Featured #SwampFarmer: Bio-Way Farm

Farmer Chris Sermons! Photo: Jon Hedden

Do you know the Asparagus Man? Who lives on Bio Way? No? Well, that’s probably because Chris Sermons, who started out only farming local asparagus, has since grown Bio-Way Farm into a beautiful landscape of food and natural wildlife.

 

A beautiful, edible landscape. Photo: Chelsea Peeples

The farm is Located in Ware Shoals, SC where Chris utilizes the techniques of permaculture and crop rotation techniques to grow delicious veggies on 4 acres. With sustainability at the forefront of his mind, Chris has focused on maintaining and growing the natural biodiversity of the rest of his land and promoting native plant growth. The land and farm began as a hunting retreat in 1987 with mostly all crops and trees being planted to draw deer into the area. Chris decided to completely turn the direction of the farm in 2004 when he took it over. He wanted to preserve and help the natural landscape as much as possible.

 

Native Plant Starters…Photo: Ashley LaPrade

Permaculture is a very intricate design aspect that works with and preserves natural ecosystems. Using resources and energies sustainably are important factors in this to minimize the impact that a farm, or even small garden, has on the surrounding land. Through crop rotation, cover crop use, and minimal use of water from a creek on the property, Bio-Way Farm eliminates waste of nutrients while also keeping the soil healthy and ready to use for future generations of planting.

 

The start of something yummy! Photo: Jon Hedden

In 2006, the farm became Certified Organic, which is a huge process for a smaller farm to undertake. If he were to ever need to add fertilizer to the fields or spray a fungicide, Chris would use only Certified Organic materials, but chooses to forgo using anything if possible. To clear underbrush, turn over soil, and restore land naturally, Chris has two goats that might look familiar to you…they once belonged to Tanya from Possum Kingdom Kreamery of Goat Yoga fame. We love that our farmers not only work with nature, but with each other as well. It’s a very supportive community!

 

The World’s Tallest Wild Lettuce! Photo: Chelsea Peeples

Chris is so dedicated to preservation, sustainability, and good, clean food that he has taken the means necessary to be a part of the Slow Food Movement. Slow Food is a global organization that has very strict qualifications for it’s participating farmers to be a part of. It challenges people to “slow down” in the current fast-paced system of growth and focuses on monitoring the impacts that easy and quick food commodities have on our health and the environment in which we live. Did you know that we host the Upstate Slow Food Earth Market at SRCG every 1st and 3rd Thursday of the month? It’s the only one of its kind in the country and brings all of the vendors to one place for you to conveniently shop!

 

Mushroom logs…Photo: Ashley LaPrade

Chris is constantly tackling new projects to promote biodiversity on his land and awareness to the importance of local food. He does it all himself, with a few extra hands from the people that he hosts from the WOOF program. This brings people from all over the world to his farm to help and to learn. Feeling like you want to check out the farm after reading this? He has an AirBnB cabin on the property that’s calling your name! You’ll be greeted by two of the sweetest pups, Evey and Wilbur, and will want to be best friends with Chris’ stepmom who graciously plays host to all of the travelling farm hands.

 

Photo: Chelsea Peeples

We are so fortunate to have Bio-Way Farm and eco-conscientious Chris as a part of our #swampfarmer family! Try all of yummy cherry tomatoes and lunchbox peppers that Chris is bringing us right now! And you can’t forget about all of the beautiful eggplant that is in season from Bio-Way and that we are using on our Swamp Pizzas.