By Hope S. Philbrick
In support of sustainable eating that’s healthy for people as well as the planet, foodies are eager to know exactly where food originates and how it’s processed. Visit McDuffie County, Georgia in the fall to watch chefs at work, taste fresh preparations, and learn from food industry experts.
This past November, Amy and Patrick Sutter hosted the first Augusta Boucherie at their White Hills Farm in Dearing, Georgia—a boutique lavender and herb farm that’s approximately a 40-minute drive from Augusta, Georgia. Planning is underway for the 2nd annual Augusta Boucherie in November 2020.
What’s a boucherie?
“A boucherie (which translates to butchery) is a Cajun tradition borne of the time before refrigeration when killing a hog meant you needed a crowd to feed it to,” according to Texas Monthly. “During a boucherie, the point is to eat the whole damn pig that day.”
“The boucherie is an old tradition that started in South Louisiana,” says Amy. “The community gathers to help butcher livestock and preserve meat and other parts of the harvest.” The whole animal is used. It’s a big job, so extra hands are needed and welcome.
When approached by a chef to host the event, the Sutters welcomed the opportunity. “Patrick and I have been part of Augusta Locally Grown for 10 years and are dedicated to help grow the farm-to-table market in the Augusta area,” says Amy.
Augusta Boucherie invites teams of local farmers and chefs to demonstrate and share knowledge in the respectful harvest and preparation of humanely raised animals. Animals from the Savannah River area—including hog, poultry, fish, and venison—are harvested and prepared, snout to tail, fin to fork. It puts farm-to-table in clear perspective.
Local vegetable farmers and food artisans add regional flavors and lead compelling talks with lively Q&A sessions. At the inaugural event, speakers covered a broad range of topics from heirloom seeds to backyard poultry, soil maintenance to processing corn, traditions to innovations that take climate change head-on.
There’s constant outdoor cooking, sampling, and learning opportunities at Augusta Boucherie. The two-day event is informative, educational, and warm with a communal appreciation of honest food.
“Everybody was so into it,” says Amy, reflecting on the inaugural event. “Everybody seemed to have a really good time and the food was just incredible.” Looking ahead to 2020, she says, “We’re going to have a much bigger fire pit; it will be longer and more in the center of our outdoor arena with more tables surrounding the whole thing for chefs to use. In addition to a few logistical changes, we hope to get even more chefs involved this year.”
Mark your November 2020 calendars because Augusta Boucherie is an event you won’t want to miss. Our advice: Dress in layers, come hungry, and plan to stay for the full schedule of events. [We’ll update this post with event dates as soon as they’re finalized.]
Where To Stay…
Hampton Inn Thomson
1702 Washington Rd.
Thomson GA 30824
The newest hotel in McDuffie County, this national chain hotel delivers on the brand promises with free Wi-Fi, spacious rooms, a convenient location about 1 mile from downtown Thomson, and friendly staff members.
White Hills Farm
1419 Fort Creek Rd.
Dearing GA 30808
Any time of year you can visit White Hills Farm, a boutique lavender and herb farm. Over 14 types of lavender are cultivated on 14 acres of the 30-acre property, along with rosemary, thyme, basil, calamint (a native Georgia mint), roselle, and other edibles and/or aromatics. Enjoy a farm tour, stock up on oils, teas, sachets, and other goodies in the shop, and/or take a hands-on class to learn how to bake with lavender, make your own soaps, grow your own herbs, and more in a delicious-smelling setting.
– Photos © HSP Media LLC
Featured products, services and/or travel arrangements may have been complimentary in part or in full; this affords the research opportunity but does not sway opinion. Thanks to Visit Thomson-McDuffie Co. for hosting our visit.