festival sponsored by the Union County Heritage, and also coincides with this season’s opening of Biscuits and Jam Farmers Market.
The last decade has seen a growing awareness around the country of the nutritional and environmental benefits of consuming food grown locally. Its advocates cite the improved freshness of locally grown produce and its role in assuring a sustainable food supply for the county.
New Albany dinner to feature locally grown foods
Mary Jennifer Russell, the owner/operator of Sugaree’s in downtown New Albany, has been in the vanguard of efforts to make more locally grown food available in New Albany. She has been the prime mover in organizing and operating the weekly Biscuits and Jam Farmers Market held every Saturday morning, starting this year on May 23rd. This year’s Farm to Table Dinner is an outgrowth of her support for this aspect of community life.
“The farm to table dinner planned in conjunction with the Down from the Hills Bluegrass Festival and this season’s first Biscuits & Jam Farmers Market is a great way to showcase our region’s abundant produce,” said Russell. “I expect this event to draw a lot of local interest and become a staple event for our town.”
The meal will be prepared by Chef John Stokes of Water Valley, who was the head chef at Oxford’s L&M Kitchen and Salumeria. L&M’s was a pioneering farm to table restaurant specializing in house-cured meats and Mississippi sourced ingredients. It was there that Stokes began earning his now considerable reputation for creating gourmet meals from locally grown food.
Chef Stokes has announced the menu for the Farm to Table Dinner which features grilled quail stuffed with Delta Grind grits, baby Vidalia onions, and marjoram. Salads will include one made with Union County grown tomatoes, salt cured red onion, basil and sorrel. Crispy hog jowl potato salad will also be served, as will succotash made of butter beans and boiled peanuts.
Dessert will be provided by Sugaree’s. Local restaurant and area caterer Tallahatchie Gourmet is assisting with the production of the event.
Wine will be served with the meal. The New Albany Board of Aldermen approved a special authorization for wine to be served on city property at its regular May meeting earlier this week.
Weather permitting, the dinner will be served on the foot bridge that spans the Tallahatchie River in the Park Along the River. The space will be decorated by Emily Foreman of MODA designs and the lighting will be provided by local artist, Micha Foster.
Weather permitting, the Farm to Table dinner will be served on the footbridge in New Albany’s Park Along the River.
Down From the Hills Bluegrass Festival showcases local talent
Proceeds from the sale of tickets for the Farm to Table Dinner will be applied to the cost of producing the Down from the Hills Festival, presented this year on May 22nd and May 23rd. The festival will spotlight music, food and art of the north Mississippi hill country.
The Down from the Hills Festival has been held here for over ten years, and was sanctioned five years ago by the Mississippi Legislature as the official bluegrass music championship for the state. More than $8,000 in prize money will be awarded to musicians who travel from Mississippi and other states to perform.
“Preservation of the culture and music of our region is part of the mission of the Union County Heritage Museum. We want to showcase the talent and dedication of the youth and adults who make this music and keep the traditions alive,” said Jill Smith, the museum’s director.
The Farm to Table dinner is open to the first 100 ticket holders. About 75 tickets have already been sold, and tickets are still available for $50 each at the New Albany Tourism Office located in the UCDA/Old Post Office across from the courthouse. For more information, call 662-534-1047 or visit the event’s website at www.mississippibluegrass.com.
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NEW ALBANY, MISS. – New Albany’s first “farm-to-table” dinner will take place on Friday, May 22 to open both the New Albany Farmer’s Market and the Down from the Hills Bluegrass Festival, which has moved from the fairgrounds to downtown this year.
The meal will be prepared by Chef John Stokes, an Oxford native who was the head chef at Oxford’s L&M Kitchen and Salumeria. L&M’s was a pioneering farm to table restaurant specializing in house cured meats and Mississippi sourced ingredients and it was there that Stokes’ style gained voice and flourished.
While the full menu has not yet been created, and cannot be created until the chef knows specifically what can be sourced, all the items on the multi-course menu will have been grown and raised on local farms. The New Albany Master Gardeners are helping to procure the ingredients. Currently, quail is being considered as it will be in season and can be sourced locally. Wine will be served with dinner.
“We are thrilled to be a part of the renaissance of small town southern culture and are very much looking forward to this unique event in New Albany,” says Stokes.
Dessert will be prepared and provided by New Albany’s own Sugarees Bakery. Mary Jennifer Russell is the owner of the bakery and one of the planners of this year’s event.
“The farm to table dinner planned in conjunction with this season’s first Biscuits & Jam Farmers Market and Down from the Hills Bluegrass Festival is a great way to showcase our region’s abundant produce. Sugaree’s is excited to be involved with the planning and to be providing dessert for the dinner. I expect this event to draw a lot of local interest and become a staple event for our town,” says Russell.
Weather permitting, the dinner will be served on the Park Along the River footbridge. The space will be decorated by Emily Foreman of MODA designs and the lighting will be provided by local artist, Micha Foster.
After the dinner there will be a free concert by Sean Watkins, a founding member of the nationally-known bluegrass act, Nickel Creek. The group has a new album, The Watkins Family Hour, which features special guests Fiona Apple keyboardist Belmont Tench of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, coming out in June.
Tickets to the event are on sale at the New Albany Tourism Office located in the UCDA/Old Post Office across from the courthouse for $50. For more information, call 662-534-1047 or visit the event’s website at www.mississippibluegrass.com.
Paulette Cossitt, Susan Feather and Gloria Cooper were photographed Thursday, March 19, at the Union County Heritage Museum on Cleveland St. They were there for a meeting of the New Albany Garden Club. Besides its own busy schedule of programs, The Union County Heritage Museum is the venue for many other local civic meetings
Brad Clayton was recently elected to serve as President of the New Albany School Board for the next year. Mr. Clayton has served on the School Board since 2013. Pictured (right) is Jerry Tate, Past President, passing the gavel to Mr. Clayton.
The New Albany School Board honored Bobby Gault (pictured left) at the March 2nd School Board Meeting.
Not so long ago senior pictures amounted to parading through a line in the school gymnasium, at the end of which a photographer took a few shots, all posed with the same background, lighting and costume. In effect, the photographer, chosen by the school, took the same picture over and over again with only the subject changing. Parents got a little menu from which they picked from a narrow variety of packages: “22 wallet size, 2 8x10s, 4 5x7s, $104” etc. “Pick your photo from the five proofs provided, check the order form box, put your check in the envelope and return it all to home room by Friday.” All that has changed. Tuesday afternoon, April 7, Holly Springs senior Maura Jane Autry, her mother and a friend met Kate Roberts, a professional photographer from Baldwyn, on the banks of the Tallahatchie River in New Albany. Roberts shot dozens of pictures of Maura Jane with a high-end digital camera, with natural back lighting from the late afternoon sun shining through the trees lining the river bank. And that was just one set shot in New Albany. Other sets are shot other places. Not so much senior pictures as a senior portfolio.
The New Albany School Board presented Melanie Anderson with a Certificate of Appreciation at the monthly school board meeting held on Monday, May 4. The certificate and recognition was in honor of School District Administrative Assistant Board Clerk Appreciation Week that was celebrated in April. Anderson serves as Administrative Assistant to the Superintendent for the New Albany School District.
A committee working on New Albany’s annual Down From The Hills Bluegrass Festival met Thursday afternoon, May 14, at the UCDA office in the old post office on Bankhead Street. Shown clockwise around the table are Betty King, Cathy Garrett, Phil Nanney, Mary Jennifer Russell, Sean Johnson, Susan Hickman and Hudson Hickman. Jill Smith, the director of the Union County Heritage Museum, which produces the festival, is not pictured but was present throughout the meeting. The 2015 Down from the Hills Bluegrass Festival will be next weekend, Friday and Saturday, May 22 and 23.
(left to right) Jill Smith, Micha Foster, Susan Hickman and Chef John Stokes meeting to discuss plans for New Albany’s premier Farm-to-Table dinner on May 22.
With mild weather work was progressing Monday on the site of the new Tanglefoot Trail bridge across Main Street in Downtown New Albany. Shown above with landscape architect Sam Creekmore, Jr. (left) are Richard Turner and Sonny “Sundance” Snider.
The Youth Choir of New Albany’s First United Methodist Church performed outdoors in the church’s Harwell Garden the evening of Sunday, May 3, 2015.
Joe Wilson, of New Albany, with Jeannie C. Riley, of Harper “Valley P.T.A.” fame. The picture was taken here in New Albany..well, according to Joe, “Way Back When!” If you have a photo to share in the Spotlight, email it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Kevin Hinton of Bankhead Flower Shop spoke to New Albany’s Historic Northside District Garden Club’s May 28th meeting, which was held at the home of Sandy Shaddinger. Hinton gave club members some hints about making flower arrangements from the flowers grown in their own gardens.
Jim Faust, Angie Faust Staten and Mike Staten enjoyed the music Saturday, June 20, 2015, at Live @ Noon on Tanglefoot Plaza in New Albany.
Mississippi Insurance Commissioner Mike Chaney spoke Monday night, June 22, to the Union County Republican Women’s Club. Chaney, a Republican, is seeking his third four-year term as the state’s insurance commissioner. He is opposed in the August Republican primary by John Mosely . The winner in that race will presumably face Johnny McLeod, who is unopposed for the Reform Party nomination. Campaign finance reports filed in early May showed Chaney with $338,089.43 in campaign funds on hand. Mosely had $20,674.60 and McLeod reported he had no campaign money
New Albany Symphony League members, left to right, Sandy Shaddinger, Joyce Sumners, Joanne Lesley, Collett Cross, Celia House, and Jean Ashcraft, met July 29th to discuss plans for the upcoming season.
If the Chinese proverb, “A smile will gain you ten more years of life” is accurate, these two have earned those years. Jean Ashcraft, of New Albany, visits with Joe “Sonny” Giachelli, of the Pinedale community, at New Albany Health & Rehab Center. Sonny is there to receive medical therapy to supplement his smile benefits.
Long-time friends Joyce Sumners and Mose Stokes catch up with each other, sharing a laugh over possibly varying opinions of who was the smarter in high school.
Everyone has a job. Mom does the hair; dad babysits; daughter ties it all together with a “cuteness” bow. Stylist/Nail Technician Annie Kent keeps it “all in the family” for her husband Ben and daughter Lucy at the Rodéo Salon on Bankhead St. in downtown New Albany.
Posted September 2015
Picturesque New Albany provided the backgrounds Tuesday, Sept. 1, for promotional photographs shot for Wooden Groove, a Mississippi-based acoustic string band. Double bassist Taylor Meador of Oxford, guitarist Adam Hollowell of Tupelo and mandolinist Seth Vincent Flake posed in front of a 60-year-old railroad engine in downtown New Albany. Engine number 800 was built by the old General Motors Electro-Motive division, probably at its London, Ontario, Canada plant, in the early 1950s. Number 800, a four-axle GP8 diesel-electric locomotive was rebuilt at the Illinois Central Railroad’s Paducah, Kentucky shops in the late 1970s. Number 800 is still an active railyard engine and belongs to the Ripley and New Albany Railroad, the successor after many ownership changes, of Colonel William Clark Falkner’s Ripley Railroad, founded in 1871.
Harold Gregory, shown at 7 pm, Saturday, Sept. 5th, in front of his daughter’s home on East Bankhead Street is about to move to Blue Springs from Douglas County, Georgia, at the western side of the Atlanta metropolitan area. Gregory is originally from Mattoon. lllinois, where he managed a graphics business. His alert white protector is called “Bama.”
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