Football fans attending the University of South Carolina rivalry game against Clemson Saturday can get a taste of the best the state’s farmers have to offer.
The South Carolina Department of Agriculture is showcasing the hard work of the state’s farmers at its Certified SC Grown tailgate Saturday at Gamecock Park. The annual event is part of the department’s Palmetto Series.
“We want all fans, whether they’re garnet clad or orange to know that South Carolina farmers can supply everything they need for a great tailgate, a great Thanksgiving, or a great Christmas meal,” said Commission of Agriculture Hugh Weathers. “You name it, it can come from South Carolina farms.”
The Palmetto Series is a contest between in-state rivals South Carolina and Clemson. Points are given for the winner of each game their athletics teams play each other during the year. Points also are given for the winner of the Palmetto Series Food Drive, which will be announced at the game Saturday.
“Every contest carries one point,” Weathers said. “The food drive carries one point. The academic record of the athletes carries one point. So everything’s even. That’s what makes this interesting.”
The event also is a thank you for people who donated to the annual Palmetto Series Food Drive. South Carolina has won the Palmetto Series for the last two years.
“We have linked the farmers of South Carolina with football,” Weathers said. “The great football programs that we have in the state now, with Carolina and Clemson both doing so well, we want that associated with our farmers and what they’re bringing and supplying from the fields to South Carolina.”
Farmers from throughout the state donate to the tailgate spread, including collard greens and barbecue pork. In years past, the spread included peaches, Lowcountry shrimp, biscuits and special secret-recipe collard green and pimento cheese salads.
“Everything donated comes from a South Carolina farm somewhere,” he said. “It’s all to illustrate that everything you need for a great meal, gathering of any kind, can come from South Carolina.”