Our Mayhaw Farmer – Gene Little

One of my favorite people I have met since opening Steel City Pops is Gene Little, pictured here with his daughter-in-law.  He has been a farmer for over 70 years.  He is currently 92-years-old and provides our Alabama shops with the key ingredient to one of my favorite pops.

Meeting Mr. Little was actually somewhat of a fluke as he is not what I would call a ‘local’ farmer to us.  Our kitchen for our Alabama shops is located in Birmingham and Mr. Little is from 4.5 hours south in Foley, AL.  My meeting him happened in my quest for the scarce fruit, the mayhaw.  I guess the mayhaw could be a post all by itself, but suffice to say, its tart and sweet profile is the perfect fruit for pop making.   This pop has made brief, rare appearances on our menu since we opened in May 2012.  It is only available during the month of May and as far as I know, Mr. Little is the only farmer in Alabama that grows mayhaws in the quantities that we need.

Since making the connection in 2012, it has been a privilege taking my annual trip to Foley to load the harvested berries in my car and bring them back to Birmingham.   What I most enjoy is spending a couple of hours catching up with Mr. Little and picking up the homemade/homegrown items he loads me down with for my trip home…this year’s bounty was two jars of mayhaw jelly, local honey and a gallon bag of pecans he had shelled that morning…yum.

I’m excited that we are able to purchase all of his crop that isn’t spoken for by locals who make delicious Mayhaw jelly and Mayhaw wine (no comments on whether I have tried this or not, but I’ve ‘heard’ it’s really good). 

Come by this month, while supplies last, and get this delicious pop, grown locally.

– Jim