March 30, 2015

About Ronda Birtha

Ronda Birtha is a freelance writer, photographer, and videographer residing in far, far western North Carolina. She has been an instructor for the Community Folklife Documentation Institute/NC Folklife Institute; and as Project Consultant for the Mountain Work: A Social Commentary documentary, partially funded by a grant from the NC Humanities Council.
Samples of her photography and videography can be seen at
In the five or ten minutes that she has for herself in the course of a day, she continues to work on her first novel – Solace.

Doug’s Café – the “neatest” little restaurant serving the best BBQ in Andrews, NC

Doug's BBQ_tn

by Ronda Birtha And not, “neat” as in tidy – although it certainly is the cleanest “grease” truck I’ve ever seen (co-owner Doug Lawhon boasts about the café’s 99.5 sanitation rating). But “neat” as in “good food, and trendy,” as in, “the BEST barbecue I have ever had,” according to my friend Alice who asked if I heard about the new “hot dog truck” in town. We called them grease trucks back home. On any given … [Read more...]

My First Rooster Kill

Janet prepares my mind with the following perspective: “While he’s in the pen, he’s chicken. Outside the pen, he’s a carcass.”

by Ronda Birtha I’m going to guess that for many people reading this post, killing a rooster is not a big deal. So I’m just going to ask all of you to whom this is old hat … please indulge this city girl. I’ve known Bill and Janet Silver from Murphy, NC for about 9 years, and they have been to me among the most hospitable, kind-hearted people I have known. I don’t know when I started calling them Papa and Mama … [Read more...]

Downtown Bakery, Murphy, NC

Downtown Bakery owner and baker, Kate Simmons, sells batches of homemade pizza sauce (4.99) and dough ($1.00).

by Ronda L. Birtha When Margie Freel Carpenter said that she is the kind of person who looks for a bakery as she travels about, I knew exactly what she meant and why she meant it. A good hometown bakery is to a neighborhood what your favorite room is to your home: the place where you find comfort and a measure of peace. Years ago, I remember asking friends where they went for a good donut, a good cup of coffee. … [Read more...]

For The Love of Cream Corn

The fruit of Alice Blanton's labor is a perfectly delicious bowl of cream style corn made with love.

by Ronda Birtha For people who love corn, that love is almost a religious experience. From as far back as I can remember, I have loved corn in almost all its incarnations: on the cob, off the cob, in chowder, in breads, and popped on the stove, and even occasionally in the microwave. But there is one type of corn that I never liked: cream. For whatever reason, my mother, a grits (girl raised in the south) and … [Read more...]

“Farm to Fork”ing it Every Tuesday at Blue Mountain Grill & Coffee


by Ronda Birtha When I Google “Farm to Fork” I get “About 13,700,000 results (0.24 seconds).” Thanks to Google’s new search algorithm, these top-ranking hits reflect my general location so I get an idea of how popular this trend is in my neck of the woods. Give it a try and see what your results look like where you are. This article isn’t about Google search and algorithms though, but Farm to "Fork”ing” itself,  … [Read more...]