Tour Some Midlands Farms

Plus: Farm Politics; Market Down; International Foods

By Eva Moore
Wednesday, April 2, 2014
Chew On This has a lot of theories and edicts about a lot of things, and here’s one: You should never pass up any opportunity in life to hang out with baby farm animals. Especially in the spring. The fact that you might someday be munching on those lambs and piglets — well, that’s all part of the package, you see. It’s important to think about where your food comes from.

Not all the farms on the Midlands Farm Tour feature baby animals, of course. Some are more vegetable-focused. But that’s important, too.

The goal of the tour, which runs this Saturday and Sunday and is organized by the Carolina Farm Stewardship Association, is to educate people about where their food comes from and how small, sustainable farms operate. It’s a self-guided affair: You buy tickets online, then visit any or all of the participating farms in any order you wish.

Three of the farms are right here in the city: City Roots, a working urban farm in Rosewood that features vegetables, berries, flowers, chickens and tilapia; the University of South Carolina’s community garden at the Green Quad; and the city-sponsored NOMA Community Garden off River Drive.

A bit farther out are a number of lovely farms: Humble Farm in Gilbert, a new addition to the tour; Terra Kotta Farms in Leesville, which grows grapes, veggies and chickens; meat-tastic little Doko Farm in Blythewood; Crooked Cedar Farms in Blythewood; Paradise Acres Farm in Elgin; Wil-Moore Farms in Lugoff, whose eggs and meats you’ve likely encountered at some farmers market or another; and Carolina Bay Farms in Hopkins.

All these farms are open from 1 to 5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. Advance tickets are $25 per car, which gets you into all the farms on both days. Visit carolinafarmstewards.org/mft to buy tickets and check out an interactive map of the farms.

And don’t forget to bring a cooler: Many of these farms offer meats, eggs, dairy products and produce for sale.

Farm Politics


Speaking of farms, state Superintendent of Agriculture Hugh Weathers will face a ballot challenge this year from Soda City Market founder and former pig farmer Emile DeFelice. Déjà vu, right? DeFelice ran against Weathers in 2006 as a Democrat, winning 40 percent of the vote to Weathers’ 60 percent. This time, DeFelice is running on the American Party ticket. That’s the party formed by former Superintendent of Education Jim Rex and former gubernatorial candidate Oscar Lovelace.

Market Down


Vista Marketplace at Whaley, the farmers market at 711 Whaley, announced last week via Facebook that it would be “Temporarily Closed for reevaluation of the need for yet another market in the Columbia area.” We were unable to reach the market organizer by press time. See the Facebook page for further details.

Sample International Food at the Fairgrounds


Head to the Columbia International Festival this Saturday and Sunday for what amounts to an international food court. This year’s festival theme is Brazil, and Cowboy Brazilian Steakhouse will be representing that country’s cuisine; also available will be food from France, Korea, Mexico, Peru, the Philippines and Trinidad and Tobago. Tickets are $5 at the gate and $4 in advance; visit cifonline.org for more information.

Let us know what you think: Email food@free-times.com.

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