Tammy Doughty of Pickens County says a lot of “tourists” often stop by the farm where she and her husband Jimmy live and work.
“Our place is on a long, straight state highway so there’s a good bit of traffic, and people are interested in the sheep. I always have a few penned up so people who are curious enough to stop can see them up-close, touch them, and ask questions,” she explains.
A native of Fayette County, Tammy grew up on a row crop farm and spent much of her life showing Walking horses.
“After we faced such terrible drought in 2006 and the economy being what it is, we cut way back on the horses. We still board a few horses, but we now have about 100 ewes so the sheep have become the focus of our farm,” says Tammy, adding that she and Jimmy got in the sheep business by accident.
“Our neighbors’ kids had some show sheep, but their show year was up and the kids didn’t want to sell them for slaughter, so we bought them. We still have three of those original four sheep on the farm,” she adds.
And their operation has changed in scope as well as size since those first four sheep came to Jimmy and Tammy’s Cedar Ridge Stables ten years ago.
“We have some Suffolk sheep, which are a wool-producing breed, but Dorper and Katahdin are primarily meat sheep and that’s our principal market,” she says.
Tammy says she enjoys cooking lamb and sharing it with people who’ve never tried it.
“The burgers especially are a great way to introduce people to lamb, and most people love it when they don’t realize what they’re trying,” says Tammy. “I come from a long line of cooks, and my family always thought if you get together, you’re supposed to eat,” she says, adding that Sunday dinner continues to be an important tradition in her life.
“Growing up, we always had Sunday dinner after church with one of Daddy’s siblings. Now I love that my niece and nephew know Aunt Tammy has lunch on Sundays,” she says.
Another family culinary tradition Tammy carries on is the large garden.
“We still probably grow 90 percent of our groceries from our garden, and that’s something I also did as a child. Daddy delegated the duties to us kids: we all had to plant, the boys had to hoe, we all had to gather, and the girls had to help can,” she recalls.
Even though farming keeps Tammy busy, she says she still enjoys her time in the kitchen.
“I try to prepare large quantities of food and freeze part of it to be cooked later when I may have less time for preparation, so even though I might not spend a lot of time in the kitchen every day, there’s still a lot of cooking here,” she says.
Tammy also adds that her home has very few cookbooks or cooking magazines.
“Most of my recipes were given to me by family and friends. Other than that I really only use recipes from things like ‘The Country Kitchen’ or small, local cookbooks because I know they are from other country people who have cooked country food for years like I have,” Tammy says.