A Johnson and Wales Charleston Campus Alumnus, Mike understands the needs of chefs and the importance of quality. Since he was a child, he watched as his namesake uncle ran his own farm. It soon became Mike’s dream to start his own. After discovering an underfilled niche in the Charleston market for Pasture Raised Eggs and meats, he built a tiny house, moved the family out to the country and fulfilled his dream, bringing the best quality eggs to the Charleston area since 2009.
A native of Bohol Philippines, Ailyn married Mike in 2007 in Charleston. After saving a nest egg for 2 years, they moved to the country to start Palmetto Pastures. As a loving mother of 3 and the main egg gatherer/washer, Palmetto Pastures would not exist without her undying support and passion for our mission. Providing the best quality produce for our family as well as yours is her priority. She brings a gentle and supportive hand to Palmetto Pastures.
Emily, Josh, and Abigail: the three munchkins are inseparable, animal-loving, and not quite big enough to be farmhands. They enjoy hanging out with the goats, calves, and chickies. Always eager to learn, they are fascinated by the nature that surrounds them. These three are a strong driving force behind the mission of Palmetto Pastures.
In 2008, we tasted our first pasture-raised eggs from Celeste Albers’ The Green Grocer, and it changed our lives. These eggs were rich in color and flavor and had better omega 3s and Vitamins D, A, and E than the bland, pale cage-free/conventional eggs. Mike, having studied culinary arts at Johnson and Wales in Charleston, recognized the underserved niche market for pasture-raised products.
We were hooked on pastured eggs and meat, and we began our adventure to become a pastured poultry producer. Ray Oliver of River Run Farms graciously invited us to utilize his land to develop our farm. We built a tiny house, packed up, and got to work. By mid-2009, we were busy selling pasture-raised eggs and chicken meat for several years at the Charleston farmer’s market.
In 2011, we moved to our own family farm of 26 acres and partnered with Limehouse Produce to focus on wholesale accounts. We innovated a pasture shelter design we named the “Cluck Wagon” to deal with intense SC summers and the added labor of pasture-raised chicken. We added pigs and goats to our pastures along with our chickens to help tame the land, the hogs to tear up roots, and the goats to demolish weeds. Once the land was tamed and our pastures flourished, we needed to add our grass-fed and finished beef, which we rescue as calves destined for veal from a dairy farm.
Multi-species rotational grazing keeps our animals and our land healthy. With rotational grazing including daily movements and long pasture rest times, we prevent nutrient run-off and allow for water infiltration and holding capacity, all of which increase pasture growth and, in turn, increase soil organic matter for enhanced soil fertility and carbon sequestration. Simply, our soil and water health is impeccable, which helps keep our animals in top condition.
We use soil testing to balance the land and animal’s nutrition, utilizing kelp meal to improve micronutrients. Palmetto Pastures is strict about using no chemicals on the farm. We never use pesticides, herbicides, hormones, growth promotants, antibiotics and anthelmintics. In return, our pastures are rich with beneficial insects, bees and other pollinators, predatory insects, dung beetles and more with increasing numbers and diversity each year.
We created Palmetto Pastures to represent real, fresh, thoughtfully produced food where nutrition, ethically produced animal products, environmental restoration and local economics connect.