The hot weather broke Saturday here in the Greenville, just in time for the 10th annual Upstate Farm Tour! This Carolina Farm Stewardship Association (CFSA) event featured 22 local farms, including 6 stops new to the tour from last year. We picked up our button at Swamp Rabbit Grocery & Cafe and come Saturday, hit the road – due south.
Last year we ventured west (see post 1 here and post 2 here), visiting a total of nine farms over two days, most of them located in the southwest to northwest range from Greenville. This year we turned our attention to the south, to the farms CFSA had included on the ‘green adventure trail,’ a route that would take us from Belton down to Honea Path and around to Hodges and Ware Shoals. Although one of the stops would be a repeat from the previous year, the distances we would have to cover were already pretty ambitious without even trying to switch out stops. So a little after noon we hit the road, and just after 1pm arrived at Possum Kingdom Kreamery in Belton.
This is one of the kids’ favorite farms in the Upstate, having been there previously on the farm tour as well as with school groups. In addition to the licensed dairy and creamery, the farm features a menagerie of animals including the goats (which produce the raw milk that is also used to make fresh farmstead goat cheeses) and their kids, free range hens, ducks, the rare breed of draft horses (drum horses), a fawn, a hog, dogs, turkeys, cats, ponies and even Teddy the llama and monkeys Jimmy, Toby and Spencer!
Live music offered the perfect backdrop; the Americana/bluegrass/blues/roots band Conservation Theory out of Tamassee, SC was on hand to keep things lively with toe-tapping tunes that felt like the soundtrack to the Possum Kingdom experience. Conservation Theory plays a lot of local venues; you can catch them Friday night at the Appalachian Ale House in Pickens and Saturday at Velo Fellow right here in Greenville for some 'romping stomping Appalachian Folk'!
Roots Smokehouse was serving up their unique twist on tostadas – the $8 plate was loaded with smoked chicken, corn salsa, fresh veggies and a ton more, and topped with cilantro and lime for a delicious meal while kicking back and listening to the tunes. If you were still hungry you could visit the various vendors that were on hand: City Scape Winery (which we visited on last year’s tour), Lazy Farmer Rabbit & Produce (that we saw that morning in the TR farmer’s market with their luscious peaches!), Bethel Trails Farm (pastured pork, beef & chicken, also familiar from last year's tour), Simmon's Produce, Pound Cakes by Dorcus and Bella Vita Farm with local honey & fresh baked bread.
The farm store was open for tasting, and after sampling a couple of the spreadable chèvres we settled on the garlic & basil, and plain. The best thing about the plain is that you can pretty much make your own flavor – so far I’ve tried it with blueberries, green onions and honey (separately of course!). The boys also sampled the raw goat milk and declared it tastes just like regular milk. Although it was nice to buy these products straight from the source, Possum Kingdom Kreamery is a long drive, which is why we are lucky that nearby Swamp Rabbit Café & Grocery carries several PKK products. In addition to farmers markets across the Upstate you’ll find their products in a handful of other local stores (see website for details).
We paused one final time before continuing on to the next stop on the farm tour – in the garden. Raised beds full of tomatoes, squash, peppers and other vegetables, with a pastoral setting of horse pastures beyond! We could have easily spent another couple of hours at PKK, listening to music, eating another tostada, the boys petting the goats – but we were off to the next stop on the tour… Happy Critters Ranch! (to be continued…)