Many small farms are keeping the region’s agricultural heritage alive and well.
The demand for local and regional foods has grown as more of us look to connect with our food and the people who grow and raise it. Know your farmer, know your food. We highlight a few of the fabulous family farms scattered across the Lowcountry and surrounding counties.
Just a few years ago, Marissa Paykos was working at a high-powered, 60-hour-a-week job in Savannah and hating every minute of it. Jumping out of the rat race, she met James Young, and the two fell in love. Their love story continues at Whippoorwill Farms in Ridgeland, 40 acres where the couple raises their daughter alongside fresh fruits and vegetables and responsibly sourced meat. “One of our biggest missions is connecting the local community,” said Paykos. “Not just the haves, but the have-nots, with food that’s high in nutrient density.” The farm offers many workshops and classes as well as on-site RV and tent camping. Learn more at whippoorwillfarmssc.com.
Three Sisters Farm
The three sisters, the inspiration for the name of this Beaufort County farm, Beth Lee, Mary Connor and Priscilla Coleman, grew up on the farm and dedicated their venture to continuing that legacy. Beyond the traditional farmers market staples of fruits and vegetables, their Pinckney Island Road farm grows indigo, flowers, mushrooms and sugarcane.
Hickory Hill Milk
When the Dorn family established its Edgefield farm in 1764, it launched a family legacy that continues to this day. Dating back to the 1950s, the Dorn family’s dairy farm is under the care of its fourth generation, providing authentic non-homogenized and low-temp pasteurized milk as well as the famed Clemson Blue cheese.
This family owned and operated farm has been growing and harvesting fruits and vegetables for the last 60-plus years on St. Helena Island. Its produce is available to purchase at its stand, or you can pick your own produce.
Located on St. Helena Island, this farm specializes in cantaloupe, muscadine grapes, peaches, squash, strawberries, tomatoes, cucumbers, okra, collard greens and watermelon.
Joseph Fields Farm
This 50-acre certified organic farm in Charleston is run by Joseph Fields, a third generation Gullah-Geechee farmer with more than 45 years of experience. The Fields family is partnered with Earth Heart Growers, a farm-to-school initiative working to educate public school children.
Peculiar Pig Farms
As a child, farmer Marvin C. Ross can remember spending Saturdays with his grandfather on his farm in Dorchester. He was fascinated by the pigs, which ultimately led him to running the farm after his grandfather died.
Located near Savannah, this small-scale garden and greenhouse offer a variety of vegetables, herbs, and fruits that are grown year-round using sustainable and environmentally friendly agricultural practices.
Hickory Hill Farm
This fourth-generation farm in Edgefield County was established in 1764. Today, Watson and Lisa Dorn, along with their children, Daniel and Courtney, run the dairy farm.
After becoming aware of the unmet demand for artisan dairy products, founders Patrick and Kent teamed up with fellow Clemson alum Josh Brooks to create yogurts, artisanal cheeses, flavored butters and more at this dairy farm in Orangeburg County.
Myers Family Farms
This St. Helena Island farm provides farm fresh eggs from its pastured-all-day chickens. Its flocks love to eat greens, grains and grubs, resulting in healthier birds.
Founder Glenn Roberts established Anson Mills when he noticed a lack of Carolina Gold rice being produced. After many years of growing, the farm located in Columbia now also harvests Japanese buckwheat, French oats and Mediterranean wheat and Italian farro.
Hunter Cattle Farm
Hunter Cattle Company, based in Brooklet, Georgia, produces 100-percent grass fed and grass finished beef, pastured pork, air dried beef snacks, eggs, tallow soap products and more.
Will’s Lowcountry Produce
This locally owned, family operated farm in Hampton County is dedicated to producing the highest quality fruits, vegetables and herbs.
High school friends Andrew Hare and Matt Daniels brought to life an indoor hydroponic container farming company that produces nutrient-dense lettuce with globally recognized food safety standards inside its eco-friendly upcycled container farms. Vertical Roots farm in Charleston uses 98 percent less water than conventional farming methods.
Specializing in heirloom vegetables, flowers, and eggs, everything on this 14-acre farm is grown using organic methods. Farmer Kenneth “Skinny” Melton co-owns and manages the family farm on Johns Island with the help of his farmhands, parents, sisters, four children and four dogs.
Located in Holly Hill, the berry farm offers strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, produce, jams, local honey and flowers.
A small family owned and operated farm located in Hampton County, it offers fresh-from-the-field produce and fresh brown eggs from free-range chickens.
Brickyard Point Farms
Located on Lady’s Island, Brickyard produces pecans, persimmons, pomegranates and citrus.
The farm in Walterboro raises free-range, pasture-fed poultry, beef and pork.
River Root Farms
This Bluffton-based farm grows a variety of microgreens that are starting to show up on menus at top local restaurants.
Beaufort County’s top roadside stands and markets
Farmers Market of Bluffton
Opening in 2008 at the Bluffton Oyster Company Park, this market provides a place for community gathering and enjoyment. Due to its overwhelming success, it has since moved to historic downtown Bluffton, first along Calhoun and Lawrence streets and now on Green Street. From veggies and spices to poultry and pasta, the market highlights a plethora of local growers, farmers, and entertainment.
Where: 71 Green Street, Bluffton
When: Noon-5 p.m., Thursdays
The Farmers Market at Sea Pines Center
The Farmers Market at Sea Pines Center began in June 2013 with the goal of addressing the need for quality local goods on Hilton Head Island. With a commitment to providing freshness to its attendees, Sea Pines Center and Lowcountry Produce worked together to connect with vendors. Reaching a variety of local farmers, artists, and purveyors they brought the unique small-town flavor of the island to visitors.
Where: The Shops at Sea Pines Center, Hilton Head Island
When: 10 a.m.-12 p.m., Tuesdays (Middle of March-November)
Foreman Hill Roadside Stand
Open on some weekends starting in March, this stand is a hotspot for everything fresh. Featuring produce and other miscellaneous items, owner Laura Sterling sells goods grown only by local farmers. In an effort to raise money for her nonprofit animal sanctuary, Laura’s Little Critter Barn, Sterling opened the stand. The proceeds have allowed her to provide ample care for displaced squirrels and bunnies. Located next to Bluffton’s tiniest traffic circle on Malphrus Road, you’ll find baskets of squash, peppers, onions, and cucumbers. Delicious seasonal fruits such as peaches and berries also are on the menu if you’re looking for something sweet.
Where: 113 Foreman Hill Road, Bluffton
When: Various weekends starting March (follow on Facebook for details)
Grant’s Fresh Produce Market
Starting in the growing season around April, the Grant family will continue to provide Hilton Head with its fresh fruits and vegetables. In attempt to preserve small farm culture here, Grant’s Fresh Produce Market has been serving the community for over 50 years. Making history as one of the island’s first roadside stands, it serves all the produce necessities from watermelon to zucchini. About a block down from Harold’s Diner on US 278, you’ll find its white painted stand blossoming with colorful produce baskets. Become a part of the decades’ worth of tradition by dropping in for some local deliciousness.
Where: Near Singleton Beach Road, William Hilton Pkwy, HHI
When: April-November, hours of operation differ
Port Royal Farmers Market
Located in Port Royal at Naval Heritage Park, this market is open every Saturday. Prepared food vendors serving barbecue, dumplings and breakfast sandwiches are only a portion of what it has to offer. Aside from poultry, produce, meats, and cheeses, the market also gives visitors the opportunity to purchase local seafood. If you’re looking to add some life to your home or yard, they also offer plants, such as fresh flower bouquets and citrus trees.
Where: Naval Heritage Park, Port Royal
When: 9 a.m.-Noon, Saturdays
Hilton Head Island Farmers Market
Nestled under the trees at Honey Horn Plantation every Tuesday, the Hilton Head Farmers Market is filled with products from hidden family farms and small kitchen operations. Its dedication to fixing the food system starts at the local level by giving the community an opportunity to buy produce straight from the source. By allowing attendees to get to know their farmers and neighbors, this market embodies the small-town experience. Take home an abundance of local goods ranging from cookies and bread to meats and salsas. You can even pick up some natural dog treats for your furry friend.
Where: Coastal Discovery Museum, Hilton Head Island
When: 9 a.m.-1 p.m., Tuesdays
Spanish Wells Seafood & Produce
Specializing in tomatoes, peaches, grouper, and shrimp, this Spanish Wells family stand has been providing local goods to the community since 1998. Throughout the years, owners Solomon and Della Campbell have made numerous trips to local farms in order to get the freshest fare for their customers. Sadly, Sol died in October, but his wife, Della, has continued the legacy, as the stand was his pride and joy. For both of them it was not only about selling produce but also about connecting with customers. Knowledge of local history and genuine friendship come as a side with any products you purchase. Specialty goods such as homemade seasonings and jams are what set it apart from an average roadside stand.
Where:556 Spanish Wells Road
When: 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Tuesday-Saturday (April-Sept.)
J Wilton Graves Bridge Stand
Open for as long as we can remember, this stand sits right before the bridge that takes you onto Hilton Head Island. Selling a variety of farm-fresh produce and seafood, owner Wesley Campbell is known for paying homage to the agricultural past of the island. Campbell’s passion for produce began when he was just a kid pedaling goods around here to his neighbors. In keeping the tradition alive, this stand is full of oranges, tomatoes, and coolers stuffed with jumbo shrimp. His stands have since become very well-known and developed plenty of loyal customers. With this location being his only one, he soon plans to open a new stand off US 278 by Adrianna Lane. Fruits, veggies, and Hilton Head history make this a special stop for any visitor of Beaufort County. Just look for stand operator Josh under the tiki umbrellas and tents.
Where: Corner of US 278 and Fording Island Road, Bluffton
When: 10 a.m.-5 p.m. most days