Rooted in the Lowcountry

Food
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FARM IN BLUFFTON HAS CAREFULLY NURTURED A REMARKABLE NEW DINING EXPERIENCE.

It may be hard to believe now, but prevailing belief once held that you couldn’t make gourmet cuisine work in Bluffton. It was, after all, a working-class river town. If you weren’t steaming oysters or smoking a hog, you were overthinking it.

But over time, Bluffton woke up to the endless culinary possibilities beyond its traditional staples. And thus began the epicurean renaissance currently elevating Bluffton’s foodie scene.

The epicenter of all of this is FARM, a restaurant whose fame comes as much from its mouth-watering cuisine as its monastic devotion to local sourcing. Yes, the entire farm-to-table movement is everywhere, but you won’t ever find it expressed as literally — or as deliciously — as you will at FARM.

Let’s start with the literal expression of farm to table. Founder Ryan Williamson’s journey to launch FARM started quite literally on a farm — his 5-acre Low Country Farms, tucked away among the trees off the stretch of May River Road leading to Savannah. His produce was already famed for its flavorful contributions to the menus at Palmetto Bluff when he started researching local food culture.

“The one thing that I found it lacked was locally sourced food in any of the restaurants that I liked dining in,” Williamson said.

That research led him to the determination behind that old adage: if you want something done right, you have to do it yourself. He joined with former Palmetto Bluff executive chef Brandon Carter, with whom he’d already been working, along with managing partner Josh Heaton, and “after 16 months of stress, grey hairs, near heart attacks and financial hemorrhaging,” FARM opened and Bluffton’s food scene hasn’t been the same since.

They’re not just making gourmet cuisine work in Bluffton, they’re helping it define Bluffton. In Carter’s kitchen, classic collard greens are transformed into something unforgettable by skilled application of smoked chilies and cider vinegar. May River oysters remind us why we live here through a subtle preparation of chili garlic butter and Meyer lemon (try them fried with Georgia white shrimp on Sunday taco night).

Carter’s extensive experience in world-class kitchens infuses every dish with flavors and textures that heighten the experience of knowing everything you taste didn’t travel far to get here.

“All of our food purchases are from local and regional purveyors and small business food distributors,” said Williamson. “That’s literally how we order each week. I text, call or email these same people and we get it done, every week.”

That sourcing goes all the way to the beverage list, with beer and spirits joining meat and veg offerings with serious local cred.

Gourmet cuisine. In Bluffton. So much for prevailing belief.