Where did the name “Congaree and Penn” come from?
Congaree and Penn is a family owned and operated business, with deep family roots— right down to the name— Congaree was the name of a Navy ship captained by Scott’s grandfather, and Penn comes from his mother’s maiden middle name, Pennington.
Tell us a little bit about who owns the farm and who the employees are that help manage and maintain it.
Scott and Lindsay Meyer are the owners and leaders of the small-but-mighty staff of around 15 employees. There are so many different arms of Congaree and Penn— not only are we a working farm, but we also offer everyday dining, upscale dinners, private events and have recently started to sell landscape trees. We have a really strong team that we rely on every day, and we’re continuing to grow our Congaree and Penn family.
C&P started as a rice farm. What inspired that?
After studying aquaculture at the University of Miami, after working as a field biologist in Wyoming, Scott decided to repurpose his family’s land into a small-scale closed-loop farming system. Rice production lent itself not only to Scott’s knowledge and skillset, but also to the land itself— with fertile soil that naturally retains moisture, the climate is perfect for growing acres of our Jupiter rice.
When and why did C&P decide to expand beyond rice?
After a successful first year growing rice, Scott and Lindsay decided to branch out into orchard cultivation of the indigenous mayhaw tree. Grafting different varietals to create a product that is ideal for our climate, Congaree and Penn began crafting jellies and jams with the mayhaw fruit. After that, muscadine grape vines were planted, followed by blackberries, figs and blueberries.
What does agrotourism mean to C&P?
To us, agrotourism is offering an opportunity for people to get in touch with the source of their food, and educating them on the farming process. It’s showing the range of products that they can enjoy from a mayhew tree, rice paddy or blackberry bush.