June 2006 Issue
Nancy Garrison and husband Phillip of Cullman County are living memorials to the generations they follow. Not only are they the third generation to work both their farm properties, they are also producing the same commodities as their predecessors.
A strong, proud sense of family history surrounds many aspects of Nancy’s life, and her cooking is no exception.
“I grew up cooking with Mother, and she taught me a lot. I took home economics in school, and I learned from my own mistakes as well,” Nancy says.
She also credits her aunt, Myrtie Adams, with some of her kitchen accomplishments.
“She was an excellent cook, and people still talk about her recipes. Unfortunately, some of them were lost with her when she passed. I really consider her a mentor because she was such a great cook,” Nancy said.
Nancy has an award-winning poultry operation on her home place near Vinemont where she and Phillip live, and they have a honey bee farm, Gold Vine Farm, in nearby Goldridge, on the property Phillip’s family has worked for years. Nancy serves on the Cullman County Women’s Committee, and Phillip is a board member of the Cullman County Farmers Federation and chairman of the bee and honey commodity committee.
In addition to honey, the Garrisons sell lip balm and beeswax candles. Nancy said she hand rolls some candles, and has more than 100 different candle molds. The Garrisons even included a showroom in the honey barn built mostly from materials salvaged from an old structure on Phillip’s family farm.
This honey bee showroom houses a collection of family treasures as well, including Nancy’s prized kitchen heirloom, a Home Comfort stove purchased from a traveling salesman after her parents married soon after World War II.
“Nearly everybody in Daddy’s family bought one,” Nancy said. “Mother used her’s until she got electricity, then sent the stove to my Grandmother Shelton. I remember her pulling huge roasts from that oven. When she got electricity, the stove was moved to mother’s basement. It took seven men to carry it down there, and when we went to load it on the trailer to move it to the honey barn, it literally lifted the front of the tractor off the ground,” Nancy said.
Nancy’s recipe archive is filled with family heritage as well. Her Jelly Roll recipe even comes from the Home Comfort Cookbook that accompanied her mother’s stove. “Mother still has the cookbook, and we still refer to it sometimes,” says Nancy.
The Pineapple Salad recipe was her Aunt Myrtie’s, and Pink Passion comes from her aunt, Betty Adams. The teacakes came from Phillip’s Grandma Garrison, and the Slow Cooker Beef Roast is Phillip’s favorite supper.
The Slow Cooker Pork Roast is Nancy’s original recipe and earned her third place in a pork cooking contest. She also passes along two honey recipes, adding that the Honey Bun Cake is always a hit, and goes great with a cup of coffee.