If you’re searching for Anderson’s hidden gems, come hungry — and thirsty. In this Upstate city, the most interesting and off-beat attractions are best enjoyed on an empty stomach.
Start with Split Creek Farm, nationally known for its award-winning artisan goat cheeses, fudge and yogurt. The goat dairy is home to some 350 goats, half of which are milked twice a day. Cheeses and other food products made from the milk can be purchased at the farm shop, along with a variety of items produced in South Carolina. Among the farm’s best sellers is the feta marinated in olive oil, the 2017 winner in the cheese category at the Good Food Awards.
While the farm shop is open daily, educational tours of the dairy need to be scheduled in advance. During the tour, you’ll learn about the daily operations, from milking and feeding the goats to processing cheese. Call (843) 287-3921 to schedule a tour.
Another farm favorite is Denver Downs. Established in 1869 as a cotton farm, the 900-acre Anderson landmark has reinvented itself as a working farm devoted to agri-tourism and entertainment. Along with fresh collard greens, pumpkins and gourds harvested in the fall and winter, the farm offers visitors a wide array of family-friendly agrarian experiences, from hayrides and pig races to a farm animal petting zoo and cow milking.
Each year, Denver Downs hosts a wide range of events and concerts. Among the most popular are the fall corn maze, spring Easter egg hunts and historic encampments representing military eras from the Revolutionary War to Vietnam.
For those with a sweet tooth, there’s Vdovichenko Bee Farm. As you might have guessed, this family farm, run by third-generation beekeepers, sells honey — coarse-filtered, raw and natural. The bees feed on their own honey and no chemicals are ever used. You can buy their nectar of golden goodness at the Anderson County Farmer’s Market and Figs Cafe and Farmacy on North Main Street.
Another sweet spot for locally produced foods is CocoBon Chocolatier in downtown Anderson. Housed in the historic Reed Building, this vintage-style shop sells an assortment of chocolates, truffles, confections and treats, including a lady’s high-heeled shoe made of gourmet chocolate.
These magnificent morsels of culinary pleasure are handmade in small batches using locally sourced, all-natural ingredients. If you’re purchasing the chocolates as gifts, buy a few extras to ensure some of them will make it home.
Anderson is also home to Palmetto Distillery, the first legal moonshine distillery in the state. Brothers Bryan and Trey Boggs, descendants of moonshiners, produce their moonshine and fine craft whiskey by hand using age-old customs and original family recipes passed down through the generations.
Made in copper stills like the ones used by their ancestors, the moonshine comes in a variety of flavors, including White Lightning, Peach, Blackberry and Apple Pie. Most recently, they added Palmetto Whiskey to their line of handmade spirits. Free tours of the distillery are offered Monday through Saturday. If you're able, plan your visit on Thursday when the stills are in operation.
If you’re into handcrafted brews and ales, don’t miss Carolina Bauernhaus. This farmhouse brewery and winery uses wild local yeasts, fresh regional hops and grains and seasonal fruits to create its award-winning small-batch beers and ciders. Its Source Series Opuntia took home the gold medal at the 2017 Great American Beer Festival.
Open seven days a week, the taproom offers more than a dozen varieties of ales and ciders, as well as several homemade wines. Enjoy your beverage with some of the Bauernhaus’ locally sourced pub fare, including a brat on a bun served with haus-made cheese sauce, mustard and sauerkraut from Anderson’s own Blue Ridge Brinery.
You’ll satisfy your sense of adventure — and your appetite — exploring Anderson’s unique culinary attractions.