Farm Business Workshops in 2016

Sally Caldwell, Communications Coordinator

December 8, 2015

ABBEVILLE — The Freshwater Community Coast Foundation (FCCF) is excited to teach a series of training workshops for farmers throughout the year 2016. These workshops will give farmers the opportunity to learn more about production systems, marketing strategies, record-keeping, organic production, and more.

Each class will teach a different subject, pinpointing certain relevant areas of agriculture. The classes are as follows:


  • Pasture Management – January 14th
  • Farm to School – January 21st
  • Soil Sciences – February 18th
  • Pest, Disease, & Weeds – March 17th
  • Farmers’ Market Strategies – April 14th
  • Backyard Poultry – May 12th
  • Sustainable Small Farming – August 18th
  • Drip Irrigation – September 15th
  • How to Grow Organic Crops – October 13th
  • Farm Financial Recordkeeping – November 10th
  • Farm Production Costs – December 8th


Each workshop will be taught by an expert on the given subject, ensuring the best possible advice and instruction. The goal of these workshops is to increase and improve agriculture in Abbeville and McCormick County and the Starr-Iva area of Anderson. The FCCF desires to strengthen farmers and their production knowledge, ensuring the continuation of the locally-grown and harvested products.

These workshops are just one aspect of all of the progress the FCCF is making in the surrounding areas for agriculture, entrepreneurship, and education. The FCCF understands the importance of locally-grown crops and the strong need for farmers, so the FCCF desires to help, inform, and promote agriculture as much as possible.

Let’s Talk About It: Business is Booming

From your hardware to your bank account, the Freshwater Coast’s local businesses have you covered for life – literally. Harris Funeral Homes, the First Bank of Abbeville, Stoll Fireplace, and Pettigrew Hardware are just some of the businesses in our community that serve every need, from a warm cozy fireplace to the death of a loved one.

Stephen Pettigrew at home behind at the counter at Pettigrew Hardware in Calhoun Falls.

Stephen Pettigrew at home behind at the counter at Pettigrew Hardware in Calhoun Falls.

Stephen Pettigrew is the owner of Pettigrew Hardware and Supply in Calhoun Falls, South Carolina. Pettigrew Hardware celebrates its 50th anniversary this year, and Stephen could not be more proud. Stephen is a native of Calhoun Falls and now lives in Clemson, South Carolina. Although Stephen travels 50 miles to work every day, the distance does not stop him from knowing just about every face that passes through Calhoun Falls. A face seldom passes through the town without a quick “hello, good to see you again” from Stephen. His parents began Pettigrew Hardware and passed it on down to Stephen who now works with his own son. Stephen says that the best part about working in this store is that “It’s not routine,” and that he has the best customers. As far as the progress of the store, “We’ve kind of evolved as situations have changed,” Stephen stated. He said that one of his favorite aspects of running the shop is that it is a family association. “You know everybody and feel comfortable around them,” Pettigrew said regarding his community and customers. Such loyalty is appreciated in the small-town business world, especially at The First Bank of Abbeville, a place of warm people, trusted service, and guaranteed satisfaction.

Abbeville First Bank sits right outside of the famous square in Abbeville, South Carolina.

Abbeville First Bank sits right outside of the famous square in Abbeville, South Carolina.

The bank is fully community-based in every aspect, even the name of the bank, which the community voted upon. “We are 100% invested in Abbeville,” Andy Timmerman mentioned, “We give back to the community when we can.” Personal service is a strong point at Abbeville First Bank. Every call is answered by a real person on the other end of the phone, ready to meet the needs of customers, people who the workers usually know personally! “Everyone seems to know everybody,” said Andy when asked what his favorite part about working in the Abbeville community is. Just as the bank knows everyone, everyone knows Brad Evans, owner of Harris Funeral Homes. Andy Timmerman, the current president, moved to Abbeville from Columbia with his family when he decided to make the transition to a small-town bank.

Harris Funeral Home is established in a building that was originally built in 1904.

Harris Funeral Home is established in a building that was originally built in 1904.

Evans was born and raised in Abbeville, where he spent his high school summers washing cars at the Harris Funeral Home. Since then, Brad has come a long way in the funeral home business. But as he says, “I wouldn’t change a thing about how I’ve gotten to be where I am today.” Brad’s faith and lifestyle color his position at the funeral home. The very components of running the business depend on Christianity, integrity, and hard work. “We’re all about service,” Evans says, “We want to raise the bar in funeral home service.” Brad believes in hard work, persistence, and prayer as areas that must be covered in order for Harris Funeral Home to run successfully. This company is all about the people they serve. “I believe being involved with the community is vital,” Evans mused.

Part of Harris Funeral Home’s objectives in serving the Abbeville community is ensuring that they are doing everything they can to help make Abbeville the best place to live and the most comforting place to celebrate the life of loved one. As Brad said, “Abbeville is a great place.” The location is great for Harris Funeral Home and the community is even better. Another company that greatly contributes to the community is Stoll Fireplace Inc. in Abbeville, South Carolina.

People work hard at Stoll Fireplace, whether they are cutting metal or exacting measurements.

People work hard at Stoll Fireplace, whether they are cutting metal or exacting measurements.

This company is run by Gary Yoder, grandson of the founder of Stoll Fireplace. William Stoll began the company in 1969 after he created his own fireplace to put into his new home once he and his family moved to Abbeville from Virginia Beach, Virginia. After creating his first masterpiece, folks began requesting he make theirs, too, and Stoll Fireplace Inc. was born! This business benefits the community through many ways, one of which is by providing jobs for around sixty people in Abbeville County. Gary is proud of his employees, and he understands that Abbeville provides a “good work force.” The community and the atmosphere of Abbeville make Stoll Fireplace a great place to work, and also provides Gary and his team with everything they need. Whether it’s technology, improvements, or other things, Abbeville stays up to date, an essential aspect of any successful business. Gary loves running the business because he loves the creativity put into designing and making the fireplaces. “We stress customization,” said Gary. When asked to what he owes his success and the success of the company, Gary says “To God, first of all.” The company runs on honesty, the golden rule, friendship, and quality. As Mr. William Stoll once said, “Honesty is not a question, and to correct mistakes is an opportunity to show integrity.” They have over 1,000 dealers in the U.S. and Canada. Each dealer goes through training, Part of the reason Stoll Fireplace maintains so many friendships is that they have prayer time every morning at 8:30. This office-wide prayer time often involves praying for prayer requests from dealers all over the United States. This is something that is unique to Stoll Fireplace. Faith-based and faith driven, God provides the success for Stoll Fireplace Inc.

For the people in the Freshwater Coast, community is everything. Small businesses generally thrive because of the surrounding community, but in Abbeville County’s case, the community thrives because of the local businesses.

McCormick Small Business Night Success

Sally Caldwell, Communications Coordinator

August 26, 2015

MCCORMICK — The town of McCormick was excited to host its first Small Business Night, and even more excited to see its success. Many people gathered together last Thursday night in McCormick Middle School’s cafeteria to listen to speakers, ask questions, and strategize the growth of the town.

The meeting opened up with talk about the need for a central hub for tourism in McCormick, as well as other ideas that could promote tourism.

Small businesses must decide what their market is and understand how rural tourism applies to them.

Visitors look for entertainment, excitement, and education, and McCormick could easily produce all of these for rural tourists.

Southern hospitality was then discussed as the secret to tourism in South Carolina. No other place is known for being as courteous and familial as the communities in South Carolina, a trait that must be continued and embraced by the McCormick community.

Signage was also brought up as a factor that could change the face of rural tourism in McCormick. Signs drawn attention, keep attention, and guide onlookers to where their attention may be transformed into entertainment, excitement, or education.

Lauren Ponder then took over the meeting, promoting SC Great Outdoors, a website that is dedicated to preserving and promoting the historicalness of our counties, facilitating grants, and creating a sense of place. As Lauren said, “Development will happen, you just have to plan it.”

Lauren discussed potential changes that would enhance McCormick, such as new lighting, multimodal transportation, and more.

Next on the agenda was speaker Matt Wiggins. Matt talked about how to put small businesses on the map worldwide, primarily through web services. Matt said that “online presence is key,” and he offered his website skills to everyone at the meeting.

McCormick’s Small Business Night was a smashing success; now, the community eagerly awaits to see the fruits of this productive meeting.

Whether augmenting the structure of the town, creating new local businesses, or putting current businesses on the map, McCormick is on the brink of becoming a successful county of rural tourism.

The community of McCormick County excitedly discusses the potential of local businesses and how to improve McCormick through new local businesses and new strategies of promotion.

The community of McCormick County excitedly discusses the potential of local businesses and how to improve McCormick through new local businesses and new strategies of promotion.







Let’s Talk About It: A Community that Grows Together…

Sally Caldwell, Communications Coordinator

August 12, 2015

A Community that Grows Together… Ripe tomatoes, sweet strawberries, fresh corn on the cob, southern okra, butter beans, and juicy watermelon are just some of the fresh farm produce being grown in Abbeville County’s backyard. Are you hungry yet?

Delicious vegetables grow in their assigned rows at Vince Maloney’s farm.

Delicious vegetables grow in their assigned rows at Vince Maloney’s farm.

Produce is not just for the cold section in the grocery store. Fresh, locally grown produce is found right in the backyard of your community, and one of these backyards happens to be Vince Maloney’s in Donalds, South Carolina.

After living in Spokane, Washington for many years, Vince opted for a change of pace and decided to move to Donalds to farm. He worked in the aviation industry for many years, honing his business acumen which he now applies to the business of farming. Vince farms not only because he loves working with his hands, but also because he wants to leave behind something valuable and sustainable for his own family and also for the community around him. As Vince says, “You won’t find a friendlier neighborhood.” He loves farming here, and Donalds loves having him here!

Vince benefits the community not only with his skilled farming but also with his knowledge in the business world. Vince brings more to the horticulture table than just his fresh fruits and vegetables. He knows the ins and outs of the business of farming and so helps those around him when he can.

Just a few of the ripe, beautiful products grown at Parisi Farms.

Just a few of the ripe, beautiful products grown at Parisi Farms.

Speaking of fresh produce, Parisi Farms in Abbeville, South Carolina is known for their pesticide-free and chemical-free plants. Penny Parisi owns this farm and began it when she moved from Florida to Abbeville, South Carolina. When she moved here, she found that the food in Florida compared quite differently to the food in South Carolina. So, she decided to use her knowledge of Floridian produce and grow her own fresh food.

Parisi Farms is one of few farms that grows crops completely free of pesticides or chemicals. This farm started in 2007 and since then has blossomed into many acres of the good food and plants that the community loves to buy. They sell many products, including squash, watermelon, peppers, sweet potatoes, pumpkins, and their best-selling tomatoes. Parisi Farms’ crops are grown according to the season, ensuring that customers get the best quality of that season’s produce.

By being pesticide and chemical free, Penny Parisi serves the community through teaching those who visit her farm about the harmful effects that some sprays and chemicals can have on plants and therefore on the consumer’s body. The farm also gives back to the community whenever they can by donating to soup kitchens, food pantries, and more. Whether she is growing or giving, Penny knows that her farm provides good food for the good people in our community. Like other growers and sellers in Abbeville County, Penny Parisi loves the people that surround her farm: “The people are kind and humble…I love it here.” The more Parisi Farms grows for our community, the more the community grows together and towards self-sustainment.

Larry Posley and Cindy Adams show off the fresh fruits and vegetables and various other products at the Produce Patch.

Larry Posley and Cindy Adams show off the fresh fruits and
vegetables and various other products at the Produce Patch.

If you cannot quite make it out to these farms, let the farm come to you at Ferguson’s Produce in Abbeville, South Carolina. Carold Ferguson began the business and then passed it on to his son and daughter, Buster and Janet Ferguson. Ferguson’s Produce’s reputation is just as favorable as the fresh, delectable fruits and veggies that they sell. This shop features some of the best produce available in Abbeville County, along with plenty of other products and groceries.

Austin Wilson stocks fresh tomatoes at Ferguson's Produce.

Austin Wilson stocks fresh tomatoes at
Ferguson’s Produce.

Ferguson’s sells to local restaurants as well as to the public. Both Janet and Buster truly enjoy the relationships with their patrons, whether they are long-time regulars or individuals that are new to their market. “Everybody knows everybody,” said Janet with a smile. Like most people in Abbeville County, Janet loves the small-town feel surrounding her. Not only does everybody know everybody, but everybody knows Ferguson’s Produce! “We try to provide the best quality available,” commented Janet. The store stocks new products weekly, sometimes even twice a week, guaranteeing that the shelves will be packed with fresh food.

Just as Ferguson’s Produce is dedicated to selling quality products, the Produce Patch in Due West, South Carolina likewise sells some of the best food around. The Produce Patch is the first grocery store to set foot in the college town of Due West. Cindy Adams is the owner, and began the new Produce Patch much to the small town’s delight. Now that Due West has a grocery store, business is booming for Cindy and her team. Even the look inside the shop is warm and welcoming. “I want it to look really, really old,” Cindy remarked as she talked about her grandfather and his old tobacco barn, the inspiration for the unique look of the Produce Patch. The vintage-look of the shop is the only aged quality in the store. Everything else is fresh and new, from the milk and cheeses to the fresh vegetables and fruit placed in the homemade produce stand that greets you when you open the door. Although she gets her products from reputable places all over South Carolina, Cindy buys from many farmers that go to her directly with their products. “This is for the people,” Cindy said as she looked around her successful store.

As farmers and store owners continue to grow and expand their businesses and products, so does the community of the Freshwater Coast continue to grow economically and agriculturally.

Due West Chamber of Commerce Meeting

Sally Caldwell, Communications Coordinator

August 11, 2015

Due West Chamber of Commerce Meeting Media

Will Ferreira, Matt Wiggins, David Earle, Cindy Adams, David Krumwiede, Susan Jackson, and Charles Angel listen as Alanna Angel discusses strategies that could better the community of Due West.

DUE WEST — Last week, a meeting was held at the Renaissance in Due West to discuss  how the Freshwater Coast Community Foundation (FCCF) can strategize to enhance the town’s community, agriculture, and small businesses.

The meeting began with discussion about what the FCCF is accomplishing through the website, public relations, feasibility studies, and more.

It was decided that the best way to improve the community in Due West is to first find out what the community cares about. This point led to the planning of the “Community Enrichment Night,” an event dedicated to bringing the community together to voice the town’s needs and interests.

Many ideas were brought to the table, including a new pool, a community development center, mentorship, a town survey, a fitness center, computer training for adults, a neighborhood crime watch system, and other ways to enrich Due West.

Plans were made to meet again in August to discuss the now-upcoming “Community Enrichment Night” on October 19, 2015 at 6:00 PM.

Due West is a family-centered, faith-based town that has great potential to become a destination for many besides those that grew up there locally. The FCCF is excited about enhancing an already wonderful town to its highest potential.

Upcoming Small Business Night

Sally Caldwell, Communications Coordinator

August 11, 2015

MCCORMICK — McCormick South Carolina County Chamber of Commerce is proud to host the first “McCormick Small Business Night” on August 20, 2015 at 6:00pm. This event will take place in the McCormick Middle School Cafeteria:  6979 SC HWY 28 South, McCormick, SC 29835.

This will be an evening dedicated to encouraging future business opportunities and to promoting small business growth in the community.

All business ideas are welcome at this meeting. The Freshwater Coast Community Foundation and the Small Business Development Center desire to help any feasible business ideas that come through this meeting and to listen to any community concerns or needs that that are brought up.

Whether someone desires to start a new ice cream parlor or has an idea to install a hotel, this business night wants to hear these ideas and encourage creativity and share knowledge of what it takes to start up a personal business.

Come celebrate the small businesses that already exist and learn more about the exciting things that are happening in McCormick County. Contact Charlotte Tallent or Heather McNally to RSVP or to learn more information regarding this event.

Complimentary sandwiches and ice cream will be provided, so your RSVP is necessary to ensure that there is enough food for everyone.

We look forward to hearing the community’s future business ideas and are excited about the progress that has already been made in McCormick County.


The McCormick Arts Council at the Keturah building in the middle of McCormick, South Carolina.



Growers Alliance Meeting

Sally Caldwell, Communications Coordinator

July 29, 2015

ABBEVILLE — On Thursday, the Freshwater Coast Community Food Alliance (FCCFA) held a meeting featuring guest speaker Mike McGirr, Co-Founder and Executive Director of Feed & Seed in Clemson, South Carolina.

The purpose of this meeting was to brainstorm ideas about how to enhance growers’ businesses and increase agriculture in the Freshwater Coast.

Mike McGirr spoke about the progress that he has made with Feed & Seed and with the food hub in Clemson. “We want our farmers to be profitable so that our farms remain in place,” McGirr noted regarding the future of agribusiness in the area. A high potential of productivity exists in the area, and the multiple acres of open pasture encourage advancement.

Mike McGirr leads discussion on agricultural enhancement of the Upstate with Lee Logan, Matt Wiggins, Stephanie Turner, Penny Parisi, Frank Love, Tim Hall, and others during the Growers Alliance Meeting.

Mike McGirr leads discussion on agricultural enhancement of the Upstate with Lee Logan, Matt Wiggins, Stephanie Turner, Penny Parisi, Frank Love, Tim Hall, and others during the Growers Alliance Meeting.

Organizations such as Ten at the Top and the Regulatory Services division at Clemson support agricultural growth and may be used for the benefit of the quality of life in Abbeville and McCormick counties and the Starr-Iva area of Anderson.

The meeting discussed options that would enhance the area, such as group GAP certification, the need for auditors, a food hub, a new farmer’s market system, a food truck, and a community event dedicated to locally made food and products.

The meeting concluded with forming new committees dedicated to making progress happen and following up on new ideas. The meeting determined that Growers Night will be on August 27th at 6:00 p.m.

Exciting things are happening in the community of business owners and farmers, and the FCCF looks forward to sharing these progressive steps with the entire Freshwater Coast community.

Calhoun Falls Chamber of Commerce Meeting

Sally Caldwell, Communications Coordinator

July 28, 2015

ABBEVILLE— The Freshwater Coast Community Foundation (FCCF) was privileged to meet with Calhoun Falls representatives recently during a meeting discussing different ways to implement more traffic, publicity, and news in Calhoun Falls.

Starting off the meeting, Will Ferreira gave everyone an overview of what the FCCF is accomplishing and what the long-term goals are.

One of the ways that the FCCF plans to increase entrepreneurship is through educational business workshops for the community. Will, along with Matt Wiggins and Andy Johnston, will be teaching these workshops in the upcoming months. These courses will be two hours long and will hopefully repeat in the spring.

Will Ferreira, Mindy Rogers, Faye Crocker, Lee Logan, Cody White, and David Porter among others listen as Johnnie Waller, Mayor of Calhoun Falls, leads discussion about Calhoun Falls and its business and tourism potential.

Will Ferreira, Mindy Rogers, Faye Crocker, Lee Logan, Cody White, and David Porter among others listen as Johnnie Waller, Mayor of Calhoun Falls, leads discussion about Calhoun Falls and its business and tourism potential.

The purpose of this meeting was to inspire new ideas and strategies to help the community and businesses of Calhoun Falls thrive. Discussion centered on a strategic economic development plan.

This plan included discussion on ideas such as refurbishing downtown, using the public library, a new historic attraction, gaming for entertainment, a walking/biking/hiking tour, a Frisbee golf course, road biking with a map, and a town painting/mural.

Recreational program promotion was the next topic of discussion. Calhoun Falls could implement a tour guide for marketing the freshwater coast, have a book written about the trails, or purchase an LED display sign that would easily advertise the activities going on in the town.

Immediate future plans for the FCCF and Calhoun Falls include two follow-up meetings, one of which will primarily discuss plans for the painting/mural.

Calhoun Falls is a place packed with opportunities, adventures, and community, and the Freshwater Coast Community Foundation looks forward to supporting and promoting this wonderful town.


McCormick Chamber of Commerce Meeting

Sally Caldwell, Communications Coordinator

July 8, 2015

MCCORMICK—Teaming with the McCormick Chamber of Commerce, the Freshwater Coast Community Foundation (FCCF) held a meeting last week to discuss the future of McCormick’s local business world, including a couple of exciting events that are in the making.

During the meeting, Heather McNally, program director for the McCormick Arts Council at the Keturah (MACK), provided information regarding the Quilt Tour in McCormick. This information will be soon sent out to community in order to promote this fun and little-known display of art and history. The goal of this newsletter will be to feature local cultural assets regularly and unite the various initiatives in shared promotion efforts.

mccormick meeting

Heather McNally, Charlotte Tallent, Joe McNinch, and Will Ferreira discuss upcoming events in McCormick and the progress of the town’s economy and community.

The next item on the agenda was discussion about the “Small Business Night” events that will take place over the course of the year. Will Ferreira, the Community Coordinator for the FCCF, explained the vision for these business nights and what he wants to see accomplished through them. The first business night will feature three guest speakers who will enlighten the budding business owners about putting McCormick on the map, the naturalism of McCormick, and tourism. The goal will be to encourage locals who have ideas about starting up small businesses and to maybe eventually even start these businesses.

Charlotte Tallent, Executive Director for McCormick County Chamber of Commerce, mentioned the constant stream of people that visit the nearby Hickory Knob State Park and suggested that the rest of McCormick use this publicity to the town’s advantage.

Although McCormick has many small businesses and opportunities, the Chamber of Commerce and the FCCF look forward to more growth of the town and more awareness in people outside of the town.


FCCF Hosts Growers Alliance Meeting

Sally Caldwell, Communications Coordinator

June 16, 2015

ABBEVILLE — The Freshwater Coast Community Food Alliance (FCCFA) recently held a meeting in which they discussed the possibility of a golf cart rental business in Calhoun Falls, a farm rental business, and what the future of farming looks like for Abbeville County.

Jason Ashley, a livestock farmer, attended the meeting and provided valuable discourse about what is required in order to maintain successful farming and also the various obstacles that are presented to local producers. Many growers are beginning to sell their products at their farms rather than in the market or through a processor in order to ensure that the customers get what they want and can pay up front. After purchasing the meat at the farm, the buyer then takes the meat to a processor and the buyer pays the processing fee rather than the grower.

The meeting discussed details of livestock farming, such as essential slaughter dates, slaughter houses, and the need for more local meat processors.

Growers Meeting Media

Will Ferreira, Cody White, Amanda Morgan, Jenny Mountford, Tim Hall and Jason Ashley discussing strategies for agribusiness project implementations in the Freshwater Coast Community.


The FCCFA was encouraged by the progress made by the feasibility studies and research on local farming. Once these studies are finished, the FCCF will make them available on its website to promote potential agricultural business opportunities.

They also discussed the need for identifying local byproduct buyers as well as training for local butchers. This training would teach butchers how to cut meat well and ensure that the customers get exactly what they order.

Farmer’s market strategies were also discussed, such as the need for a meat market and a certification process required in order to sell at the farmer’s market.

As discussed in the meeting, the Freshwater Coast Community Foundation is taking even more steps to improve agribusiness in Abbeville County, McCormick County, and the southern area of Anderson County.