When visitors come to experience our beautiful coast, they hope for great weather. But when they dine in our restaurants, they don’t hope for great food. They expect it.
As any chef worth his paring knife will tell you — the fresher the ingredients, the finer the feast on your plate. Great meals start with farm fresh produce, straight out of our fields.
Nothing beats delectable fruits and vegetables picked at the peak of freshness for taste, quality and nutrient value. When you dine on produce that was sunning itself on the farm yesterday, there’s no better culinary experience.
From asparagus to zucchini, South Carolina farmers have always cultivated the finest produce. But still, you may notice a slew of products at your grocery imported from other countries, such as Chile or Mexico.
The problem isn’t production. It’s distribution – and we’re working to change that.
That’s one reason that community Farmers Markets are so popular. There’s no question that the produce is 100 percent fresh and local. The community venue also offers customers a chance to personally connect with area farmers. Consumers feel more secure when they know who is raising their food and where it’s coming from. If you can’t get to the farm, we’ll bring it to you. That’s Agritourism in its purest form.
As Clemson ExtensionAgent Blake Lanford will tell you, we’re focusing a lot of effort on linking agriculture and tourism, our two most prominent economic sectors.
For instance, the “Farm to Chef” program matches chefs who are interested in local ingredients with farmers who produce them. That’s where the conversation starts.
Obviously, chefs prefer the freshest ingredients, but timely delivery to the restaurant’s back door is also critical. That means finding creative ways around the traditional food distribution chain.
It’s consumer preference and awareness that ultimately drives our success. Every time you chose Certified South Carolina Grown products, you’re supporting more than healthy eating. You’re creating jobs.
According to Hugh Weathers, our state commissioner of agriculture, agribusiness contributes about $34 billion annually to the state’s economy. The industry employs more than 200,000 people. And it’s growing.
So keep eating fresh and demand South Carolina-grown products at local restaurants and your grocery store. It’s good for everybody.
Note: Hyman Vineyards is a Sponsor of PeeDeeFoodie.com related to its October 2010 “Bacchus Festival”.
About the AuthorKevin Barron is a husband, father, self-described geek, and enthusiastic founder of PeeDeeFoodie.com. He also hosts its companion podcast, the Pee Dee Food Show, which can be found on iTunes and the blog. Learn more about Kevin under the Contributors tab above.
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