Monday, April 14, 2014

Summerville Farmer's Market & Wishbone Heritage Farms

Summerville Farmer's Market
After weeks of planning and scheduling, a group of 7 of us were finally able to take off for the Summerville Farmer's Market and visit to Wishbone Heritage Farms in Ridgeville, South Carolina.  So on a beautiful, sunny, warm day in April, we departed for our destination, full of excitement and anxious to be off on this new adventure.

After a brief stop to pick up Lynn from Southern with a Twist, we took the scenic route she suggested following Camp Mac Boykin Road and Old River Road. Winding and turning along the way, we passed by Pax's Landing, Elliot Landing and other landmarks as Lynn gave us a brief history lesson on the land and the various things to take note of. Soon the road led to I-95 and took us south to I-26 and into the town of Summerville.

We located the farmer's market at 200 South Main Street with little trouble, and scurried to find parking spots. Wow doesn't even begin to describe this bustling market, crowded with people and more than 80 vendors.  We wandered and split up, some admiring the fresh pasta from Rio Bertolini's Fresh Pasta Company, others the Low Country Olive Oil, hot German Pretzels, fresh produce, pork products from our friends at Sunny Cedars Farm and so much more!

This is a wonderful farmer's market and it's no surprise why people flock there.
Rio Bertolini's Fresh Pasta, Co.
They offer so much variety and have so many wonderful local farms and artisan's represented. Who wouldn't love it?  We bought fresh pasta, fresh raw milk, gorgeous beets and brats. Thankfully we also remembered to bring coolers but we did have to stop to buy ice on our way to lunch.

After a very nice lunch at The Crab Shack's in Coosaw Creek we were off to meet David Gravelin at Wishbone Heritage Farms!

Cabbage, Beets, Turnips, Collards, Kale and more!
What an awesome place David is creating. Located at 327 Myers Mayo Road in Ridgeville, South Carolina on about 17 acres, they have slowly but surely added pastures and pens, habitats and more for the wonderful animals they raise.

When you first meet David you'll know you're talking to someone passionate about what they are doing and what they provide to the community.

"We believe in local sustainable agriculture and raise animals and produce to the highest standards of health and flavor with absolutely no hormones, medications, antibiotics, or pesticides. 

We are passionate about helping people rebuild a relationship with their food, where it comes from, how it is raised, and how best to prepare it.  

We are here to be part of the local Summerville & Charleston communities and provide nourishment and education for our fellow citizens. We do not purchase and we do not sell outside of SC whenever there is a plausible alternative. "

Following David's lead, we toured around the farm, walking from one area to another marveling at all we saw.  Chickens and ducks in one area, pheasants, quail and bunnies in another.

There were large fenced areas where larger ducks were wondering around, chickens eating a fresh watermelon, Toulouse Geese were spreading their wings, and a pastured area deep in the thick of the trees where the Tamworth pigs are allowed to range and feed on a variety of vegetation, including the acorns they love.

  The Tamworth originated in central England in the counties of Stafford, Warwick, Leicester, and Northhampton. Prior to 1815, dark red and grisly pigs were found largely in these Midland counties. In this region, there were dense forests of oak and beech trees where the pigs were kept to forage in the autumn and winter. The breed takes its name from the village of Tamworth in Staffordshire.
The characteristics of the Tamworth reflect the breed’s centuries of selection for an outdoor life. Pigs of this breed were expected to find their own food, especially mast (or acorns) of oak and beech forests. Long heads and impressive snouts enable these pigs to be efficient foragers. Long, strong legs and sound feet give Tamworth pigs the ability to walk for considerable distances. Ginger red coats make the pigs adaptable to a variety of climates and protect them from sunburn.
Tamworths have an active intelligence, and they are agreeable in disposition. (Excerpt from The Livestock Conservancy).

The livestock is pasture raised, free of antibiotics and hormones and humanely put to sleep before being processed at the Williamsburg Packing Company, a federally certified humane animaprocessing plant by the FSIS (Food Safety & Inspection Service) of the USDA.

One of the things I liked best was when David talked about making his products available to all income-levels.  No, it might not be on the "high end," or most desirable cut of the hog (or other livestock), but the hocks and other products, which are wonderful when prepared properly.

This young farmer can also guide you on the best way to cook it. Braising the meat, low and slow, turns some wonderful pork hocks into the best thing you have ever eaten. I know, I've prepared some recently and they are delicious.
Pork Hocks, German Potato Salad and Cabbage 

So, think you can't afford it? Think again. Humanely raised pastured livestock, free of antibiotics and hormones should be available to all of us, and it is. Will you need to rethink how you budget, and look at real food?  Yes! Is it worth it? Yes!  It's simply better for you, better for your family and simply delicious to eat.

It's my sincere belief we need to support our small, local family farms more.  By supporting them with our dollars, we help them continue to do what they love to do, which is provide you and I the best possible product, humanely raised to sustain us.
Bonus!  David saved me a Goose Egg to try since I've never eaten one.  He swears it tastes just like a fresh farm egg, only with a bit richer yolk taste. Just look at the size of it compared to a large chicken egg!  Wow! I also bought a Whole Roasting Duck to cook later, which we will enjoy immensely!


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