Weave your way through the flowers and produce at the Sease family market to reach The Farmer's Shed restaurant inside.
MANY RESTAURANTS GO TO GREAT LENGTHS to find the freshest ingredients, but at The Farmer’s Shed in Lexington, they grow their own.
Opened in 2000, The Farmer’s Shed is a produce market, garden center and “upscale country cooking” restaurant operated by the Sease family just down the road from their farm on Augusta Highway. In a world full of fast food and fine dining, and too little in between, it’s the kind of place where busy folks can sit down for a comfortable, home-cooked meal.
Shirley Sease, the owner and head cook, prides herself on the loyal following of Columbia-area diners who make the drive to get their fill of classic comfort food—with plenty of the freshest, locally grown vegetables on the side.
“They love that we serve fresh vegetables that are in-season and grown locally,” she says.
All three components of The Farmer’s Shed are housed in what was originally a grocery store built in the 1930s. Country and homey, the atmosphere of the restaurant is low-key, welcoming and familiar, right down to the plastic utensils and the Styrofoam plates.
The Farmer’s Shed
2514 Augusta Highway, Lexington (803) 996-0700
Restaurant hours: Monday–Friday 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
What’s cooking at The Farmer’s Shed depends on the day of the week. From Monday to Friday, each day has a different roster of southern favorites. Take Wednesday, for example. Guests can choose to chow down on meat loaf with gravy, skillet-fried chicken, baked ham or a cranberry pork chop, and pick any two side dishes from a list that includes green beans, coleslaw, macaroni and cheese, okra and tomatoes and fresh greens—just to name a few. A plate with one meat, two sides and either a homemade biscuit or a hunk of old-fashioned skillet cornbread costs just $8.50.
Other days of the week feature dishes such as chicken and dumplings, chicken pot pie, pot roast, turkey and dressing, fried flounder, lemon-herbed chicken and shrimp and grits—a favorite among the regulars.
Or, for just $7.25, you can get a plate of four side dishes, a tempting option when the menu offers fresh seasonal veggies straight from the Sease farm, including rutabagas, sweet potatoes, squash, green beans, butter beans, peas, tomatoes, carrots, corn and okra.
The Farmer’s Shed Cranberry Pork Chops
4 bone-in pork chops
1 8-ounce bottle of Catalina dressing
1 package dry onion soup
1 16-ounce can of whole cranberry sauce
In a large non-stick skillet, brown pork chops on both sides over medium heat. In a medium bowl, stir together remaining ingredients. Pour cranberry mixture over pork chops and bring to a boil. Cover, lower heat and simmer for 20 minutes.
The origins of the restaurant can be traced back to 1947 when the Sease family farm was started. A farmer’s daughter herself, Shirley married into the Sease family and took over the farm in 1978 with husband Clinton. They opened the first version of The Farmer’s Shed as a produce market in 1999, and quickly expanded to include a garden center. Not long after, Shirley thought to open a restaurant that would be just like “eating at Grandma’s.”
Sease says her daily ambition is to make people feel at home.
“We just want to make sure everyone is comfortable and getting good service,” she says.
In fact, it’s the people she most enjoys.
“It may sound silly, but I really like it when I’m in the back and I can hear the buzz of people out in the restaurant,” she says. “It’s rewarding just to hear them enjoying their food and having a good time.”