There’s hardly a more suited place or community for a successful Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program than Callawassie Island. Considering Callawassie’s incomparable reputation for being passionate about stewardship of their exclusive natural resources, it’s more of a surprise that this program, or something like it, hasn’t been a way of life all along.
What is CSA? Alternately referred to as Community Shared or Supported Agriculture. CSA is defined as, “an alternative distribution system whereby agricultural growth and production is supported by a community committed through subscriptions to the harvest of a certain farm or group of farmers.”
Callawassie is already in the practice of resourcing the land with their own degree of produce, through a partnership between the 25-year-strong Garden Club’s herb garden and Executive Chef Clayton Rollison. A Lowcountry native come home, but with an incredible CV of restaurants and training experiences here and abroad, Rollison made it clear that he had a vision to integrate new cross-pollinating (pun intended) garden programs into growing a higher percentage of produce “on-property.”
He explained in an interview, upon taking the post in the fall of 2021, “I want to start working towards cooking with a smaller geographic footprint of where our food comes from while still incorporating global ingredients to achieve variety,” and accomplishing this by, “implementing as much as possible our Lowcountry indigenous ingredients and techniques and cooking ‘food with a sense of place.’” Rollison was able to fulfill and expand the original passion of the Garden Club to “look out for the beautification and preservation of the Island.”
Now residents have an opportunity to take this objective a step further working with Tuten Farms to bring their CSA program direct to the owners with a “fresh produce” service.
Well-known to flocks of farm fresh afficionados in the area, Tuten describes themselves as a “small, family-owned, and operated farm located in Hampton County, South Carolina offering ‘Fresh from The Field’ produce at multiple farmer’s market locations.” Tuten helps educate that, “CSA baskets help the consumer, the farmer, and the planet.” Change that last word to land, environment, ecology, nature – anything from the ground up – and Callawassie knows from preservation and cultivation, making this endeavor a match made in horticultural heaven.
“Every week, beginning in the fall, residents will have the opportunity to receive a half-bushel of fresh organic vegetables that are being grown just 30 miles away,” emphasizing a harvest that hasn’t been flash frozen and trucked cross-country draining nutrients all along the way. “What shows up in the basket is what it is,” the program details, saying, “Mr. Tuten will fill the basket with what is coming out of the ground THAT WEEK.” You can’t get more bounty-bespoke than that!
This is the farm-to-fork freshness Lowcountry Locals have come to find at Tuten farmstands in Bluffton, Port Royal, and Tybee Island in Georgia. But adding to the growing list of owner amenities and conveniences, Tuten is now bringing the CSA to the doorsteps of Callawassie homes Especially, as the Island population continues to grow in greater numbers of families and children, this perk of a program and a help with balancing family nutrition and health, is all the more celebrated.
Participation in the program requires a four-week commitment. In essence, owners become, in part, farmers themselves – or farmer-investors – as your subscription supports the whole process of agricultural production. It also puts individuals more in touch with nature itself – conditions, needs, changes – which is our middle name in the coastal area, both for nature itself and the relationship between natural resources and culinary brilliance.
The program is seasonal, for more information on participation contact the Welcome Center at Callawassie Island at (843) 987-2737 or email Welcome@CallawassieIsland.com.