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Oral Histories

The SFA oral history program documents life stories from the American South. Collecting these stories, we honor the people whose labor defines the region. If you would like to contribute to SFA’s oral history collections, please send your ideas for oral history along with your CV or Resume and a portfolio of prior oral history work to

< Back to Oral History project: Downtown Greenwood Farmers’ Market


Donald Bender

A native of Oxford, Mississippi, Donald Bender fell into baking quite by accident. After working as a line cook here and there for 15 years, he moved back home and got a job at a new place some friends were opening near the Oxford square, Bottletree Bakery. He didn’t have any baking experience, so one of the owners, Martha Foose, called on a friend in California to come in and train him. Donald learned to bake bread, and he also found a wife. He and Martha married, moved around a bit, and then landed back at Martha’s family home place in Tchula, Mississippi.

They were recruited by Fred Carl Jr. of Viking Range Corporation to open a bakery and café in Greenwood, 25 mles up the road from Tchula. Mockingbird Bakery opened in the summer of 2004. After a couple of years, the restaurant was scaled back to become a wholesale bakery that’s now nestled in the back of the Viking Cooking School on Howard Street. Today, Donald bakes about 500 loaves a week: some for the Viking store, some for a handful of restaurants in the area, and, during the season, plenty to sell to the customers at the Downtown Greenwood Farmers’ Market. Donald’s breads are popular, especially the lemon zest-thyme loaves, but customers arrive extra-early to get their hands on one of his famous sausage biscuits.

Date of interview:
2011-08-18 00:00

Amy Evans

Amy Evans

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The Southern Foodways Alliance drives a more progressive future by leading conversations that challenge existing constructs, shape perspectives, and foster meaningful discussions. We reconsider the past with research, scrutiny, and documentation.


Alex Raij Txikito

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