Story by Mary-Kate Tucto / Photography by William Dickey
There’s something about Brunswick, Georgia, that draws you in. You don’t notice its charm at first; it’s not love at first Interstate exit. But once you leave the highway behind and meander past the predictable fast food chains and gas stations, downtown Brunswick breaks upon you gently, gradually. The gateway to the Golden Isles on the northern coast of Georgia, this charming Southern town of two-story storefronts is a breath of fresh air, a nostalgic nod to simpler times. But Brunswick has its eyes on the future, and nowhere is that more clear than in the vibrant community that has sprung up around one surprising restaurant, The Farmer & The Larder.
Under the dynamic lead of fiancés and partners in food and all things cast iron Matthew Raiford and Jovan Sage, The Farmer & The Larder has become a community hub. Matthew is a jovial chef, running the kitchen with an infectious laugh rather than an iron fist, and Jovan is a self-described “food alchemist” who pickles, ferments, and preserves to coax unbelievable flavor from simple ingredients. Together, they have crafted a space that has a magnetic personality you can’t help but be drawn into. And although they come from opposite ends of the country—he was raised on family-farmed land in the port town of Brunswick, while she grew up exploring the stalls of farmers’ markets in Brooklyn, New York—they were cut from the same food-loving, cast-iron cooking cloth. A chance meeting at a Slow Food International event in 2012 in Torino, Italy, brought them together, and set the wheels in motion for the restaurant that is turning downtown Brunswick into much more than a by-way to the Georgia coast.