Akin to a baker's dozen, my Farmer's Dozen is a quantity of a dozen or so questions - a series of questions with fellow designers, authors, tastemakers, friends and Southerners alike.

These are top shelf guys, good ol' southern gents with classic values and tastes and a fine appetite for awesome Athen's restaurants. From two of my favorite Southern cities (Thomasville, Ga and Jackson, Miss respectively), TJ and Will bring you into their club of great clothes, amazing gentleman's accessories, and all the must-haves every Southern man needs. I can't get enough of their store but more so, these guys make you feel like you're a long lost fraternity brother, childhood friend or college pal. I am honored to present my friends for this Farmer's Dozen... they're purveyors of all things this Farmer loves and all around stellar guys... Welcome to the Farmer's Dozen, y'all!

FARMERS DOZEN: with TJ and Will, owners of  ONWARD RESERVE

1. Will, you're from Jackson, MS, and TJ, you're from Thomasville, GA--two of my favorite Southern towns, each with its own distinctive style. How do you feel like you two have blended your styles and incorporated that blend into the style of your store?

Will: We are from different regions with different styles but there are a lot of common themes and past-times so it is an easy collaboration. Onward Mississippi is where the name of our business comes from....Fivemile lake is on the property there where we love to hunt.  That has very much shaped our businesses.  TJ brought some upland quail hunting styles to the mix, but he will agree that the heart of the Delta is what brings us all together.   Imagine riding down the levy to what we call Cadillac Point and kicking back by a fire with a cold drink.  Then watch the massive barges go up and down the Mississippi River while listening to good music and telling stories with old friends in a place where you can see every star in the sky...that's just right to me and is the lifestyle we try to embody on

TJ and Will

2. If you were a color, what would you be and why?

TJ: Green.  Seems to be what I have the most of and is the most natural to me I guess.  

3. What are some of your favorite heirlooms? What do you love about them? How have you incorporated them into your style?

TJ: I have the personalized letter opener that my great grandfather used his whole life on my desk and I use it everyday.  He went by TJ Callaway as well so it works just fine.

Will: I have a pocket knife that my grandfather gave to me at a young age.  Our favorite past-time while sitting in a deer stand was carving and slicing apples.  I find it useful in our warehouse and in the outdoors and enjoy the memories it brings to mind of great times and hunts with my grandfather.


4. What's your favorite room in your home?

TJ: The kitchen.  If you host friends, family, co-workers or anyone else in your life at your home...they will all end up in the kitchen.  That's where the food is, that's where the drink is in our home and so that's where all the action is.

5. What's on your Christmas lists?

TJ &Will: Getting to go home and rest with family.  We both agree on that one and we are not just trying to earn brownie points with that answer...we have been working so hard to grow our business from the ground up the last 2 years that it is going to be nice to close down for a couple of days and enjoy the holiday.

6. Where is your favorite get-a-way?

Will: The deer stand.  The outdoors in general provide an escape from the noise in life.  It's a place that allows me to  reflect on the great outdoors and all that I've been provided with as well as a quiet place for me to review business decisions and creatively think of new ways to grow our business.


7. What's one piece of hunting attire that you incorporate into your everyday wear?
TJ & Will: Barbour jacket

8. What was the last meal you made? Who did you share it with?
Will: The last meal I helped prepare was our Thanksgiving lunch.  My responsibility each year is the green bean dish- it's my favorite. In my green beans, you will find lots of extra bacon! Therefore, an afternoon walk is a must.  I always enjoy this meal with my entire family, who travel from around the country to take part in the feast.

9. What's your favorite garden flavor? How do you incorporate it into your favorite dishes?

TJ: I like to chop up onion and green pepper and stuff it into Duck or Dove breasts, wrap that all in bacon and grill it as slowly as possible.

10. Who inspires you?
TJ: Robert W. Woodruff was the long time "Boss" of the Coca-Cola Company in Atlanta.  He took the reins at 33 and served on the Board until a year before he passed away in 1985.  Woodruff lead Coke's transformation and growth into a globally recognized brand.  His philanthropic endeavors (which he preferred to keep anonymous) shaped and continue to shape the landscape of Atlanta and the American South.  I highly suggest his biography which has two different titles though it is the same book:  The Boss and Mr. Anonymous. Whichever copy you read, you will be inspired and challenged by it in a business and personal sense.  I try and re-read it every couple of years.  His favorite saying which is still inscribed on his desk at the Coca-Cola Headquarters on North Ave reads "There is no limit to what a man can do or where he can go if he doesn't mind who gets the credit."  

11. What's one quintessential piece that every Southern gentleman should have in his wardrobe?

Will: A Barbour Jacket.  Noticing a trend?.  If they haven't had to change the design of a jacket in decades that spans multiple continents...they are probably onto something.

Will's dog, Boss

12. Favorite scent?

TJ: The smell of a fire in the winter from a distance

13. I am always telling my clients that their coffee tables are likely miniature representations of their lives. So, what's on your coffee table right now?

TJ: 3 Issues of Garden & Gun, an empty bottle of red wine that I need to throw away and a few nice coffee table books mainly about golfing or golf courses.

Will: My coffee table currently has the recent Garden & Gun magazine on it along with Golf Digest and a couple antler sheds.  It's also the a temporary place for socks and shoes that my new English Golden Retriever, Boss, drags out of my closet to chew on.