On Friday, January 29th I took a quick trip to Walterboro, SC to visit Keegan-Filion Farms. Two friends came with me—the very talented photographer Austin Nelson (www.austinnelson.com) and his cousin, Alicia Seay, who is a wine purveyor and well acquainted with great food. The trip was interesting and worthwhile. We were received like old friends by Mark and Annie Keegan, who showed us around the farm and graciously spent their time telling us about the animals and their pasts as farmers. We were all really impressed with how naturally the animals lived and how healthy they seemed. These farmers are really nice people, not proselytizing or off the wall in any way (I am thinking about Joel Salatin who shows up in Food Inc and Michael Pollan’s books–he is a bad spokesperson for the movement to raise animals on pasture in my opinion). I am posting some of Austin’s really nice photos to show the farm.
Keegan-Filion is only open Monday or Friday from 1-6 pm, so plan accordingly. When you show up, you will probably have to call Annie who will come to help you right away. She has 4 freezers full of really beautiful pork and chicken products. The quality of the meat is visually palpable. If you’ve eaten in any number of nice restaurants in town (Fig, Cypress and so on) you have probably tasted these superior products. I was actually a little underwhelmed with the farm eggs sold here–I think that what Celeste Albers is producing is a lot richer, but this isn’t the point of visiting Keegan. I picked up a great variety of products; chorizo, bratwurst, whole small chickens, chicken breasts, chicken thighs, breakfast sausage, ground pork, and a bone for my boxer pup. Austin picked up a few pounds of marinated chicken wings. Alicia picked up a bit of just about everything for sale. Also available is a variety of offal, pork chops, pork butts, and some other pork sausages.
Mark Keegan showed us around and explained how raising animals in this fashion can be really cost prohibitive. I get the sense that for them, a lot of the richness of this life comes from the satisfaction of raising the animals properly and from making customers really happy. Keegan raises heritage pigs, mostly from the Tamworth breed, as well as heritage Turkeys, chickens, and grass fed Cattle, mostly Holsteins. Things work in season at Keegan, and you won’t find the total offering at any one time. Right now, there was no beef, bacon, or turkey available, though it should be pretty soon. I will certainly be going back for more, or meeting Mark Keegan in Summerville on Saturday mornings, where he delivers pre-orders to Charleston area customers. I really like what this farm is doing and wish them continued success.
contact Keegan Filion Farms: