“Not all the gold in these hills is tied up on 76 Country Boulevard,” says Mike Brittain of Brittain Farms in Kirbyville. #SustainableOzarks is about “using the natural resources God has given us in these hills to make a living.”

Welcome to #SustainableOzarks, a brand-new StateoftheOzarks magazine chapter dedicated to healthy eating, healthy living, economic self-sufficiency, reconnecting with the land and the rhythms of nature, local entrepreneurship, and simply treating people right.

Bookmark this page. We hope you’ll visit often!

Maple Hill Ceramics Walnut Shade Missouri

Maple Hill Ceramics

Traditional ceramics are the cornerstone of this longstanding shop in Walnut Shade, Missouri. Owner Happy says, “I’m 83 and having the time of my life.” We’re located only 15 minutes north of Branson. Come by and visit!

Maple Hill Ceramics

Walnut Shade, Missouri

(417) 561-8166
9009 US Highway 160,
Walnut Shade, Missouri

Joining Happy is artist Freeman who makes clay. However, Freeman’s degree is in drawing so Maple Hill Ceramics has added drawing, pen & ink, and acrylic painting. “We are an art destination!”

Maple Hill Ceramics, Walnut Shade, Missouri
Amanda's Enlightened Living

Amanda’s Enlightened Living

I’m a fourth-generation metaphysical healer who experienced an incredible healing in my late 20s. That put me on this path. It’s what I’m meant to do. My work is rooted deeply in my faith that all things are possible through God.

Amanda's Enlightened Living

Amanda Lewis


I strive to bring focus and calm to clients in chaos and help remove negative influences. I offer seminars and workshops with Angel Adams in yoga and healing energy. Clients may message me through Facebook or email.

Amanda's Enlightened Living
James Beaumont

James Beaumont

James Beaumont, Rockaway Beach, Missouri, artist, is ACI- and Bob Ross-certified. He grew up in Antioch, Illinois, on the Wisconsin state line on the north side of Chicago. “It was a fun town,” the artist remembers.

James Beaumont


(417) 251-5519

James has been in the Ozarks since 2003 and currently works in Branson. An eclectic artist, his mediums include oil, acrylic and some watercolor with substrates of wood, canvas, and watercolor paper. His themes draw heavily from the natural world and often employ the drama of shadow and edge.

James Beaumont
Jess Marie

Jess Marie

“When I paint, it is freedom. It’s putting how I view the world onto a piece of canvas.” Jess Marie, who grew up in the lake country west of Branson, is a painter, photographer, writer, and musician and model. “I was homeschooled. I had voice lessons for, like, forever.”

Jess Marie



“I want more culture, whether in art or people.Society can be so close-minded.” She often cosplays as a voodoo priestess. “It’s just freeing. I want to make people think.”

Model photography by AJ Blanton and Friendly Fire Fotography.
Jess Marie

Serge Malas: Immigrant, Craftsman, American

From Mike Malas (with Joshua Heston)

My grandfather, Serge Malaschitchsevas, was born in Lithuania in 1921. His family was of Russian descent. The Lithuanians weren’t too fond of Russians and, as a boy, my grandfather suffered discrimination just because of his Russian last name.

Nonetheless, my grandfather became a great electrician, mechanic and machinist. He was very resourceful and he was a perfectionist. Everything he did had to be perfect and everything he touched was just amazing. He was super strong as well. I remember him walking up and down stairs on his hands! He was like Bruce Lee! And he was a work horse. If he wasn’t bleeding from something, he wasn’t doing it right that day.

Early on in World War II, the Germans occupied Lithuania and the Nazis began using Lithuanians as a war mule of sorts. My grandfather lost contact with his father and brother. We believe they both may have ended up in Siberian work camps.

Lithuanian men (including my grandfather) were used as conscripted labor. Many were also forced — sometimes as gunpoint — to become frontline Nazi soldiers.

Many times, when Allied soldiers were storming the front lines of Europe, they weren’t killing Nazis, but instead they were killing enslaved people with guns pointed at their backs. My grandfather knew it was possible he could be sent to the front lines of Western Europe against his will.

As the war wore on, he saw his fate and he knew he would be sent to battle soon. One day he was sitting in a room when a German officer asked if anybody would be willing to drive a truck for the German army. My grandfather, being a very smart guy and realizing the situation, knew driving a truck would be a lot safer than being sent to the front lines.

He raised his hand and said, “I’m the best person for the job.”

“What makes you think that?”

“Well, I’m a mechanic. I’m a machinist. If something breaks, I can fix it. I am an electrician. If something goes wrong with the wiring, I can fix it. I can take care of the truck from top to bottom, front to back.”

So from then on, he was driving a truck for the Nazis. “He was always very proud he had never had to take up arms to shoot at or kill anyone, ever,” remembers Malas’ daughter, Rita Pinckney.

Not long after that, my grandfather was in France, driving a truck carrying an anti-aircraft artillery gun. Two German soldiers, essentially with a gun to his head, were guarding him, telling him what to do. This was after the invasion of Normandy and the United States Air Force was bombing everything.

Grandpa is driving down this narrow, single-lane trail in France with bombs falling. The truck is damaged — I think with only a flat tire — but he tells the two guards if he continues to drive the truck, it will become irreparably damaged and then they will all three be in trouble! He pulls to the right of this narrow trail and a bomb explodes just to the left, yards from the truck. If Grandpa had pulled to the left instead of the right, he would have been killed! The guards are terrified, leave the truck, and take off running.

Even as a young boy, my grandfather dreamed of immigrating to the United States and becoming an American. Now, he is in possession of a German truck and a German anti-aircraft artillery gun — in my grandpa’s mind he has gifts he can give to the Americans to help him become an ally!

He pulled the truck into a nearby apple orchard and sat down to wait!

A week of nothing to eat but apples passed. A contingent of French troops kept asking him to join them but each time he replied the same: “No! I’m waiting for the Americans. I’m waiting for the United States. I want to become an American!”

However, after a week of nothing but apples, he finally caved and went to the French-held village. The selling point for him was the French were allied with the United States so it would be his best bet to get through to the Americans.

As the Allied forces pushed toward Germany, Serge was conscripted into the US Army as a mechanic, traveling in France and Belgium before being stationed in Germany. During that time, he became friends with a young man named Lawrence Spence, of Willow Springs, Missouri. Despite Grandpa’s limited English and Lawrence’s limited German or Lithuanian, they became like brothers.

It was that brotherhood that would later allow Grandpa to get to the United States.

The war ended in 1945 and Grandpa learned President Truman would allow 100,000 displaced Europeans to immigrate to the United States — provided their papers were in order and each immigrant family was placed with a sponsor family in the States.

Lawrence Spence agreed at once to be Grandpa’s sponsor family. At the time, Grandpa was working in Germany as part of the Allied occupation force. There he met Anna, the young woman who would become my grandmother.

Grandma was one of the young women who did laundry and cooked food for the servicemen on the base. Their paths crossed and Grandpa fell in love.

Five years passed. My grandparents were married and my uncle had been born. Still, there was no word on whether their immigration papers would be approved. It was now the era of the Cold War and there were many hurdles at the prospects of a Russian-turned-German-soldier (and his family) immigrating to the United States in 1950! Moreover, the window of opportunity was closing. Nearly all the 100,000 displaced people had been allowed to immigrate. The program was nearly over.


Serge Malas
“There was nothing you could do to get Grandpa out of his coveralls! This is Grandpa — on a boat on Table Rock Lake, in his coveralls, wearing a Cardinals baseball hat — his pencil, meter and slide rule in his breast pocket. I bet there’s a Bud Light there too! “It was very hard to talk about him at his memorial. I just wish everyone had a chance to meet or watch him work. “If we all could be just 10 percent of the person he was, the world would be a much better place.”
“My grandfather Serge and my grandmother Anna, shortly after they met. This photo was taken in Germany, around 1945-46. A great couple!”
“My grandfather, Serge Malas, in his machine shop in Springfield, Missouri. You can see all the machinery around him; the lathing machines, the drills, the borers. He could do anything with metal. If he lost a screw, he wouldn’t by them in the hardware store. He made his own!” — Mike Malas, Springfield

Celebrating Our #SustainableOzarks Sponsors

Comic Force Branson

Comic Force

We are Branson’s destination comic and game shop! You’ll find a HUGE selection of comic books, trading cards, board games, steampunk gear and so much more! We have a large area for gaming. Bring your friends and get your geek on!

Comic Force

Located in the Shoppes in Branson Meadows

(417) 320-6332
Email Us
Visit Our Website
Connect on Facebook

Owned by Josh and Gale Blaha, Comic Force has become the coolest, geekiest hangout in Branson. Magic the Gathering is played regularly. The floor is a selfie-highlight featuring thousands of comic book covers. And there is local honey!

Josh Blaha Iron Man
Jennifer Bauer Sourdough Breads

Jennifer Bauer’s Fresh Baked Breads

Find us at many farmers markets and events in the Branson area. Seasonally, we fresh-bake sourdough, chocolate zucchini bread, banana bread, basic white bread, pumpkin chocolate chip muffins, mint cookies and fresh honey whole-wheat cinnamon rolls.

Jennifer Bauer's

Fresh Baked Breads

(417) 598-2188
Connect On Facebook

Follow us on Facebook or give me a call ( I take phone /text / messenger orders during the off-season). We also specialize in low-gluten breads, non-GMO sourdough, and a favorite is the beautiful cheddar jalapeño sourdough. Everything is baked in my home, non-inspected kitchen.

Jennifer Bauer's cinnamon rolls
Swan Creek Crafts

Swan Creek Crafts

“We made our home on a bluff overlooking Swan Creek near Taneyville,” says Marine veteran and craftsman Mike Weber. “I use locally harvested and exotic hardwoods to make high quality wooden spoons, chopsticks and more.” Wife Susan crochets many items as well.

Swan Creek Crafts

Mike & Susan Weber

(417) 271 2633
Find us on Facebook

“My spoons are food-safe and beautiful kitchen tools. Right now I have over 45 types of wood in my shop. I use grinders and sanders to make the greatest number of pieces at the best price. Email me for more information.”

Swan Creek Crafts
Bo and Tami Bandy

Victory Chiro

We’re Dr. Bo & Tami Bandy of Branson, Missouri. We’re a membership-style chiropractic office. Come in anytime we’re open, just like a gym! We’re also super family-friendly. Our passion is to see people be the best they can be!

Victory Chiro

Dr. Bo & Tami Bandy

417 337 7077
Visit Our Site!

Contact us today to see if Victory is right for you! Visit our office in Victorian Village off Highway 265. We want to give you the power to make good choices. Victory is Purposeful Compassion + Deliberate Affirmation = Victory Chiropractic!

Victory Chiro

#SustainableOzarks Photo of the Week

Fall in the Ozarks: Three Weeks Difference
by Vince Anderson, Mountain Home, Arkansas

Vince Anderson Photography Ozarks Fall

You can call me a nut, but I have something for photographing prairie grass in the Ozarks. In this field is species called Broomsedge, Broomsedge Bluestem, Yellow Bluestem, or Whiskey Grass.

Though some may call this species a weed, this grass brings back fond memories. As a young boy in Ozark County, I would crawl through our field laden with broomsedge in the fall and wintertime. Crouching though these brown tufts, I would try to catch rabbits, flush out songbirds, or just sit in the middle of our field watching the wind gracefully bend and whip these brown wisps in our meadow.

About every other year in early March, we would burn off the fields, and I would watch this grass dance and crackle while it gave off a sweet & pungent smell. Somehow, I still love that smell. I would wait anxiously for only a few weeks for the spring rains, and these ashen clusters would soon sprout new shoots of life.

Even today, I never get tired of seeing this lowly prairie grass. It still does my heart good to see these golden boughs waving back at me every autumn & winter as I travel down an Ozark highway. — Vince Anderson

Celebrating Our #SustainableOzarks Sponsors

Brittain Farms Kirbyville, Missouri

Brittain Farms

Our family has been operating a farm in Taney County, MO for more than 100 years. The third and fourth generations are currently working the farm. We strive to bring the best quality meat products to you.

Brittain Farm

Kirbyville, Missouri

(417) 263-0994
Visit Our Website
Connect on Facebook

We sell pork, grass-fed beef and pasture-raised eggs.  Pasture-raised chicken available seasonally. Our meats are all-natural, premium quality, and do NOT contain hormones, antibiotics, nitrates, or MSG. Find us at the Branson Farmer’s Market and Farmer’s Market of the Ozarks.

Brittain Farms Kirbyville, Missouri

Kilwins Branson

From the moment you walk in our door your senses will be enticed with the sweet aroma of chocolate, fudge, caramel and other fresh homemade confections. Watch as our caramel apples are hand dipped right before your eyes!

Kilwins Branson

Branson Landing (just north of the fountain)

(417) 334-9240
Email Us
Visit Our Website
Connect on Facebook

Experience the sight of golden caramel corn or sweet brittle being poured from a copper kettle. We have a wide variety of original recipe ice cream served in fresh, warm, handmade wafflecones. Stop in Kilwins at Branson.

Kilwins Ice Cream
Pellegrino School of Music & Art

Pellegrino’s School of Music & Art

We offer the best in music and art instruction. Period. Our music teachers give guitar, drum, piano, voice, violin, flute, trumpet, saxophone lessons and more. We oversee 10+ student bands. Art instruction includes drawing, painting and mixed media.

Pellegrino's School of Music & Art

(417) 887-2800
Visit our Site!
Connect with us on Facebook!

Visit our website. Give us a call or send us an email. We are located conveniently on Republic Road on the south side of Springfield. We teach all age groups and all skill levels from beginner to advanced. Contact us today!

Skaggs Foundation

Skaggs Foundation

Skaggs Foundation supports community initiatives to improve health and wellness in Taney and Stone counties. Projects include cardiac and pulmonary rehab patient scholarships, cancer patients’ meals, diabetes testing supplies, community lunch-and-learns, and student scholarships.

Skaggs Foundation

Branson, Missouri

(417) 348-8002
Email Us
Visit Our Site
Follow on Facebook

Through Skaggs Legacy Endowment, the Foundation supports agencies committed to improving access to health care, supporting healthy lifestyles, child and family safety, dental care, mental health and substance abuse. With CoxHealth, we have spearheaded and funded the Stone and Taney Counties Substance Abuse Initiative.

Skaggs Foundation

Celebrating Our #SustainableOzarks Sponsors

White River Coffee Co

White River Coffee Co

Our little coffee shop on a hillside tucked away in Rockaway Beach serves a variety of hand-crafted drinks, sandwiches and pastries. We are also the perfect location for your next event. Visit our eclectic cafe and spacious patio!

White River Coffee Co.

(417) 598-9722
Find Us On Facebook!
Email Us!

“Wonderful little coffee shop with a wonderful mission.” “Adorable atmosphere.” “Awesome place to eat.” Regular hours are 8AM-2PM Tuesday thru Saturday but check out our schedule for evening events. You may also book your event with us today.

White River Coffee Co
College of the Ozarks

C of O Hotel & Restaurant Mgt Club

The College of the Ozarks HRM Club is the place to expand yourknowledge in the culinary arts. Chefs, cooks, and food preparation workers prepare, season, and cook a wide variety of foods from soups and appetizers to entrees and desserts in the college kitchens.

College of the Ozarks HRM Club

Lamae Koogler

Learn More Here

The program offers students a variety of foods and culinary classes from an introduction to food through advanced studies in professional cooking, dietetics, and baking. Area chefs are involved in teaching a variety of our foods and culinary courses.

College of the Ozarks Seal
my soapy habit candy loehr forsyth missouri

My Soapy Habit

“Baking by grandma’s side was never this fun!” says soap maker Candy Loehr. “My first batch turned out well and I was hooked! Our world can be harsh and stressful. I produce wonderfully sudsy, soapy things leaving your skin soft.”

My Soapy Habit

Candy Loehr

(417) 593-1075
Email Me
Visit My Website
Connect on Facebook

Order online or stop by J Loehr’s Engraving in Forsyth to check out wonderfully luscious soaps with deliciously intriguing flavors like Hot Spiced Cider, Java Junkie, Wise Men, First Snow, Sea Salt & Driftwood, Java Junkie, and even Sex in the Shower!

my soapy habit candy loehr forsyth missouri
Flowers by Billie

Flowers By Billie

Beautiful, diverse floral arrangements and wreaths full of lovely details — that is my passion and art. Every design is unique. My inspiration comes from the Ozark mountains. If you see a design you like, get it! No two are alike!

Flowers By Billie

Billie Schridde

Email Me
Visit My Etsy Store
Connect on Facebook

I create seasonal pieces, custom pieces and wedding arrangements. “Billie is the sweetest lady to work with! She takes a lot of time to understand what you’re wanting and works very hard to make sure you get just that!” — Hailey Gallion

Flowers by Billie

Serge Malas (continued from above)

“My grandfather standing in front of a US Army jeep somewhere France, Belgium or Germany (after he became part of the Allied Forces). He’s a good-looking, strong guy, strong. I love this photograph because it gives you an idea of the grittiness in him.”
“There’s my dad’s Volkswagon and also Grandpa’s cat. He loved cats. He loved all animals. This is at the corner of Fremont and Commercial. In the last two years of his life, we knew if we took him away from his home and shop, he would die. After he fell, he underwent surgery and they began talking about hospice and a nursing home. But he passed away on his 94th birthday. We sang Happy Birthday to him and he passed away that night. “I miss him tremendously.”
“My grandfather Serge and my dad Wayne — both as stubborn as all get out! Behind is the house, carport and machine shop Grandpa built in Springfield after he and Grandma immigrated from Germany.”
“My grandfather on his 92nd birthday. We too him to Mr. Yen’s and he broke down in tears. He said it was the first birthday party he had ever had. He had always been working — that was part of his legacy.”

Spence knew the paperwork should have been finalized and he was frantic to get his friend and young family into the United States before it was too late. Spence was still in the army and one night he got off his post, went home, packed up his family, and began driving overnight to Washington, D.C. The next morning he was waiting on the steps of the government building where all the signed papers were.

Spence spent the entire day searching the paperwork, to no avail. He could not find Grandpa’s paperwork anywhere. The clerk at the front desk saw how passionate Spence was to help his friend and finally, at the end of the day, the clerk said, “If the paper you’re looking for is going to be anywhere, there’s only one place left it could be.”

And the clerk took Spence into the hallway and to this small room with hundreds of the thousands of pieces of paper in it, all stacked floor to ceiling in wire baskets. This room held all the unsigned immigrant papers — the rejects. By now, it is time for the office to close but Spence takes one look the thousands of papers, grabs and basket and starts picking through the first stack. The clerk shrugs, and then begins searching as well.

Hours past closing time, the clerk hands a paper to Spence. “Is this it?” he asks. The name on the paperwork — Serge Malaschitchevas.

Spence begins jumping for joy. The paper had been properly signed but misfiled!

As they walk out of the now-closed office, the clerk turns to Spence, “Tonight, at midnight, we have a burn order on every piece of paper in that room. If you had not been here today and not given up, your friend would never have been allowed into the United States.”

And so, in 1950, Grandpa and Grandma, my uncle, and my dad (who was still in Grandma’s belly) got on a ship and sailed to America. Grandma, as a young woman, had never even stayed over at a friend’s house (she tried once and couldn’t do it!) and now, speaking only German, she was willing to get on that ship and sail to a country she had never even been to, where they spoke a language she couldn’t understand, all because of her love for my Grandpa.

That’s true love.

Well, they get over here. Grandpa’s last name was shortened from Malaschitchevas to just Malas, and they settled in with their sponsor family. Spence and his family opened their home to the Serge and Anna Malas in Willow Springs, Missouri. In time, Serge and his family would move to Springfield.

“He was a man of honor,” notes daughter Pinckney. “He was extremely happy to become an American citizen. Because of his accent and having come from a country controlled by the USSR, he did encounter discrimination, especially in this part of the country.”

He built an addition to the house that could double as a bomb shelter. After all he had been through, he wanted security for his family and he didn’t know if nuclear war was going to happen. He prepared for World War III.

Being a highly skilled machinist, he also built a machine shop attached to the house. All he had to do was walk out of the house into the machine shop every day to go to work. He began doing a lot of work for local companies that had manufacturing machines. He also sharpened saw blades, lawnmower blades, anything to make ends meet. He was very successful for his work ethic and the quality of his work.

Once, he hand-welded a 14-foot trailer for a buddy of his. He built that trailer by hand and, what a lot of people may not realize, in order to get a trailer to drive smoothly down the road, it has to be perfect: perfectly weighted on each side. It’s easy to mess up, especially if you’re making it by hand.

That trailer he made years ago is still around. It still drives perfectly. The quality of Grandpa’s work was just unprecedented. You would not find a better machinist anywhere.

My favorite memories of Grandpa were in his machine shop. As a child, I was always just flabbergasted at the things he could do with metal. In the shop, there was metal threading all over the floor. Tiny bits of meal and metal splinters were all over the place. Grandpa’s hands were like graphite — if he had slapped you, it would have probably cut your face open! His hands were that calloused and rough.

He would make cool machines in order to save time. He had a press to smash aluminum cans for recycling and I loved using that thing! You’d take a can, put it in there, pull a little handle on the side, and this pneumatic press would just WHAM! smash that can into the smallest pile of aluminum you could imagine. You could have jumped on that can all day long and it would never get that thin!

Grandma died about 20 years ago, as did my uncle who had lived with Grandpa and Grandma his whole life. My grandparents were really close, so Grandpa lived for 20 years by himself in his house. Many times when the love of your life dies, you die shortly after. Grandpa didn’t because he just kept working. He had his machine shop. Even after he got Alzheimer’s, Grandpa would go into the shop every day just to move things around. He had to get his hands on metal. I know it gave him comfort and a sense of place.

He loved animals — especially cats — and he just wanted to do what was right for people. He always loved to help people. I’m thankful to have that kind of blood in my veins. I learned from Grandpa’s example to never make excuses. To attack the day, achieve your goals, always put your best foot forward. I learned from him not to judge people, to never point fingers.

Grandpa loved the Cardinals. He loved Budweiser. He loved going out on Table Rock Lake. He always wore his coveralls. He always had a pencil, a meter, and a slide rule tucked into his pocket. He was my hero.

I miss him tremendously.

MAY 30, 2016. Many thanks to grandson Mike Malas and daugher Rita Pinckney for sharing their heartfelt memories of Serge Malas (March 12, 1921-March 12, 2015).

StateoftheOzarks Cookin’

Butternut Squash Soup with Bacon
butternut squash soup with bacon

Butternut Squash Soup with Bacon (from Lane McConnell of the Branson Farmers Market)

Serves 6

1 medium butternut squash (about 1 lb.), peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
1 medium onion, peeled and quartered
1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced sliced
4 sliced of bacon, roughly chopped
3 garlic cloves, unpeeled
2 T. olive oil
3 T. butter
½ tsp. fine grain salt
¼ tsp. ground black pepper
4 cups chicken stock
1 cup heavy cream or milk
1 tsp. dried thyme
½ tsp. nutmeg
For garnish: Crispy bacon, chopped chives, crumbled goat cheese

Preheat oven to 400°F and place a rack in the middle.  Lightly grease a baking sheet and place butternut squash chunks, quartered onion, diced red bell pepper, chopped bacon, and garlic cloves in a single layer.

Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, stirring at halftime, until butternut squash is nicely roasted.

When ready, remove from the oven and peel garlic. Transfer everything to a large pot, add thyme, stock, and puree with an immersion blender. If you don’t have an immersion blender, then transfer roasted veggies to a food processor and process. (You may need to add some chicken stock to get a fine puree.) After you have pureed the mixture, add it to a large stockpot.

Place pot over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook for about 5 to 10 minutes, or until it starts to thicken. If it’s too thick add more stock, ¼ cup at a time until it reaches the desired consistency.

Take a taste and adjust seasoning. Serve garnished with some crispy bacon, chopped chives, and crumbled goat cheese as desired.

And, if you are looking for other ways to use up all that delicious winter squash from your garden or the gardens of local farmer friends, check out Lane’s blog, 417Localista.com!