Adventurous Food Journalists Dip Down in the Delta

Association of Food Journalists Annual Conference features Clarksdale, thanks to food writer and editor Susan Puckett

Association of Food Journalists take a Delta Tour

Association of Food Journalists take a Delta Detour


Clarksdale, Mississippi

“Clarksdale is truly one of the most inspiring places ever for a writer to get the creative juices flowing—especially if the topic happens to be food. And the music is surely a major bonus.”  —  Susan Puckett

The Association of Food Journalists (AFJ), an organization passionate about perpetuating responsible food journalism, is holding its annual conference at the famed Peabody Hotel in Memphis this week, with an optional overnight detour to Clarksdale, home of the blues and some mighty larruping grub.

Mississippi-born writer and Ole Miss Journalism graduate Susan Puckett, author of “Eat Drink Delta: A Hungry Traveler’s Journey Through the Soul of the South” and co-author of “Citizen Farmers: The Biodynamic Way to Grow Healthy Food, Build Thriving Communities, and Give Back to the Earth” is coordinating the Delta-dip-down excursion from Memphis to Clarksdale for interested AFJ’ers.

Susan told the Delta Bohemian® that she is looking forward to introducing the more than 25 attendees to one of her favorite little towns anywhere, mentioning the “friendly, creative folks who make it great.”

“As a Mississippian (I grew up in Jackson and went to Ole Miss) I have a natural desire to want to try to explain to others who are not from here what my roots are really all about, but as we all know, that is quite a complex topic,” Susan said. “The dinner table is the perfect place for these conversations to begin.”

Susan fell in love with Clarksdale and its character-driven eateries while doing research for her successful book “Eat Drink Delta” and while co-teaching an Ole Miss magazine-writing class in the Meek School of Journalism and New Media. She also spent spring break last year in Clarksdale with students who were gathering their own food-related stories.

The magazine, “Land of Plenty,” was recently named the number one student magazine in the country by the Society of Professional Journalists. This ain’ small stuff, folks! Poor William’s Mama always said the Delta is grist for great writing and stories.

Hayden and Erica Hall’s Oxbow Restaurant will be hosting Friday night’s Mississippi Delta detour dinner and wine tasting for the food journalists, who have wisely chosen to enjoy our fair city’s Epicurean tastiness. Clarksdale Mayor Bill Luckett, co-owner of Ground Zero Blues Club with actor and Mississippi native Morgan Freeman, will welcome the writers to our well-known town.

After the fine dinner and get together, the crew, fresh from days of workshops in Memphis, will decompress and juke a bit at Clarksdale’s two most famous blues clubs—Ground Zero and Red’s Lounge.

Participants will have a Biscuit and Bloody Mary brunch on Saturday at the Cutrer Mansion prior to a Clarksdale walking tour with stops at the Delta Blues Museum, Cat Head Delta Blues & Folk Art, and Quapaw Canoe Company on the Sunflower River. Clarksdale is insanely organic and the food journalists will meet a bevy of downtown characters while enjoying our retail shops and art galleries. After brunch and a walkabout, opiners will participate in a tamale making and rolling demo before sampling their own goods.

Food journalists, we welcome you with open arms, hungry and often extended bellies, and please know that there is rarely a bad day in the Delta. Cheers and bon appetite! pw

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  1. Mark J Benson says:

    Great share by Billy. I am certain that Clarksdale will welcome the Association of Food Journalist with open arms.

  2. Thanks to Susan Puckett for bringing all these fine, foodie folks to Clarksdale, Mississippi! Really enjoyed hanging out with them last night at Oxbow Restaurant, Sun House Studios, Ground Zero Blues Club and Red’s Lounge. C’mon back anytime, y’all… and we’ll eat some more!

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