South Carolina is home to amazing restaurants that combine delicious food with local taste. Many of these outstanding eateries take part in the South Carolina Department of Agriculture’s Fresh on the Menu (FOTM) program.
Bacon Bros. Public House in Greenville is one of the newest FOTM restaurants, and as its name suggests, bacon is on the menu along with a lot of locally grown produce and agricultural products. The restaurant boasts a state-of-the-art smokehouse behind the building, and a curator inside, showcasing house-made smoked meats. The majority of the restaurant’s food is made in-house and produced in or directly around South Carolina.
Chef Anthony Gray says a plate of bacon inspired him, his business partner and the restaurant’s owners to open Bacon Bros.
That is exactly what the FOTM program is designed to do. FOTM restaurants source at least 25 percent Certified South Carolina Grown produce and agricultural products on their menus when in season. Buying Certified South Carolina Grown increases market opportunities for farmers and allows consumers to make a farm-to-restaurant- table connection.
Making that connection is easier now with the FOTM app. The free web-based app lists nearly 300 restaurants and provides a mapping feature for each location. The app’s sections include restaurants, chefs, roots and recipes. The roots section allows users to learn about South Carolina farms and produce companies supplying FOTM restaurants.
The app is available on iOS systems and Androids 4.0 or higher. To download the app, visit www.freshonthemenuapp.com.
Great recipes using South Carolina products are available, including Gray’s recipe for Cornbread Waffles & Chicken.
When browsing restaurants, you will find local establishments, including Saltus River Grill. The Beaufort-based restaurant’s signature dish is shrimp and grits, which combines Columbia’s Adluh grits, local shrimp and bacon.
Since opening in 2003, more focus has grown on what the region provides. Saltus now has relationships with local growers, fishermen and butchers.
“Small growers don’t have the luxury of bouncing around with buyers. They run very slim margins, and a consistent buyer for them can help them execute their business plan and grow,” Saltus owner Lantz Price says.
For Saltus, taking part in FOTM was a logical move.
“It calls attention to our state that is rich in the resources that allow a program like this to bring attention to the dining opportunities in South Carolina,” Price says.
That same sentiment is shared by many FOTM restaurants, including Bacon Bros. Public House.
“We want to give back as much as we can to the hard-working people of this great state,” Gray says. “Also, there are great products being grown here. Why not utilize what is right here in South Carolina?”
Consider the answer to that question the next time you look for a good place to eat dinner in the Lowcountry, the Upstate or anywhere in between, or when you shop to make a great meal at home. After all, Fresh on the Menu can be served up anywhere you find Certified SC Grown. And in our state, that’s just about everywhere. Remember – it’s a matter of taste!