Just off of Highway 21 going into Beaufort, past Spanish moss draped trees and down a winding, country road, you’ll find a South Carolina tradition that’s been thriving for well over 100 years. Rest Park Farm is a family owned and operated produce farm in Seabrook, SC, that’s been passed down through the McCleod family since 1884.
Rest Park Farm is the home of Pinckney’s Produce, the largest Community Supported Agriculture program in South Carolina. Urbie West and his son Ashby took on this unique model of providing their freshly grown produce to South Carolina families in 2011.
A “CSA” as it’s called, operates based on customers pre-ordering their “share” in the farm. By purchasing your share of the crops they grow in December, Urbie and Ashby are able to order and plant seed, tend to the land, and prepare crops in a sustainable way that helps keep the farm thriving and your kitchen stocked with fresh produce come April. Once the harvest is underway, the West family delivers these shares to their members on a weekly basis. Pinckney’s Produce serves the Beaufort, Bluffton, Hilton Head Island, Charleston, Summerville, Orangeburg and greater Columbia areas.
Since 2011, the West family has served 400 – 800 families each season. There are two growing seasons per year, spring and fall. Each season is usually 12 weeks long. During those 12 weeks, members receive a once-weekly delivery of their share of the harvest for that week. Most weeks have at least 6 – 12 different items, and all items are grown by the Wests, and are harvested and packed the day before members receive them. This labor-intensive model ensures a superior quality product, longer shelf life, higher nutrient content and better tasting produce.
Members then head to their chosen drop site on their designated pick up day, take their boxes home, and enjoy them until next week’s delivery. Pinckney’s Produce even provides clean, bright green boxes for members to exchange weekly to add to the convenience of getting your produce.
Their Membership Coordinator, Katie Thompson, has also been with the program since 2011. She searches diligently for recipes to help members make the most of their boxes each week. Every Monday, Urbie sends out an email updating members on what’s in harvest that week, and sends along several recipes, as well as crop updates, and member photos and contributions from their very active social media pages on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.
While Pinckney’s Produce was originally started in Holly Hill, SC in 2009 by another father and son team from the Thompson family, the Wests have carried on the tradition and have helped grow the program by providing longer and better growing seasons with their coastal location in Seabrook. While members sign up to take on the risk and rewards of Mother Nature with supporting the farm this way, Pinckney’s Produce has had twelve very successful harvest seasons and are preparing for their thirteenth harvest this fall.
The season will start with all of your summer favorites, such as melons, sweet corn, squash, zucchini, cucumbers, peppers, tomatoes and more. Once the weather starts to cool, you’ll see more hearty varieties such as lettuces, broccoli, cauliflower, kohlrabi, cabbage, and root vegetables such as turnips, rutabagas, and sweet potatoes. Pinckney’s also usually partners with another local farm to provide pumpkins each fall.
Pinckney’s have planted over forty-five different varieties of vegetables in anticipation for a great harvest this fall. There is still time to join the fall season for Pinckney’s Produce. You can choose from a selection of share sizes and also the 12 week or 4 week delivery option. Pinckney’s offers small, medium, large, and extra-large sized shares, with their medium share being the most popular and their member’s best value for families of two to four people.
Their 12 week fall season runs September 15th – December 11th, with a delivery each week except for the week of Thanksgiving. There are also three smaller 4-week “Sessions” that member can sign up for if they’d like a small commitment. These smaller sessions run Weeks 1 – 4, Weeks 5 – 8, and Weeks 9 – 12. There is also a small delivery fee of $2 per week for each share delivered more than 35 miles from the farm to help offset gas and maintenance fees for their refrigerated delivery truck.
Joining Pinckney’s Produce is easy, just log onto PinckneysProduce.com and follow the prompts to sign up for your share of some of the freshest SC grown produced delivered to you weekly.