Olivia Dish

Archive for the ‘Fancy Farms’ Category

Escape to Mushroom Mountain

In Fancy Farms, Homemade, South Carolina on June 5, 2010 at 10:21 pm
Mushroom Mountain

The trail at Mushroom Mountain

I want to grow mushrooms. I’ve been thinking about this for a while. Today, I visited Mushroom Mountain near Liberty, SC, and left with baggies of spores and such. Tomorrow morning, my life as a mushroom farmer begins.

Maybe I should’ve seen this coming. My father had this idea, when I was a kid, that he’d take up mushroom hunting and train his four daughters in the foraging arts. My mother, fearing she would lose her entire family in a single afternoon, put her foot down. Absolutely not.  My father’s Field Guide to Mushrooms was shelved.

My relationship with mushrooms is nine parts my dad, one part my mom. I’m entranced, much as my father was, by their mysterious behavior, strange beauty, and of course, unmatchable taste.  But the one part that is my mother fears that mushrooms I forage will kill me.

When my friend Whit DeSpoon first presented me with golden, ruffly chantarelles he’d collected, it was my mother who took over my brain for a bit.

“I can’t eat those! You can’t eat those!” I shrieked.

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A Farm in the City

In Fancy Farms, Local Flavor, South Carolina on April 6, 2010 at 1:53 pm
City Roots

Welcome to farming in town

You can build an asphalt plant in the neighborhood. But want to put in an organic farm? That requires an exception to the Columbia, SC zoning law.

City Roots pressed on (or should that be plowed ahead?) and now, less than a year later, is growing vegetables and developing a market for, among other things, darling delicious sunflower sprouts.

“Yeah, it’s cool that we’ve created a market for something that wasn’t there before,” Eric McClam says, as I rave about the sprouts.

Eric partnered with his dad to start City Roots.  He was pushing a hand plow when I arrived for my tour.  He showed me what was growing on their acres tucked in between warehouses–rows of garlic, broccoli, lettuces–bee hives over on one side. He picked a few early strawberries for me to taste.

Then we went to the greenhouse, where my beloved sunflower sprouts were popping out all over.

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The Hil at Serenbe

In Fancy Farms, Georgia, Local Flavor, Restaurant on July 3, 2009 at 2:21 pm

Sunset at Serenbe

There are a couple of restaurants at Serenbe (outside of Atlanta) that I’ve been wanting to check out.  I used a recent trip as an occasion to visit one of the them–The Hil.

Actually, I was giving chef/owner Hilary White a second chance.  I’d tried her cooking at another fancy farm and been disappointed.  She’d managed to make some of the juiciest pork on the planet come out dry.  An eyewitness reported that White had trimmed the fat off before cooking.  I had my doubts about any chef who’d do that. Read the rest of this entry »