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If you attended the Ovis Hill Farms Barn Raising benefit at Lowndes Grove Plantation yesterday, you couldn’t help but be touched by the love and support shown for local Lowcountry farmer Charlie Caldwell. Caldwell, a farmer of Ovis Hill Farms, tragically lost his barn and more than 500 prized farm animals in a fire this winter, and Lowcountry Local First and Patrick Properties joined forces with 12 of Charleston’s finest local chefs to create a wonderful event to help Caldwell rebuild his farm.
More than 400 people made their way out to Lowndes Grove, where they enjoyed an oyster roast overlooking the marsh prepared by Nico Romo of Fish Restaurant, as well as savory dishes from Charleston’s esteemed chefs. Guests flocked to the tables of FIG’s Mike Lata, Trattoria Lucca’s Ken Vedrinski, Oak Steakhouse’s Jeremiah Bacon, and Red Drum’s Ben Berryhill, and Ashley Swider’s sophisticated yet sweet YesUMay cookies played to one’s sweet tooth while Craig Deihl of Cypress satisfied everyone’s inner carnivore with his plates of house-made charcuterie.
Guests were spotted lining up for seconds at McCrady’s and Husk Chef Sean Brock’s booth, and Fred Neuville of Fat Hen, Frank Lee of S.N.O.B, Ricky Hacker of Evo, Marc Collins of Circa 1886, Jacques Larson of Wild Olive, and Mike Lotz of Triangle Char and Bar were all swamped with foodies as well.
Partygoers mingled under the tents taking in the soulful sounds of vocalist Elise Testone and guitarist Tyler Ross or wandered outside to enjoy the perfect weather on the pristine front lawn of the historic plantation home, but everyone regrouped under the tents to contribute their donations and give a round of applause to the day’s chefs. Mike Lata of FIG donated $250, and his donation was promptly met by several other chefs in the crowd. The heartwarming highlight of the afternoon, however, was when a little girl stepped forward to announce her contribution. Each contribution was marked on a board with a small farm animal silhouette, and when asked what barn animal she wanted the girl excitedly announced, “An elephant!”
Alice and Charlie Caldwell run Ovis Hill Farms in Timmonsville, SC which provides pasture-raised beef, lamb, poultry, eggs and dairy products to numerous Charleston chefs and other customers throughout South Carolina.