The Margaret Holmes Story
In 1838, our family’s patriarch, James McCall established a two thousand acre farm in Effingham South Carolina. Through hard work, innovative farming techniques and the fertile soil of Florence County, James McCall built a legacy, as the farm became well-known for bringing fresh southern vegetables to dinner tables all across the south.
Here at McCall Farms we operated solely as a farm until 1954. It was then that James Woodrow Swink, who had married Mr. McCall’s granddaughter Harriet McCall, constructed a 5,000-square-foot canning operation right on the farm. The original canning operation operated just ten weeks out of the year, as they concentrated on canning only the freshest locally grown tomatoes, okra and corn.
Thanks to a combination of gifted hands, dedicated employees, divine precipitation and a community populated with support, we prospered and continued to grow. The success of the original tomatoes, okra and corn quickly expanded and soon we added squash, string beans, peas, potatoes, peanuts, peaches and a bountiful selection of greens to our product line. It was during this time that we began year-round operations.
As McCall Farms continued its success, another cannery in the South was becoming famous. In the early 1930’s Ed Holmes, under the watchful eyes of his wife Margaret began to can white acre peas and squash in his kitchen. Margaret was a very meticulous cook and only allowed the freshest, highest-quality vegetables into her kitchen to be canned. Being the true southern gentlemen that he was, Ed decided to name the product line after his wife. People took quickly to the products and sales were brisk. As demand increased, Ed eventually had to move the canning operation to a processing facility, which just like the McCall’s was built right on their farm within sight of their house. Ed and Margaret brought their son David into the business and together they added new products by focusing on the type of vegetables southerners wanted, but that were hard to find such as black-eyed peas, crowder peas, butter peas and field peas.
Over the years, the Margaret Holmes label became known for its commitment to quality, freshness and taste. The line was available in Alabama, Georgia, Florida and the Carolinas. It was during this time that McCall Farms was continuing to grow. Looking for an opportunity to expand with a company that shared its values, commitment and reputation, McCall farms acquired the Margaret Holmes brand in 1985 and moved all of its operations to the family farm in Effingham. All of Mrs. Holmes’ recipes, along with her commitment to freshness came with it. Due to the success of the Margaret Holmes brand, we decided to put all of our canned and frozen products under the Margaret Holmes label.
Through the years and up until today at McCall Farms we have always listened to our customers. We understand that today’s family just does not have the time or the money to cook fresh vegetables every night. We know that people value great taste, ease of cooking and most of all good nutrition. As a result, we are committed to delivering the freshest, best tasting southern vegetables to your table in a form that can be prepared easily and quickly. In response to our customers desire for more flavor, we created a seasoned line in the early 2000’s. These slow-simmered vegetables are seasoned with just the right blend of spices to bring out the best flavors in our vegetables. In addition to our seasoned line, we have added ready-open pouches to our Peanut Patch line as well as a complete line of frozen products, all prepared right here in Effingham SC.
Just as we started in 1838, we are a family business located right here on our farm in Effingham South Carolina. The vegetables we prepare are grown locally and delivered to us fresh. We are committed to our customers and to making products that taste good, and that are good for you. We welcome any and all comments and we invite you to contact us or visit our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/margaretholmesfresh