Saturday, May 18, 2013

Farm Trip Day to Willard Farms and Middle Sparrow Ranch

Strawberries from Willard Farms
Let me start by saying "I love my local farms/farmer's!"  They are all unique, quirky in their own way, wonderful, full-of-life, hopes & dreams people who are simply trying to provide the best they can for you and me!  They want to give you a great product, and work tirelessly to insure you, the consumer, receive the best.  They are NOT "Big Farms" or into "Big Farm" business, but rather people just like you and me ... working to make a living while enjoying immensely what they do.
A few of us get together from time to time to visit some of our local farms, and there are so many to choose from here in South Carolina.  We've already had a "farm to table" lunch at Old McCaskill Farm and a tour at Sunny Cedars Farm (pastured pork) with my friend Russell Singleton.
Today we had lunch at Willard Farms to check out the strawberries and their famous "Original Willard Burger," a 1/3 lb. burger cooked your way (voted one of the "Top 5 Burgers" in SC), with a side of hand-cut fries ... yes, I did say hand-cut fries.  All of this was prefaced by an overview of their farming practices by Jay Willard.  
After lunch, we headed northeast for a tour at Middle Sparrow Ranch to see/meet Alice and taste her wonderful raw milk cheeses (oh ya, they are GOOD)! 
It takes a special person to be a farmer, and I have great respect for them all. I will proudly support them as much as I can ... I mean, after-all, it's a win-win; they can farm, I can enjoy their products ... cook up more delicious food ... real food ... Yep!  I'm happy with that!

 Welcome to Willard Farms ...

Jay Willard explains his farming practices to us in the
comfort of the Market/Restaurant at Willard Farms

Mushroom Garden

Loads of Willard Farms products to choose from

And here is the FAMOUS, "Voted One of The
Top 5 Burgers in SC" ... 1/3 lb. Original Willard Burger
complete with home-cut French Fries!  In a word ... YUMMM!
And, yes ... I ate it all!

Many thanks to Jay and his parents for their hospitality

Next stop ... Middle Sparrow Ranch

Welcome to Middle Sparrow Ranch!  Raising grass-fed
Jersey cows for their Raw Milk and Raw Milk Artisan Cheeses

So cute!

Alice had a platter of her cheeses ready for us to sample!


Alice explaining the cheese making process!  The large vat
in the rear of the picture holds 130 GALLONS of milk!  WOW!

Cheese, cheese and more cheese! 
Cheddar, Monterey Jack and  Farmer's

Coming soon ... Gouda

Yummm!  Soooooo good!

I'm ready for the next Farm Trip Adventure ... coming soon ...