News Taste of Alabama Flush with Delicious Food, Fruitful Discussions

Taste of Alabama Flush with Delicious Food, Fruitful Discussions

Taste of Alabama Flush with Delicious Food, Fruitful Discussions
April 2, 2024 |

By Tanner Hood

Farmers and elected officials gathered around the table Feb. 21 to enjoy Alabama-grown products and discuss important issues during the Taste of Alabama Legislative Reception in Montgomery. 

State Sen. Robert Stewart, D-Selma, serves on the Senate Ag, Conservation and Forestry Committee. He said he treasures every opportunity to meet farmers and promote agriculture. 

“Ag is the cornerstone of our economy,” said Stewart. “It’s such an honor to interact with people who really undergird our communities and make sure they are sustainable.”

Hosted by the Alabama Farmers Federation, the reception provides farmer-leaders the opportunity to display homegrown products while getting in the weeds about policy. Attendees included over 100 legislators, constitutional officers and other government officials.

Clay County Farmers Federation President Chris Upchurch said events like Taste of Alabama ensure leaders hear directly from constituents about real-life issues. During the reception, Upchurch and wife Jordyn served spicy sliders made with beef from their Rockin’ U Farm. Jordyn serves on the Federation State Young Farmers Committee.

“Taste of Alabama allows our legislators and farmers to come together in a room with a good environment where we can have conversations and serve food from across Alabama,” Upchurch said. “It gives us an opportunity to build relationships with our legislators, which I believe is very important to farmers.”

Guests enjoyed the best Alabama farmers have to offer during the annual event at the Federation home office. In addition to sliders, this year’s menu included Bishop’s Barbecue, Colbert County; fried catfish from Consolidated Catfish, Greene County; honey from State Bee & Honey Committee members; lamb meatballs from HD Farm, Talladega County; peanut butter energy bites from the Alabama Peanut Producers Association; shrimp and grits from Greene Prairie Shrimp, Greene County; sweet treats and samples from Priester’s Pecans, Lowndes County; vanilla ice cream from Blue Ribbon Dairy, Elmore County; venison loin from Venison Provisions, Macon County; and more. 

State Rep. Jennifer Fidler, R-Fairhope, grew up on a farm and serves on the House Agriculture and Forestry Committee. She said she hopes her peers took advantage of face-to-face conversations with producers. 

“Our legislators do need to see how hard farmers work every day,” Fidler said. “I think farmers being involved with lawmakers is important so they can see our grassroots effort, too, and know we can make good changes while taking care of the folks who take care of us all the time.”

State Rep. Ben Robbins, R-Sylacauga, said farmers are essential to Alabama and local economies. 

“Agriculture is the backbone of Alabama,” Robbins said. “We have to hear from ag producers to know what’s actually going to benefit the entire state.”

In addition to legislators, Federation members mingled with Gov. Kay Ivey and other constitutional officers. Upchurch said the magnitude of attendees spoke volumes about the hours of work county Farmers Federations invest in building relationships with elected officials. 

“We know it’s a busy time, and we appreciate everyone who came out to speak with us,” Upchurch said. “We’ve had good conversations, and I know our officials will take them to heart and use them to better Alabama.” 

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