Chef Micah Garrison’s farming roots run deep – he grew up in a family of Upstate dairy farmers and took for granted dining on fare harvested from his grandfather’s land.
“To look back now,” says Garrison, “and know how fresh the products were – to have been able to literally pull the corn off the stalk before supper – it’s almost unheard of these days.”
With the help of an uncle in Charleston - a marine biologist who got him “hooked” on the life cycles of the Low Country waterways, the Columbia native soon expanded his passion for the land to the sea, and aquatic sustainalbility.
“For me to now be able to give back as a chef by simply making smart purchasing decisions is a great feeling,” says Garrison, Middleton Place Restaurant executive chef and two-time winner of the Sustainable Seafood Initiative Award.
The Middleton Place kitchen is also sustainably supplied by a 6,000 square foot production garden managed personally by Garrison and his staff. The majority of the plot contains heirloom plants, with a section dedicated to companion plants for promoting pollination and growth such as marigolds, nasturtiums, jasmine, sunflowers, berries, and herbs.
Garrison, whose culinary portfolio includes Boone Hall Plantation, Cypress, and 82 Queen, feels fortunate to preside over the kitchen once headed by renowned Southern chef Edna Lewis. The undisputed queen of country cooking, Lewis made her mark on the Middleton Place Restaurant menu with her classic plantation offerings, and he feels they share a common thread.
“One of the great things about Southern cuisine is the simplicity of it,” he notes. “Fresh, local ingredients, simply prepared – it really lets the love shine through in the dish.”
Garrison shares a newly updated recipe for locally sourced shrimp and grits...!