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  • J.F. Rowan

Pass The Napkins

On occasion, I like to touch on the food aspect of our travel experience. In the last three to four weeks while we've been back on the road, we sure have had our share of new and cool food experiences. So let us start with…well…where we pushed off from, Vermont.

Smoked Salmon

Homemade Smoked Salmon on an Everything bagel with red onion, capers and a horseradish sauce.

My Uncle Richard and Aunt Roberta make a smoked salmon that is far better than any smoked salmon you can buy in the store, or any deli that I know. They not only made us batch while we were there, but have passed the process on to us, so that we can keep the tradition going. I can't wait to get to an extended house sit where I can try it myself! On a bagel or all by itself, the taste was superb.

While visiting them in Vermont, Yvette and I were also introduced to what has been called, “The best bacon in Vermont!” And indeed it is! A small, family-owned smokehouse in Windsor Vermouth called Green Mountain Smoke House creates heavenly treats such as smoked ham, bacon and more such as bratwurst, breakfast sausage and a variety of smoked cheese. Some of which are nicely tucked into our freezer to be savored as we travel.

Green Mountain Smokehouse

One of the owners of the Green Mountain Smokehouse.

Green Mountain Smokehouse Bacon.

While passing through Massachusetts we always try and swing buy Chmura's Bakery in Indian Orchard. If you like Rye Bread, this is the place to go. And, they have so much more! We stopped off for a loaf for the freezer!

Chmura's Bakery

Chmura's bakery in Indian Orchard, MA.

As most of you know, our first direct destination is West Columbia, South Carolina for some minor maintenance at ProVan industries. Along the way, we enjoyed a few great breakfast spots such as the L & S Diner in Harrisonburg Virginia and the Family Diner in Bunn South Carolina. Both had some great food but what we liked is being able to sample what's local. Fresh eggs, sausage, grits, scrapple and the like. And oh, don’t forget those biscuits! We don't always go out for breakfast, but when we do, we try and pick spots that have at least 4 or more stars when searched through your google app and are local, family owned businesses Most of the time, it's accurate.

L & S Diner

"L & S Diner," Family owned. Harrisonburg, Virginia.

The Farmer's Kitchen

Breakfast from "The Farmers Kitchen" in Bunn, North Carolina.

We were not able to find a homestead demonstration on the curing of hams as we had hoped, but what we did find was a great little farm in Blair South Carolina called Gypsy Wind Farms where a husband and wife team keep Magalista Pigs and Barbados Black Belly sheep! They also raise ducks and chickens for meat and eggs. Though they didn’t have any lamb on hand, we were able to purchase plenty of pork products such as Boston Butt, chops, a rack of ribs and a few dozen eggs.

Gypsy Wind Farms of Blair, SC.

I have to say that if you’ve ever bought conventional pork in a grocery store, you’re taste buds secretly are talking smack about your food choices. Once you sink your teeth into one of these pork chops, you’ll never by pork in a grocery store again, ever. Now the takeaway from this isn’t for folks from out of town to necessarily travel 500 miles just to get something better than what you can find in a grocery store. No, it’s to look around and support folks in your local area that are doing something similar. Which is what we try and do everywhere we go.

Shrimp and Grits, The Palms

Shrimp and Grits. In this case, the grits are a "Grit Cake." Rounded off with a little collards and HPV (Hot Pepper Vinegar)

Last year while we were in the Newberry area, we found some great southern onion sausage, local eggs and a restaurant that quite possibly surpass the great state of Alabama as far as Shrimp N’ Grits are concerned. So, we did a repeat visit. Talk about consistent! The service and food was even better than last year. The Figaro Market in downtown Newberry supplied the onion sausage and The Palms Restaurant on the outskirts of town served up a mean Shrimp and Grits with Tasso all cozy atop a creamy cheddar grit cake!

Figaro Market in Newberry, South Carolina

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