Much like his contemporary, Allan Benton of Benton's Country Hams, Anson Mills' Glenn Roberts is a rockstar in the community of chefs who treat sourcing like a competitive sport.
While Benton rules the heritage pork game, Roberts is perched high atop the roost of heirloom corn, rice, and other grains; a perch that he built through a decade-plus of hard work searching the back roads of South Carolina for forgotten seed strains of Civil War-era starch varietals.
That $75 bowl of grits that you ate at French Laundry? It had a big Anson Mills stamp on its provenance.
That $40 plate of rice that you ate at Commander's Palace in New Orleans. It came from the same man: Glen Roberts of Anson Mills.
A decade ago, the New York Times came calling via an article titled "A Grits Revival With the Flavor Of the Old South." In a scene from a movie, the author Kay Rentschler ended up marrying the subject of the piece: Glen Roberts.
Tell us those aren't some good grits.
Through a carefully crafted partnership with hundreds of farmers in South Carolina and other southern states, Roberts has built an empire based on organic, sustainable grains that he mills in a ramshackle warehouse in Columbia South Carolina.
At our East Austin Charcuterie Project Pop Up this weekend (Sat April 5th 2014 at Tamale House East) we'll be serving Antebellum coarse ground grits made from John Haulk corn, an heirloom varietal brought back from extinction by David Bradshaw (ret.) of Clemson University.
Of course this being Texas we'll be marrying lots of Texas Longhorn cheddar and plenty jalapenos into the dish.