Farmers and Festivals: Investing Locally

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(photo credit to Brendan DeBrincat)

How can you live in the Greater Charleston area and not know about the annual Lowcountry “Bluesberry” Jam & Blueberry Festival? This delicious tradition just got through its fifth successful year of blueberry fun for everyone, and we can’t wait until it comes around again. The festival takes place in McClellanville at Blue Pearl Farms, run by Robert Ward and his wife, Cheri. Ever since 2011, the couple has been inviting local and regional bands and singer-songwriters to provide entertainment at their farm.

People who attended the festival picked hundreds of pounds of blueberries, and caught blueberries in their mouths (the festival’s record distance is 43 feet and 6 inches!). They listened to the region’s best blues musicians, and ate plenty of blueberry jams, blueberry brownies, and many other blueberry treats. And a prize was given to the person who picked the largest blueberry.

If blueberry picking, blueberry games, blueberry treats, and musical blues weren’t enough, Blue Pearl Farms also produces a fair amount of honey, and its owners catch blue crabs in the winter for local seafood vendors.

(photo credit to Blue Pearl Farms)

But Blue Pearl Farms isn’t the only local supplier of delicious, fresh blueberries in our great piece of South Carolina. Charleston is surrounded by blueberry farmers, all trying to give their neighbors a bit of sweetness. In Hollywood you’ll find Newton Blueberry Farm, which has been growing blueberries for over 40 years. If you head to Ravenel you’ll stumble across Champney’s Blueberry Farm. The list goes on and on with the Ambrose Family Farm, Rosebank Farms, and Tiverton Farms, all within easy driving distance of our beautiful city.

The best part is you don’t have to drive out to these farms to get a taste of the wonderful produce they have to offer. You can just head to the North Charleston Farmers Market! This market is where our community meets to share in a huge array of locally grown produce and flowers. You’ll find hand-picked fruits and vegetables, local seafood, fresh-cooked meals, baked goods and canned goods, stunning flower arrangements, and much more. Parking is free and abundant, there’s fun for the whole family, and the market has live music as well!

While you may not have the “comfort” of seeing a big grocery store name on your food, buying local means that everybody wins. You win because you’re getting the good stuff, the fruits and vegetables, jams and jellies, grown and made right here in South Carolina. The farmers win because your support allows them to continue to do what they love and add to the value of our area. The best product usually comes from those who truly care about each individual customer, and with farms like those listed above that is surely the case. Your local farmers have a reason to produce the best quality produce because they have a stake in the Greater Charleston community.

The Lowcountry Graduate Center feels so lucky to be located here in North Charleston surrounded by life’s best treasures. This area not only has great people and great businesses, but it clearly also has great, fresh produce as well. Locally sourced goodies like these offer all the quality of a nationwide product, with the personal touch of having come from somebody in your community. And you should take our word on it; this is a quality concept that the Lowcountry Graduate Center knows all too well. Invest in the people who are invested in you, and help your community grow better every day.