It may come as a surprise to visitors of the Magic City that Birmingham chefs regularly nab some of the nation’s most-esteemed culinary accolades, but locals know good food abounds beyond the restaurant scene (and mom’s kitchen too). From the butcher and baker to chicken coop maker, Birmingham is home to a diverse and ever-growing marketplace of passionate foodies offering generous helpings of handcrafted and curated selections that put Birmingham on the Southeast’s gastronomic roadmap. This year “The Foodies” list showcases producers who are lending incomparable interest and flavor to our hometown—and they share some of their favorite finds too.
Alabama Biscuit Co.
More information Visit the Alabama Biscuit Company’s Facebook page.
A sign hangs in the window of a red brick building in Cahaba Heights promising that the Alabama Biscuit Company is “Rising Soon.” If you’ve already had a taste of their offerings at the Pepper Place market, you’re probably as anxious as we are to see the “Now Open” sign.
“The farm-to-table/local/pasture-based movements are here to stay, and what tastebud could complain? People want real, honest, full-flavored food. They want fresh food and to know its source and the methods used to prepare it.”
WHAT SETS APART AN ALABAMA BISCUIT COMPANY BISCUIT FROM A TYPICAL BISCUIT? A traditional Southern flaky favorite would probably contain Crisco or some other hydrogenated vegetable oil, bleached, nutritionally-stripped, flavorless flour. Ours are gluten-free, stone-ground, healthy, organic, and nourishing. We use organic sprouted spelt flour, real organic butter, and local buttermilk, and offer a variety of natural toppings.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE WAY TO ENJOY A PIPING HOT BISCUIT? Definitely almond butter and wild blueberry jelly. It takes me back to simpler days in my life every time I eat it. The best part is that you don’t have to cut the crust off like a traditional peanut butter and jelly sandwich.
IF WINE GOES WITH BREAD AND CHEESE WHAT IS YOUR PREFERRED LIBATION AND PAIRING WITH BISCUITS? I’d say the biscuit with our blueberry cobbler sauce, fresh whipped cream, and a glass of Moscato d’ Asti is a pretty strong suitor.
4133 White Oak Drive Birmingham, AL 35243
Working Cows Dairy
Jonny de Jong • workingcowsdairy.com
The de Jong family moved from Holland to Florida in the mid-1980s to escape the cold weather and start a dairy farm. At the time, organic wasn’t a big buzz word, though most of their dairy practices were headed that way. In 1991, the family relocated Working Cows Dairy to Slocumb, Alabama. In 2009, they became branded as Alabama’s Organic Milk—the first in the state.
DID YOU KNOW? Cows consume 40 gallons of water each day. • Dairy farmers work from early in the morning until late at night. Working Cows Dairy milks 151 cows 2 times a day on a 48-stall carousel milking barn every day of the year. • Cows average about 25 pounds of milk per day. Most cows are milked twice a day at 12 hour intervals. • Working Cows Dairy cows eat, grass, haylage, dry hay and sea salt minerals. • Cows spend approximately 20 hours a day eating grass. • There are 5 breeds of dairy cows: Holstein, Ayrshire, Jersey, Brown Swiss, and Guernsey. We got a mix of all of them • Organic milk is produced with out any chemicals on feed or genetic modified seed.
“We like to treat the ladies good. We start with our ‘open gate’ policy. Most conventional dairies run what’s called a confinement operation, but we simply open the gates and let our cows graze like they are naturally meant to. All our cows are 100% grass fed, using no type of concentrated grain ration. And yes, the ladies have it better than we do. They all have waterbeds. But hey! The ladies come first.”
WATERBEDS? REALLY? Really. Waterbeds for cows (made from rubber and water) create a stable cushion and floating effect that helps circulation to the udder and takes stress off of pressure points. Comfortable, happy, healthy cows produce more milk.
WILL YOU START PRODUCING INDIVIDUALLY PACKAGED CONTAINERS OF ORGANIC MILK FOR ALABAMA’S SCHOOLS? We are getting the labels printed now, but the public can help. We need their support by showing interest in having our products available at Birmingham and Alabama schools.
WHERE ARE YOUR MILK PRODUCTS SOLD IN THE BIRMINGHAM AREA? Whole Foods, Earth Fare, Fresh Market, Piggly Wiggly (Homewood, Liberty Park, Clairmont Ave, and Crestline Village), Western supermarkets (Mountain Brook, Rocky Ridge, and on Highland Ave), V. Richards, Freshfully, and Organic Harvest in Hoover. For other locations in Alabama, visit workingcowsdairy.com. Visitors are welcome to the farm in Slocumb any time. Milk and milk-based products such as soap and lotion are available at farm prices.
What goes better with milk than cookies? Try this classic cookie recipe made with fresh butter churned from cream from the farm.
3/4 cups butter
1 egg (click here for Coop and Caboodle Foodie’s story)
½ cup sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. vanilla
12-ounce bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips
Mix butter, shortening, egg, and sugar. Add flour and baking soda. Stir in vanilla and chips. Drop rounded teaspoonfulls on cookie sheet and bake at 375 for 7 minutes.
Seeds Coffee Co.
Taylor McCall • seedscoffee.com
What is one fact about coffee and/or its production that would most surprise people? The average wage a coffee farmer receives for a pound of coffee versus the average amount a cafe in America sells a pound of the same coffee is significantly different. Also, coffee is technically seeds not beans.
For Taylor McCall and his business partners, peaching the Gospel is best enjoyed with a cup of coffee. He sees the simple seeds as a universal bond and a way to reach a diverse group of people—from Birmingham to countries across the globe. Whether you need a little soulful advice or just a good cup of Joe, Seeds serves up a fine brew, message on the side.
“Countries that grow coffee have more than climate and farmland in common. These countries are some of the most deprived nations of the Gospel of Jesus Christ in the world. One of the missions of Seeds is to impact local, indigenous coffee farmers with the truths of the Bible and empower the farmers to make disciples of Christ in their own cultural contexts.”
HOW DID THE SEED GET PLANTED TO BECOME COFFEE ROASTERS? One of our partners started roasting his own seeds in a popcorn popper in his kitchen. He perfected the flavor and we decided we could make a mission through his roasting efforts. It really serves three purposes for us. It’s a resource generator to help provide for some of the things we’re trying to do missionally. Through the cafe we’re hoping to connect more and more with people and their stories. And through the farming initiative we hope to build connections and relationships with farmers overseas so that we can plant churches and help improve their coffee growing and trading processes.
WHAT DO YOU THINK IS THE BEST WAY TO BREW A CUP OF COFFEE? The worst way to brew coffee is to be careless with the method you are using. Coffee can taste good in any brew style if you pay attention to detail (grind size, ratio, water temp, etc)—Our current preference is the pour over method and the press pot. However, if we were to throw out any method, it would definitely be the pod. It’s hard to get a great cup out of that. But you can definitely get a consistent average cup.
ARE THERE WAYS YOU LIKE TO ENJOY SEEDS COFFEE OUTSIDE OF THE CUP? Coffee actually makes a great marinade rub for meats. Also, it makes a great topping when ground finely and sprinkled over chocolate cream pie or similar desserts.
For a live music schedule and full list of merchandise, stop by the Seeds Coffee shop or visit seedscoffee.com.
174 Oxmoor Road • Homewood, AL 205.259.6405
Text by Katherine Cobbs • Portrait Photography by Major Adam Colbert