Wade “Farmer” Fox, who signs his emails with “Semper in agris” (Latin for “always in the fields”) will tell you upfront, he doesn’t do what he does for the money. “I’m not in it for the Maserati. I’m here because I like to eat well, help other people eat well, and I like getting my hands dirty,” said Fox.
Fox is the new manager of Bear Island Farms in Colleton River Plantation in Bluffton and days for him are strenuous to the point of exhausting, and yet rewarding to the point of bountiful. Fox says his job entails not only regular hours of tilling, weeding, irrigating, growing and experimenting with horticulture, but also random sightings of rare to highly visible Lowcountry wildlife and the type of introspective solitude that amasses to change—a change Hilton Head and Bluffton residents are ready for and a change for Fox that has been life-inspiring.
Nearly ten years ago, Fox knew very little about local, organic and sustainable food until he started working at a consciously-minded restaurant in Knoxville, TN. “I didn’t go to farmers markets then,” admitted Fox. “I had a college pallet. If someone had handed me a purple potato I would not have eaten it or known what to do with it. Yet, right now I am sitting next to fava beans, purple sprouted broccoli, and other produce you may not or will not see in the store.”
Fox chose to manage Bear Farm just as any ecologically and socially minded cook/gourmand chooses the best possible ingredients—because he knows that organically farmed, fresh cut food offers higher and healthier quality sustenance than canned or even store-bought ingredients. Plus—and here’s where Fox and Bear Island Farm plan to put Bluffton/Hilton Head on the map for a better way of living—he wants to go beyond the status quo. He literally and quite consciously wants to change the way people eat food. And here’s how he’s going to do it:
- Form a connection with you. “Ask me how to cook things, how to make things grow, because this is more than just selling for me. I care where my food goes,” said Fox.
- Invite you to try fresh cut food and compare it to store-bought. “Once someone tastes the difference, I can’t understand how they could go back.”
- Make it accessible. You can visit Bear Island Farm to get seasonal, organic produce or have it delivered. And, if cost is a factor, Fox will work with you because he wants you to also “feel strong, go from ground to plate within an hour and look forward to eating every meal”—each of which is rare in today’s heavily processed, fast food world.
Right now Bear Island is offering now:
- Arugula—A super spicy, Italian heirloom variety known as sylvetta.
- Persian Cress—Which has flavor similar to watercress, with a bit more of a bite.
- Baby Asian Mix—A mixture of mizuna, tatsoi, red mustard, purple mizuna, choy sum.
- Salad Mix—A mixture of myriad lettuce, arugula, cress, and kale.
- Collards—So tender, both fresh and cooked.
- Red Russian Kale—It has turned a purplish color due to the proper frost we got last week. Still tender, but much more flavorful.
Note: All greens are $5, in half-pound bags. To get your own produce, or learn more about Bear Island Farm, please contact Fox at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (931) 409-4814.