Scarcely a week goes by that Charleston isn’t recognized nationally for its terrific restaurants. Early on the Farm-to-Table scene, the Holy City has been turning out heavenly food for years (make that centuries).
Turns out this is just one more way in which Charleston is part of a big economic story. As noted in Smart Money, big investors like TIAA-CREF are fattening their portfolios with fertile farmlands. Betting on a strong population growth and this basic human need to eat, investors are pro-grower.
Farms are not only hot – they are hot beds of high tech. Don’t be surprised to find Farmer Brown sporting an I-pad (and driving a Prius). The magazine reported that a TIAA-CREF money manager visiting an 8,000-acre farm was impressed when the farmer used a computer to assess which fields were underproductive.
And you may have missed this recent article in The New York Times, which tracked Lowcountry farmer Emile DeFelice around in his Prius as he assessed the health of 200 Berkshire hogs, acres of commercial tomato plantings and his thoughts on an agrarian lifestyle. His only complaint: it’s time to retire the hayseed image many attach to those who work the land.
Noted the Times: “the South today has just the right combination of climate, culinary skill, regional chic and receptive audience,” to launch a revolution that changes what, and how, Americans eat.
“They want to reclaim the agrarian roots of Southern cooking, restore its lost traditions and dignity, and if all goes according to plan, completely redefine American cuisine for a global audience.”
It’s in this spirit that we encourage readers to participate in the Southern Living poll that seeks the Tastiest Town in the South. Charleston has already made the top 10, but its reader votes that will earn it the ultimate crown.
Other cities competing for the distinction: Baltimore, MD; Birmingham, AL; Charlottesville, VA; Decatur, GA; Houston, TX; Lafayette, LA; Louisville, KY; New Orleans, LA and Raleigh, NC. But they don’t have shrimp and grits nor benne wafers. And they don’t have Emile DeFelice.
Voting ends January 31. We’re betting on another win for Charleston.