By MATT CRANE
Oktoc native Anna Marie Rasberry has a special connection with the annual Oktoc Country Store and continues to keep her legacy and community tradition alive today.
"My grandmother helped start the Oktoc Garden Club in 1923 and it's quite an honor to be a part of that legacy," she said. "My grandparents also helped start the Oktoc Community Club in 1927, so as a child, I grew up participation in the community club and garden club activities."
Rasberry said she joined the garden club in 1980 and will once again contribute to the renowned Oktoc event.
"I usually help with the farmer's market area that sells garden produce, jams and jellies," she said. "This year I'll be contributing some sweet and spicy pickles as well as some pickled peaches."
Rasberry said she is looking forward to this year's event, especially the highlight of the annual quilt raffle.
"From the beginning, we've raffled off a quilt made by someone from the community and raffle tickets are only one dollar which gives everyone a chance to participate," she said. "This year we have a king-sized scrappy quilt. The 'scrappy' name comes from the quilt containing lots of small scraps of fabric in it."
Rasberry said Judy Self Buster, an Oktoc native, designed and constructed the quilt, and tickets are on sale at Montgomery Jewelers.
"Judy is extremely talented and is a renowned quilter in Birmingham who has made this specific quilt for the country store," she said. "The workmanship is just beautiful."
Rasberry said she is excited about the event and the opportunity to catch up with people from Oktoc and the surrounding communities.
"Oktoc is a really special place where, regardless if you've been here for a long time or just a short time, it does something to pull you in," she said. "There's a special bond between the people who take part in the activities, and every year is like a reunion."
The Oktoc Country Store will take place Saturday, Oct. 6 from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. at the Oktoc Community Club.
Easy Pickled Peaches
1 (29 oz.) can cling peach halves in heavy syrup
1 c. syrup, drained from peaches
1/2 c. white vinegar
1 (3 inch) cinnamon stick
1/2 c. sugar
Drain peach halves, reserving 1 cup of syrup. Stud each peach half with 3 cloves. Bring syrup, vinegar, sugar and cinnamon stick to a simmer; add peaches. Simmer 3-4 minutes. Cool and refrigerate. These last well in the refrigerator for several weeks and taste even better than when freshly made.