Isabella hosts ‘famous camp stew’ sale

Published 4:59 pm Monday, January 23, 2017

Isabella High School will host its annual camp stew sale on Feb. 11 to raise money for the school’s track and field program.

The sale features James Pierce’s “famous camp stew,” which he first started making for the school in the 1970s as a football fundraiser.

Pierce was an agriculture teacher for three decades at the school prior to his retirement in 1990.

After a hiatus, current track and field coach Rex Littleton resumed the tradition of selling the stew five years ago and it has been well received throughout the community.

“I was looking for donations and was open to ideas,” Littleton said. “I didn’t even know what camp stew was.”

Littleton went and talked to Pierce, whom handed over the recipe and some tips for making the perfect stew.

According to Littleton, the difference between camp stew and Brunswick stew is that it traditionally contains more meat instead of vegetables.

“It’s a good mixture of chicken and pork,” Littleton said. “It’s all about the meat with a little bit of vegetables. That is what makes it.”

90 gallons of camp stew will be made with each gallon being sold by the end of the sale, which will begin at noon in the school lunchroom.

The stew will be sold for $9 per quart with all the proceeds going toward funding the upcoming track and field season.

According to Littleton, it takes a certain amount of money to fulfill a track and field schedule. This year the Mustangs are scheduled to participate in 10 meets plus the sectional and state competitions.

In order to attend a meet, it costs $150 to $300, not including travel expenses.

“We’re trying to make money to keep our program maintained each year,” Littleton said.

Littleton will get help from members of the track team to cook the stew, which will take a minimum of four hours to cook after the prep work of slicing potatoes and meat is completed the day before.

“The lunchroom staff has been very good to us over the years with helping arrange everything,” Littleton said.

In recent years, Isabella has produced four state champions in the men’s discus in 2010, as well as in the 110 meter dash, women’s 800 meter and men’s long jump during a banner year in 2014.

Those interested in ordering stew can call Littleton at (205) 280-2770 or (205) 294-1379.

“This is a community school and everybody pitches in to help out in their own way,” Littleton said.