“My great-grandparents were slaves in South Carolina. My grandparents managed to buy 11 acres here. My parents met at a local livestock auction. I was born and raised on this land.” So says Joseph Fields, who, with six of his eight siblings, has expanded the family farm to include 50 acres planted with beans, tomatoes, sweet potatoes, and more.
Though Fields downplays his ambitions, he’s incredibly savvy about shifting trends, returning to an organic approach in 2008, after decades of industrial agriculture. “I grow what my customers want,” he explains, “and people at the Charleston farmers market want chemical-free produce.”
Does Fields ever regret following in his ancestors’ footsteps? “No. I’ve always loved watching things grow. I raised corn and cattle for 4-H class as a kid. I’m 65 years old now, and I’m still out there driving the tractor. I’ll probably slow down, but I’ll never quit.”