Jimmy Durbin’s wife vowed she’d “never live with a farmer.” But for the past 35 years, Jettie Durbin has been eating her words and her husband’s cooking.
The Durbins raise peaches, cattle and strawberries in Chilton County, where Jimmy serves on the county Federation’s Board of Directors. He joined the Federation in the 1950s, and began farming on his own in 1965, returning to the same soil he watched his father work.
After serving his country in the military, Jimmy Durbin worked briefly in a Birmingham pipe mill, but knew he wanted to do something else.
“One day I just walked off and went back to the farm, went back to what I enjoy doing,” said Jimmy.
It was after he had gone back to his farming roots that he met Jettie.
“I had started back farming and working odd jobs part time, and I would stop by the small country store she had to buy gas and drink a Coca-Cola,” Jimmy said.
Jimmy said he learned to cook out of necessity because Jettie sometimes would be working at the store when he came in from work.
“I like to cook, to grill especially, but Jettie says I mess up too much. Sometimes we cook together, and that’s when the arguments start,” he joked.
“I like cooking pretty well, but Jettie’s really a better cook than I am. When it comes to vegetables and things, she seasons better than I do.”
And just like Jimmy learned to cook, Jettie has learned to love farm life, and they share their love for the land with their children and grandchildren. Their sons, Gary and Tim Minor, both work on the Durbin farm.
“They both tried other things, but they came back to the land,” said Jimmy. “It’s hard work, and the hours can get long at certain times of the year, but the hours are flexible, and it’s nice to be your own boss. And they love the woods.”
Grandchildren Jessica and J.D. both love hunting and both have already bagged deer this season. “They love to squirrel hunt, too,” he says.
Jimmy says he and Jettie now cook for church gatherings more than they cook for their family, but they still enjoy the time they all have together.
“I guess our only hobby is what we’re doing for a living. You see some part of the farm everyday, but it is like a hobby to ride around to see what you’ve done, to take the time to really look at it rather than just work with it,” said Jimmy.
This month’s recipes are some of Jimmy’s favorites to cook. A few are his favorites to eat when Jettie does the cooking.
Regardless of who does the cooking in your country kitchen, these recipes will likely become some of your favorites, too.