Friday, March 28, 2014

Farm Fresh in the Kitchen - Sunny Cedars Farm

So what exactly is this "farm to table" or farm to fork" thing? 

By definition it means:  The farm-to-fork or table movement has arisen more or less concurrently with recent changes in attitude about food safety, food freshness, food seasonality, and small-farm economics. Advocates and practitioners of the farm-to-table model frequently cite as their motivations the scarcity of fresh, local ingredients; the poor flavor of ingredients shipped from afar; the poor nutritional integrity of shipped ingredients; the encroachment of genetically modified foods into the food economy; the disappearance of small family farms; the disappearance of heirloom and open-pollinated fruits and vegetables; and the dangers of a highly-centralized food-growing and -distribution system. 1.

As a result of this movement: A growing number of consumers have started to seek healthier and more environmentally friendly alternatives to the processed foods that dominate grocery store shelves. 2. 

So what it comes down to is this: Making a conscious decision to eat better and more healthy by purchasing fresh ingredients from local farms or farmer's markets, or growing your own fresh produce, and incorporating it into your daily diet. Real food the way it was meant to be!

But Where do you start, or how do you begin? You start in your own community and that's where this blog comes in.  In this "Farm Fresh in the Kitchen" Blog I will feature a variety of local, small family farms, farmer's markets, and more throughout Sumter, S.C. and the surrounding communities. The "Farm Fresh in the Kitchen" Blog will also feature information on weekly food boxes or co-op produce shares, how to "put up" and preserve summer's bounty, gardening tips, yummy recipes and more to inspire you. Don't live in Sumter, S.C. or the surrounding area? You may still find something of interest here!

So let's get started on our first "Farm Fresh in the Kitchen" outing!

first FEATURED FARM is Sunny Cedars Farm located at 701 Singleton Lane (click address for map) just off Lewis Road, in Sumter, S.C. There you'll meet Russell Singleton, his wife, Lesa, and their family.  This is a great local pig farm, raising heritage breed pigs, all antibiotic and hormone-free. 

"We use old, heritage pig breeds such as Berkshire, Tamworths, Spotted Poland China, and others that have fallen out of favor with commercial growers because they take longer to mature than the Yorkshire/Landrace cross preferred by the industry. Our pigs have free access to woods and pasture. They spend their days rooting for hickory nuts and acorns, cooling off in the mud, and sleeping in the sun. To supplement their grazing, we grind and mix our own hog feed here on the farm using local grain and other ingredients. Because our hogs have a healthy environment and lots of space to roam, they are hardly ever sick, so antibiotics aren’t necessary."

Their pigs at Sunny Cedars Farm are raised on pasture and never caged. They are humanely put to sleep before being processed at the Williamsburg Packing Company, 
a federally certified humane animaprocessing plant by FSIS
(Food Safety & Inspection Service) of the USDA. 

Sunny Cedars Farm currently has nitrite-free Bacon prepared with brown sugar and sea salt (that's it, no other ingredients or fancy names you can't pronounce), Boston butt roasts, St. Louis Ribs15 kinds of Sausages including spinach-garlic brats, Italian sausage, chorizo, andouille, and breakfast sausage links & patties, all containing no preservatives or food coloring, no MSG, no fillers and are gluten-free. 

Are you going to pay more for it? Yes! Why?  "Commercial pork producers use indoor, intensive confinement operations to raise hogs who may never see the light of the sun. They’re crowded close together in hog parlors where the risk of contagious disease is high, requiring daily doses of antibiotics to prevent outbreaks of illness. These factory farms use pigs who have been bred to tolerate confinement, grow faster, and grow longer and leaner (to produce more pork chops) over the years. They are fed growth hormones such as Paylean (ractopamine) to speed their growth. As a result, commercial breeders can produce large quantities of pork at a low cost - but what has been sacrificed is flavor. Pork is now marketed as “the other white meat,” because that’s what you get in the grocery store ... a nondescript, flavorless white meat that has to be brined or marinated to give it any flavor. At Sunny Cedars, we
know how pork is supposed to be; dark rosy pink, perfectly marbled, rich and juicy, and bursting with flavor!"

What's the benefit? You know where your food is coming from! You feed yourself and your family a better product. You eat healthier. You support your local farms with your dollars, and they in turn can continue to do what they do to provide you and I with the best possible products. Seems like a "win win" to me!

Is there a difference? YES! So much so you won't believe you are eating pork. I've personally tried the pork chops, maple breakfast sausage links, bratwurst and bacon. The pork chops are tender and juicy, not dry and tough. So darn good and the bacon, brats and sausage are equally delicious. Plus with the new Safe Cooking Temperatures, you can now safely cook pork to 145 which will make it a nice medium and not over-done.

To buy at Sunny Cedars Farm, please call 803-934-6072 (or text) to make sure someone is home at the farm and they'll arrange a time for you to come out for a shopping visit to the farm. (Price List)

Find Sunny Cedars Farm on Facebook

Today's recipe: Grilled Pork Chops (click for "print friendly" version )

2 center-cut pork chops (from 

Sunny Cedars Farm)
Rub liberally with Feiny's Rubs 

(I used Original Barbecue or use the 
rub of your choice)
Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate 

1-2 hours

Sear chops over high heat on grill, 1-2 minutes; lower heat to medium, turn chops and cook an additional 3-4 minutes, with lid closed or internal temp is 145 degrees.  Allow chops to rest 5-10 minutes before serving (loosely covered with foil).

Until next time!


Note - Any of the livestock farms shared on this blog practice humane husbandry and use no antibiotics or growth hormones.

Farm Fresh in the Kitchen is a feature of