The Triumphant Return of Seashore Rye

“My father-in-law Adair Mckoy started farming at the age of 14 in Sumter, SC. He moved to Wadmalaw Island in the early 1960s to take up commercial farming. By the early 1970s, he shifted away from row crop and ventured into commercial tomatoes, but one thing he carried over was rye for wind breaks. In the coastal region, we have a lot of sand. Rye is grown to protect and stop the sand from blasting a vegetable crop. After years of wind breaks, I asked my father-in-law if I could mill some. We were blown away with the flavor of this rye. No other rye compares with its texture and non-tacky quality. I am blessed that he has planted the rye for over 40 years. He never knew that his future son-in-law would make the rye into a finished good after all those years. Our goal is to preserve and continue to keep the strain. I am excited to link his beginning as a farmer with the future.”

Greg Johnsman, Geechie Boy Mills

(Quote from Slow Foods Site)

Pivot in a new kitchen. First couple of days and I’m trying to keep my head out of my backside, which, more often than not is a vain pursuit anyway.

My team mate Blake has quickly demonstrated his passion for cuisine. While looking at some different options for bread service, he produced some boules of pretty frkkn’ tasty rye. The kind the whole crew just stands there eating without any butter going “mmmm. gah. more.” Here’s Blake  & his boules:

and some gratuitous, unapologetic food porn of Blake’s bread:

Hands down some of the best rye I’d ever tasted. “Where’d you get the rye flour?” I asked. “Greg Johnsman?” “Yeah.Geechie Boy,” he said.

I recalled  the last meeting of the Carolina Gold Rice Foundation. David Shields was recounting the story of Seashore Black Rye and Greg stood up and said “I may have just what you’re talking about growing out on Edisto.”

I stuck my head in the walk in freezer and sure enough there was a bin labeled “Geechie Boy Heirloom Rye.”

The week after I get back from the James Beard House, Slow Foods Charleston is hosting an evening celebrating the Lowcountry legacy of Seashore Black Rye. The eyebrow raising lineup of chefs includes:

David Bancroft of Acre Restaurant, Auburn, Ala. – Tyler Brown of Southall Farms, Franklin, Tenn. – John Currence of City Grocery, Oxford, Miss. – Reid Henninger of Edmund’s Oast, Charleston, S.C. – Joe Kindred of Kindred, Davidson, N.C. – Jacques Larson of Wild Olive & Obstinate Daughter, Charleston, S.C. – Matthew Raiford of The Farmer and the Larder, Brunswick, Ga. – Nathan Richard of Kingfish, New Orleans, La.

For further information, reach Carrie Larson 404.312.0789carolynmlarson@gmail.com

Hope to see you there! 

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