Fourth-generation farmer provides community with Carolina Gold heritage rice in Hardeeville

Updated: May. 5, 2023 at 9:00 AM EDT
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HARDEEVILLE, SC. (WTOC) - If you are looking to buy fresh local produce you’re in luck. A new store owned by a fourth-generation farmer has opened its doors in Hardeeville where they grow Carolina Gold heritage rice and more on over 40 acres of land here in the Lowcountry. Our Michaela Romero shows us the process it takes to get the grain from the farm to our plates.

Marion Rollen Chalmers loves spending his time outdoors.

“My title is a rice farmer and also a woodsman,” said Chalmers, the owner of Rollen’s Raw Grains who recently opened its doors to the community.

He said growing grain is not an easy task.

“Rice I would say is kind of a difficult crop to be growing. I flood rice the old way and you got everything that goes with this rice field. you got alligators, snakes, mosquitos deer flies, everything plays a role in this rice growing.”

Chalmers follows 3 steps to get his heritage grain on our tables.

“We are planting right now. The planting process is going on right now, then comes the flooding process and it will stay flooded during all the summer months until right about last August and we will start getting water off it.”

But the grain he grows is not what you will find in your everyday grocery store.

“It’s nothing with all the chemical additives for long shelf life. All our products are cold mill products that we have in our store here in Levee, so it’ a win-win situation when you eat this food.”

His goal is to provide the community with healthy food options.

“These are things that have been here for hundreds of years. That’s been growing in this area. A lot of these days you don’t see it anymore it’s almost like it’s vanished. A lot of people have been asking us to grow a lot of these grains. They ask for it and the flavor because the main thing is the flavor of these grains when you actually cook it.”

He said nothing beats knowing that someone will be enjoying a fresh-grown and healthy meal from his hard work.

“The Carolina gold to me goes good everything, the Carolina gold to me goes good with everything. Carolina gold and a squash good yellow squash with the summer months really bring out the flavor of it. If you eatin’ the Carolina gold rice grits get you a nice fresh trout to go with it and two eggs in the afternoon for dinner it’s just hard to beat.”

But he adds that if you try his heritage grain he has to warn you.

“It’s really hard to beat it is something I would advise anyone to try, it is addictive.”