Sunday, April 10, 2016

Spring Farm Outing to the Kershaw County Farmers Market and Goat Daddy's

Finally it was Spring in South Carolina and we were headed out to the opening day of the Kershaw County Farmers Market. We also had lunch planned at Frenchy's Authentic Cajun Cuisine, and a tour scheduled at Goat Daddy's so we had a busy day ahead.

We planned to meet at the market at 10 a.m., then shop and visit with some of our favorite vendors. Wow, what an opening day it was. Lots of vendors, some old and many new, and a lot of people turned out to make it one of the best opening days ever.

We wandered around, stopped and looked at all the goodies offered, then went around again making our selections from one vendor or another. There were some great pickling cucumbers and local asparagus at one vendor, heirloom tomatoes and mushrooms at another and so much more. You could literally buy chicken, eggs, pork, lamb, beef, milk, cheese, butter, fresh local seafood, veggies, jams and jellies, herbs, raw local honey, plants, soaps, herbal oils, baked goods and so much more. Who needs a grocery store when you have all this? It was awesome!

After about an hour or so or wandering around the market and shopping, we got all our purchases in our coolers and headed over for our lunch stop.

Frenchy's Authentic Cajun Cuisine is fairly new restaurant located in downtown Camden, South Carolina and family owned and operated by Doug Hebert and his wife, Dee Dee. Doug is Cajun and brought a wealth of his families tried and true recipes to the restaurant. Of course, owning a restaurant must be in his blood as his late father, Robert "Frenchy" Hebert and mother, Freida, owned and operated La Petite Louisiane in Clarksville, Tennessee.

Crawfish Etouffee

We arrived just before their opening time of 11 a.m., but the door was quickly opened and we were welcomed and seated immediately. Our server quickly came over and took our drink orders, while we all perused the menu. While it is not extensive, it does have great variety with a little something for everyone. First up was an appetizer order of Boudin Balls with Remoulade sauce. I had never tried them before, but oh, they are delicious.

Shrimp Creole
Guided by one of our group who's husband is from the Cajun region of Louisiana and Texas, we all ordered our meals and enjoyed the appetizer while we waited to dig in. There was Crawfish Etouffee, Shrimp Creole, Chicken and Sausage Gumbo and oh my goodness, Beignets baked fresh and served warm.
It was fun talking with Doug while we were there and I asked him the age old question, what makes the best gumbo? His answer was the roux! "Without the roux you make from scratch, and cook slowly all day until it develops into a deep, rich brown color, you got nothing," he said. We also listened to some of his families history stories and the passion this recently retired Air Force veteran has with Cajun cuisine. It was also particularly nice to hear he sources all his fresh produce locally; now that made me smile.

Before we knew it, time had flown by and it was time to leave and head out to Goat Daddy's, our farm tour of the day. So excited to see this new farm start-up and see how they're progressing and hear their vision for the future of the farm. We all got back in our cars and played "follow the leader" travelling down the highway, and off on some twisty roads until we arrived at our destination, where our host for the day was waiting to open the gate and begin our tour.

Goat Daddy's Farm is located in Elgin, South Carolina on 25 wooded acres where they raise Heritage breed Australorp and Serama Chickens, Bourbon Red Turkeys and Guineas, in addition to their namesake Nigerian Dwarf Goats. Immediately upon arriving and parking we were impressed. There was a horse just grazing loose around the yard, various chickens running about, along with a tom turkey and his hens.

We met owner Josh Slade, and after introductions all around, he began telling us about the farm. Our first stop was to see 2 giant Emu's and a couple of small ponies hanging out in a large fenced area. Apparently Emu's make great farm guards and can kill a coyote. Who knew? I didn't. Off in the distance in the nearby woods you could see guinea hens running around having fun, and just around the corner were more turkeys, chickens and a couple pot bellied pigs (who are pets). The farm also manages a parrot rescue where they had a variety of birds inside an enclosed outdoor aviary. So cool!

As Josh continued the tour, a couple things became very apparent; there was literally no "farm smell" whatsoever, and all the animals were residing harmoniously with each other. Their philosophy is to allow all the animals the freedom and space they need to thrive, and thrive they do. It was almost tranquil, it was so quiet just watching contented animals go about their daily routine. Chickens allowed to run around, eat bugs and scratch in the dirt, goats tromping in the woods, peacocks showing off their fan for us, or turkeys just walking around the yard. This is exactly the type of farm we love and embrace; a small South Carolina farm practicing sustainable agriculture and doing it with the utmost respect for the animals they raise.

Future goals and expansions include a Grade A Goat Dairy operation, a DHEC certified kitchen, and converting an existing heated and air conditioned building into a farm store with outdoor patio, hosting brunches and farm to table dinners.

We had the most amazing time visiting Goat Daddy's and seeing all their animals. Before we knew it, the time was coming for us to leave. Josh had put aside one of their processed chickens for me to take home, along with some fresh herbs, a huge sweet potato, and exceptional asparagus all grown on the farm. There were also eggs to buy and a variety of goat soaps. After making our purchases, and thanking Josh for his time, we were ready to head home.

It was a great day shopping local, eating local and exploring a South Carolina family farm. What they do, and the products they produce, is nothing short of awesome. I look forward to the progress at Goat Daddy's Farm and can't wait to visit again.

When I got home, and put things away, I decided to make a simple Spring Pasta Primavera with the fresh asparagus I got from Goat Daddy's and some sugar snap snow peas from our garden. Doesn't it look delicious?

See RECIPE here.

Check out Goat Daddy's Facebook page: Goat Daddy's
144 Tomahawk Trail, Elgin, South Carolina

Until next time,

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