Buckeye Creek Farm
The Porters grow true grits
At Buckeye Creek Farm in Hickory Flat, Liz and Randall Porter raise a variety of corn that is so heirloom, they don’t even know the name of it. “Someone sent it to the ag school of University of Georgia, and they weren’t sure of its origins,” says Liz, who procured it from a North Georgia farmer nearly twenty years ago. The same seed produces mostly white corn, but an occasional ear of yellow or brick-red kernels pops up too.
The Porters grow the corn on four horse-plowed plots totaling about an acre. Several times each fall and winter, they fire up a 1937 Allis-Chalmers engine to power their gristmill, which houses the original twenty-inch granite stones it was fitted with in 1941. It takes most of a day to assemble the mill, shell and grind the corn, pack the grits, and then disassemble and clean the mill again, so they process at least 100 pounds at a time. The grits are beautiful in the bag but even prettier in the bowl: creamy white, with glints of gold and flecks of red. They cook up smooth and soothing, with the warm corn flavor shining through.
You can taste these unique grits at the Shed at Glenwood (which serves them with rabbit and collards), Kevin Rathbun Steak (as the treat under a Berkshire pork chop with braised greens and peach chutney), and Woodstock’s Freight Kitchen & Tap (as part of a Georgia shrimp and grits appetizer). They’re also available via Buckeye Creek Farm’s grinding parties; keep an eye on facebook.com/buckeyecreekfarm. Or just score a breakfast invitation from Nathan Deal: They’re served at the governor’s mansion too.
Photograph by Caroline Kilgore