11 Sep 2023
Being a local here on the Isle of Palms means that we can experience what Lowcountry life is like, year-round.
Turns out, it’s pretty terrific.
This is not said to brag. Mainly, it gives us here at EP an opportunity to share some insider info, to help make your visit to the Charleston area even better.
Local is best.
One of the coolest trends in recent years, has been the “rediscovery” of the importance of shopping local.
Decades (and centuries) ago, this was the norm… but somehow we got away from that - far away. We shipped products and food from thousands of miles away, believing that was somehow better. Turns out, it’s not.
It’s much healthier, fresher, better for you and better for the planet to simply buy from local places nearby. Thankfully, many of the best chefs around have embraced the concept. And the rest of us are getting onboard.
Our favorite local farm… Boone Hall!
Many folks know Boone Hall Plantation as one of the Lowcountry’s most visited tourist sites. After all, it boasts the iconic “Avenue of Oaks” oak allée, the grand row of magnificent live oak trees leading up to the manor house. It’s been the location of many a movie shoot, including “The Notebook” and the Civil War series, “North & South.”
But Boone Hall is also a working farm, and a very important one at that. They’ve been growing things on the land for more than three centuries. It’s quite a rarity to find such a place still functioning in America.
120 acres are currently being cultivated, to produce a wide variety of fresh produce during the spring, summer and fall seasons. In fact, the South Carolina Department of Agriculture has said that Boone Hall is as diverse as any farm in the state. The dark, rich coastal soil produces abundant harvests, especially when managed with care by their top-notch staff.
A cornucopia of produce.
Boone Hall Farms produces a wide variety of fresh fruits and vegetables you can find growing there throughout the seasons.
Here’s a partial list: several varieties of vine-ripe tomatoes, yellow squash, zucchini, red and yellow peppers, green peppers, regular cucumbers, pickling cukes, okra, corn, green beans, carrots, potatoes, onions, banana peppers, jalapeños, Cubanelle peppers, blackberries, blueberries, strawberries, peaches, muscadine grapes, Crenshaw melons, cantaloupe, watermelon (seeded, seedless, and yellow), pumpkins, as well as plenty of plants, hanging baskets and flowers (for example… rows and rows of the beloved sunflowers!)
To help kids learn where their food comes from - and also because it’s just plain fun - Boone Hall offers U-picking at different times of the year… for strawberries, blueberries, tomatoes, and grapes. Uber-fresh!
When you are planning to buy local, it helps to know just what’s in season, and when. Certified SC Grown has put together a great page on their website which tells you exactly that. Here’s a handy link.
A brand new store, with a very special name.
Boone Hall Farms recently built and opened their beautiful new roadside market, a grand timber frame structure made of cypress wood. It’s called Willie’s Roadside Market - and the name bears explaining.
Willie McRae and his family owned Boone Hall Plantation for many years. Willie loved the place to its core. He had a special spot in his heart for the farm, where he was often found toiling away and making things better. He was also a firm believer that the land should be shared by everyone. To that end, before his passing in 2020, he created a conservation easement with the Lowcountry Land Trust, ensuring that the land will be protected and enjoyed by the public for generations to come. It was a wildly generous and farsighted act.
It’s perfectly fitting that the market is named for him.
Willie’s Roadside Market
Willie’s Roadside Market is a lovely, lively place to visit. Each day they host different specials, like ones honoring different segments of their clientele. Examples include Earlybird Mondays, Teacher Tuesdays, Senior Wednesdays, Thankful Thursdays (healthcare workers get a discount), Frontline Fridays, and the like. Their “Two for Tuesdays” have been a particular hit and offer some really great deals. Look for the giant chalk board at the front entrance to find out that week’s schedule.
The market is open Monday through Saturday from 10:00 am till 5:00 p.m. For your GPS, it’s located at 2434 Highway 17 North in Mount Pleasant. From the Isle of Palms, just head over the Connector, turn right onto Hwy 17, drive a little ways north, then look for it on your left. It’s not far at all.
You can call the Boone Hall Farms’ Information Line at (843) 856-5366 for more info and the latest updates. Or, check out their frequently updated Facebook page or their website for great photos, videos, stories and more.
Throughout the year, Boone Hall Farms hosts special events that draw big crowds and provide plenty of photo ops and fun. They involve home-grown goodness plus often bring in much more, like carnival thrill rides, circus groups and petting zoos. Word to the wise: get there early since tickets often sell out.
Lowcountry Strawberry Festival in late March/early April;
Sunflower Celebration in July and August;
Pumpkin Patch & Corn Maze in late September and into October;
Boone Hall Fright Nights in late September through October;
Christmas Tree Festival in November.
So while you’re here on the IOP, check out a local farm that is a farm, and so much more. It doesn’t matter the season - you’ll always find something great at Boone Hall Farms.
your Isle of Palms vacation blogger