Alabama-raised catfish is known worldwide for its quality and taste. Whether fried, baked, grilled or featured in gumbos, stews and chowders, catfish is an ingredient that gets people excited to sit down and eat. 

When Bubba and Anne Drury of Greensboro built their first catfish pond in the rich, black soil of Hale County in 1980, they couldn’t have foreseen the impact catfish would have on their family and community. The Drurys now raise catfish on more than 650 acres of water, and Bubba is a board member of both the Hale County Farmers Federation and the Federation’s State Catfish Committee. Earlier this year, he was chosen Alabama’s Catfish Farmer Of The Year by fellow producers across the state.

Raising catfish lends itself naturally to hosting countless fish fry events and serving a lot of catfish at home, but Anne said the impact reaches even deeper than the dinner table.

“We take pride in having good, quality fish and a clean, workable operation,” Anne said. “It’s huge for us to have the fish here because the industry employs so many people — from our own employees to the people who transport the fish to those who work at the plant that processes the fish. It’s a great industry for our state. It’s something we are very proud of.”

Anne’s favorite way to eat catfish is fried, but there are several alternatives she likes to serve as well. 

“Of course, when we get together a large group, 99 percent of the time we do a big fish fry with hush puppies and cabbage slaw,” she said. “But if it’s just a few people, I like to grill or broil it and serve with a butter-based sauce or a crab meat au gratin topping. Most people only fry catfish, but it can be just as delicious baked or grilled if it’s spiced up the right way.”