On Friday evening, I headed to Wagener Terrace to check out the latest incarnation of Granville's, a restaurant owned and operated by Trae Wilson and Chad Murdock. The Granville's menu makes an effort to use regional suppliers like Caw Caw Creek, and the atmosphere is about as local as you can get. The place was populated with an interesting mix of neighborhood and downtown folks. We saw David Rawle of Rawle Murdy, Marcus Amaker of Charleston Scene, musician Leah Suarez, and ran into friends Whitney Powers (Studio A Architecture), Jennifer Marvel (Yoga Benefits Kids), and Anja Kelley (CofC). I'm pretty sure that wouldn't have happened at Bubba Gump's.
A discussion about this buy local experiment brought up some interesting questions. Can I shop at Earth Fare and Whole Foods if I buy local goods there? Is it worth the extra expense to buy handmade pasta if that's your main ingredient for a meal? And, if I can't shop at Marshall's anymore, where can I find high-end gourmet grocery items for cheap prices? Random, I know. But we were talking about a friend's trip to Italy, where locally made artisanal products are abundant and inexpensive.
There are definitely some key issues that arise in regards to buying local. Mainly, cost and convenience — our god-given rights as American consumers. We should be able to get what we want, when we want it, and at as little cost as possible. But those qualities can prey on us in all kinds of ways, contributing to our obesity epidemic, our throwaway culture, and our chain store addictions. I'll be discussing these ideas in greater depth as I go along in this project, because lord knows, I'm a sucker for cost and convenience, and it can be a struggle to go out of my way to shop local (I've already racked up some failures).
Speaking of convenience, the good folks at King Bean sent me a couple bags of their coffee to try out, and you can't get more convenient than that. They're following this blog and were excited to cheer me on in my buy local experiment. Kurt and Katie Weinberger have been running their wholesale coffee operation since 1994 and have recently launched a marketing effort to get their name out there a bit more. So, thanks to King Bean for fueling my caffeine addiction with a local product. It isn't available in local stores yet, but you can buy it from the warehouse on Meeting Street Road. Just call them at (843) 722-7650 first.
Next, I'll be visiting the Farmers Market for some local goods, searching high and low for affordable shoes and kids clothing stores, and giving in to the lure of a chain store on King Street.