What better way to celebrate Earth Day than to visit a restaurant that thrives on using locally grown food and protecting the environment?
They are better known as farm-to-table restaurants. Many have opened up across the upstate as people grow concerned about sustainable food systems and ways to support local farmers while tackling food insecurities.
“If you think about it, the further your food has to travel, the more powerless you are to access it,” said Beth Keefauver, professor at the University of South Carolina Upstate. “So for me the definition of sustainable food is a community supported system where food is grown locally and locally accessible and it’s fair. “
Farm-to-table restaurants are economically attractive, Keefauver notes, attracting tourists keen to sample local cuisine.
Felicia Cavallini, a professor at Limestone University who focuses on behavioral nutrition, says farm-to-table restaurants can also help build pride within a community.
“I really feel like local farmers, people need to know who they are, and they need to know where they are, and they need to know what they’re growing at different times of the day. year. It creates a certain pride within the community, ”Cavallini said.
In honor of Earth Day, here are some farm-to-table restaurants in Spartanburg:
Tulip Tree chef Dean Thomas said Caroline’s farm-to-table restaurant cuisine is focused on supporting all that is handmade and local has won them strong popularity despite its opening during the pandemic.
► What local farms and producers do they work with? Jackson Farms, Tyger River Smart Farm, Hub City Farmers’ Market and Sweet Grass Dairy. The restaurant also makes its own breads, preserves and pickles.
► Why is it important for them to be from farm to fork? Freshness.
“It means you get the bounty of what nature gives you. It’s sustainable. It’s fresh,” Thomas said. “When things are in abundance, this is when they taste best, and that also supports the local. You have to support the local farms as much as you can.”
► The best time to consult them? Thursdays for their special Carolina Carbonara dinner, which includes a starter, sides and salad for $ 20 or at her next Mother’s Day brunch.
► All the details: The Tulip Tree is located at 121 W. Main St. in downtown Spartanburg and is open 4:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday and 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Saturday and Sunday for brunch. . Plates usually cost around $ 30 for a few courses.
Heritage – A Milltown Restaurant
Executive Chef John Robert Bandy said Heirloom – A Milltown Eatery is a Southern restaurant at heart and its farm-to-table model helps celebrate all that is local while serving up fine Southern cuisine.
► What local farms and producers do they work with? Naturally Fresh Farms, Spicewalla, Cold Water Creek Farms, Joyce Farms and Bak’d.
► What do they think farm-to-table restaurants bring to the community? Link.
“I think it gives a sense of authenticity that’s there,” Bandy said. “I think there is a major bond that is forged in the community and it just helps build everyone up. Everyone’s success depends on everyone.”
► The best time to consult them? During their regular hours or during their next specials on Mother’s Day and Father’s Day.
► All the details: Heritage: A Milltown restaurant is located at 805 Spartan Blvd. by the Hilton Garden Inn in Spartanburg and open 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. for Sunday brunch. Plates typically cost between $ 16 and $ 26 per person.
The farmer’s table
Farmer’s Table co-owner Joel Sansbury said his wife and co-owner Lenora were the first to open a farm-to-table restaurant in Spartanburg, inspired by their time in San Francisco. The restaurant focuses on American comfort food and brunch favorites.
► What local farms and producers do they work with? Great Harvest Bread Company, Silver Lake Farm, Trail Place Farms, Tyger River Smart Farm, Little River Roasting Company
► What do they like best about being farm-to-fork? The taste and quality of the ingredients.
“If you’ve ever had eggs fresh from the local farm versus some kind of generic store-bought egg, you can spot it instantly, just the flavor and quality,” Sansbury said.
► The best time to consult them? During your next neighborhood, family or professional event. Since restaurants had to close at the start of the pandemic, The Farmer’s Table focused on the restaurant and food truck aspects of their business.
► All the details: A food truck visit can be requested by emailing [email protected] or via a Facebook message on The farmer’s table page. They are generally available for a minimum of $ 750, which can be paid for by the host or via attendee orders.
Samantha Swann covers Spartanburg County K-12 schools and colleges and the food scene in downtown and beyond. She is a graduate of the University of South Carolina Upstate and Greenville Technical College. Contact her at [email protected]