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June 7, 2018
Fig Authentic: Jimmy Stevenson
Jimmy Stevenson’s father was born in 1899 and worked as a tenant farmer. With hard work, dedication, and an entrepreneurial spirit, he developed multiple businesses and a restaurant. For as long as Jimmy can remember, his parents had a garden at their home. His father tended to the garden and his mother canned the produce. Sunday lunch was an important tradition in their home where they all enjoyed the fruits of their labors—from tasty greens and crabapple jelly to southern fried chicken.
Jimmy recalls that one of his favorite pastimes with his father was fishing. After a day of fishing, they would start up a fire, heat some oil on a skillet, and his father would mix together corn meal, river water, and a pinch of salt. They would then fry up their catch of the day and together enjoy their simple meal of fish and cornbread.
When you hear of Jimmy’s childhood, you can see how much of an impact it’s had on him—it’s no wonder that his catering business, Southern Way Catering, is known for their Catfish Bites! Entrepreneurism runs through Jimmy’s veins. After 35+ years, Southern Way has become a brand that has fed thousands upon thousands of people, from huge black tie galas to intimate family gatherings. Underneath the Southern Way brand is The Millstone at Adams Pond, a historical event venue that sits on acres of natural beauty just outside of downtown Columbia. Be on the lookout for something special coming in the next year from Adams Pond—Jimmy is getting back to his roots of farming and canning. You’ll be able to purchase some famous Stevenson Crabapple Jelly and dine at The Private Table at Adams Pond.
But what makes Jimmy and Southern Way Catering so special is that he cares about the people that he works with. You’d never know that he’s the owner just by watching him. He takes out the trash and rides in the back of the truck, just to ensure that someone else is comfortable. He looks for heart when hiring and understands that the demands of the hospitality industry are taxing. Jimmy strongly believes in giving back to the community as well, and through his partnership with Sistercare and their annual Songbird Café fundraiser, has helped raise over $1.5 million for the organization.