Wadmalaw Island Hog Farmer Gives British Critic a Mouthful

When Giles Coren’s producers asked Tank Jackson to appear on “Million Dollar Critic,” they envisioned the Holy City Hogs farmer adding a splash of South Carolina color to their restaurant reality show. But Jackson ended up making the BBC America host the star of his own personal “Punk’d.”

BBC America’s “Million Dollar Critic” last month visited Charleston to shoot an episode for its first season. Although the show centers on local restaurants – Coren, The Times of London’s famously hotheaded reviewer, eats multiple meals and then declares which one he likes best – it’s apparently not worth crossing the pond unless there are guaranteed shots of stereotypical Southern culture. After initially asking to see Jackson’s pigs, the producers expressed interest in his guns.

“I could see where things were going,” Jackson says. “I may have fallen off the turnip truck, but I didn’t get run over: They wanted to make me into a backward hick.”

“I don’t need any help doing that,” he adds, laughing. Continue reading

Celeste Albers Halts Egg Operation

albersThe sun has set on the Lowcountry’s most celebrated egg operation, with a land use dispute forcing Celeste and George Albers to focus exclusively on dairy and beef production.

The Albers’ Sea Island eggs were a coveted commodity, and the centerpiece of many of Charleston’s cherished high-end restaurant dishes, including FIG‘s legendary coddled egg.

“Cracking one open reveals a yolk as golden as a sunset,” The Glass Onion‘s owners enthused in a 2010 blog post. “They literally make our béarnaise, deviled eggs and desserts. During the heat of summer when the hens simply refuse to lay enough, we enter a time of mourning.” Continue reading

Support Grow Food Carolina by Dining Out Tonight

5-percent-growfoodHaving trouble deciding where to eat tonight? We can narrow your choices down to 23 worthy restaurants.

The following restaurants are donating five percent of sales to Grow Food Carolina, which supports local farmers, eaters and chefs by systematically addressing the logistical marketing and distribution challenges faced by area growers: All you have to do is eat.

Place your generous orders at Blu Restaurant, Burwell’s, Cru Cafe, Glass Onion, Green Door, Hank’s Seafood, Heart Woodfire Kitchen, High Cotton, Hominy, HUSK, Langdon’s, McCrady’s, Mercato, Basico, Opal, Peninsula Grill, Republic Lounge, SNOB, Ted’s Butcher Block, The Lot, Tristan, Verde or Xiao Bao Biscuit.

Slow Food Film Festival Returns

One of the “joys involved in tending the land” covered by Grow!, the first film on this year’s Slow Food Charleston Fall Film Series schedule, probably isn’t judging locavore picnics. But a few lucky area farmers will have the chance to choose the best “slowest picnic” in a contest preceding the Oct. 10 screening.

If you’d like your dinner assessed, bring enough food to share. Non-competitive eaters are also being urged to bring personal picnics to the 6:30 p.m. event at Dirthugger Farms.

Now in its third year, Slow Food’s film series strives to share stories about food and the people who produce it. In addition to Grow!, which focuses on young Georgia farmers, the lineup includes Eating Alabama, the tale of a young couple who encounter difficulties trying to eat the way their grandparents did; The Garden, a documentary about a Los Angeles urban farm and A Sea Change, an exploration of ocean acidification. Continue reading

Angel Oak Serves Up Legare Farms Breakfast

For locavores who’d rather spend their Saturday morning enjoying dishes made with homegrown fruits, vegetables, eggs and pork than fussing with raw ingredients at the farmers market, Angel Oak this weekend is hosting a breakfast featuring Legare Farms products.

Breakfasters have their pick of crème brulee French toast with muscadines; eggs with pimento cheese grits and sausage and a country fried steak with sawmill gravy, collards, eggs and biscuits. All three plates cost $12, not including gratuity. For children under 10, a $6 Little Farmer’s plate is available. Breakfast includes a choice of juice, coffee or iced tea; for a $10 supplement, guests can drink all the mimosas they want.

Reserve a spot at Saturday’s 8:30 a.m. or 10 a.m. seating via Eventbrite, or call 556-7525.

Middleton Place Farm Earns Organic Certification

mpfarmWhen Middleton Place late last year hired a pair of farm managers to work its fledgling one-acre production garden, the site didn’t just hire somebody with organic farm experience: It hired somebody with organic farm certification experience.

Partly because Amy Talarico knew the ropes, and partly because the garden was located on an unmolested patch of land, Middleton sped through the certification process, last month earning its official organic designation. The certification came as good news to the farm, which this spring coped with the same drenching storms that destroyed crops across the region.

“We got absolutely murdered by the rain,” co-manager Frank Beaty says. “The old-timers we know said they hadn’t seen (anything like) it in 30 years, so we don’t feel so bad about the lackluster product.” Continue reading

Picturing a Clearer Understanding of Lowcountry Rice Culture

lesliefront“We’re not taking sides, we’re just trying to help our younger people get an understanding of Southern culture,” artist Jonathan Green says, explaining why the Lowcountry Rice Culture Project is working to disseminate a clearer picture of the region during its rice production heyday. The group this September is sponsoring a three-day forum intended partly to speed the flow of factual information.

According to Green, who chairs the group, the experience of enslaved laborers in particular has been obscured by artists’ inaccurate depictions of plantation life.

Green’s contention is dramatically illustrated by two images in the Charleston Library Society’s collection. The library has extensive holdings related to rice, including 15 wordy nineteenth-century pamphlets outlining the cultivation, harvest and use of rice around the world. The pamphlets also feature cooking advice, such as the “Griddles for Breakfast” recipe from RFW Allston’s 1845 Memoir on the Production and Cultivation of Rice. (“Mix a thin batter with milk and rice flour, adding salt.”) But as an artist, Green is drawn to the archive’s illustrations. Continue reading