Even before I became a staff writer for Delta Farm Press, I traveled extensively across the five Mid-South states attending too many industry meetings or searing field days that were in some way related to the research and promotion activities of Cotton Incorporated. When you travel, you have to eat, so I had opportunities to dine at a variety of places – some were good, some were, well…nice, and we’ll leave it at that.
No matter where I ate, I always seemed to run into people who make their living in agriculture. I created an electronic file of the places I dined so I could either return if I was in the area or provide an informative recommendation if asked.
I recently traveled to Bogue Chitto Gin on the outskirts of Macon, Miss., for one of my first feature articles since joining the Farm Press team, and ran across a crown jewel - the ‘Ole Country Bakery’ in Brooksville, Miss. It was established in 1981 by Geneva Nightingale. Most of the workers then were of the Mennonite faith, and several of them still work diligently each day to make the best homemade cakes, pies, doughnuts and breads one can imagine. They also serve freshly brewed coffee from beans roasted on-site. Current owners, Les and Sheila Decker, continue the tradition of quality Mrs. Nightingale established 36 years ago.
If you make the mistake of arriving after 11 a.m., as I did, get in line and just soak up the local atmosphere. The walls are replete with southern colloquialisms that will warm your heart and make you smile. Ask those in front or behind you what they’re ordering. Chances are they are regulars. I struck up a conversation with the lady in front of me who was accompanying her husband on a business trip and sure enough, he made his living in agriculture. After a few minutes, we were chatting like old friends
Chem-Cotton’s John Benoit told me everything I wanted to know about the Ole Country Bakery. He ate there frequently when he was younger and lived in Columbus. Life drifted him away, but Macon now falls within his sales territory so he stops there when he calls on cotton gins in the area. He definitely didn’t steer me wrong with his recommendation to buy a bag of the yeast crescent rolls. Words can’t describe how good they are.
After wrapping up my conversation with John and his wife, and devouring the oversized sub sandwich stacked high with fresh ham, cheese and all the fixin’s, let’s just say it was a long drive back to Memphis with the warm sun baking my face through the car window. Put the Ole Country Bakery on your list if you happen to be in the area. Like the out-of-the-way furniture business television ad used to tout, “It’s worth the drive!” Bon appetite!