If you smell bacon and sausage cooking when you are at the Waccamaw Farmer’s market in North Myrtle Beach, it’s not your imagination. Amid an array of tables laid out with garden bounty are the white coolers and grill of Russell Singleton of Sunny Cedars Farms. It’s where he sells pasture-raised, msg. free, antibiotic and nitrate free pork products. Take advantage of in with fragrant aroma and to enjoy the good, clean, delicious flavor of his products—tastes that take me back to childhood
When I was a little girl, my Uncle Bill would travel from Pittsburgh to rural Ohio every October slaughter pigs with his still-farming cousins. He returned with all manner of meat. My favorite was the fresh bacon. I ate my share and then some. Until encountering the packages of frozen bacon at the Sunny Cedars Farm booth, I thought my experience with that finely balanced dance of fat and strips of meat that makes bacon so great, was gone forever. Singleton’s bacon has brought back the image of my uncle sitting across the table from me, and the flavor of that annual treat.
Singleton says, “Overall, in all the farm markets where I set up, bacon is our number one seller. Next comes jalapeno cheddar and spinach garlic sausages. And I sell a lot of kielbasa in North Myrtle Beach.” Besides the sausage and bacon which he always has at the markets in his coolers, Singleton also carries luscious chops and ribs, Boston butt and the occasional specialty item like pork jowls. If you are looking for a particular cut of pork, call Singleton at 803- 934-6072 before your market day and ask if he can bring that cut to the market nearest you.
Singleton and his family acquired the twenty-five acre property that is now Sunny Cedars in 1998. However, the land had been in his family for generations before that. “I bought it from my cousin,” he says. Singleton still cherishes memories of spending time on the property as a child, especially the times he would accompany an older neighbor as the man feed his pigs. All of that figured into his decision, to start a pig farm and the determination to “do it the old-fashioned way.”
He notes, “These pigs are raised much the same way my Uncle’s family raised the pigs for their own use—the animals are allowed to forage in a pasture and given some grain. They are not in pens. No need for antibiotics. When the pigs get to the right weight, about 400 pounds (usually 18 months of age, we send them to the processor. We send between four and seven pigs a week, depending upon how many are ready. “ Singleton adds,” I believe animals raised humanely, with no added antibiotics or growth hormones, simply have a happier life, and I deeply respect their life that sustains myself and others.”
Thanks to modern-day refrigeration and freezing techniques, pig slaughter does not have to wait for cool weather. Singleton says that he takes between four and seven 400-pound pigs to Williamsburg packing in Kingstree SC each week. Once the meet is processed and frozen he sells it at local farm markets and from his own farm. One of those is Friday’s North Myrtle Beach farm market.
To find out where Singleton and his coolers of pork deliciousness are going to be on any particular day, just go on over to his website http://www.sunnycedars.com/ and check his facebook page for possible weather issues at https://www.facebook.com/sunnycedarss/?fref=ts). Click on “where to find us” on the website for that schedule, the address of the farm and the location of his winter sale location for when the outdoor farm markets are closed. (No matter the season, if you are thinking of driving out to the farm at 701 Singleton Lane in Sumter, be sure to call first to see if he has want you want and if he is open for sales on the day and at the time you plan to arrive.)
Sunny Cedars Farm pork products are prized among those who like to eat quality local food. Among his many fans is nationally known food blogger (more than forty thousand followers), Mary Marshall of Wedgefield, SC, whose blog, “All Things Food, Cooking with Mary and Friends” can be found at www.cookingwithmaryandfriends.com On her blog, Marshall states, “I believe in supporting small, local family farms, Farmer’s Markets and local establishments t help “grow” their businesses. I cook with pastured meats, farm-grown vegetables, farm fresh eggs, butter, cream, milk and cheeses then share those out via recipe posts and other social media for all to enjoy. “
Marshall agreed to allow us to share with you two of her favorite recipes for Sunny Cedars Farm pork—two ways to fix the inch-thick center cut pork chops Singleton offers. Why are they her favorite? Marshall says. “These thick chops are juicy, moist, tender and delicious. By far our most favorite way to prepare them is to grill them!”
My own favorite is the bacon and besides cooking it to accompany pancake breakfasts it makes a wonderful prime ingredient for BLT sandwiches.
The Waccamaw Cooperative Farm Market in NMB will be closed soon for the winter, but a drive to Sumter or one of the other farther away points noted on the Sunny Cedar Farms website is definitely worth it for this pork.
Grilled Center Cut Pork Chops
Reprinted with permission from http://www.cookingwithmaryandfriends.com/2014/05/grilled-center-cut-pork-chops.html
1” thick center-cut pork chops (preferably pasture raised), one chop per person to be served
seasonings/rub of your choice
Defrost the pork. Sprinkle pork on both sides with your favorite rubs or grilling spices, using your fingers to rub it into the meat. Place pork chops on a cooling rack and allow the chops to come to room temperature, (approx. 30 minutes).
Preheat the grill to 350 and using direct-medium heat grill 5-7 minutes per side or until internal temperature is 145 for medium-rare. Remove from grill and let rest 5 minutes before serving (the total cooking time is dependent on thickness of chops).
Spicy Grilled Pork Chops
Reprinted with permission from
Ingredients (for two servings)
2-4 one-inch thick center-cut pork chops
McCormick’s Grill-Mates Cowboy Rub (Note from Marshall: Cowboy Rub is a robust blend with coarsely ground peppers, mustard seed and coffee which gives meat a bold and flavorful crust that seals in natural juices).
Defrost the pork. Liberally sprinkle pork on both sides with McCormick’s Grill-Mates Cowboy Rub, using your fingers to rub it into the meat. Place pork chops on a cooling rack and let come to room temperature, approx. 30 minutes. Preheat the grill to 350 and using direct-medium heat grill 5-7 minutes per side or until internal temperature is 145 for medium-rare. Remove from grill and let rest 5 minutes before serving (the total cooking time is dependent on thickness of chops). Serve with Baked Potatoes and Grilled Asparagus (oil asparagus lightly and toss with McCormick’s Grill-Mates Cowboy Rub and toss on the grill about 5 minutes before the pork is done).