For a while it was known as the Sweet Corn Festival, but even though one of the most delicious and nostalgic things in the world is that first bite of sweet corn straight off the stalk and still warm from the afternoon sun, “It was just too bloomin’ hot,” said Thomas Legare. So instead of waiting until mid-June for the first crop of sweet corn to mature, the Legare family has moved their harvest celebration to May 1, and in doing so, has revived an exciting old-time tradition.
“We’ve been holding spring picnics every year since 1978,” said Helen Legare Floyd, sister of Thomas Legare. “It all started when Daddy planted too much corn one year and we invited family and friends over for a corn boil.”
The family get-togethers had been going on long before then, however. For as long as the Legare’s can remember, they spent every Saturday afternoon at their grandmother’s house. Their aunts would set up croquet and horseshoes and everyone would play games and enjoy a potluck of homemade food.
“When we were kids, we were either at someone’s house or they were at our home,” said Linda Legare. “Now we really only see each other at weddings and funerals.”
Although the spring picnic has been more or less for family since the late 70s, last year the Legare’s decided to open it up to the public.
“We want to bring that sense of closeness and community back to the island,” said Thomas. And while the Legare’s already have close relationships with their CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) members, they felt that they needed to reach out to the rest of the island and surrounding areas, as well.
“We didn’t want 600, 700 people in our CSA,” Helen pointed out. “We wanted to get to know everyone. I mean, right now I know that one of our customers can’t stand asparagus, and another absolutely hates cantaloupe. I know their kids and ask about their families. We create relationships, which is how it should be.”
This year will be the second Spring Festival hosted by the Legare family at Legare Farms. Along with yard games, a bonfire and a bluegrass jam session with Ricky Rio (if you like to play, you’re welcome to join in!), the Legares will be serving fresh sweet corn from a friend’s farm in Florida, hamburgers and sausage dogs made from their own beef, and potato salad with spring onions and tomato & cucumber salad from their own farm. There will even be homemade ice cream with strawberries from neighboring Ambrose Farms.
Proceeds from the celebration will go to fund the Legare Farms Education Foundation, the mission of which is to help raise awareness and educate Lowcountry communities and school children on the agricultural heritage of this region and the need to maintain this legacy for future generations. The program provides school field trips, community educational opportunities, and special educational events.
Tickets can be purchased by calling the office at 559-0788 or by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org. The cost is $20 for adults and $10 for children.