Fresh & Local

Up Your Cooking Game with Certified SC Products—It’s a Matter of Taste!


August 2023 Issue
by Lindsay Gifford
Recipes, Information and Photography provided by Certified SC and the
South Carolina Department of Agriculture


When it comes to adding flavor and making meals healthier there’s nothing better than adding fresh, local ingredients. And, with nearly 25,000 farms and 4.8 million acres of farmland in SC, you don’t have to go far to find fresh, locally grown food. In fact, The SC Dept of Agriculture (SCDA) has created an fool-proof program to know you’re getting the great local ingredients—Certified SC.

The Certified SC program is an exciting cooperative effort among farmers, processors, wholesalers, retailers and the SCDA. The Certified SC brand and label help consumers easily identify goods that are grown and harvested or raised right here in the Palmetto State. Buying local not only means you’re taking home fresher, tastier and healthier foods, it also means you’re supporting our state’s farmers.

Thanks to our rich soil, warm weather and more than 360 growing days a year, there’s always something fresh in SC. We’re ranked in the top ten nationally for our production of turnip greens, broccoli, collard greens, kale, mustard greens, peaches, summer squash, sweet potatoes, watermelon, okra, bell peppers, cantaloupe, honeydew, green peas and tomatoes. The wide variety of delicious, fresh ingredients we have to offer can be intimidating to some, but the SCDA has an answer for that, too. Just log onto and click the “What’s in Season” button.

So, how do you find these tasty ingredients? There are a couple of ways:
1) Look for the CertifiedSC sticker when you’re shopping in the grocery store. 2) Visit the Certified SC website and you can find fresh fruits, vegetables, meat, fish, poultry, dairy, grains, etc. with just a click of your mouse. Their site lists
130+ Community-Based Farmer’s Markets and 160+ Certified Roadside Markets, and 32+ CSAs (Community Supported Agriculture) throughout the Palmetto state.

Now that you ahve the ingredients, are you ready to up your cooking game? Flip the page for some mouthwatering southern favorites. And, log onto for all recipes Certified SC. You can search incredible recipes by ingredient and season and explore well-known recipes from restaurants and chefs across SC. For great tips, recipes and information follow them on Facebook @CertifiedSC and Instagram @CertifiedSouthCarolina.

We’re lucky to have an amazing variety, and they’re all grown, harvested, raised, and made right here. So whether you’re looking for blueberries or bar-b-cue sauce, poultry or peaches, sweet potatoes or seafood, make sure it’s Certified SC—It’s a Matter of Taste!


Certified Shrimp & Grits
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24 SC 21/25 Shrimp, peeled. deveined, tail off
3 Tbsps Butter
½ cup Sausage
1/2 cup fresh cut Monetta Farms Asparagus, chopped into bite-sized pieces
1/2 cup Tomatoes, diced
1 Tbsp Garlic, freshly minced
3 Tbsps Juniper Low Country Seasoning


2 cups whole Milk
½ cup white stone ground Adluh Grits
1/3 lb. unsalted Butter
Salt and pepper, to taste

Juniper Low Country Seasoning:

1 Tbsp Paprika
1 Tbsp dried Tarragon
2 tsps granulated Garlic
2 tsps Kosher salt
2 tsps Black pepper
1/4 tsp Cayenne pepper

For the Grits:
Heat milk and butter in a sauce pot over medium heat. Once butter is melted, add grits and whisk well for the first 4 minutes. Turn down heat and continue cooking for approximately 40 minutes, stirring often. Add salt and pepper to taste and cook until the grits are soft.

Meanwhile, make the seasoning: Mix all ingredients in small bowl. Tip: Consider tripling the recipe and keeping some on hand in a mason jar.

Once grits are ready, heat butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add sausage, asparagus and tomatoes to the skillet and let cook about 4-5 minutes moving around in pan often. Add garlic and saute for 1 minute, then add shrimp and cook about 3 minutes. Sprinkle with Juniper Lowcountry Seasoning and sauté about 3-4 more minutes until shrimp is cooked. Serve hot over grits.

Tomato PieAdobeStock 587899212 edited

4 Certified SC Grown Tomatoes, thinly sliced
½ cup Onion, chopped
10 fresh Basil leaves, chopped (about ¼ cup)
1 (9-inch) Deep dish pie shell
2 cups Cheddar cheese, grated
¾ cup Dukes® Mayonnaise
1 tsp Salt 1 clove Garlic, chopped
Fresh ground pepper and salt, to taste

Preheat oven to 375°F.  Once oven is preheated, bake pie shell for 10 minutes. After crust is finished, reduce heat to 350°F. While crust is baking, lay tomato slices in a layer on the bottom of a colander in the sink and sprinkle with 1 tsp of salt.  Let tomatoes drain for 10–15 minutes.

Transfer to flat paper towels and pat off any excess moisture (this prevents the pie from being watery).

Lay half of the tomato slices in the bottom of the pie shell.  In a small bowl, mix together onions, basil, garlic, salt and pepper.  Sprinkle half of mixture over tomatoes in pie crust.  Layer in second half of tomato slices and top with the rest of the onion/basil mixture.

In a separate bowl, combine cheese and mayonnaise.  Spread mixture on top of the pie. Bake for 30 minutes or until lightly brown.  Cut into slices and serve warm.

Praline BaconAdobeStock 587899212 edited

16 strips Bacon
2 cups Brown sugar
1 cup Pecan pieces

Preheat oven to 350°F. Lay strips of bacon in a single layer on a foil-lined  cookie sheet(s). Place the bacon in the oven and bake until lightly done, but not crispy—10-15 minutes. Meanwhile, combine the brown sugar and pecans in a food processor and pulse until the pecans are finely ground and mixed with the brown sugar. Remove bacon from the oven (leaving the oven on) and carefully pour off the bacon fat. Generously  sprinkle  each strip of bacon with the brown sugar mixture  and return  to the oven. Bake until crispy and sugar has begun to melt.

Watermelon SaladAdobeStock 587899212 edited

4 cups South Carolina Watermelon, cubed
1 lb. freshly grown Arugula
1 oz Banyul’s Red Wine Vinegar
3 oz smoked Olive oil 
1 oz Feta or Mozzarella cheese
1 oz Pine nuts, toasted
4 Radishes, thinly sliced
Additional accoutrements: Strawberries, Mint, Radicchio

Place cubed watermelon, arugula and cheese in a bowl. Drizzle with vinegar and olive oil and toss well. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper. Sprinkle with pine nuts and serve. 


Sweet Corn and Zucchini Pie
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4 Tbsps Butter
1/2 Yellow onion, diced
2 ears Certified SC Grown Sweet Corn
2 large Certified SC Grown Zucchini, sliced very thin (about 4 cups)
8 oz. sliced Mushrooms
1 Tbsp dried Basil
1 Tbsp dried Oregano
½ tsp Salt
12 oz shredded Mozzarella cheese
4 Eggs, beaten

Preheat the oven to 375°F. Heat butter in a large, deep skillet over medium-high heat, then add the onions, zucchini, and mushrooms. While the veggies sauté, cut the corn kernels off the cob and add them to the pan. Continue to sauté until the veggies are soft, 5–10 minutes. Remove from heat.

Once the mixture has cooled for a few minutes, stir in the basil, oregano, salt, cheese and beaten eggs. Line a pie pan (9-inch or larger) with parchment paper or grease a pan with nonstick spray. Transfer the mixture to the pan. Arrange the top so the zucchini slices lay flat and look nice. Top with a little extra cheese for looks, cover with greased foil, and bake for 20 minutes. Remove foil and bake for an additional 5 minutes to brown the top. Let stand for 10–15 minutes before serving.

Cantaloupe and Mozzarella Caprese Salad
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1 Certified SC Grown Cantaloupe, halved and seeded
1 (8 oz) container Mozzarella balls (I used pearl size balls)
8-10 slices Prosciutto, shredded into large pieces
¼ cup Basil leaves, thinly sliced
¼ cup Mint leaves, thinly sliced
3 Tbsps Extra-virgin olive oil
1½ Tbsps Certified SC Honey
1 Tbsp white Balsamic vinegar
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Use a melon baller to scoop balls from the cantaloupe halves and add to a large bowl. Add the mozzarella balls and the torn prosciutto. Sprinkle with the basil and mint leaves.

In a small bowl, whisk olive oil, honey and white balsamic vinegar together and season with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Drizzle over the cantaloupe and toss to coat. Season with more salt and pepper and additional herbs to taste.


2 Tbsps Canola oil AdobeStock 587899212 edited
1½ lbs Local shrimp
1 Tbsps Old Bay
6 cups Creole sauce Parsley
12 cups Savannah Red Rice (recipe below)

Creole Sauce:
½ lb. Bacon, diced large
1 Yellow onion, diced large
¼ tsp Black pepper
½ tsp Thyme
3 stalks Celery, diced large
1 Green pepper, diced large
1 Tbsps Garlic, chopped
1.5 oz Chicken base
¼ cup Tomato paste
¼ tsp Cayenne pepper
3 Bay leaves
3 dashes Tabasco sauce
½ tsp Oregano
6 cups Tomato, diced

Savannah Red Rice:
12 cups White rice
1 Tbsp Garlic
1 lb. Bacon, diced medium
2 Tbsps Oregano
1 Tbsp Thyme
1 cup Yellow onion, diced small
½ Tbsp Basil
3½ Tbsp Sugar
½ cup Green pepper, diced small
1 Tbsp Salt
1 Tbsp Black pepper
3 Chipotle peppers, finely diced
1 cup Tomato paste
4 cups Tomato, diced

Make Creole Sauce: Cook bacon in sauce pan over medium heat until browned.  Add onion, celery, pepper and garlic and cook vegetables until onion becomes translucent. Add all seasonings: cayenne, black pepper, thyme, oregano, bay leaves, Tabasco and chicken base. Cook for five minutes or until very fragrant. Next, add tomato paste and diced tomatoes and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Remove bay leaves when finished.

Make Savannah Red Rice: Cook bacon in sauce pan over medium heat until browned. Add onions green peppers and garlic. Once onions are translucent, add oregano, thyme, basil, sugar, salt and black pepper. Stir well, then add tomato paste and diced tomatoes and simmer for 20 minutes. Once cooked, mix thoroughly with 12 cups prepared white rice.

Bring it together:
In a warm sauté pan, add oil to coat pan. Add shrimp and season with Old Bay.  Cook until shrimp begins to turn pink and then add creole sauce.  Bring sauce to a simmer and check doneness of shrimp.  Place 2 cups of Savannah red rice on each plate and top with 1 cup creole sauce and shrimp mixture.  Garnish plate with parsley.


She Crab Soup
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3 Carrots, finely diced
2 Onions, finely diced
2 Celery stalks, finely diced
11/2 cup Sherry
1 lb. Butter
1 lb. Flour
8 qts. Heavy cream
4 Tbsps Worcestershire
4Tbsps Frank’s hot sauce
1/2 bunch Parsley chopped
1/2 bunch fresh Thyme, picked from stalk
4 Bay Leaves
1 lb. Crab base
1 lb. lump Crabmeat
1/4 cup Crab roe, for garnish

Place a large pot over medium high heat, adding butter and vegetables. Cook until vegetables are softened, stirring occasionally. Deglaze pan with 1/2 of the sherry, add flour to form a roux. Once mixed, add heavy cream and bay leaves and cook until reduced. Once reduced, add remaining sherry, worcestershire, crab base and hot sauce. Reduce again, add lump crabmeat and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Thin with milk if needed. Remove the bayleaf and garish with crab roe before serving.


Peach Cobbler
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1/2 cup Sugar, divided
1/2 cup Brown sugar, divided
¼ tsp ground Cinnamon
⅛ tsp ground Nutmeg
1 tsp fresh Lemon juice
2 tsps Cornstarch
1 cup All-purpose flour
1 tsp Baking powder
¼ cup boiling Water
½ tsp Salt
6 Tbsps unsalted Butter, chilled and cut into small pieces
8 Certified SC Grown Peaches, peeled, pitted, sliced into thin wedges

Preheat oven to 425°F. In a large bowl, combine peaches, ¼ cup white sugar, ¼ cup brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, lemon juice, and cornstarch. Toss to coat evenly, and pour into a 2 quart baking dish. Bake in preheated oven for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine flour, ¼ cup white sugar, ¼ cup brown sugar, baking powder, and salt. Blend in butter with your fingertips, or a pastry blender, until mixture resembles coarse meal. Stir in water until just combined. Remove peaches from oven, and drop spoonfuls of topping over them. Bake until topping is golden, about 30 minutes.

SC Pimento CheeseAdobeStock 587899212 edited

3 Roasted red Peppers, Diced
8 oz Cream cheese, softened
8 oz sharp Cheddar cheese,
freshly grated
2 Tbsps Mayonnaise
2 tsps Kosher Salt
½ tsps ground Black pepper
Mix all ingredients together thoroughly and serve.
This culinary staple of the South goes well with crackers for snacking, as a grilled cheese, or a burger topper.

Certified Collard Greens

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2 bunches Collard greens
1 cup Cider vinegar
splash of Hot sauce
1 Ham hock
1 lb. Bacon, diced
½ Onion, diced
2-3 cartons Chicken stock

Tear collards into bite-sized pieces and thoroughly wash to with cold water to remove any dirt and grit until water becomes clear. In a stock pot, cook diced bacon until crispy.  Add the rest of the ingredients to the pot. Add chicken stock until greens are covered with liquid.  Bring to a simmer and cook for two hours or until greens are tender.

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