Bayou Cora Farms
Growing up, we go through many different phases of what we would like to be when we grow up; a cowboy, doctor, lawyer, teacher, firefighter, policeman – the list goes on and on. High school creeps up fast and all of sudden it’s your senior year, and you have to pick which college to attend or to attend a higher level of education at all. You enter college with the thought of having it all figured out until you realize you are sorely mistaken. We know two awesome guys who have it figured out, or at least make us believe they do.
Josh and Jarred Higginbotham are from a small shrimping town known as Bon Secour, it sits just east of Foley, AL. They have always had an appreciation for heritage and history. For their senior project in high school they restored an antique tractor. Not only is Bon Secour a shrimping town, but it’s also a farming town. Josh and Jarred are six generation farmers and take pride in fulfilling the legacy of so many family farmers before them. Josh and Jarred are also very musically inclined and have a traveling band, This Side of 49. They have been singing and doing shows since high school and have a big following! What is special and unique about these twins is that they took a family “heirloom” and turned it into a business, Bayou Cora Farms.
(Store Front, 209 S. Alston St. Foley, AL)
This “heirloom” is corn. Here is the history behind the name, Bayou Cora Farms told by the twins themselves.
The story of Bayou Cora Farms heirloom corn began not long after the Civil War. James Phillip Lipscomb came to Baldwin County in 1875 and brought with him a corn variety form Marengo County, Alabama. He settled in what is now the Vernant Park Community just outside of Magnolia Springs. There he established a farm and began to plant the corn. Over several years, he built up a seed stock and soon able to plant several acres. Some of the corn was used for eating during the milk stage, as many people did with field or sweet corn, but the majority of each year’s crop was dried and used for cattle feed. This heirloom variety, commonly known as “Indian Corn”, only changes into its multitude of red, yellow, orange, purple, and blue colors, after it begins to dry.
James Lipscomb grew the corn until the year he died in 1933 at the age of 80. James’ grandson, Ira Lipscomb, saved some of the corn from his grandfather and continued to grow the corn along with his six sons Lawrence, Edward, Claude, Sheldon, Oswalt, and Albert. Like his grandfather, Ira grew the corn until his death in 1979. Over the next eight years, the Lipscomb brothers grew the corn. But sadly in 1987, when the agriculture industry slowed, and many farmers had do downsize or get out of farming completely, the last two brothers farming full time, Sheldon and Oswalt, decided to trim production and stopped planting their family corn.
One brother, Claude Lipscomb decided to set aside a little of the corn, not much more than 1 pound, in an old barn freezer. There the corn stayed for 24 years until 2011 when Edward, Claude, and Sheldon pulled out that old heirloom corn which they called “Grandpa Jimmy’s” corn, and decided to revive it. Each brother planted only a handful, with Sheldon planting only 98 kernels. For the next three years they brought back the old family corn, with each year’s crop slightly bigger than the last. In spring of 2015, Sheldon planted 5 acres of the family corn, not quite knowing what he would do with the harvest. However, the brothers always had an idea that perhaps that old corn could be used for milling into cornmeal.
Sheldon’s grandsons, Josh and Jarred Higginbotham ground some of the corn into cornmeal, and Sheldon’s wife Betsy made several recipes including cornbread. They soon discovered that the meal had a very unique, natural and flavorful taste.
After a trip to the local farmers market in July of 2015, and a sell out on the first day, Josh and Jarred quickly realized that the cornmeal fit right in with the interest for local and heirloom products. This lead to Bayou Cora Farms Heirloom Corn Products, which now includes grits, corn flour, and fish fry, along with the cornmeal.
From 1875, and six generations later, this non-gmo heirloom corn variety is being brought back to abundance in Baldwin County Alabama and shared in a way for all to appreciate and enjoy.
On May 10th, 2017 Josh and Jarred opened their first store front shop in downtown Foley, Bayou Cora Farms. To be able to witness something they worked so hard to accomplish, is a wonderful feeling. You commonly hear the phrase, “Its takes a village” and in the case of Bayou Cora Farms it truly is a family effort with the help from their grandparents, mom, and aunts. Their shop is decorated with antique farm equipment, pictures painted by their aunt, photographs taken by their grandmother, and jewelry made by their mother.
The heirloom corn makes great grits, corn meal makes wonderful brownies and cookies, and the fish fry makes for some delicious battered fish. During the grand opening of the store the twins had samples and recipes for the samples. When anyone walks in they are made to feel welcome, like they have known them forever; odds are they probably have. It’s very rare to have that feeling, but that’s what you get when you buy local. When you get local people making local products, you get that local hospitality that you cannot get from big box brands!
(Jarred Higginbotham, Tricia Wilcox, Josh Higginbotham, Grace Stanton, Tommy Stanton)
Josh, Jarred, and the Lipscomb family congratulations on Bayou Cora Farms first store front shop! Two years ago you started with a dream to continue a family legacy and accomplished much more than anyone could have dreamed. We are excited to watch and see where this takes you, you’re living proof that hard work really does pay off!
Bayou Cora Farms is located at
209 S. Alston Street Foley, AL 36535
On Facebook and Instagram : Bayou Cora Farms