From the notebook of business editor Tim Rausch

New look planned for Castleberry’s in stores

It's been more than a month since Castleberry's Food Co. products have been off store shelves because of a botulism scare linked to its 450-employee Augusta plant.

When the plant reopens – which won't be until October at the earliest, according to the company's Canadian owner – the cans it churns out will not have the stodgy labels you have been accustomed to seeing .

"We have very quickly put together some conceptual elements that deal with labeling," Castleberry's Senior Vice President Dave Melbourne said in a recent conference call with analysts. "It's an opportunity to signify the change and the future."

My guess is that you're not going to see any drastic changes to the 80-year-old brand name. This won't be ValuJet's renaming itself AirTran, but more like Kentucky Fried Chicken becoming KFC.

It will most likely be a "return to our roots"-type campaign, similar to Coca-Cola Co.'s "Coke Classic" response to the "New Coke" fiasco of the 1980s. I can see it now, "Castleberry's Classics – Now botulism free!"

Seriously, though, if you shop at a store that is still stocking Castleberry's canned-meat products, find a new grocer.

SPEAKING OF CANNED FOODS: I was at my neighborhood grocery store the other day, looking at the bare spaces on the shelves in the canned meat aisle where Castleberry's stews, hot dog chili and barbecue usually reside.

I realized I rarely spend time in this section of the store, so I decided to take a closer look at the products that reside there. I recommend you do the same, because you, too, might spot what is arguably the oddest food product ever retailed to the (mainstream) American consumer.

It's not Spam. It's not vienna sausage. It's not pickled pig's feet. It's not even potted (what do they mean, potted?) meat.

It's pork brains.

That's right, pork brains. To be specific, a 5-ounce can of Rose brand Pork Brains With Milk Gravy, canned by Sanford, N.C.-based Foell Packing Co. Nine grams of carbs, 14 grams of protein and 3,190 milligrams of cholesterol, which, by the way, is 1,060 percent of your recommended daily allowance. That means no cheesecake for dessert.

As I held the can in my hand, I was stupefied (I can't get my store to sell 2 liters of Tab, yet it stocks cans of hog cerebellum?). I was disgusted. I was … dare I say, intrigued.

f course, I had to buy a can. I'll let you know how it tastes when I work up the nerve to try it.*

(* Attention pork brains aficionados: Send in your favorite pork brain recipes to The Augusta Chronicle, c/o Pork Brain Recipe Contest, P.O. Box 1928, Augusta, GA 30903. If we print yours, we'll send you an Augusta Chronicle-embroidered golf shirt.)

TUCKER'D OUT?: With all the flurry of community bank activity – the formation of Savannah River Banking Co., the entry of Citizen's First into the Augusta market, the expansion of Georgia Bank & Trust Co. into Aiken, the branching of Security Federal to Columbia County and the establishment of Synovus-backed Augusta First – you might have forgotten about Tucker Mathis.

Last year, the North Augusta businessman announced his intent to start a new community bank called Heritage Bank & Trust. However, the investors that the owner of TM Capital rounded up (mostly ex-People's Community Bank backers) have since split off to do their own thing, VistaBank.

"We're still putting together Heritage Bank & Trust," Mr. Mathis said. "We've just hit a couple of speed bumps."

Mr. Mathis said he expects to make a formal announcement on the bank in four to five weeks.

25 OR 6 TO 4: Fifth Third Bancorp, which is kind of a funny name for a bank, said it should close its acquisition of R-G Crown, which also is kind of a funny name for a bank, in November.

This will give Cincinnati-based Fifth Third three R-G Crown branches in Augusta, which it has said it will operate rather than spin off to another bank. Fifth Third is serious about expanding its Southeastern presence and acquired Charlotte, N.C.-based First Charter last week.

TEEING OFF: It's baaaaack. The Augusta Commission on Tuesday is expected to vote again on the $20 million trade, exhibition and event center proposal on Reynolds Street.
Petty politics has kept the project, known as the TEE center, from coming to fruition in the past (for details, see the July 16 Scuttlebiz), but project backers believe they have an offer that project opponents can't refuse.

City officials have worked out a plan where revenue from increased hotel/motel taxes would be funneled into a community redevelopment fund that would almost exclusively benefit areas within the districts of the naysaying commissioners.

Essentially, a commissioner who votes against the TEE center votes against putting money into his or her constituents' backyard.

Does this mean TEE center proponents now have the votes needed to finally move forward with a project that the county's taxpayers approved two years ago? My Magic 8-Ball says, "Yes."

Will the approval be unanimous? I doubt it.

Never underestimate the power of petty politics.

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AugustaVoter
2
Points
AugustaVoter 08/20/07 - 10:14 am
0
0
Like Robin Williams said in

Like Robin Williams said in the movie "Man of the Year". "Politicians are like diapers, the should be changed often and for the same reasons". Augusta needs new diapers!

0
Points
08/20/07 - 10:51 am
0
0
Mr. Cline, you must not be

Mr. Cline, you must not be from the South where a traditional breakfast treat is brains and eggs. Other old favorites are getting much harder to find, but as with "Gooseberries," they are even tastier in memory.

waldero
29
Points
waldero 08/20/07 - 05:01 pm
0
0
TMCapitol was a home

TMCapitol was a home mortgage store for a couple years, with a few branches in the area, then they all closed suddenly, and he built some houses.

xqwbv2
3
Points
xqwbv2 08/20/07 - 06:22 pm
0
0
I'm a native of the South.

I'm a native of the South. Brains and eggs are still disgusting to me. But if that's your thing, go for it.

SANTA CLAUS JR
0
Points
SANTA CLAUS JR 08/20/07 - 08:58 pm
0
0
THE PLACE AWAYS LOOKED LIKE

THE PLACE AWAYS LOOKED LIKE IT WAS FILTHY JUST WHEN YOU RIDE BY.I HAVE NEVER HAD ANY CASTLEBERRYS STUFF.WHEN ARE THEY COMING OUT WITH BAR B Q GRITS.I THINK THEY USED MICHAEL VICKS LEFT OVER PITBULLS.COMING OUT NEXT WEEK-MICHAEL VICK'S HOMEMADE PITBULL STEW.

Tim Walters
1
Points
Tim Walters 08/23/07 - 08:20 am
0
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I Have survived 59 year with

I Have survived 59 year with out consuming a Castleberry product. I have seen their products in stores most of my life.It only took a couple of times of seeing someone open a can of their product when I was a child. To break me from ever eating anything they produce.

thugskin
2
Points
thugskin 08/23/07 - 11:04 am
0
0
eating brains of any kind is

eating brains of any kind is sub human

SugarFoot
0
Points
SugarFoot 08/23/07 - 05:29 pm
0
0
Oh Lord he we go with that

Oh Lord he we go with that typical Augusta attitude "YOu must not be from the South..." Well let me tell you I was born and raised in the South.. and never did my family ever have "Brains and Eggs" for breakfast. Sure there are some people in The South who do eat this.. but to say that is a widespread Southern custom akin to Grits is simply a fallacy.

SANTA CLAUS JR
0
Points
SANTA CLAUS JR 09/01/07 - 12:44 am
0
0
WE HAD FRIED KITTENS AND

WE HAD FRIED KITTENS AND PUPPIES FROM THE KITCHENS OF MICHAEL VICKS HOMEMADE FINE PRODUCTS.

dorr20
0
Points
dorr20 09/17/07 - 05:55 pm
0
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As a boy in the 1950's we

As a boy in the 1950's we ate brain and eggs about once a month. You could buy the brains packed in brine in cans, which had the effect of blanching them. Mom just put them into scrambled eggs. (They were already fully cooked.) They were my favorite thing for breakfast. They have a creamy texture and are delicious. Because they were packed in brine, you didn't need to add salt to the eggs. I occasionally went squirrel hunting, and, yes, we did have squirrel brains. My mom would cook them in the skull in brine. We'd crack open the skull to eat the delicacy inside, usually just with pepper. I understand that squirrel brains are now unsafe to eat because of variants of Mad Cow disease. If you get fresh brains of any kind, it's a good idea to blanch them by boiling them in brine until done before adding to recipes. Otherwise the flavor is too strong for many people.

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