The Weblog

Welcome to Northeast Georgia Locally Grown’s weblog. Mainly this is a collection of e-mails that we send out each week to kick off the market, but also tells the tale of our little market. The market was officially OPENED and our first orders taken on Monday, April 26th, 2010 with our pick-up on Wednesday, April 28th, 2010. Though small at the beginning our market has grown pretty well, Selling $25,000 by December 31, 2010, and nearly $40,000 by our anniversary on April 28th, 2011. The site will be opened for shopping Friday evening at 9:00pm and remain open for shopping until 9:00pm Monday evening.



 
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Locally Grown - Availability for February 20th, 2013


Hey Local Food Lovers,

You wouldn’t know this but our local farming community is scurrying around like crazy preparing for this years big growing season. I thought I’d spend some time in this message talking about some of the things to expect in 2013 to get you excited and maybe even get you involved.

But first I want to brag on my Valentine’s Day dinner. My wife had to work until late that night so I knew she’d be getting home just before 8pm, too late to go out for dinner. The day before Amy Mashburn had gifted me some excellent jerusalem artichokes (and I had a few more in my fridge too). If I had to guess, most of you out there have scrolled over jerusalem artichokes on the list and had no idea what they are or how to eat them. Well I’m gonna give you a tip. This is the very first dish I ever made with these alien looking root vegetables. But before I get to that let’s talk about this amazing food for a minute.

Despite it’s name the Jerusalem artichoke (also known as a sunchoke) has no relationship to Jerusalem and isn’t related to the artichoke. The plant is In fact a type of sunflower (helianthus) and it’s native to North America, found in the gardens of native americans in modern day Massachusetts way back in 1605 by a french explore named Champlain. The roots became popular with Europeans and the italian word for sunflower is girasole which I guess with the right accent sounds a bit like jerusalem. Champlain thought the tubers tasted like artichokes and said so in his writings and even though I disagree with him, hoila, 400 years later were stuck with this rather unlikely and difficult to market name.


I’m gonna attempt to insert a photo of a blooming J. art here.

What makes these boogers special is they contain 10% protein, are low in starch, contain no oil, but are high in a carbohydrate called inulin that breaks down into fructose. For this reason J.arts as I’ll call them are a healthy choice for diabetics.

But do they taste good. Well try this recipe and judge for yourself. And if you’d like to quick reference this or any other recipe I post, I’ve started posting them to FACEBOOK for quick reference. Here it is my Valentine’s Day Dinner surprise.

Lemon Chicken with Jerusalem Artichokes

Ingredients:
• 1 teaspoon lemon zest
• 2 fresh lemons
• 2 Tablespoons olive oil, divided use
• 4 chicken thighs
• Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
• 1 cup chicken broth
• 1/4 teaspoon ground saffron
• 1/2 pound Jerusalem artichokes (sunchokes), peeled
• 10 garlic cloves, peeled and halved
• 1/4 cup heavy cream
• 1 Tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
• 1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
• Hot, cooked rice

Preparation:
Finely grate 1 teaspoon of zest from the lemon and set aside.

Juice both of the lemons (discarding pulp) and set aside.

Place a large, deep, heavy skillet over medium-high heat. When hot, add 1 tablespoon of olive oil and swirl to coat the bottom of the pan. Sprinkle chicken thighs on both sides with salt and pepper. Place skin-side down in the hot pan and quickly brown them, turning only once. Remove to a plate and keep warm.

Add the lemon juice, lemon zest, remaining olive oil, chicken broth, and saffron to the skillet. Bring to a boil, stirring to loosen any browned bits. Add Jerusalem artichokes and garlic cloves. Return chicken to the skillet, along with any accumulated juices. Reduce heat and simmer about 45 minutes, until chicken and sunchokes are tender.

Stir in cream and thyme leaves. Taste and adjust seasoning, if need be. Return to a simmer and cook an additional 10 minutes. Serve over cooked rice and sprinkle with pinenuts to garnish.

I varied this a bit of course substituting saffron rice since I didn’t have the spice, using chicken legs rather than thighs, skipping the pine nuts, and substituting beef broth. Turned out amazing! Please, please someone cook this up and submit a photo to us. I forgot to take a picture, but we’d love to start promoting great recipes with photos to get everyones mouth watering.

Well that took so long I think I may skip all the other grand things I thought I’d talk about. J.Arts stole the show tonight. Buy some and see for yourself.

I will briefly mention that in 2013 more than past years we could benefit from the volunteer support of the community. Here’s a few examples that I’ll elaborate in future editions.

We’ll be hosting another Georgia Mountains Farm Tour to 18 farms across all north georgia in June and we’ll need help both promoting this and helping farmers on the day of the event.

Occasionally helping on market days. At the Clarkesville location we are interested in having a small number of people who can help during pickup hours from 5-6:30 (or 7 in the summer). If you think you might be interested let me know and we’ll put your name on a list.

One last thing. Joni Kennedy of Melon Head Farms will be helping at the Clarkesville Pickup this week. We hope you’ll enjoy getting to meet and talk with one of your farmers. She’s also graciously offered to host a customer/farmer potluck at her farm sometime in Spring. Ask her about that, and maybe we’ll nail down that date soon. That was tip from a customer in our survey last month.

Oh yeah. Split Creek Goat dairy products will come back in March. We’re on a quarterly schedule (4x per year) so you’ll have to really order big when it comes. We’ll let you know. (*volunteers to do more frequent runs would also be considered).

Whew! Ok, that’s it this time. Really. I told you we were scurrying. I only touched on about 10%!

Eat Well,

Justin in Habersham
and
Chuck in Rabun