Originally from Bakersfield, Calif., Margaret Fox says she and husband Dave thought seriously about where they wanted to make a home for themselves and their sons before settling in Brantley, Ala.
“In 1980 we came to visit friends in Alabama, and we found exactly the new life we had been looking for. We always wanted to live in the country and raise our boys somewhere they could grow up to be productive citizens,” says Margaret.
That vision also included a farm.
“We had both grown up vacationing in the mountains, and we both liked nature and the outdoors. Neither of us had actually lived in the country, but we knew we wanted to, and we appreciate how nice it is to come home to clean country living,” she says.
The two of them have cows and cut hay, have planted pine trees, and enjoy their recreational fish pond. Margaret serves on the Crenshaw County Women’s Committee, and Dave serves on the county’s board of directors.
“I collect information for the Federation’s Food Price Survey, and I assist with the Crenshaw County Miss Agriculture Pageant. The Farmers Federation is made up of such wonderful people, I feel fortunate be a part of it, and I’m glad to help with its programs,” says Margaret.
Margaret is the guidance counselor at Opp Middle School, and is the school’s 4-H sponsor.
“I’m a big proponent of 4-H,” she says. “In addition to sponsoring our school organization, I’m a volunteer leader for Crenshaw County, and our boys were both 4-H’ers. We really have a lot of fun with the program at school with woodworking, baking and other things young people don’t have to live on a farm to be part of. 4-H offers them leadership and other experiences that will be valuable to them as they get older. I always tell people they don’t have to have a cow to benefit from 4-H.”
Margaret won third place in the 2006 State Heritage cooking contest with her recipe for Santa Margarita Casserole (available online at www.AlfaFarmers.org by typing “Santa Margarita” in the search window), and says her recipes are different from those of many native Alabamians.
“Growing up out West, I always ate more Mexican- and Asian-inspired food than most people in this part of the country. Some of the ingredients I thought of as commonplace were hard to find in some grocery stores in Alabama, but it’s easier to find now than it was 20 years ago,” Margaret says.
Since Alabama nights can turn frigid, Margaret offers her warming recipes for clam chowder and beef burgundy. She also shares recipes that reveal her taste for flavors of the West Coast, like her Los Osos Shrimp Salad and Capistrano Chili Rellano. She also encourages readers to try Margaret and Shirley’s Famous Egg Rolls.
“It’s a time-consuming recipe, but it’s not hard and definitely worth a try,” she says.