Gwen Fowler



S.C. products not to miss

Posted 6/2/2010 10:00:00 PM
Do you make something that’s so good that your friends tell you to bottle it and sell it? That’s what happened to Mary Sparrow and Sharon May, both of Columbia.

When Sparrow’s son opened The Oyster Bar in Columbia, she began making her special cocktail sauce fresh every day. People loved it, and that’s how Mother Shucker’s Original Cocktail Sauce came into being.

Employees who prepare oysters at John Sparrow’s restaurant staff – the shuckers – came up with a special name for Mary Sparrow: Mother Shucker. 

Something similar nudged Sharon May to bottle her May’s Unique Vinaigrette, which has been the signature dressing at her Hennessy’s Restaurant and Bar on Main Street for 26 years. It is sold in stores in 22 states and online. 

Sparrow and May were among a number of South Carolina vendors at the Taste food show in Myrtle Beach in May. Here are some others I met and how to find their products:

At Sugah Cakes in Spartanburg, Kristen Stinson packages everything you need to make a Red velvet, classic Southern pound or pumpkin pound cake in a pretty box. It’s also the place to go for Bob McGregor’s pimento cheese.

Kim Nelson and her mother, Geraldine Adams, have been baking cakes together in Pauline, S.C., since Nelson was a little girl. Through their company, Daisy Cakes, they’ve been selling cakes for years in the Spartanburg area and now offer them to be shipped nationwide. 

Robin Rhea of Charleston makes Slatherin’ Sauce, which claims to be “The Cure for Boring Food.” The ketchup- and honey-based sauce is good on chicken, pork, beef, seafood and more. A spicy version is coming out soon. 

Carolina’s Harvest of Summerville makes a variety of bakery mixes: biscuit, blueberry muffin, chocolate chip cookies, banana nut bread, pizza dough and more. The mixes are sold in Piggly Wiggly, gift stores and online.

They’re not food, but they’d be appreciated by the cook. Charleston Chops makes beautiful cutting boards of cherry, maple and sapele. The company has a number of styles and also custom makes boards, carts or islands. 

Flowers in the Forest is full-service florist near Myrtle Beach that also offers gourmet gift baskets, gourmet coffees and fun items such as chocolate cigars. 

William Miller of Sumter makes Willie’s Hog Dust, a rub for pork, chicken, seafood, vegetables and more that comes in original, sweet or spicy. 

Tom Raines of Simpsonville makes Uncle Pete’s BBQ Sauce from a family recipe handed down for three generations. It comes in spicy, original or hickory. It’s available online, at a number of South Carolina stores and in some other states. 

Jason McElveen of Spartanburg founded Native Tongues Gourmet Sauce to bottle his Japanese Pink Sauce. His website includes recipes for how to make fish tacos, crab dip, quesadillas and other dishes using the sauce. See

Nick Belmont’s family has been making almond chocolate toffee for years, and in 2006 he and his mother formed a company, Dottie's Toffee, to sell it to others. Dot was the name of his grandmother, who was known around Spartanburg for her toffee.

Billy Wade of Greenville bottles Maggie’s Sweet William Pickles, the pickles his grandmother started making in 1950 in her kitchen. Contact him at

In addition to muscadine wine, Greg and Rhonda Hyman of Hyman Vineyards of Conway also make muscadine jams, jellies, preserves and salsa. 

Republic Ice Cream in Myrtle Beach supplies restaurants and ice cream shops around the state. Matthew Kohr and Bradley Kohr also see their ice cream at Kohr Family Ice Cream shops in North Myrtle Beach.

Everett Merwin’s Rock Hill company, Second to None, makes hot, medium and mild salsa.