Feast & Company, Fleurish Farms bringing farm-to-table dreams to Foley

Lifestyle Editor
Posted 3/19/24

Three generations of women have brought their culinary expertise and years of hospitality from Texas to Foley. The trio now operates two Baldwin County businesses; Feast & Company Catering and …

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Feast & Company, Fleurish Farms bringing farm-to-table dreams to Foley


Three generations of women have brought their culinary expertise and years of hospitality from Texas to Foley.

The trio now operates two Baldwin County businesses; Feast & Company Catering and Fleurish Farms.

Gulf Coast Media sat down with Mary Wills-Garcia, her teenage daughter, Abi Garcia, and her mother, Becky Wills, to learn more about their background and businesses. By the end of the interview, the trio of women felt more like old friends.

Mary grew up on her parents' Texas ranch, but it was more than just a cattle farm; it also had an inn, commercial catering kitchen and wedding venue. They also had gardens and ate what they produced.

"We are hospitality people," Becky said. "She (Mary) had a restaurant as well, so we were always cooking."

Mary honed her skills in culinary school in Texas, where she met Abi's dad. The couple opened a restaurant and music venue, meaning Abi has grown up in the business. While the restaurant thrived, Mary opted to sell and take a moment. The grind of running the restaurant, catering, weddings and life took a toll.

Mary dove headfirst into creating a catering company that has allowed the whole family to travel the world. They have catered in Hawaii, Italy and even Gulf Shores.

During the same time Mary was catering up a storm, Becky was finally pulling the trigger on her dream of having a hydroponic container garden. Growing delicate vegetables in Texas isn't easy with drought, pests and weather.

While business was booming, Mary and Abi were thinking about moving somewhere new. Their family tree has deep roots in Alabama, and after four generations of living in Texas, they decided to return and live near the beach. Becky and her husband decided they would uproot and replant themselves in Alabama, as well. That was just two years ago.

Just a few weeks after the hydroponic container farm arrived in Texas, it was loaded up and moved to Baldwin County with the rest of the families' belongings. It took a year of work to get the growing operation producing enough for the family to start selling at the Coastal Alabama Farmers and Fishermans Market. Each Saturday they would show up and sell fresh herbs, lettuce and kale. They also met local business owners and networked.

Mary spent a year looking for a commercial kitchen where she could reopen Feast & Company Catering, but spaces are hard to come by. In the meantime, she cooked for friends like Kitti Cooper, who runs a nursery and citrus tree farm in Foley, and held personal chef catering jobs.

"Mary supplied my family a meal a week when we were so incredibly busy getting the new garden center location going," Cooper said. "She is still dropping meals off at the garden center to help feed me and my employees. She is the first one to ask if I've eaten, and if I say no, she's there in minutes with food like a best friend door dash."

One Saturday morning, Mary said she arrived at the farmers market where Alex Warner (aka Bagel Boy in Foley) mentioned a bakery had closed in historic downtown Foley and that she should look quickly due to growing interest. Within a week, Mary had secured a lease for the former Mama Bear's Bakery location.

The family made quick work of preparing the space and had the new Feast & Company Catering open in just weeks. To be honest, the three all had different recollections on the timeline, but it was a whirlwind. The space not only allowed Mary to get back to catering but also allowed her to sell fresh, prepared meals and to-go foods.

In just a few short months, the business has grown so much that Mary has taken on two employees to work the front while she makes and creates. Along with kale and mixed lettuce salads, chicken salad, quiche and casseroles, Feast & Company sells a selection of freshly baked treats and breads. Every time you visit, you will find something new.

"I don't have a set menu because I want it to be what's local and fresh. We eat seasonally, which does tend to stretch people that like the same old same," Mary said. "We definitely will have our classics like our dressings. We will always have fresh quiches, at least two varieties."

On the day Gulf Coast Media stopped in, the daily special was a stuffed avocado salad with fresh mozzarella and tomato tossed in balsamic vinegar over Fleurish Farms kale. A City of Foley employee stopped in at 10 a.m. to pick up the special after seeing the special board on the sidewalk.

Hungry visitors can stop into the store and grab something from the cooler and eat inside at the cute café tables or take it to go. Busy parents can pick up a casserole, like the chicken potpie that is topped with beautiful biscuits instead of pie crust, to throw in the oven for a delicious and easy family meal.

Mary even dehydrates the Fleurish Farms herbs to make spice mixes and to use in her dressings. One might think the tagline for this duo of businesses should be "from our farm to your table," but instead they chose, "From our dream to your table."

"It was mom's dream to have greenery, and it was our dream to cook," Mary said. "So, that's our little slogan."