Matthew Raiford coined the term “CheFarmer” years ago, merging of words “chef” and “farmer”. And while the term may be a new hip and hot hashtag, denoting the cooks history as both a farmer and a chef, the actual roots of the word go back hundreds of year.
Raiford, along with his partner Jovan Sage, opened the doors to The Farmer & The Larder this summer, looking to provide the community with gastronomic retail items and hands-on educational classes for wholesome home cooking, as well as supply guests with delicious seed-to-table, grab-and-go lunches, and fill tables with creative weekend brunches and Thursday evening group dining sessions, the artisan outlet is also a spotlight for Raiford’s family farm. Gilliard Farms has been in his family since 1874, with it’s beginning coming about after the federal Reconstruction Act.
Following the end of the Civil War, Raiford's ancestor Jupiter Gigglier- or Jupiter Gilliard as it was recorded in census records- bought acreage in Glynn County. There, he started Gilliard Farms, and the bustling agricultural hub lives on today under the watch gaze of Jovan, Matthew and his sister, Althea.
In its 100-plus year history, the farm has a reputation for bringing up some of the highest quality, sustainable and organic foodstuffs to be found throughout the coastal region, winning plenty of well-deserved praise, such as in 2013, when it was awarded the Centennial Farm Award from the Georgia Farm Bureau, which is an honor given to working farms that are more than 100 years old.
Chickens, eggs, hogs, and plenty of colorful and green vegetables flourish on the organic estate property, located at 163 Florines Way in Glynn County.
Many of the ingredients stocking the shelves and pantries at the F&L are sourced directly from the family farm, with Matthew and Jovan not only collecting the goods, but also prepping and cooking the ingredients for many of the dishes on the retailers’ menu.
The farm, too, is open to the shop’s educational arena, with the F&L team taking guests to the organic estate to source their own ingredients for hands-on, in-store cooking classes.
As always- cheers to organic wholesome goodness!