In the midst of all the perfectly paired dinners and bustling after parties, Frank Lee and the team at Slightly North of Broad hosted a wine and food festival luncheon that was colorful, heartfelt, and truly memorable. Five local and regional purveyors came together to share their stories while a team of talented chefs were able to paint the pictures.
Frank Lee started off by explaining how important it is for us to support our local farmers, fisherman, and producers and how integral they are to the food we make. Pete Ambrose of Ambrose Family Farms got emotional as he thanked Frank Lee and everyone in the room for keeping the farm in his family, saying, “I was ready to sell the farm until the community embraced us and the locavore movement began. Thank you for for supporting us.”
As Morgan Westbrook educated the room on Gose and White Thai beer, large plates filled with Lowland Farm deviled eggs, Sapelo Island clams, Keegan-Filion Farm chicken rillettes, and Ambrose Farm charred spring onion dip with sweet potato chips, Holy City Farms heirloom tomatoes, and pickles were presented for the table to share. Everything but the clams was from within 50 miles of Charleston. The charred spring onion dip was so addicting I wanted to take a jar home with me.
Frank Lee then introduced a special guest: Chris Stewart, co-owner and chef at The Glass Onion. Stewart worked with Lee at S.N.O.B. before partnering with Sarah O’Kelley to start The Glass Onion, so the reunion was a nice treat. Stewart’s Keegan-Filion Farm Belle’s whole hog sausage was plated with head cheese and a phenomenal salad of pickled rutabaga and kale.
Wes Eason from Sunburst Trout Farms talked about how important it is for his farm to maintain a strict quality control program that ensures their water remains free of pollutants and their feed free of antibiotics, hormones, and animal by-products. He ensured guests that if they haven’t been fans of trout, they will after eating what was sitting on the plate and front of them. Plates were empty in a matter of minutes, so it was clear everyone thoroughly enjoyed the fresh Sunburst Farm grilled trout with trout roe and chive butter, including myself. To the side was a crostini with smoked trout, Ambrose Farm spring onion hoecakes, and a bowl of crowder peas with smoked bacon. All of this was washed down with Westbrook’s One Claw rye pale ale.
Quite possibly the most visually stunning dish of the festival was the Lowland Farm root vegetable salad with local farmer’s goat cheese and herb vinaigrette. I felt bad tampering with this piece of art, but after one bite, I couldn’t resist.
For dessert, the all-star culinary team served Charleston Artisan Cheesehouse Baterry Park Brie with Ambrose Farm baby beets, crushed pecans, and aged sherry vinegar.
The locavore luncheon was truly a celebration of sustainability and the products of surrounding culinary regions. Charleston is lucky to have such a tight-knit community and we hope the celebration continues for years to come.