April 22nd was Earth Day and we decided to take a mini field trip off-island! Our two Food & Beverage Marketing Coordinators, Nicole Leaf and Meghan D’Mello, along with Resort Chef Brian McGowan and Atlanta Food Blogger, Malika Bowling took a tour of Cherry Point Seafood and Ambrose Farm. Of course, the trip wouldn’t have been complete without stopping by the Angel Oak Tree.
The Angel Oak Tree is thought to be one of the oldest living things east of the Mississippi River, it is between 400-500 years old and stands 66.5 feet tall, measures 28 feet in circumference and produces shade that covers 17,200 square feet. One of the largest oak trees in the country, and South Carolina’s most imposing works of nature…this is an absolute must-see, especially on Earth Day!
Our next stop was Cherry Point Seafood, approximately 30 miles from Kiawah Island by car, now had we been traveling by boat we’d be there in no time at all! Although the next fishing boat to come in wasn’t scheduled until Friday, there was no shortage of things to see and people to talk to. Micah LaRoche, the owner of this operation, was there with his sun kissed skin, weathered, hard-working hands and good ol’ southern smile; charming us with stories from previous generations of fishermen and families at Cherry Point. Established in 1933, Micah later inherited this business from his father; he grew up on the docks of this Wadmalaw Island gem. Local chefs, residents, and tourists alike, come out to buy the freshest shrimp, tuna, redfish, mahi, and of course, wreckfish. Proud of our ‘hook to table’ initiative, Chef Jonathan Banta of The Atlantic Room at The Ocean Course stops by the docks every so often to bring local catch back to his restaurant.
After making our way off the wobbly wooden docks, we headed straight to Ambrose Farm on Wadmalaw Island – a family run farm since 1976. Farmer Pete Ambrose was in his strawberry fields when we pulled up, he spoke with us about his passion for farming and the concept of the You-Pick Farm, “it connects people with the earth, and people get to find out where their food is coming from”. After telling us stories of young students visiting on field trips and being amazed by carrots growing underground to local chefs calling to tell him the natural flavor of his green beans are unbeatable and they didn’t have to do anything to them, we walked around and took a look for ourselves. With over 135 acres of land, Chef McGowan led the way and pointed out all of the homegrown produce…carrots, peppers, squash, onions, lettuce, beets, asparagus, kale, broccoli…the list goes on. With strawberry season in full swing, visitors were scattered throughout the fields picking fresh berries off the vine.
This trip was the perfect way to celebrate Earth day! It gave us more of an idea as to where our Farm to Table and Hook to Table concepts come from and the partnerships these businesses have with our local chefs. Next day off you have…definitely take a trip to Wadmalaw Island and check it out for yourself.