Manuel’s Bread Cafe is an exquisite establishment located in Hammond’s Ferry of North Augusta that, like the developing community it is located in, is also developing- French inspired delicacies using local ingredients. Yet, these are not just any local ingredients. The owner, Chef Manuel Verney-Carron, has actually established his own small farm in the community (Blue Clay Farm) which boasts fresh herbs, flowers, vegetables, egg-laying chickens, and goats. Yes, there are indeed goats (maybe two?) inside the farm fence, which brings me to the purpose of this article.
I noticed the goats on a commute to Manuel’s cafe and took note only in passing by. For my meal, I welcomed a beet salad hailing fresh beets and micro-greens from Blue Clay, walnuts, crumbled Goat Cheese, and a drizzle of balsamic reduction with truffle oil. In addition to this, the red pepper hummus was sampled. It sported the same balsamic reduction as the beet salad and freshly baked bread from in-house. So caught up in the delicious cuisine and venue, the thought never occurred to me until my drive home…”Could that goat cheese have been made from the very same goats I drove by?” It is this thought that spiked my interest as I now establish contact with Chef and Cafe to answer this question and to schedule a tour of the farm. An update on this and other cheese related information, as pertains to Manuel’s Bread Cafe, will soon be added. Check back soon to the see the rest of the story.
In attempts to uncover the answer to this question I employed the help of my good friend, Carey Mogianesi, whom also happens to be a waitress at Manuel’s. I have know her for several years and traveled to multiple countries in Europe with her, so she has certainly garnered my trust. Unfortunately, I was not able to get in touch with the owner of Manuel’s, but Carey was able to find out that the two goats located at Blue Clay Farm are actually pygmy goats stationed there with the purpose of grazing, weed maintenance, and “to look adorable”. While I am saddened to hear this news (the house-made goat cheese would have made for a fantastic story), the fact that so much vegetation is sourced from Manuel’s very own garden is a very refreshing change of pace from the chain establishments with their packaged/shipped ingredients. In seeing this, a tour of the farm is still necessary and will certainly be endeavored! Please check back once more to see further information on Manuel’s and, in the mean time, why not stop by the cafe to have Carey serve you some local cuisine and revitalizing cappuccino? Cheers!