The best countertops make a statement in your home that other features cannot. You've worked hard to incorporate unique designs and flavors throughout your home, so why should your countertops be any different?
At Real Deal Countertops, we aspire to combine the beauty and durability of natural stone with unrivaled, personalized attention to all customers. With the highest quality materials and the most helpful customer service, we give our clients the opportunity to make informed decisions that they feel good about for years. Our story in the countertop fabrication and manufacturing industry began more than 19 years ago, when Rafael Quedevez started out as a sales representative in Massachusetts. Working his way up through the ranks, Rafael soon made his way to South Carolina to open and manage his own companies. In 2013, we created real Deal Countertops. Since that time, we are proud to have served more than 5,000 customers in South Carolina and beyond.
Our leadership team combines more than 40 years of experience in the home remodeling service industry. Always striving to create a better product for our customers, we use the latest in robotics technologies and the sharpest minds in the business to craft countertops of unparalleled quality. Unlike other countertop companies in Georgetown, SC, we only source the finest stone slabs in the world.
At Real Deal Countertops, we offer a wide range of styles and materials to choose from, including:
We are committed to ensuring that granite, marble, and other unique, exotic stones are attainable to all who desire them. If you're in search of a trustworthy counter company with a team of knowledgeable, helpful experts, you have come to the right place!
Most Popular Countertops in Georgetown, SC
Choosing the best countertops for your kitchen is an important decision, but it doesn't have to be a hard one. One of the best ways to narrow down your search is to find out what kind of countertop material you'd like to use. While it's true that material and style trends change over time, there are several counters that have always been top sellers.
Some of the most popular countertops we sell include:
Marble Countertops in Georgetown, SC
There's no way around it - marble adds jaw-dropping beauty to just about any room and is known for its good looks. It is a dense stone that comes in many different hues like greens, browns, pinks, greys, whites, and more. While marble countertops often have otherworldly beauty, they can be susceptible to stains and cracks. Marble is also considered one of the most expensive counters to choose from, though the truth is marble comes in a wide range of qualities and prices.
- Pros: Stunning beauty, plenty of beautiful choices.
- Cons: Not always used in kitchens due to chance of staining.
- Popular Colors: Portinari, Shadow Storm, Super White, Lumen, Calacatta Linconni, Nobulato Honned, Shadow, Grey Imperiale Honed.
Granite Countertops in Georgetown, SC
When it comes to popularity, granite countertops take the cake. Granite countertops usually contain a blend of quartz, feldspar, mica, and other minerals. Granite can add an edge of elegance and even a country-chic feel to your kitchen, making it a well-rounded stone. Granite is durable and scratch-resistant, though it can require sealing and DIY chip repair.
- Pros: Luxurious, rich look featuring natural stone that is durable, heat resistant, and scratch-resistant.
- Cons: Hard material that may require DIY chip repair and sealing.
- Popular Colors: Blue Jeans, Creama Pearl, Alure, Galaxy White, Luna Pear, Steel Grey, Ubatuba, Oro Brazil.
Quartz Countertops in Georgetown, SC
Quartz is a manufactured material that represents one of our favorite four-letter words: easy! If you're looking to add a high-end feel to your kitchen or bathroom, quartz is an excellent material to consider. Like granite, quartz countertops can add a decadent vibe to any room. Unlike granite, you may not have to seal quartz quite as often (if ever).
- Pros: Quartz countertops come in plenty of colors to choose from and are easy to clean. They are also strong, scratch-resistant, and don't require sealing.
- Cons: Quartz is not as heat resistant as other materials like granite counters. Sharp corners tend to crack, but that can be remedied with rounded corners.
- Popular Colors: Noble Grey, Raw Concrete, Frosty Carrina, Shitake, Pebble, Pietra Grey, Sierra Madre, Arctic.
Silestone Countertops in Georgetown, SC
A manufactured material made from quartz crystals, Silestone countertops are equal parts gorgeous and practical. Known for being a durable, non-porous choice, Silestone is resistant to stains, scratches, and even some forms of bacteria. Homeowners who choose Silestone do so because they can get a high-end look without having to worry too much about maintenance. Silestone counters look great in many different homes, from contemporary abodes with modern accents to vintage-looking kitchens.
- Pros: Silestone countertops are non-porous, meaning germs and bacteria can't lodge themselves inside this material. This makes Silestone counters great for kitchens and bathrooms alike. This material also comes in a wide variety of colors and resists scratches and chips. Overall, Silestone is an excellent choice if you want to make a solid long-term investment without much upkeep.
- Cons: While Silestone is great if you're looking for a low-maintenance counter option, it can be sensitive to harsh chemicals like bleach and ammonia. Silestone is also not recommended for outdoor use since the resins used to make the material do not do well with UV light.
- Popular Colors: Daria, Gray Expo, Lagoon, Calacatta Gold, Arctic, Blanco City, Gris Expo, Desert Silver
Quartzite Countertops in Georgetown, SC
Not to be confused with quartz countertops, which are manmade, quartzite is a naturally occurring stone that is quarried much in the same way that granite is. If you're a fan of marble counters, quartzite mimics its looks without as much upkeep. Like granite, it is a very durable choice and adds an upscale feeling to almost any room you choose.
- Pros: Since it doesn't require any special cleaners, quartzite looks great without much maintenance. When it gets dirty, soap and water should be all you need to clean. Quartzite is also a great long-term option since it doesn't wear down quickly at all.
- Cons: Heat is required to form quartzite. However, you should avoid putting hot pots and pans on your quartzite countertops. Because quartzite comes in many different varieties, some forms of quartzite need to be sealed more often than others.
- Popular Colors: Maya, Fusion, Locomotion, Callacata, Airy Concrete, Cocada White
Which Countertop is Right for You?
If you're just beginning your search for new countertops, it can be a little overwhelming trying to whittle down your options. We've got good news - with over 19 years in the industry, our team of experts has learned a thing or two about countertops. When you come to the Real Deal Countertops showroom, one of our goals is to educate you about our products and your countertop options, so you can make an educated purchasing decision.
How Will You Use Your Countertops in Georgetown?
The first and perhaps most crucial part of your countertop choice should stem from how you and your family use your countertops. For example, if you have kids, your counters will probably see a lot of activity. Between standard eating times and "in-between" meals that teens are known for, your counters might double as food prep stations. As such, you might need a countertop material that is resistant to most food and beverage stains. If you own a rental property that sees a lot of foot traffic from strangers, you might want to consider an economical material that is also durable.
- Do you cook a lot?
- Do you host a lot of parties?
- How long will you be living in your home?
- How long will you be living in your home?
Once you figure out exactly how you'll be using your countertops, you can begin to narrow down your choices.
How Much Upkeep Is Too Much?
Be realistic and honest with yourself about this question. Before you fall in love with how a countertop material looks, be sure you understand how much upkeep is needed. Some materials require more care, while others don't need much at all.
Keep these points in mind:
- Materials like quartz only need to be wiped down occasionally.
- Materials like granite, marble, and limestone will need to be sealed at least once a year.
- Some materials may be durable but aren't stain resistant.
The bottom line is this: Assess the maintenance demands that come along with the materials you're looking at. Marble countertops in Georgetown, SC are elegant, but if you'e unwilling to keep them looking their best, why bother buying the material?
You should be aware that most countertop materials will require some form of upkeep, even if it' minimal. To help keep your counters in pristine condition, consider these care and precaution tips:
- Many common foods contain acids that will dull or even damage the surface of stone countertops.Use coasters to protect your counters, especially if you'e drinking something with citrus juices or alcohol.
- Do not place scalding hot pots or pans directly on your countertops.
- Use mats or trivets to place under hot dishes.
- If you spill liquid on your countertops, blot the spill with a paper towel ASAP. Wiping the spill will cause it to spread.
- Use mild soap and plain water to clean up stains.
Which Colors and Materials Match Your Home's Aesthetics?
For many homeowners, this question is almost always top-of-mind. After all, you want to choose colors and materials that fit well with other features in your home. When selecting your countertop materials, try to choose a tone that contrasts with your other amenities, like your cabinets. Don't go for a perfect match. As an example, black granite is a beautiful contrast to white cabinets.
Consider these questions when choosing your countertop materials:
- Are there one or two colors that you love more than others?
- Does your choice go well with the color of your kitchen's walls?
- Do you want to switch up your kitchen's style or keep it the same?
- Will you be painting your kitchen a different color in the future?
- Will you be replacing your appliances soon?
Real Deal Countertops Pro Tip:
Because your home's accessories and paint job may change with time, your countertops should have a versatile color. That way, you won't have problems matching them with new paint colors or appliances.
Countertop Remodeling Done Right
At Real Deal Countertops, our #1 priority is your satisfaction. Unlike some countertop companies in Georgetown, we make it a point to exceed our customer's expectations. We strive for excellence with every transaction we complete and pledge to faithfully implement innovative techniques to ensure that our products remain affordable. With the help of Real Deal Countertops, remodeling your kitchen and bath will be painless and easy.
The appearance of a kitchen or bath depends on the right countertop selection, proper fabrication, and expert installation. Are you interested in granite countertops in Georgetown, SC? Maybe quartzite is a better choice for your family. Whatever you choose, know that our skilled installers and fabricators will make a template so that all custom pieces fit perfectly in your home.
What Clients Say About Us
Countertop Installation for Sue Gregory
Custom Countertops for Ellen Bowdon
Granite Countertops for Holly Washington
Kitchen Countertops for CFR Williams
Quartz Countertops for Judy Galuppo
Countertop Installation for Emma Fitzpatrick
Laminate Countertops for Carla Greene
Countertop Replacement for Barbara Piper
New Countertop for Daney Herrera
Custom Countertops for bob shafer
Granite Countertops for MrMunsters1313
Kitchen Remodel for Barbara Piper
Kitchen Countertops for Carol Moura
Quartz Countertops for Shoshanna Richek
Marble Countertops for David Glunt
Quartzite Countertops for Jim Brennan
Bathroom Remodel for Cody Griner
Countertops for Pam Kemmerlin
Countertop Installation for Al Walters
Granite Countertops for Amy Marion Langstone
Kitchen Countertops for Jose Feliz
Quartz Countertops for Mark and Marilyn Atanasoff
Laminate Countertops for Sandra Bryson
Countertop Replacement for Paul Scott
New Countertop for Steven Barbieri
Ready to get started? Have questions about our inventory?
We're here to help answer all your questions. Please feel free to give our office a call today at 866-707-1414 Before you know it, you will be ready for your new set of Real Deal Countertops!Contact Us
Latest News in Georgetown, SC
Georgetown NAACP gets leader as Marvin Neal takes state conference role
GEORGETOWN — De’Ontay Winchester is now the president of the Georgetown County NAACP branch, succeeding Marvin Neal after Neal took on the role of third vice president for the NAACP South Carolina State Conference.Neal, the branch president since 2017, will still be working some from Georgetown but overall across the state. His role as a vice president makes him available for matters anywhere in South Carolina. He said he found Winchester to be a good people person when he was serving as the branch’s first vice presi...
GEORGETOWN — De’Ontay Winchester is now the president of the Georgetown County NAACP branch, succeeding Marvin Neal after Neal took on the role of third vice president for the NAACP South Carolina State Conference.
Neal, the branch president since 2017, will still be working some from Georgetown but overall across the state. His role as a vice president makes him available for matters anywhere in South Carolina. He said he found Winchester to be a good people person when he was serving as the branch’s first vice president, and noted his ability to look at the past and future of his organization’s mission.
“And that’s what I recognized when I saw him, because he was, I would say, aggressive about being a part of the NAACP for that purpose, to help move things forward,” Neal said. “He’s humble, got good temperament. You have to be able to listen to people, whether it’s good, bad, indifference.”
A Charleston native and child and family therapist by trade, Winchester got involved with the Georgetown County branch, he jokes, because his wife made him.
“When I moved here, I knew that there was something more that I needed to be doing,” Winchester said. “So she and I would be talking a lot about what’s going on in the world, and I wanted to be involved. And she told me about this Mr. Neal.”
They finally met in 2018. When Winchester called to ask how to join, Neal offered him an application. Winchester told Neal to keep the application, because he’d join right over the phone.
“That was a Saturday,” Winchester said. “The next Monday, I was at what was then the office of the NAACP Georgetown, and I think I came every day for the next two, three, four weeks just learning everything I could. Because that’s how much I wanted to be involved, and I think him and the other leaders at the time recognized that.”
Winchester’s promotion to branch president comes at a time that Georgetown County faces a pair of lawsuits related to development in the historically African American community of Parkersville and a third in federal court over denial of a rezoning request for an affordable housing proposal near Wedgefield Plantation.
In the latter lawsuit, the state conference and county branch of the NAACP are named as plaintiffs.
Winchester also renewed his branch’s call for the Georgetown City Council to revert to having only one public comment period at the council’s Jan. 19 meeting. The council’s switch to having separate comment periods for agenda and non-agenda items — the non-agenda period occurring near the end of the meeting — has been controversial since it was enacted last year.
In March, Neal said pushing non-agenda comments to the end of the meeting, sometimes well after 8 p.m., amounted to the council telling Black Georgetown residents “we don’t want to hear you, the hell with you, and we don’t care.”
“Last time I checked, you’re at-large,” Winchester said. “I mean, you serve all people. So why are you concentrating on some constituents as opposed to all of the constituents?”
SC archaeologists search for early American shipwreck near Georgetown
GEORGETOWN — A team of underwater archaeologists is on the hunt for a Spanish shipwreck from the 1500s that could unlock more secrets about one of the earliest European settlements in the continental United States.An hour after the break of dawn, around 7:45 a.m. Aug. 26, Amber Cabading, Athena Van Overschelde and Will Nassif pulled their boat away from the South Island Public Boat Landing.The trio from the S.C. Institute for Archaeology and Anthropology was sailing 40 minutes south to a 16½-mile stretch of marsh a...
GEORGETOWN — A team of underwater archaeologists is on the hunt for a Spanish shipwreck from the 1500s that could unlock more secrets about one of the earliest European settlements in the continental United States.
An hour after the break of dawn, around 7:45 a.m. Aug. 26, Amber Cabading, Athena Van Overschelde and Will Nassif pulled their boat away from the South Island Public Boat Landing.
The trio from the S.C. Institute for Archaeology and Anthropology was sailing 40 minutes south to a 16½-mile stretch of marsh and open water located at the mouth of the Santee River Inlets.
The site is believed to be the location of the “Capitana,” a shipwreck from the 1526 expedition of Spanish explorer Lucas Vázquez de Ayllón.
“It’s one of the first recorded shipwrecks in the Americas,” Cabading, 28, said. “It gives us a little snapshot of what the colonizers were in their mindset. What was their life like? Who was on board? How did they live on board? All of that can kind of be teased out if we find whatever is left of it.”
In 1526, Ayllón departed the Caribbean to colonize the Atlantic coastline of the modern United States. His fleet consisted of six vessels that carried over 600 colonists and many supplies meant to help in creating a new Spanish settlement.
“Capitana” was the largest of the fleet, and it sank along the coast of what is now South Carolina, at the mouth of a river that Ayllón called the “Río Jordán.” Over the past three decades, modern scholars have debated on the location of this river.
Many archaeological surveys have tried to locate the flagship based on the conclusions of historian Dr. Paul Hoffman, who suggested that the “Río Jordán” is either Winyah Bay or the North and South Santee rivers. Previous surveys have also focused on coastal inspections and remote sensing at the entrance to Winyah Bay.
For the S.C. Institute for Archaeology and Anthropology, this is not the first time officials have conducted a survey in search of the lost flagship. In 1991, the Institute led a coastal survey of beaches along the Winyah Bay-Santee areas. However, no 16th century cultural material was found.
Since then, the institute has reexamined Dr. Hoffman’s theory and reviewed other supporting historical documents, which ultimately suggest that the missing ship was lost near the entrances to the Santee River.
State Underwater Archaeologist James Spirek, a leader of the project, said the shipwreck could also help point archaeologists toward the location of San Miguel de Guadalupe.
In 1526, after a month of salvaging the “Capitana” shipwreck, Ayllón sailed south and founded San Miguel de Guadalupe. Although this colony was eventually abandoned after a six-week occupation, it was one of the earliest European settlements in the continental United States.
“Discovering this significant early Colonial shipwreck would prove of great scholarly and general interest of this fascinating period in the development of the United States and the New World,” Spirek said in a statement.
The project has been funded by a 2021-22 fiscal year legislative earmark worth $250,000. The funding was sponsored by state Sen. Stephen Goldfinch, R-Georgetown, and administered through the S.C. Department of Archives and History.
For more than a month in total, the team has covered different sections of the site each day. While driving at about 10 mph, they utilize the boat’s sonar and magnetometer — two instruments commonly used in surveying for shipwrecks. Sonar uses sound waves to “see” in the water, and a magnetometer measures changes in the Earth’s magnetic field.
Through these tools, the trio hopes to pick up any noticeable changes beneath the water — like unusual shapes or traces of iron and phosphorus material that could lead them to a possible shipwreck.
Once the team has covered the water, they will develop a report of their findings from the water portion of the site. Then, they plan to use a drone to survey the adjacent beaches and marshes within the site.
The drone portion of the project is expected to start early next year.
Van Overschelde, 31, said the team has faced several challenges with surveying the water portion of the site. For example, they cannot drive the boat through depths of less than 5 feet, and they are constrained by the timing of high tide and low tide.
High tide often starts in the early morning, and low tide causes more shallow water in areas closer to the marshes. This makes it more difficult for the team to survey the water with their magnetometer, which follows behind the back of the boat in the water.
Also, they have had to end some days early because of difficult weather developing in the afternoons.
Then, if they notice anything unusual, the team would need to dive beneath the water. However, diving requires the team to be constrained by their limited amount of oxygen.
“The water just adds an extra layer to every aspect of the aggregation and the search for the sites,” Van Overschelde said. “It just makes it more complicated.”
The team isn’t letting these challenges hinder them from the hope of finding this missing flagship. Van Overschelde, for example, said she grew up on tales of pirate ships and treasure hunting, and she is staying optimistic.
“I’ve never been on a project of that scale where we actually find what we’re looking for,” Van Overschelde said. “It would be pretty amazing.”
Editorial: A special opportunity unfolding in Georgetown
THE EDITORIAL STAFFhttps://www.postandcourier.com/opinion/editorials/editorial-a-special-opportunity-unfolding-in-georgetown/article_82e448ac-0eb5-11ed-a640-872bba819fcb.html
A 2016 study of Georgetown’s industrial waterfront just south and east of its historic district recognized the huge potential for its redevelopment, saying any plan for the area should be aspirational and challenge the status quo and that the site “represents a historic opportunity for community planning in the broadest sense of that term — physically, economically, and socially.” It created...
A 2016 study of Georgetown’s industrial waterfront just south and east of its historic district recognized the huge potential for its redevelopment, saying any plan for the area should be aspirational and challenge the status quo and that the site “represents a historic opportunity for community planning in the broadest sense of that term — physically, economically, and socially.” It created a picture of the future for South Carolina’s third-oldest city that could be painted piece by piece.
The Urban Land Institute, which conducted the study, said this transformation would take many years, possibly decades, and things have moved slowly so far. But Georgetown soon will take its first big step.
The State Ports Authority and Georgetown County are doing final due diligence before the authority transfers its 40-acre terminal site on the Sampit River, just east of the U.S. Highway 17 bridge, to the county. No money will change hands, but the state agency gets to keep $3.3 million the Legislature previously set aside to dredge the river. That work never occurred because its $70 million-plus overall cost was deemed a poor investment; even a freshly dredged, 27-foot-deep port could lure only about 20% of the world’s breakbulk cargo ships, which keep getting bigger each year. The port hasn’t handled much cargo in five years.
The state made a little less than $1 million from operations at the Georgetown port last year, mostly from leasing space to companies that store cement and other bulk products on the property, according to reporter David Wren. It’s easy to see that this property has much more economic and social potential than that.
Deeding the property to the county rather than a developer willing to pay the highest price gives Georgetown residents more leverage to ensure it is used in a way they believe will most benefit their city and county. They will have more say over what portion is ultimately privately redeveloped and how much land goes for public use, such as a possible new waterfront park.
But county officials must be savvy in devising a plan.
The good news is there don’t seem to be many preconceptions at this point. As county economic development director Tiffany Harrison tells us: “One thing that we know is that a property like this, with the visibility it has, has the opportunity to be transformational for Georgetown proper as well as the entire county. There is going to be a lot of due diligence and planning as far as its highest and best use. I’m not sure we’re in a position today to say what that is.”
The planning effort for the site will gradually begin in the coming months, as the county finishes its due diligence. The state budget proviso authorizing the transfer sets a June 30, 2023, deadline.
While the Urban Land Institute recommended a mix of commercial, residential and educational uses for the port site — much like how other cities have transformed their former industrial waterfronts to more resident-centered uses — Ms. Harrison said it’s conceivable that other uses could be in the mix.
The 2016 study looked at the Liberty Steel mill, the port property and a few smaller industrial waterfront parcels, about 150 acres in all. The steel mill’s large industrial site is wedged between the port property, the river, U.S. Highway 17 and Georgetown’s downtown, and it’s unknown how the apparent decision to keep the mill open could affect interest in redeveloping the port site. But at least there is now more clarity, which should be helpful.
Still, residents, business owners and others passionate about this coastal city should begin paying attention and thinking about the opportunity suddenly before them. We agree with the study’s conclusion that “transformational change takes vision, persistence, and patience — and then more persistence” and that “It is easy to state, hard to execute, and indispensable for the achievement of Georgetown’s goals.”
The county not only must commit to conducting a robust public planning process but also insist that the public’s desires are factored into the recommendations to as great an extent as possible.
After all, Georgetown residents — not outside consultants or a few influential politicians or business leaders — should decide how they want their area to look in the coming years. And they won’t get a better chance than the opportunity appearing before them soon.
Al Joseph resigns from Georgetown City Council to become Main Street coordinator
GEORGETOWN — The city of Georgetown announced on its Facebook page Aug. 3 that Al Joseph has resigned from city council but accepted the role of Main Street coordinator for the city’s Department of Planning & Community Development.Joseph’s resignation is effective Aug. 12, and he will take on his new role on Aug. 15. He told Georgetown Times that his decision to switch roles, which he described as a difficult one, came down to where he could make a bigger impact on the city. He described his new role with the Mai...
GEORGETOWN — The city of Georgetown announced on its Facebook page Aug. 3 that Al Joseph has resigned from city council but accepted the role of Main Street coordinator for the city’s Department of Planning & Community Development.
Joseph’s resignation is effective Aug. 12, and he will take on his new role on Aug. 15. He told Georgetown Times that his decision to switch roles, which he described as a difficult one, came down to where he could make a bigger impact on the city. He described his new role with the Main Street program as “wide-ranging,” but mostly dealing with economic development and tourism in Georgetown as he currently sees it.
“I want to be a part of moving Georgetown forward and I want to be a part of the future of Georgetown,” Joseph said. “And I hope that I can continue to serve the residents of Georgetown in this position even though I’m no longer an elected official.”
The Main Street South Carolina program “empowers residents with the knowledge, skills, tools and organizational structure necessary to revitalize their downtowns, neighborhood commercial districts and cities/towns into vibrant centers of commerce and community,” according to the Municipal Association of South Carolina website.
“I felt like after conversations with a whole lot of people that this position, economic development, tourism, (designated marketing organization) liaison, all the things that go into this position would allow me to kind of help Georgetown more so than being one of seven on council,” Joseph said.
Joseph said his training for the new position entails orientation through the city of Georgetown and the state Municipal Association.
Looking back on his six years on city council, Joseph said his favorite achievements have been progress on the proposed dredging of Georgetown’s Inner Harbor and litigation to recoup city expenses stemming from the opioid crisis.
“We are now seeing those cases are being adjudicated and the settlements are coming to an end,” Joseph said of the litigation. “We don’t know yet how much the city will get in this class action or in this lawsuit process, but we know it will be something, and I’m, again, very proud that I brought that after meeting with attorneys and meeting with the different groups to bring that to council for approval. We’re going to see some money come out of that for the city.”
In the Facebook post announcing Joseph’s change of roles, Georgetown Mayor Carol Jayroe thanked Joseph for his years of service on the council.
“As a lifetime resident of the City and involvement with the business community for many years, Al Joseph is committed to work hand in hand with staff, business owners, and the Municipal Association of South Carolina to successfully implement the Main Street program,” Jayroe said.
A special election to fill Joseph’s seat will be held at an as of yet unspecified date.
White House Farms continues county’s legacy of growing rice
GEORGETOWN — White House Plantation, home of the only commercial rice fields in Georgetown County, is tucked away between the Black and Pee Dee rivers at the end of a narrow stretch of sandy road that stretches under a canopy of Spanish moss.The 92-acre farm, north of Georgetown, has been home to rice crops since the 1700s, and the land was once owned by a famous author. Now it is the home to Andy’s Charleston Gold.Don Quattlebaum owns and operates White House Farms, which markets its produce under the Andy’s ...
GEORGETOWN — White House Plantation, home of the only commercial rice fields in Georgetown County, is tucked away between the Black and Pee Dee rivers at the end of a narrow stretch of sandy road that stretches under a canopy of Spanish moss.
The 92-acre farm, north of Georgetown, has been home to rice crops since the 1700s, and the land was once owned by a famous author. Now it is the home to Andy’s Charleston Gold.
Don Quattlebaum owns and operates White House Farms, which markets its produce under the Andy’s Charleston Gold - White House Farms brand locally. The rice is available at Lowes and other local businesses, as well as from the farm website, whitehousefarms.com.
The rice is named in honor of Quattlebaum’s late son, Donald Anderson “Andy” Quattlebaum, who was passionate about the farm place and was devoted to conservation.
Andy was an avid outdoorsman, and enjoyed boating, camping, fishing, hunting, rock climbing and scuba diving. He also had an affinity for animals of all kinds, including Oak, his prized yellow Labrador.
A portrait of Andy and Oak hangs on the wall of the White House Farms residence, and the silhouette of Andy and Oak appears on the White House Farms label.
A portion of each sale of Andy’s Charleston Gold Rice supports The Andy Quattlebaum and Blackwell Family Foundation, a 501(c)(3) charity.
The Foundation is focused on supporting a variety of initiatives that were important to his son, who passed away in 2019 at the age of 22, including efforts in education, conservation, community enrichment, veterans, animals and veterinary schools.
“Andy was a very loving, sensitive child,” Quattlebaum said in a 2020 interview with the Clemson News. “He made lots of friends when he lived in Clemson, and one of the main things (people admired) about him is that everyone said he could light up a room with his smile.”
Andy loved Clemson, with his father, grandfather and great-grandfather all being graduates of the university.
Quattlebaum’s father, Alexander McQueen Quattlebaum, was an engineering professor at Clemson and went on to serve on the Board of Trustees from 1958-74.
Quattlebaum himself earned a degree in building construction before launching a successful entrepreneurial career. Hayden Quattlebaum also had a successful career as co-owner of the Pepsi-Cola Bottling Co. of Conway — a family business started by her grandfather in the 1930s.
Through the foundation, the Quattlebaums make substantial gifts each year to support Andy’s areas of interest. The Andy Quattlebaum Outdoor Education Center, which was dedicated in January 2020 at the Snow Family Outdoor Fitness and Wellness complex, was one of the first philanthropic initiatives by the Foundation.
Other Foundation initiatives include the Andy Quattlebaum Complex - Smoky Mountain Service Dog Veteran/Canine Training Center, and the Andy Quattlebaum Distinguished Chair In Infectious Disease Research - College of Veterinary Medicine at North Carolina State.
Quattlebaum is just as passionate about the rice he grows as he is the Foundation and its efforts.
The Quattlebaums has been farming rice in the wet, peaty soil of the Lowcountry for five years, and he grows the crop that once was a staple of the South Carolina economy.
“We’re about the only ones growing rice commercially in the state anymore,” Quattlebaum said. He and his four full-time employees wrapped up this year’s harvest on Sept. 15, and they are now in the process of preparing the family brand, Andy’s Charleston Gold, for the market.
Quattlebaum’s fields yield about 250,000 pounds of rice – a fraction of the 50 million pounds of rice once produced in the state.
His land was once owned by author Elizabeth Waties Allston Pringle.
Her father, a state legislator and governor, owned 630 slaves and more than 1,400 acres planted in rice or covered by timber.
Pringle was born on May 29, 1845, on Pawleys Island at her family’s summer home at Canaan Seashore. Her parents were Robert Francis Withers Allston and Adele Petigru.
Pringle became famous after the turn of the 20th Century as a writer under the pen name Patience Pennington. When rice production in the lowcountry faced decreased profits, Pringle convinced the New York Sun editor to buy weekly articles she wrote about being a female rice-plantation owner, according to the encyclopedia,
In 1913 her articles were collected in a single volume, A Woman Rice Planter, which became a best seller.
One hundred years later, the Quattlebaum family decided to try and bring a commercial rice crop back to Georgetown County. There is rice being grown in the Lowcountry, primarily as fields for ducks, Quattlebaum said, but not as a for-profit crop.
Quattlebaum said when his family took over the stewardship of White House Farms in 2011, they were drawn to the rich history of the land.
Being situated between two rivers, the land, which was marsh reclaimed from the river by slaves in the 1700s, is prone to flooding, and on Sept. 27 Quattlebaum was a little concerned about Hurricane Ian’s approach.
“Oh yeah, it floods, the 1,000-year-flood was the worst,” he said, referring to the 2015 deluge. Luckily, the crop was harvested well ahead of the storm.
After harvesting the rice grain, Quattlebaum cuts the rice stalks, which allows them to regrow. The second crop is for the ducks and other wildlife. Duck blinds are scattered around the fields, ready for the opening of duck season.
The Charleston Gold variety of rice grown by Quattlebaum is different from the rice grown by large-scale commodity growers.
“I promise, you can taste the difference,” Quattlebaum, owner of White House Farms, said of his rice, which consists of the Charleston Gold and Santee Gold varieties of rice. “Whenever we have had tasting events, the people like it and want to buy it. It just tastes better. You will definitely be able to tell a difference.”
Quattlebaum began growing the Santee Gold variety this year, named for the delta that once helped make Georgetown County America’s premier rice-producing region.
Santee Gold is a new natural cross variety of Carolina Gold, which was developed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, located at the Dale Bumpers National Rice Research Center, in Stuttgart, Ark.
“Charleston Gold is a superior variety developed from Carolina Gold — the heirloom variety that made Georgetown County one of the world’s largest and most renowned rice growing areas,” according to the White House Farms website.
Carolina Long Gold Rice was once the most sought after rice varieties. Known to be the most historic form of Carolina Gold Rice, Long Gold was the long-grain form of Carolina Gold.
First discovered in Georgetown County, Long Gold gained international recognition when the rice was awarded two gold medals at expositions in London and Paris in the 1850s.
Demand for the Georgetown County grain grew until the Civil War disrupted growing and eventually led to the seed’s extinction.
In 2008 Dr. Anna McClung, at the urging of heirloom crop pioneer Glenn Roberts of South Carolina, set out to renovate the long grain rice with a cross of Carolina Gold and Presidio, a long grain variety that provides excellent disease resistance and exceptional milling qualities.
After a 14-year breeding process that included culinary tests to assure that the flavor and cooking properties matched those of Carolina Gold, Santee Gold was developed, and the Quattlebaums planted their first crop of the new variety this year.
“Santee Gold is named for the delta that helped make Georgetown County America’s premier rice-producing region,” Quattlebaum said.