From the Magazine

Letter From the Editor: Spring 2024

By: Erin Byers Murray

Use this Spring to explore and back in the sun in some of the most beautiful Southern gardens.

Every year, as soon as the Seed Savers Exchange catalogue arrives, I crack open the pages giddy at the possibility of what I might attempt to grow in my modest patio garden. My yard is too shaded for anything more than a handful of containers, but that never diminishes my enthusiasm. That’s what I love most about springtime—the anticipation of what the year might yield. Not to mention longer days, warmer mornings, and seedlings starting to sprout.

winter issue: Erin Byers Murray headshot credit Kesha Hayes

Not to get too corny with the analogy (too late!) but we have a few new seedlings on these pages, too! This issue reveals the launch of two new columns we’re excited to share. The first is a visual feast from Charleston-based interior and architecture photographer Molly Rose, called Best Seat in the House, showcasing that very vantage point that makes a dining experience magical (page TK). The second is from the ever-thoughtful Lexington, Kentucky, chef Sam Fore, who last fall opened her first brick-and-mortar spot, Tuk Tuk Snack Shop, which nods to her Sri Lankan roots and passion for hospitality. Over the next four issues, she’ll be sharing her first-person perspective on what it means to open a restaurant right now—her take, as you’ll read on page TK, is as much about her team as it is about the food and customer experience.

Spring is also the time when I start planning some much-needed travel—and this year, I’m heading to cities outside the South, with a little help from our “Will Travel for (Southern) Food” feature. Our cover star, Cat Cora, along with chefs in Boston, New York, Seattle, and Chicago, share their favorite places to find fried catfish and black-eyed peas in their own backyards.

With this issue, we also welcome our new associate editor, Tate Jacaruso, and graphic designer, Kara Amoruso, who are already adding their spin and expertise to the pages.

Speaking of pages (I can’t help myself), this spring also welcomes the launch of an event that I’m personally thrilled about: The Local Palate presents Cook the Book, a virtual cookbook event series where guests are getting up close and personal and cooking alongside some of the South’s best chefs and authors. We launched the series in February with Nashville chef Maneet Chauhan and will be welcoming Dale Gray, author of South of Somewhere, later this spring. Keep an eye on our website and socials for ticket details and more chef announcements—we look forward to sharing a virtual toast for all that 2024 has in store.


Erin Byers Murray's signature
Erin Byers Murray, Editor in Chief, @erinbmurray

Southern Gardens to Make You Swoon

Monticello, Charlottesville, Virginia

At one point in its history, this 1,000-foot-long garden bed produced up to 330 varieties of vegetables; today it still contains hundreds of historic varieties and species that will inspire gardeners of every stripe. @tjmonticello

Cheekwood, Nashville

This preeminent botanical garden recently launched Cheekwood GROWS, inviting area third graders to the property to plant seeds, learn about pollination, and participate in a harvest to taste their hard work. @cheekwood

Hermitage Farm, Goshen, Kentucky

Part of a historic and well-known horse farm, Hermitage also has a striking garden and greenhouse system that you can enjoy while dining at the on-site restaurant, Barn8. @hermitagefarm

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