Picture yourself in a car driving down a long stretch of highway in rural Georgia with your family or friends. You are on your way to visit a relative, old friend or take that much needed yearly beach vacation. By now, you know exactly where to stop for the cheapest gas and best food options, but there is one spot in particular that holds a special place in your heart — not just for your favorite food you always get, but for the memories of past road trips and vacations it has become associated with.
For many travelers venturing through Georgia, stopping by Stripling’s General Store off of the highway in Bogart or Cordele has become just as much a treasured part of a road trip as getting to the destination itself. Parents who used to stop by with their families when they were younger still carry on the tradition by bringing their own kids, generation after generation. Likewise, Stripling’s General Store is built on family tradition itself. First opened in 1964 on the Stripling Family Farm in Warwick, Ga, Stripling’s General Store remains a family-run business, and throughout years of growth and change it continues to honor original family recipes and the tradition of providing premium quality products and service.
Stripling’s sausage remains the backbone of the family business. Following the same careful process as created 1964, Stripling’s sausage is crafted from “hot” fresh pork, always made the same day the hog is butchered. By grinding the meat just once and adding special seasonings by hand, Stripling’s is able to achieve an end product with a consistent texture and flavor unlike any manufactured sausage sold in a grocery store.
A perfect snack for the road, Stripling’s Beef Jerky is a favorite among travelers and local customers alike. Just holding that brown paper bag filled with Stripling’s Beef Jerky and smelling its bold, spicy seasoning is enough to trigger a feeling of nostalgia for a road trip in years past. Cut from the lean pieces of beef and hung by hand before being sent to the smoker, Stripling’s Beef Jerky is free of nitrates and MSG, and contains no artificial flavors. The thorough method involved in making Stripling’s Beef Jerky gives it a distinct, home-made quality worth adding a little extra time to your trip just to taste.
Beyond the butcher counter, Stripling’s General Store has shelves filled with homemade jams and jellies that convey a special “thank you” to that loved one who’s so graciously serving as your host. A traditional southern delicacy, Stripling’s Wild Mayhaw Jelly is hard to come across outside of South Georgia. It gets its delicate, sweet and tangy flavor from Wild Mayhaws that are grown in the swamps of South Georgia and harvested only three weeks out of the year. Perfect for spreading on a hot, fresh biscuit or your cracker of choice, Stripling’s Wild Mayhaw Jelly is a southern staple worth stopping for.
The next time you find yourself driving through Bogart or Cordele, with a stomach on empty and the need for a break, be sure to stop by one of Stripling’s three locations – you’ll be greeted by the same familiar faces and that well-known smell of your favorite sausage or jerky that triggers the fond memories of past road trips and good times.
Originally published – Southern Distinction Magazine, April Issue: Georgia Travel, Music & Arts