Monday, 30 November 2020 13:07

Richmond County's Berry Patch, Ponder Project named winners in Carolina's Finest contest

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ROCKINGHAM ― Richmond County has two winners in Carolina Country magazine’s Carolina’s Finest 2020 contest.

The Berry Patch won Finest Ice Cream Shop and The Ponder Project won Finest Musician or Band.

Carolina Country is a magazine put out by the state’s 26 Electric Membership Cooperatives, including Pee Dee Electric.

According to Editor Scott Gates, more than 2,300 readers submitted their top picks for the second annual contest.

The article on the World’s Largest Strawberry states that the magazine received “pages of nominations for this fruit-inspired destination.”

“We were honored with the gift of being selected as NC’s finest ice cream shop by Carolina Country readers,” co-owner Amy Berry said in a recent Facebook post about the win. “Although Lee and myself were chosen for the pictures, we absolutely could not do it without the help of our wonderful employees … This is really an awesome honor for us as business owners and we thank all of our employees and customers for their continued support …”

In 2019, The Berry Patch was recently named the Tar Heel State’s Best Roadside Attraction by readers of

The Berry Patch sells a variety of local fruits and vegetables along with jams, jellies and other N.C.-made products — and, of course, ice cream from the giant strawberry.

It gained national notoriety in 2014 when Jon Stewart, then host of Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show,” declared it as “The World’s Largest Strawberry” rather than a site in Iowa that made the same claim.

The article for The Ponder Project not only featured a still photo of the band, but also a 10-minute video from the band’s YouTube channel with clips from several rock covers.

“We want our audience to experience the combined talents of all our members and to walk away asking when they can see us again,” bassist Jason Singleton to the magazine.

“Ponder always puts on a great show,” said Taylor Ruest, of Ellerbe. “The musicians are super nice and always willing to lift your spirits with music.”

Other members of the band include vocalists Billie Adeimy and Kevin Butler, guitarist John Baker and drummers Shot Allen and Anakin White. Allen recently retired from the band and passed on the sticks to White, who has been playing with the band for more than a year. Bobby Pearce runs sound and lights for the band.

Pattan’s Downtown Grille was nominated for Finest Barbecue, but that honor went to JD’s Smokehouse in Rutherford College for the second year in a row.

Hamlet’s Seaboard Festival was also nominated for Finest Festival, but was outvoted by New Bern’s Mum Fest. New Bern was also selected as Finest Main Street or Downtown.

Other winners for 2020 are:

  • Finest Breakfast Spot - The Fountain at Smith’s Drugs, Forest City
  • Finest Made in NC Product - Cheerwine
  • Finest Getaway - Asheville
  • Finest Museum - Blowing Rock Art & History Museum
  • Finest Pick-Your-Own Farm - Patterson Farm, Mount Ulla

Carolina Country will begin accepting entries for next year’s contest in April 2021.