Wednesday, April 10, 2019
Whether you like knowing where your food comes from or you simply enjoy eating things that taste good, head to Spartanburg County, South Carolina.
Farm to table is a way of life here. From farm-fresh seasonal produce to artisan-milled heirloom grains, bustling farm markets to award-winning restaurants helmed by some of the state’s leading chefs, long-standing traditions to festive special events, Spartanburg has deep agricultural roots.
Spartanburg continually dishes up a mouthwatering range of flavors. Here’s a small taste of just some of this season’s best culinary experiences.
South Carolina’s statewide Ag + Art Tour arrives in Spartanburg County June 1 and 2. The free tour showcases farms and artisans at every stop. On Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sunday from 1 to 5 p.m., drive from participating farm to farm around Spartanburg exploring the rural countryside and learn where food is grown, see how farms operate, discover how farmers and craftspeople make the most of local harvests, listen to live musical performances, watch artisans at work, and shop handcrafted products like soaps, pottery, jewelry, and foodstuffs.
Several farms and orchards in Spartanburg County are open all season and invite you to buy straight from the source. Silver Lake Farm raises heritage Berkshire pork, prized for its distinct flavor and abundant marbling. Fresh eggs and herbs are in stock at John Smith’s Hill Farm. Seasonal selections at Belue Farms include cantaloupes, peaches, sweet onions, corn, and hops. Hughey Farms grows juicy peaches and cucumbers.
Roadside stands and farmers’ markets help make it even easier to find locally grown seasonal products. Belue Farms Natural Foods Market, located on Belue Farms, has “evolved over the years to answer customer requests for natural, organic foods,” says co-owner Harriett Belue. The market stocks staples as well as hard-to-find special items to help shoppers “find everything they need to prepare a meal at one place,” including gluten-free options. In addition to produce and grass-fed beef from Belue Farms, the market stocks cheese, raw milk, pastured chicken and pork from other local farms plus frozen, wild-caught seafood from South Carolina and neighboring states. Hub City Farmers Market is the only farmers’ market held within Spartanburg city limits. At Northside Harvest Park every Saturday from early April through mid-December, come find local produce, meats, dairy, bread, and artisan goods. “It’s the longest-running market in the Upstate,” says associate director Heather Raines. “Vendors sell only what they produce themselves; they can’t resell anything produced somewhere else.” The market has space for up to 42 different vendors yet limits crafters to no more than five on any given day to keep the focus on the thriving farming community. The open-air Landrum Farmers’ Market is a picture-perfect community gathering spot every Wednesday and Saturday staged near the railroad tracks. Sip coffee, stroll the market brimming with fruits and vegetables, spreads and baked goods, fresh eggs and honey, and more mouth-watering temptations.
Discover local Spartanburg products that are prized by both home and professional cooks. First-generation farmers Jon and Michelle Stauffer grow heirloom corn the old-fashioned way at Colonial Milling. Using a pink granite stone, they mill their corn on site into some impressive white and yellow cornmeal, grits, corn flour and polenta. You can find these products on the menu at The Kennedy and for sale around Hub City including at Bellews Market and the Motte & Sons Bootlegging Co. distillery. Blue Moon Specialty Foods makes a tasty range of spices, sauces and spreads. Everything is handcrafted in a commercial kitchen located in downtown Spartanburg using the most natural, local ingredients available. Stock up on Blue Moon products at the company’s flagship store.
Looking for some hands-on fun? Thicketty Mountain Farms, which specializes in grass-fed beef and sustainably grown vegetables, routinely hosts special events like yoga at the farm, community picnics, and live musical performances. At The Shed at Strawberry Hill U.S.A. you can watch tractors deliver fresh strawberries, peaches and blackberries straight from the field, bite into ripe samples, and take a basket of juicy fruit home with you. Tomatoes, watermelons, local honey, homemade pies, and boiled peanuts are also available seasonally to satisfy cravings. Greyrock Farms and Green Acres Produce, which has been in the same family for generations, invites you to take a wagon ride tour around the working dairy farm as well as come pick your own strawberries each spring and pumpkins each fall.
Hungry for a taste of local that’s ready-to-eat? Restaurant options abound! To find out which restaurants showcase local products on their menus, check out South Carolina’s Fresh on the Menu app. “It’s perfect,” says Chef Sarah McClure, who served as one of four South Carolina Chef Ambassadors in 2018 and offers a seasonally-driven menu at Southside Smokehouse & Grille. “The app helps tourists and locals find restaurants that use at least 25 percent South Carolina-grown products. It’s great: Just open the app and it will show you nearby restaurants using local products.”
For more information, explore VisitSpartanburg.com. https://spartanburg1.wpengine.com/