Friday, March 2, 2012

The Peach Stand, Fort Mill SC

I didn't work in a store or do any waitressing during High School. Thanks to my parents, it was my job to focus on school, to do well and to propel myself into college. The summer between graduation and before leaving for college, I worked at Filasky's Farm about a mile up the road from my home on Long Island. The memories are indelible! Burlap sacks filled with Silver Queen corn, piles of squash, rows of dewy berries, peaches, tomatoes and potatoes, a huge rotating metal bin filled with fresh lettuces and produce. That summer I learned what it meant to be a "good tired" from a day of physical work. I like the feeling. A bunch of us stole a huge watermelon for my 18th birthday. Somebody got a massive syringe from a veterinarian, and we took turns injecting the melon with vodka, covering up the needle holes with duct tape. My first DIY project. I'm terrible at lying. I paid for the watermelon the next more ways than one. Good times!

Roadside stands still catch my eye, and I like them for what they represent and for their simplicity. Plywood and 2 x 4s, handpainted signs, chicken wire. Some stands still operate on the honor system, where from sunup to sundown you put money for veggies, firewood, cut flowers, etc...into an old coffee can, mason jar or metal cash box.

The corner of Peach Lane and Hwy 160, Fort Mill

Peach trees

The original Peach Stand was built in the '30's by the Springs family. It's a landmark and is open seasonally for peaches and produce.

There's a weathered Bible on the shelf. It does not seem out of place.

The old Peach Stand was moved across the street to make way for the new building in 1976. It's a gas station, restaurant, ice cream parlor, butcher, bakery, produce market and SC products gift store. They'll ship nationwide.
Visit for more info.

I took some snaps, and they have great stuff but I really like the feel of the old stand better!

I picked up some housemade italian sausage, and took a spin through the original part of Fort Mill on my way back home. Another tiny town, stuck in time. It reminds me of Long Island's North Fork, or the Hudson River towns. The 60's architecture mixed with federal and victorian styles. Quaint, with that "worlds away" feeling yet within striking distance to a city.

Main Street. About 30 buildings, some empty storefronts. One pub, antiques shops, a men's clothing store, City Hall. It almost feels like a movie set.

I love the lettering on the roof.

This is the kicker...fried chicken gets top billing over gasoline.

I'll head back to Fort Mill in May for strawberry picking, and maybe to catch the parade through town.

Small towns keep it real. Level & Plumb.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Bosky Acres

I know. I ask too many questions. But, it's because I'm endlessly curious and I like to understand origins and meanings. What are and where are bosky acres?

Turns out they're off the beaten path, and down a long gravel road. In Waxhaw, NC.

Last weekend I treated myself to an on-the-farm class led by culinary expert Heidi Billotto at Bosky Acres Farm in Waxhaw.  (No, my readers, I'm not finished exploring Waxhaw!) Michele Lamb, farmer/owner and Josh Villapando, "Wine Schnerbly" at The Common Market in Charlotte, rounded out the talent.

Heidi, Josh and Michele

Before I get to the meaning of Schnerbly (pronounced schner-blay), I will point you to Shakespeare's 'The Tempest' where Michele got the inspiration to name her farm, "Bosky Acres." Ceres asks,

"Who with thy saffron wings upon my flowers
Diffusest honey drops, refreshing showers:
And with each end of thy blue bow dost crown
My bosky acres and my unshrubb'd down,
Rich scarf to my proud earth; why hath thy queen
Summon'd me hither to this short-grass'd green?"

The Bard does wax poetic, doesn't he?

For someone who's been in the wine biz for 25 years, Josh is totally self-effacing and non-affected. Hence, he is the self-titled Wine Schnerbly...the polar opposite of a snooty sommelier. He brought 5 wines for our group to taste and to buy at very reasonable prices. We quaffed 2008 Monte Maria Barbera d'Asti, 2010 Primaterra Primitivo, 2009 Fairvalley Sauvignon Blanc, 2007 Cecchin Merlot, and 2010 Trinitas Moscato. All cost between $7.99 and $12.49 per bottle, with discounts for 6 or a case. Great deal!

Yay for the schnerbly!

Bosky Acres Farm is ALL about goats. They produce the purest local chevre, in all it's unripened glory. After you experience Michele's chevre, you will bypass the tangy, compressed white log of goat cheese in the supermarket case, with its expiration date 6 months out.

When I tasted truly local brie cheese in the Loire Valley, it was very yellow and a bit runny. After I was assured I would not have to be medivac-ed to Paris, I dove in. The brie was incroyable and decadent. Now, mass produced brie tastes to me like plastic wrapped in chalk. I'm not ruined, I've been saved! I eat less cheese now, but I invest in really good cheese.

To find out more and where you can buy Bosky Acres cheese and Michele's other goat milk based products around the Charlotte area, visit

Light, airy, smooth and super dee-lish!

Michele oversees 25 or so female goats and 2 bucks (it's the farm version of "The Bachelor") and this past kidding season she birthed 70 kids. Wow. The kids are removed from the mother within 30 minutes, so that no bond can be formed. Awww. It sounds harsh, but it's a business...and that's the reality. Most of the kids are sold and a few are kept to replenish the herd. We were very lucky that our class was held on Feb 25th--we got to see, hold and bottle feed the 10-day old kids. They're little puppies, and their ears are like velvet!

"Are you my mother?"

Heidi rocked the polka dots...

After we all got blue ribbons for milking a goat, we petted the dawgs and bottle fed the babies, we headed back in to watch Michele make a 2 gallon batch of chevre (she usually processes 50 gallons at a time...6 days a week!) Interesting facts~~goat milk has more butterfat and it's naturally homogenized.

The curds separate from the whey (it drips into bowls)... a bit of salt is added and the chevre is
ready to be portioned out. Pasteurization for the daily production happens in a sterile tank, but Michele employed a shorter home-version process for our small batch. The whey is donated to a neighboring farm, and fed to the pigs. Nothing goes to waste!

While the cheese was setting up, Heidi led a goat cheese cooking demo while Josh poured the wines.

For more information about Heidi's classes, visit or write to Heidi at

For more info about The Common Market visit or write to Josh Villapando at

Italian stuffed mushrooms with goat cheese fondue.

Rounds of chevre, with herbs, lemon zest, sun dried tomatoes and EVOO...a spectacular marinade that's great for goat cheese or feta.

Roll the marinated rounds in panko, then lightly pan sear and serve over salad!

Spinach and goat cheese Cannelloni, with diced tomatoes and bechamel sauce.Wow.

We had sauteed green apple slices with goat cheese caramel sauce, and toasted chopped hazlenuts. Sorry no pix ;-(

T'was another wonderful day...learning something new, meeting like-minded neighbors, sipping and supping, and having a peek inside a working farm that's closed to the public. I like stepping behind the ropes.

Life is good, Level & Plumb!