Sunday, November 20, 2011

On the Road 1: Newsom's Country Store

country ham fig. a: real ole time flavor

They ain't kidding. You've heard us wax rhapsodic on this topic before, but Newsom's hams are something special, and a great place to start if you've yet to experience the depth, the character, and the "real ole time flavor" of a true smokehouse-aged country ham.

Newsom's 4 fig. b: aged ham country

But there's more to Newsom's than just superior hams and a highly personable mail-order business. Much more. There's an actual general store (Newsom's Old Mill Store) right in the heart of historic Princeton, Kentucky, and it's been in the family for almost 100 years now.

Newsom's 3 fig. c: outside the Old Mill Store

The store's as cute as the dickens, but not in a contrived way--it's a fully functional store, with a wide range of Newsom's own and Newsom's-approved comestibles, in addition to the deli counter where they keep their bacon, pre-sliced packages of their smoky "preacher hams," and other hickory-smoked delicacies.

newsom's 1 fig. d: inside the Old Mill Store

If you visit in the late summer, like I did, you won't find any country hams kicking around, unfortunately--the ham "season" begins in the fall and reaches a peak around now, when country hams are being purchased for the holidays. However, you will find the store chock full of local produce, not to mention an impressive selection of dry goods, including a vast array of Southern legumes (like beautiful dried crowder peas!). You're also likely to find the ever-so-charming Nancy "the Ham Lady" Newsom Mahaffey working the floor.

Newsom's Old Mill Store is well worth a Kentucky pilgrimage, but if you're not planning on passing through Kentucky anytime soon, you can still get a vivid sense of the Newsom's tradition by just picking up the phone and placing an order with them, or dropping them a line.

Newsom's Old Mill Store
208 E. Main Street
Princeton, KY 42445
(270) 365-2482 [during store hours: 9:00 am-4:30 pm CST, Monday through Friday, and 9:00 am-3:00 pm CST Saturday]


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