December 2018

Surprise your Palate at FARM: Let’s Do Brunch!

Author: Linda S. Hopkins | Photographer: M.Kat Photography, Jessica Carter

Do your taste buds need a wakeup call? Are you craving a culinary adventure? Surprise your palate every Sunday, between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m., because that’s when FARM in Old Town Bluffton is serving their knock-your-pajama-bottoms-off brunch.

Entering FARM for the first time, senses stand at attention. The rustic interior of the restaurant transports you to a simpler time when food and conversation were the highlight of every meal. Instead of staring at a flat screen television (or your smart phone), you’ll have the opportunity to peer into the wide-open kitchen, where farm fresh ingredients show their colors, pots simmer with secret brews, and chefs’ hands work their magic for your entertainment pleasure and ultimate delight.

Taste the passion
The creative team at FARM consists of four gentlemen, Ryan Williamson, founder; Brandon Carter, executive chef; Josh Heaton, cocktail specialist; and Thaddeus Miller, sommelier, who co-own the restaurant—each with a separate role, but all with a rare spirit of collaboration evident in the entire FARM experience.

“I think what everyone notices and what makes the energy so special is that every single person here really cares about what they do and works really hard to be really good at it,” Heaton said. “We want to come together for the best possible food, but also the best relationships. Our guests see the whole point, and they taste the difference.”

While the scents of braised bacon, buttermilk fried chicken, and biscuits fill the air, put away your preconceived notions. The tiny but mighty menu, presented on a half letter size card, hints at a complexity beyond the expected and is loaded with unique, well-composed dishes that pack a punch.

“We want to take traditional ideas from this part of the world (the Lowcountry) but pull ideas and theme styles from all around the world, finding corollaries and putting them together,” Miller said. “We’ve got a collective voice here. Stepping into FARM is viewing the world from our lens. It makes us raconteurs. It makes us storytellers—whether you sit down as a guest or you’re one of the farmers who are kind enough to sell us their produce. This restaurant should be a way of making the world a little bigger and a little smaller. It’s about expanding your perspective but drawing on commonality.”

The menu concept is simple. You can choose brunch and three (one entrée and three sides) or skip the entrée and go crazy over the sides, choosing three, four or five. If you prefer not to think so much, opt for the family meal (for two or more) and let the chef choose for you.

One thing you can count on is freshness. Every item on the menu begins with clean ingredients, many of which are homegrown on Williamson’s farm (including the eggs). Beyond what they can grow themselves, the owners work with local farmers and purveyors and strive to highlight seasonal produce, which means the menu changes frequently.

Inspired by peak freshness and flavor, the magic continues with Carter’s culinary wizardry, primarily based on his personal palate. “I cook what I like to eat,” he said. “You’ll see patterns on the menu in terms of favor profile—spices, acid, salt—all those things that kind of punctuate. There are nuances and little things you don’t expect. Our food—it hits. You know the ingredients, and it becomes an emotional experience.”

“A lot of people will look at what we’re doing and think it’s bizarre. They just want brunch,” Heaton added. “If you’re not interested in one of the mains, you can have three, four or five sides. For example, if you come in and you want bacon, eggs and waffles—perfect. We have that. You get an extraordinary traditional breakfast, because the egg is not just an egg; it has this incredible dressing on it. And the waffle is not just a waffle, because it’s got homemade butterscotch or something crazy like that. You never know!”

The bacon is different, too, Carter explained, because it’s thick cut and braised in sherry gastrique, making it crispy on the outside but tender inside for a flavor explosion—like bacon dipped in maple syrup.

But don’t worry about being over-stuffed and having to nap your Sunday away. Plates are portioned modestly in an effort to encourage guests to try a variety of dishes as opposed to going all in on one thing, Heaton explained. “There’s so much depth and consideration to our menu … the brunch and three program is great. If that’s not how you roll and you just want a waffle, you can get three sides of waffle and two sides of bacon and call it a day. You’d be full but not uncomfortable.”

Cocktails anyone?
While the food is always the star at FARM, the team is equally excited about the cocktails. “As biased as I am about our restaurant, I’ve had Bloody Marys all around the country, and Josh has created one of the best I’ve ever had,” Williamson said.

“The reason why is because it is literally one of a kind,” Heaton explained. “There’s a common belief that the universal ingredient in a Bloody Mary is Worcestershire. I looked at Worcestershire and the ingredients in it and asked myself, why is it in there? We make our own kind of Worcestershire. I just kind of twisted that. I have all the components, but I just broke it down and customized every element of it so that it would be my dream bloody Mary. It has a level of depth and character that most drinks don’t have. There are no additives. It’s made here, fresh.”

With a nod to Miller, Heaton continued. “In the spirit of collaboration, I would not do this without his palate tasting it. I gave the horseradish completely over to my trusty sidekick Thaddeus. He broke down the process for a real pure, spicy taste. Now it’s part of our story and its’s all intertwined.”

Not a Bloody Mary fan? Taste and change your mind … or look to the medley of additional craft cocktails—all made with the same signature care and enthusiasm. Alternatively, enjoy a selection of craft beer, bubbles and wine. (Yes, brunch is a perfectly legitimate reason to imbibe before five o’clock.)


The FARM Creative Team (from left to right)
Thaddeus Miller, Josh Heaton, Brandon Carter and Ryan Williamson

Head on down to FARM this Sunday and be part of the story. Take a seat at the community table and get to know your neighbors, reserve a table in the dining room, or ask to sit outside on a pretty day. Settle in and prepare for a reinvented version of familiar ingredients, brimming with farm-fresh deliciousness, and topped off with the passion that makes all the difference. Oh, and save room for the hand pie.

Surprise!

FARM serves brunch on Sunday only from 10 a.m.-3 p.m., with lunch from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. and dinner from 5 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday. FARM is located at 1301 May River Rd. in Old Town Bluffton. For more information, visit www.farmbluffton.com or call (843) 707-2041. Reservations are recommended.


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