If you assume Harbinger's exalted place in Charleston's cafe scene is due to its Instagramable look, you're half right. The cozy spot on King Street at least partially owes its success to its charming interior design — hanging plants, reclaimed wood tables, and bespoke mugs. It's all very, very millennial chic. But I can guarantee it wouldn't have lasted a day had it not been for co-owner and chef Greer Gilchrist's equally fresh and creative menu. Gilchrist offers a unique balance of indulgent desserts along with super local dishes like quiches, scones, and focaccias. The proof is in her Puddle Jumper cookie — everything at Harbinger is sourced as close to the area as possible and you can taste it.
Gilchrist's eat local effort is well displayed in her broccoli and blue cheese salad which relies on Farron Tucker and Kathy Bayer-Crooks' Bowman, S.C, HorseCreek Honey Farms to give it a sweet kick.
"We love HorseCreek Farms Honey because of their unique relationship with their bees," says Gilchrist. "When we visited the farm before we opened, we were able to chat with the owners at length about how they care for the bees and the process of making honey. Farron and Kathy are wonderful people who truly respect their craft and their customers — which contributes to how I feel about why the honey tastes so yummy — because it comes from such a good place."
Tucker and Bayer-Crooks have hundreds of hives in South Carolina, Georgia, and Nebraska but the key to their honey's great flavor, Bayer-Crooks says, is entirely raw.
"We keep our honey segregated to the area it's harvested from," Bayer-Crooks says. "The difference with our honey is it's 100 percent raw. It's never heated beyond 96 or 98 degrees so it doesn't granulate. It's a low slow process, but all the health benefits and enzymes are still there."
For Gilchrist, that focus on flavor comes across on the plate. "We use the honey to add a subtle sweetness to the broccoli salad. The salad won't taste sweet overall, it just adds a deeper level of flavor — one that's delicious."
And the fact that she can buy local honey is just another bonus. "It's important for us to support local whenever we can. We feel so lucky to be able to access so many local items. Even our salt is local — that's incredible! Finding local honey was important and special because it continued to allow us to work from this region and to support other businesses. I think it's special to use regional ingredients — it's what makes eating in Charleston so exciting, delicious and fun."
To purchase HorseCreek Honey Farms honey, visit horsecreekhoney.com.
Broccoli and Blue Cheese Salad
- Jonathan Boncek
5 cups broccoli (stems removed, large pieces cut in half)
¼ cup chopped red onion
¼ cup diced dried apricots
¼ cup blue cheese (we use Clemson Blue Cheese that we source from GrowFood Carolina)
1 cup extra heavy mayonnaise
1 Tbs. Horsecreek Farms honey
2 Tbs. cup apple cider vinegar
1 tsp salt
1 Tbs. black pepper
If you haven't already, break down the broccoli until you only have small florets — this is a raw broccoli salad so the broccoli florets must be small enough to soften with the dressing and small enough to eat in one bite.
Crumble the blue cheese. Toss the broccoli, red onion, dried apricots and cheese together. Whisk together the mayonnaise, honey, apple cider vinegar, salt and pepper. Combine with the salad and be sure to thoroughly mix the dressing into the salad. Season more if necessary. Cover the bowl and let chill in the fridge for at least an hour but best when chilled for multiple hours.