By Ginna Parsons/NEMS Daily Journal
TUPELO – James Farmer says he’s a gardener who cooks and a cook who gardens.
“My publisher had trouble with my first manuscript. He said it was a garden book filled with recipes,” said Farmer, 30. “I have trouble separating the two.”
Farmer will be talking about both on Thursday when he’s the featured speaker at the Tupelo Garden Club’s fundraiser, “Tablescapes, Lunch & James Farmer” from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at St. James Catholic Church Family Life Center.
Farmer, who grew up in Georgia, is an author, gardener, floral and interior designer, cook and garden-to-table lifestyle expert.
“I read something that said, ‘He is a young, fresh voice for his generation on how to incorporate elegant seasonal garden living into one’s life either on a grand scale or modest budget,’” said event chairman Marian Hill. “I’ve heard him speak before and that sums him up perfectly. He is a really fun speaker.”
Farmer, who has written five books, is also an editor-at-large for Southern Living magazine.
“I’ll talk about Southern-style garden living and I’ll share recipes and things I learned about gardening from my grandparents,” he said. “Like any good Southerner, I’ll spin some good yarns.”
Before Farmer speaks, Tupelo Garden Club members will treat attendees to a tasting luncheon from 11 a.m. to noon, featuring foods they have prepared themselves.
The menu includes pasta salad, sweet and savory muffins, fruit skewers, a frozen fruit salad and a chocolate confection.
Members have also created and will be showing off five or six tablescapes.
“Each one will be decorated with a different theme,” said club member Carol Threadgill. “We’ll be using china, linens, flowers and provide a suggested menu.”
Some of the themes are Easter, Downton Abbey, Elvis, and Company’s Coming.
After Farmer’s talk, which begins at noon, there will be a question-and-answer period and a book signing.
All proceeds go to fund different garden club projects, including the gardens at the Pvt. John Allen Fish Hatchery, Music Bend Trail, the Boys and Girls Club, Tupelo High School, Joyner Elementary, Sanctuary Hospice House and the city’s daffodil project.
“A group of Mississippi State University students designed different landscape plans for the fish hatchery and ultimately we’re going to take them and incorporate them into one concrete plan,” Hill said. “That is in our future. We will get it done.”