Lightered Knot opens in Wiggins, MSUntil recently, I’d not considered the virtues of fat wood, or what folks in South Mississippi call “lightered knots” or “lightered” for short. A couple of weeks ago in my home town of Wiggins, the Mississippi Coastal Plains Resource Conservation & Development Council launched The Lightered Knot, “a kindling kitchen for entrepreneurs & educators”.

“Lightered” is a naturally flammable product of the longleaf pine. The trees are found mostly in the areas around the Southern Coastal Plain, which stretches from South Carolina and Georgia to the Gulf coast lowlands of Mississippi. A few sticks of lightered can start a bodacious fire with little effort. The analogy sounds pretty apt to me!

The idea was to provide a certified commercial kitchen for preparation of baked goods, jams and jellies to be sold in retail outlets, such as a new country store set to open in neighboring Forrest County. The kitchen would do double duty as a classroom for hands-on culinary education, and could support distance learning for students participating in collegiate culinary arts programs. Classes in food safety certification, specialty crop production, nutrition, and product development would be among those offered here.

A new proposition that gets my vote is provision of basic home cooking classes for young people, whose idea of a meal is so often limited to microwaving a pizza, or worse, simply take-out from the Golden Arches. The classes could be taught by participants in senior citizens programs in Stone County. The kids will learn how to put a real meal on the table, and the grandmotherly cooks will have a chance to share their expertise and family traditions.

At the opening buffet lunch and ribbon-cutting, we sampled goodies from several area farms. I especially enjoyed the flavored cheeses on offer from the Wiggins-based G&M Goat Farm!

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