We believe in local sustainable agriculture and raise animals and produce to the highest standards of health and flavor with absolutely no hormones, medications, antibiotics, pesticides, or herbicides.
We are passionate about helping people rebuild a relationship with their food, where it comes from, how it is raised, and how best to prepare it.
We are proud to be part of the local Summerville, Charleston, and Mt. Pleasant communities and provide nourishment and education for our fellow citizens. We do not purchase and we do not sell outside of SC whenever there is a plausible alternative.
We believe in food; we believe in local; we believe in you.
You remember that song with the line, "You don't know what you've got till it's gone"? We knew what we had and we certainly know what we had now that it is gone. We have found some wonderful local sources of meat, dairy, eggs and veggies here, but not the holistic, experiential, caring place and people that is Wishbone.
We are grateful for what you do, in every way, how you make food the important, beautiful, social and joyful need that it is and should be, and how you share it with everyone. We are very very grateful for what it has taught our children, where their food comes from, how they can control and choose it and how it can be a special part of their lives as well. The memories of the farmer's markets, the afternoons helping on the farm, all have placed an indelible stamp on them and hopefully their future relationship with nature and food.
We cannot describe how completely lost we were the first time in a grocery store here, as we had not had to purchase any food there in so long....it was like a foreign place.....all your fault!
We so wish you joy, success and ever expanding mission and voice to many in South Carolina and we will try our best to find your match in Minnesota, difficult as that will be!
Many, many thanks!
Elizabeth, James, Holly and William (formerly of Summerville)
I was determined not to move from your email this morning until I took a minute to write you. I missed many of the farmers' markets last season and have not placed any delivery orders because we have moved - to Arizona. It's been non-stop since July. I know you have had quite a lot going also. I hope your new place works out well for you.
I want to tell you, as if I need to, that you have the best pork I have ever had - and I was raised on REAL pork and real food. My mom grew up on a farm where they grew all their own vegetables, raised, butchered, and smoked their own pigs, had a milk cow. While I didn't grow up on a farm, I didn't see a potato chip until I was in Jr. High School and a friend couldn't believe I'd never had one. No, we had real food that Mom got from the farmers she knew. Still, yours is the best!
So, David, maybe you haven't noticed my absence, but I wanted you to know how much I will miss you. I'm sure I will find other sources here, but they won't be the same. Your kale and other veggies was awesome. You can't get that at a store. OK, pickled kale stems didn't work so well, but I learned.
I'm thankful for your commitment to your customers. It shows in your products. I hope to have a chance to order ahead on trips to Charleston so we can enjoy your farm goods. I wish you the best,
Bonnie (formerly West Ashley)
Wishbone Heritage is a treasure to the Lowcountry. David is passionate about providing the highest quality, freshest ingredients to the area, and it shows - everything we've had is delicious!
Jana (Goose Creek)
David is creating an awesome place in Ridgeville SC. He brings joy and professionalism to local farming - a fantastic combination. I know they have raised the animals and treated them humanely, even with love. I know my food is without chemicals and it is all delicious! I treasure my food because of their hard work and dedication.
Judith (Mt. Pleasant)
BEST EGGS IN CHARLESTON! I've never been one to get excited about eggs. But I realize it's because I didn't know what good fresh farm eggs tasted like until I got my hands on some from Wishbone Farms. These are a total game changer. Breakfast (or any other egg dish for that matter) honestly isn't the same if I don't have Farmer David's eggs. And if you're lucky, you might crack one and get twins! Which reminds me, I'm already out and need more!
Maureen (James Island)
I had not eaten pork in about 20 years because I was appalled at the way these intelligent, self-aware animals were treated in "normal" hog farms. I still only seldom eat pork, but when I do, I am so grateful that Wishbone Farms provides an ethical alternative and an excellent product!
I got some pork chops to try and I loved them, the Wishbone Farms team did a great job raising and butchering the farm raised pigs, because the flavor was excellent! Always doing inventory of my freezer and once wishbone farms pork chops hit the freezer inventory, they are gone. I've smoked and oven baked them and they come out exactly as expected.
Steve (Goose Creek)
We visited the farm to see where our food is coming from and it was a great learning experience for us. The meats are outstanding. We have purchased chicken, a turkey for Thanksgiving, Boston Butts, Italian sausages and hotdogs. Farmer David has given us cooking tips and has been available to answer all of our questions. As we have decreased meats purchased at the grocery in favor of meats from Wishbone Heritage Farms we have seen a huge benefit to our health.
Thank you Farmer David for your vision and hard work.
I love the turkey and chicken sausages that Wishbone offers they are always delicious and have the best flavors! It is great to know that every time I get a quality product I know is local.
We love getting our meat from the farm. To know the food we are putting in our bodies is the best quality gives us piece of mind. We absolutely love everything we try from the whole chicken to the jalapeno cheddar sausage(our absolute favorite), we love everything we order. The convenience of picking it up at a nearby location is also a plus. Knowing we are getting our eggs from farm pastured chickens helps us to make sure we are using our dollars to a good cause. Farm fresh eggs, breakfast sausage, and chicken breasts are staples in our kitchen. We wouldn't think of getting our meat and eggs from anywhere else. Our dogs also love the treats we order from time to time. Thank you for giving us the opportunity to get farm fresh products! It means the world to us.
Amy (Sullivans Island)
I love doing my grocery shopping with Wishbone Farms. What a sense of security I have knowing exactly where the food comes from that I feed myself and my family. David works very hard to get us the best possible meats, vegetables and eggs. Farming is hard work and I am grateful for David and everyone at Wishbone Farms.
I love your pet food and treats. Well, not me but my aging German Shepherd dog. Especially the pet food and dehydrated chicken feet and necks. I was giving her Glucosamine supplements but as I don't know under what conditions it was made, I found out that cartilage is a more direct and natural way to give Glucosamine to my dog - and chicken feet is the best source of it. It comforts me to know that you pasture-raise the chickens humanely, locally, and without antibiotics and hormones.
Therefore, when I give my big dog the dehydrated chicken feet to prevent arthritis and hip problems as she ages, I worry no more about how exactly it was made since it all came from your farm.
The pet food is full of cartilage which also provides Glucosamine. The peace of mind I get from knowing everything that's being fed to my pets (yes, even my cats love the pet food) is all that and a bag of chips - or in this case, a bag of chicken feet.
My critters and I thank you and everyone at Wishbone Heritage Farms for all your hard work.
Lee (N. Charleston)
We love Wishbone Farms pastured eggs. They are so fresh and so delicious and we feel good about the way the hens live.
Audrey (Sullivans Island)
Knowing that the eggs are naturally raised is a huge comfort for us as parents. The fact that they are fresh and great tasting is a huge bonus! Our family of goes through four dozen a week We also love visiting the farm--it's great for our kids (and us) to see where our food comes from!
Chris & Michelle (Summerville)
What can you say about Wishbone Farms and Farmer David that probably hasn’t already been said. Whether its the freshest eggs you have ever had, or the most delicious bacon that has ever passed your lips you can tell that these animals lead a very happy life. Hands down the best chicken you will ever have the opportunity to eat. The seasonal veggies are also some of the best you will be able to find. You can tell that there is a love and appreciation that goes into everything Wishbone offers. Not only is the food great but one of the highlights of the week is getting to have a conversation with your farmer. Know you farmer know your food.
I have been purchasing Wishbone's products for almost two years. I purchase many of the products because I know that the animals have been pastured raised and are of top quality. I particularly love the eggs and pastured chickens and lamb products. I am a completely satisfied customer and would recommend Wishbone's products to anyone!
I can’t think of a better way to help a farm I’ve come to love than to help others see that it truly does make a difference when you know where your food is coming from. We’ve been buying products from Wishbone Heritage Farms for probably going on three years and we haven’t for a minute thought of going back anywhere else. Every single egg we eat, be it chicken, duck, quail, or goose we get from the farm and you can’t compare the taste to any other egg you’ve ever had. All the meat products we get are always so delicious and you know they’re clean. We have become especially fond of the sausage and bacon, not to mention that we fully expect that for the third year in a row we will be serving Thanksgiving dinner with an absolutely beautiful turkey from Wishbone Heritage Farms. We also love that we can go visit the farm just about any time and we love bringing our young daughter with us so that she can learn and enjoy the same things we do in seeing where our amazing food comes from. We can’t thank the farm enough!
Farmer David has the absolute best hugs in the Charleston area. Seriously, you cannot find this kind of quality anywhere else. Make sure you request one with your purchase.
Vicki (N. Charleston)
For dinner tonight we enjoyed your pork chops. Made a stuffing of fresh sage leaves and garlic, salt and pepper. I browned them on the stove then finished them in the oven. Perfection! Thanks for your hard work.
Mary Ann & Fred (Mt. Pleasant)
As a "regular" at the Mt.Pleasant Farmers Market, a sign at the Wishbone Farms stand caught my attention: farmraised turkey and goose. Having been very disappointed with supermarket goose in the past, we decided to give it a try for Christmas dinner. Although
the price was quite steep, the quality and taste of "our bird" was so exquisit that it made more than up for the money spent. I couldn't do it everyday, but for a special occasion it was perfect!
Karin (Mt. Pleasant)
Charleston City Paper, September 30, 2015
By Stephanie Burt
David Gravelin has more work than he can do in a day, but right now, he's picking up straggling hens by the wing and pitching them over a low fence. He does this multiple times a week, and the "ladies" get the hint, flappingly landing unharmed and relatively unruffled on the other side. They're back to pecking for grubs again in a matter of seconds.
This is part of the work of pasture-raised chicken farming; four times a week the hens have to move to a new plot of land on Gravelin's 17.5-acre Wishbone Heritage Farms in Ridgeville outside Summerville ... or North Charleston ... or Moncks Corner, but anyway a long way from New York City, where Gravelin last lived.
"I never had an animal, not even a dog, the whole time I lived in New York," says Gravelin between the chickens clucking, ducks quacking, hogs rooting, and the farm dog Lila enthusiastically galloping through the mud in the background, it's a wonder I can hear him.
Gravelin spent more than a decade in the financial industry in the Big Apple, and there he began to realize he would never get the security he wanted. He would never have enough. So he decided to search for a new reality. Now this wasn't a measured, small step where he moved to Connecticut and planted a veggie garden, but a "travel and think and sleep on couches and volunteer" kick-in-the-soul-searching. And one day he volunteered at a friend's farm just outside of Memphis, Tenn.
"I had only worked three days, and I knew this was what I wanted. I wanted to farm," he says. "It was an extension of my passion for food, getting to the source, and being able to make food with what I've grown."
He started searching for a farm in the Charleston area — he'd visited Charleston a few times and had liked it — and somehow his personal "Wizard of Oz tornado," as he puts it, landed him in a field in Ridgeville.
"In the framework of starting a farm, eggs are one of the fastest ways to start," he explains, so he began with a few Hyline Brown hens. Today he has 300.
Later he added ducks, and geese, and eventually quail, and then 50-plus Tamworth hogs, rabbits, sweet potatoes, and a big stand of basil and vegetables.
But the eggs: chicken, duck, quail, and, very seasonally, goose, are still a mainstay of the farm two years later. All the animals are pasture-raised. That means there's a lot of moving and re-securing on a daily basis, of slowly pulling portable bird coops or "chicken tractors" behind a tractor, of watering, of feeding, of collecting eggs by hand, of washing and measuring and packing eggs by hand, of selling packs of eggs by hand. That's why these eggs are priced more than many chain grocery store eggs; most people don't want to know why the grocery store eggs are able to be priced so low, but let's just say it's not because they are moving hens to fresh grass on a sunny farm in Ridgeville.
So are those fancy pasture-raised chicken eggs, not to mention duck, quail, and geese eggs, worth buying? You bet, especially when you can see what you can do with them. For something simple, like an omelet, it takes two to three chicken eggs, seven to nine quail eggs, and one duck egg. The difference between a quail egg and a duck egg is "sizeable," and a chicken egg falls somewhere in between. Don't let those differences throw you off — go with it, just as the following recipes suggest.
Using similar ingredients, three Charleston chefs have provided three different approaches to eggs, and all serve as main dishes. All also play up the inherent richness of the egg, as well as playing with serving sizes. Charleston Grill's Chef Michelle Weaver provides an intimate main dish for two, Warehouse's Chef Emily Hahn suggests a decadent brunch for four, and Fish's Chef Nico Romo has the main attraction for a dinner party for six covered.
Azalea Magazine, March 10, 2015
By Jana Riley
After fifteen years in the insurance and finance industries in New York, David Gravelin felt completely burnt out. His job brought stress and financial issues, and all around him, he felt a constant push to make more money; no matter how much he had, it never seemed to be enough.
“I chased after financial security for a decade and a half,” says Gravelin. “One day, I finally realized that security had no real value to me.”
Gravelin soon sold off nearly all of his worldly possessions and began traveling, opening himself up to the pull of chance and opportunity. He made connections through Couchsurfing.com and stayed in strangers’ homes, volunteered in the Dominican Republic for a while and traveled up and down the East Coast looking for a place to settle. Eventually, he stopped in Memphis long enough to rent a place to live, and began visiting the local farmer’s market. There, he met Chris Watson of Renaissance Farms in Saulsbury, Tennessee, who invited Gravelin to visit and volunteer on the farm.
“I volunteered on his farm exactly three times before I started looking for property of my own,” says Gravelin.
Months prior, Gravelin’s travels brought him to Charleston, where he fell in love with its food culture, particularly the rising organic, locally grown movement. When the opportunity to start a farm presented itself, Gravelin quickly turned his sights toward the Charleston area, and it was not long before he found the perfect parcel of land out in Ridgeville, which he purchased in 2013. From there, it was just a path of trial and error to get his farm running successfully.
“I learned to raise pigs by buying pigs and raising them,” says Gravelin. “I think, if you’re going to do something, don’t stop yourself. Just do it, and learn while doing it.”
Gravelin wasted no time getting his seventeen-and-a-half acre farm set up and functional. On one side, a forest provides the perfect home for his pigs, while the other houses chickens, ducks, geese and turkeys. All animals are raised with vast amounts of land on which to forage and graze. Near the farmhouse, rows of crops grow in raised beds made of felled pine logs.
Now in its second year, Wishbone Heritage Farms is quite a success, largely due to Gravelin’s hard work in setting up an operation that customers want to support. Interacting on social media accounts, manning the booth at farmer’s markets, opening up the farm to volunteer work days, and even making home deliveries himself, Gravelin insists on being accessible to his customers.
“My goal is to make it easy for people to eat local and maintain a relationship with the farm, not just during the farmer’s market season,” he says. “If you really want to know what you’re eating, you need to know and be able to communicate with the person who raised it.”
A self-described conscious consumer, Gravelin is passionate about running a farm that provides a better, “true” organic experience — one that is heavily focused on creating products that are as natural as he can make them. To this end, Gravelin uses no antibiotics, growth hormones or synthetic pesticides or herbicides. He also feeds his animals an abundance of whole grains, establishes natural living conditions, and only uses local, certified humane processing facilities for his meat processing.
Currently, Gravelin sells a multitude of pork and chicken cuts and sausages, duck and chicken eggs, turkey, herbs and seasonal produce, which he sells at the Summerville and Mount Pleasant Farmer’s Markets. During the off season, he delivers to four drop-off locations in the area and makes home deliveries for a small fee.
For more information, follow Wishbone Heritage Farms on Facebook, visit them online at wishboneheritagefarms.com or call (843) 291-2610.
Charleston City Paper, October 21, 2015
By Stephanie Burt
I have heard plenty of grumbling over the years about the cost of food in Charleston, specifically the cost of "eating local." I get it. I too have complained about entrée prices, a $6 carton of eggs at the farmers market, and $12 cocktails. I too have stood in the produce section of my Harris Teeter debating over whether to purchase that little $8 clamshell of blueberries.
But something changed on a dusty early summer day this year when I visited an organic blueberry farm in pursuit of a story for another publication. To the soundtrack of Latin radio and cicadas, I saw pickers hand carting tub upon tub of berries to a little truck, then hand wash them, hand sort them, and watch over the only automatic part of the process — the filling of those plastic clamshells — before hand stacking them in the cooler to wait before being hand delivered to stores.
I know that quality food costs money, and it's no secret to anyone who knows me that I'm all about local, but I'm no eating-local saint. Food costs are my biggest line item, and not just the restaurant bills. However, until that day I'd never really thought about how — or more importantly why — organic, local blueberries cost exactly what they do.
So, why does "good food" cost so much?
First, we have to define what good food is. For our purposes, we're talking about local, sustainable, and fair food. Fruits and vegetables that don't have to be picked green in Guatemala then gassed in a warehouse somewhere to ripen before delivery. Animals that are allowed a modicum of existence before that existence ends. And people who are paid a living wage to manage all of this. Because management is what food is about, from tending and harvesting, to cooking and calculating. Food is alive, and we just step in on the process — picking weeds, adding nutrients, manipulating product — and try to put a number on all of that.
Here is a bit, by the numbers, of what I see in the space I am granted when I visit a kitchen or a farm. Real numbers are a part of the plate, and here are the people putting on the price tag.
"Year to date numbers in June were a 5 percent rate of return from our pigs," says David Gravelin, farmer and owner of Wishbone Heritage Farms in Ridgeville. "I work 20 hours a week on the pigs in just management time. That doesn't include the sales and marketing time, and one-third of my business is pork. When you work it out, I am certainly making less than minimum wage."
David Gravelin, owner of Wishbone Heritage Farms, says he puts $750 into each of his Tamworth hogs. Gravelin currently has 65 head of pasture-raised Tamworth pigs, a heritage breed from Great Britain with excellent foraging skills and great tasting bacon after market. Once his pigs go to the processor, their hanging weight is around 300 pounds per hog, which will yield approximately 135 pounds of sausage or 250 pounds of different (whole bone-in) cuts of meat.
"Of course, we do as much bone-in as we can, but the hams go to sausage since we don't have them cured. We average about 225 pounds of sell-able product per animal, and that includes every bone we sell for soup as low as $1 a pound," he says. For Gravelin the goal is to use absolutely ever part of the animal. "We worked hard every day for nine months to give this animal a happy, healthy, natural life, and I have a responsibility to the farm, and to the animal, to make the most of that life. I feel that as a heavy responsibility," he explains.
But beyond responsibility sits the bottom line which must take into account the fact that Gravelin has to sit on the product (store it) for selling. That's 10 freezers at an electricity cost of $20 a month per freezer and the risk that one of them might go out.
"With feed, processing, and storing, there's at least $750 in each pig to bring it to the retail market," he explains. That does not include the cost of fencing, equipment, land, marketing, or any wage for Gravelin's time. That means he must charge an average of $3 to $5.56 per pound for Wishbone Heritage Farms pork just to break even, including a loss on all of those soup bones that go for $1 a pound.
This numbers man sells direct-to-consumer, putting weekly mileage on his truck hauling pork to the farmers market, and off-season, delivering direct to regular customers and at local farmers markets, anything to get the product in consumer hands and cash flowing back into Wishbone.
At this point in time, the numbers are all retail. Wishbone Heritage Farms does not sell any pork wholesale.
"I can't do any substantial wholesale or commercial discounts at this point and have the money to keep going," Gravelin says. "And restaurants can't afford to purchase our product at our price, but I can't sell it for any less."