TIMMONSVILLE, SC (WMBF) Something you can always depend on coming from a rural county like Florence is food. They raise and they grow a lot of it in this community.
The Florence area is a growing hub for a kind of farming that has become very popular lately - organic, sustainable farming. It's the kind of produce and meat you see at more and more farmers markets these days.
The popularity of farmer's markets has exploded over the last decade of so. The idea of growing, selling and, of course, buying local fruits, vegetables, dairy products and even meats has really begun to touch every segment of society.
Outside Timmonsville at the Ovis Hill Farms they are taking that popularity to a whole new level.
"Most of us have lost our connection with our food. Adults and kids both," Charlie Caldwell said.
Charlie Caldwell runs a regular farm, with regular sheep, but his mission is no regular mission. Charlie wants you to reconnect. He's not asking you to milk the cows or dig up your own potatoes. He simply wants you to appreciate the work and those who do it, and the ground that's tilled everyday to bring you the food you enjoy.
So while most days on this farm are spent farming, others are spent connecting with those who may not fully understand the path from the soil to the dining room table.
Ovis Hill Farm is a classroom like no other in the Pee Dee.
"You'd be surprised the number of kids that think that their food comes from the grocery store," said Lori Stokes.
It's Lori's job to fix that little misinterpretation. Though most of the kids who come to Ovis Hill Farms are guaranteed to learn a lot about organic growing, sustainable living and where wool comes from, others pick up on more obscure lessons.
"I thought cows only had 7 stomachs. I actually discovered they have 4. I always thought it was 7 and now it's kinda like a smack in the face," said Jake Brandt.
Hundreds of kids and teens come through this farm every year. Hundreds of pounds of produce and meats go out to farmer's markets from Florence to Myrtle Beach every week. And one growing co-op of farms across the Pee Dee is seeing a customer base that just seems to grow every day.
The goal is sustainability, and delivering on the organic promise, but at the end of the day, it's really about the food.
"People come because they want to eat better and then they become hooked because of the flavor," Charlie Caldwell said.
Charlie adds that all local farmers markets are created equal. If you ever question whether or not what you're about to buy is actually locally grown, or locally raised, simply ask.