Gullah Geechee is a culture that developed among enslaved peoples along the southeastern coast of the United States. Brought from West African nations to work on rice, indigo, and Sea Island cotton plantations, these people endured the hardships of their lives through fellowship, song, and the sharing of food. Rice and seafood were the staples of their diets, and they invented many ways to enjoy them. Those dishes have been handed down through many generations, and today, these recipes are among the basics of “soul food”, prepared in kitchens and restaurants across the country.
What happened to the Gullah Geechee people? There are remnants of their society here and there on sea islands from North Carolina to Florida. In fact, the U.S. Congress has established a Gullah Geechee Heritage Corridor, a National Heritage Area, to recognize the unique culture of the Gullah Geechee people.
Our Farm of the Week, Morning Glory Homestead Farm is owned by Tony and Belinda Jones, both descendants of the Gullah people. The farm was once a portion of the McTureus Plantation. Tony’s ancestors were once enslaved on the plantation. Upon Emancipation a family member bought land and it remained in the family. Tony’s parents entrusted the care and preservation of the property to Tony and Belinda, who are doing their best to be good stewards and teach the value of this property to their children and young grandchildren. Located on St. Helena Island near Beaufort, this small farm produces poultry (chickens, turkeys, and ducks), eggs, and organic vegetables like okra, muscadines, kale, bell peppers, potatoes, and more. They conduct farm tours, sell their products in a farm store, and give tours of St. Helena Island too.
Farm tours: $18 per person. Visit their poultry operation – stroll past their poultry housing and watch the birds forage. Enjoy learning about their sustainable farming practices. See their field of produce, seasonal high tunnel, their orchard, raised beds, beehives, and their magnificent old oaks draped with Spanish moss. They’ll let you taste whatever’s in season, entertain questions and share more about their Gullah heritage, traditions, and community. Farm tours are available Wednesday – Saturday. You can purchase tickets for farm tours here.
Farm Tour + St. Helena Island Tour: $45 per person. In addition to a tour of Morning Glory Homestead Farm, guests will follow in their own vehicles to a local praise house, Penn Center (formerly Penn School), the cottage where Martin Luther King, Jr. stayed during a visit, the Coffin Point Plantation and Gullah cemetery. Gullah stories are told along the way, helping enlighten visitors. Tours are conducted Wednesday – Saturday. Tickets for the Farm Tour + St. Helena Island Tour here.
Farm Tour + St. Helena Island Tour + Meal: $66.95 per person ($50 per child): Enjoy the tours described above, plus a simple meal back at the farm. For lunch, enjoy fish and fries (a local favorite) or fish, grits, and eggs. Sit around a fire outside and experience the Gullah way of life! Tickets for Farm Tour + St. Helena Island Tour + Meal here.
Farm Store: They sell their fresh eggs and veggies as well as some prepared goodies like biscuits, cinnamon rolls, and quiche. Make sure you purchase some of these items while you’re there! More here.
Special Events: On Saturday, January 29, 2022, Morning Glory Homestead Farm will host the Gullah Campfire Supper with Stories and Songs, a farm-to-table supper featuring Gullah favorites. January is a great time to visit St. Helena Island as it is the birth month of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. who visited the island for a planning conference at Penn Center. Enjoy Gullah stories and songs. An immersive Gullah experience! Tickets are $36 (adult), $32 (teen) and $12 (child). Purchase your tickets here.
Camping: This is a very cool place to tent-camp (they rent tents if you don’t have your own). $25 per night. Book here.
Morning Glory Homestead Farm
42 Robert & Clara Trail
St. Helena Island, SC 29920
Open Wednesday – Saturday