Gwen Fowler



Columbia's Motor Supply celebrates Harvest Week by honoring farmers

Posted 6/14/2012 6:10:00 PM

Executive Chef Tim Peters of Motor Supply Company Bistro in Columbia works his magic with the meats and produce from local sustainable farms year-round, but the restaurant sets aside special days twice a year to honor those farmers.

During Harvest Week, those farmers are invited to a special dinner so the public and the media can meet them. I was lucky enough to be invited to dinner Wednesday. Not only was it one of the most delicious meals I’ve ever had, but I got to spend some time chatting with Peters, owner Eddie Wales and some of the restaurant’s regular suppliers.

Eric McClam, farm manager of City Roots in Columbia, compared chefs like Peters to artists. They don’t decide what they’re serving and then go shopping; instead, they gather the freshest produce and local meats available from local farms and then create meals from those ingredients.

In addition to McClam, Kelly and Shelly Hammond of Trail Ridge Farm and Dairy in Aiken and Keith Willoughby of Wil-Moore Farms in Lugoff were there. The Hammonds and four of their children (the oldest recently married) make goat cheese, and Wil-Moore Farms raises chickens, turkeys, beef, pork and lamb on pasture.

The menu for the evening, as it does each evening, details where many of the foods come from.

Our table began by sharing Peters’ charcuterie plate, which included his specialties such as a delicious country pork pate with apricots and pistachios, duck liver pate, cocoa sausage and his homemade mustard. This could be a meal in itself, but we were just getting started.

We also shared two other appetizers: an artisan cheese plate and mussels served in a delicious garlic butter sauce you want to soak up in a big chunk of bread.

I had the Dueling Local Salads, which was two salads, one featuring microgreens from City Roots with slivers of Fuji apples, and the other of hydroponic lettuce from Freshly Grown Farms of Columbia with blueberries. Both were crisp and tasty, so I’d call that duel a draw.

My entrée was created with chicken from Wil-Moore Farms and pork belly from Caw Caw Creek pork farm near St. Matthews. A country-fried drumstick and the pork belly were served on top of a bean ragout with locally foraged (probably by Peters) chanterelle mushrooms. This was such a mouth-watering, hearty dish.

The nice thing about dining with a group of friends is that you get to sample lots of other foods. One of the most beautiful and also delicious was quail served with a blueberry sauce. Another wonderful dish was lamb from Doko Farm in Blythewood, stuffed with beef tenderloin, topped with mushrooms from Mepkin Abbey and served on a bed of mashed potatoes.

Motor Supply holds Harvest Week in the early summer and in the fall. It’s a brilliant way to recognize the farmers behind small, local, sustainable farms that enable chefs like Peters to turn out those masterpiece meals all year long.