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Snapper + Purple Grits

Snapper + Purple Grits

YIELd 4 Servings  |  Prep Time 15 minutes  |  Cook Time 30 minutes



  • 1½ pound filet of seasonal Florida snapper (Red, Mangrove or Vermilion), cut into 4 - 6 ounce portions, skin off
  • ¾ cup of Congaree and Penn Purple Rice Grits
  • 3 ¾ cups of chicken or vegetable broth, or water.
  • 4 ounces of high quality butter
  • 1 sprig of rosemary
  • 10 sprigs of thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 4 cloves of garlic, smashed and minced
  • ½ onion, small diced
  • 2 medium zucchini, cut into obliques (optional) or small diced
  • ½ lemon for juicing
  • Red kale leaves for garnish
  • A few drops of  high quality balsamic vinegar (we recommend aged at least 12 years)
  • Congaree and Penn Pecan Oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste



  1. In a 3 quart saucepan, sauté garlic and onions in 2 ounces of butter until translucent. Add water or broth, and bring to a boil over high heat.
  2. Stir in grits, bring back to a boil, then reduce to a low simmer.  Stir the grits every minute until finished. Add more water, if necessary.
  3. Season the fish with salt and pepper, then place between paper towels to keep as dry as possible.  
  4. Warm a large skillet or sauté pan over high heat. Add pecan oil to coat the bottom (just a coat, not a puddle). Add zucchini and season with salt and pepper. This pan should stay as hot as possible while the zucchini is cooking to ensure proper blistering of the vegetable. You only want to blister the zucchini, not cook it all the way through. Once this is achieved, pour a portion of the lemon juice into the pan, toss, then remove zucchini from heat and set aside until serving.
  5. In another very hot large skillet or sauté pan, add a touch of pecan oil, enough to coat the bottom. Add fish portions, but do not over crowd the pan (this may cause the fish to stick to the bottom of the pan). Once the fish begin to cook from the bottom up, add the remaining butter and thyme sprigs to the pan. With a sauce spoon, splash the boiling butter on top of each portion of fish until they appear fully cooked, then turn each one over and drizzle the remaining lemon juice over the fish.
  6. Line zucchini down the center of the plate. Add a scoop grits centered, but not on top of the line of zucchini. Watch out for the rosemary and bay leaf!
  7. Place perfectly caramelized snapper portions on top of the grits. Drizzle aged balsamic and pecan oil onto the plates to finish.

Recipe by Chef Trey Hartinger  |  Photography by Stefanie Keeler

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