So, I am thrilled to share with you the story of a quaint store that first opened in the 1930's and has stood the test of time. Today, they still provide the locals (near and far) with delicious, local food you can't find anywhere else! Trust me, once you read you'll be dying to stop by the store (and try their award-winning pimento cheese)! Ladies and gents, please meet John Crutchfield, owner of Musten and Crutchfield Food Market in Kernersville, NC.
Tell us a little about you and the story of Musten & Crutchfield Food Market.
April 11, 1938, my grand-father and great-grandfather opened Musten & Crutchfield Food Market. The business was founded on Main Street in Kernersville, NC and we have always been on N. Main street. Along with their weekly groceries, our customers were able to purchase my great-grandmother’s pimento cheese and chicken salad. We still make both of her recipes as well as other family recipes.
In the ‘30’s there were no box stores, only local independent shop owners. As box stores started popping up, we had to change our business model. Instead of being one of two grocery stores, we became one of seven stores. The other six stores were box stores and had their own warehouse for their products. We could not compete with their buying power so we became the place for quality meats and local items. We carry things that you typically will not find in box stores.
Our pimento cheese is special for many reasons. Remember, this is my Great-Grandmother’s recipe. Times were a lot different in the 30’s than now and she created the recipe using simple process’ and procedures and of course lots of love. So, yes, it is a family recipe and I believe it is the simplicity that makes it special. We make it as close to the way she made it as possible.
What are some great ways to eat pimento cheese? Do you have any recipes for summer cook-outs and get-togethers?
We are constantly experimenting. We have added it to potato salad and threw in some bacon and you have an awesome loaded potato salad. My favorite way to eat pimento cheese is grilled with local butter on sour dough bread….. Let’s just say you will want more than one! Pimento Cheese is the perfect condiment for cookouts. Hotdogs and hamburgers are incredible when you add pimento cheese. I have tried it on grilled corn on the cobb, baked potatoes and macaroni & cheese. Like I said, we are constantly experimenting. We are adding recipes to our website and have lots of other ideas that haven’t’ quite made it to the website yet. The website is www.mustenandcrutchfield.com
We talk a lot about shopping local. Why should a customer shop at a local food market like yours rather than a big box retailer?
There are so many reasons, where do I begin. I guess the first and most important reason is that when someone shops in our store, the money goes back into the community. We live here, we shop here and we play here. Shopping local helps the community thrive. When you shop at big box stores, chances are the money is going to help another community thrive. Another reason is that local business’ have flexibility to do things that big box stores don’t. A couple of years ago, I was approached by a news station during the Thanksgiving season to do a quick story on last minute shoppers. They choose our store because they wouldn’t have to go through all the paperwork from a box store. Independent stores can make decisions on the spot. Decisions like, what products to carry, which charities to support and we have the flexibility to put things on sale without having to go through a series of approvals.
Everyone loves good southern comfort food. What’s all the fuss about?
Comfort food. It’s what you know. It’s something that brings back a special memory of mom or dad in the kitchen making something you love for you because you love it. It’s the memory that it brings back, it's nothing complicated. Just something to make you feel good, to bring you up when you are down.
For those who may not have visited before, what are some of the great things to do when visiting Kernersville and the great state of North Carolina?
Well naturally the first thing that anyone should do when they visit North Carolina or Kernersville is to stop by Musten & Crutchfield! Taste what all the fuss is about. Outside of visiting us, Kernersville is home to the World’s most unusual home, Kerners Folly. This is another must see. Kernersville has a Botanical Garden and our First President paid our town a visit. Yes, George Washington stayed at Dobson’s Tavern, actually before Kernersville was founded. North Carolina has some interesting things to do as well. I am more of a fan of history so the U.S.S. North Carolina is something I would recommend. This is a WWII Battleship turned into a museum - located in Wilmington. Raleigh houses several museums that are pretty impressive and depending on what time of year, the Carolina Hurricanes Hockey team may have a game. Winston-Salem is home to one of the country’s best art schools, The NC School of Arts. There are Broadway caliber performances at the Stevens Center. Western North Carolina has some of the most breath-taking views. The Blue Ridge Parkway is a huge tourist attraction when the leaves begin to change. Asheville is home to the largest home in the United States, built by railroad tycoon George Washington Vanderbilt II.
Just for fun, what’s the craziest way you’ve ever tried to eat pimento cheese? Or the craziest flavor you’ve made?
We really haven’t tried too many “crazy” flavors BUT we have had customers tell us to try it with and on some pretty interesting things. Nacho flavor Doritos, talk about a cheese overload, wow. We have one customer that puts it on crème horns and lemon bars….. He swears it is good and not to knock it till you try it. I would have to say that is the craziest that I have heard about so far. I am certain that it will not be long before someone tops that.
To learn more about Musten and Crutchfield, visit their Facebook Page or their website.
Credit for images | Musten and Crutchfield