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 May 21, 2014


Hey Local Food Lovers,

We’re inching on up to nearly 400 different items on Locally Grown. That’s some incredible diversity and it just seems to get better all the time. Some notable items this week is Oakcrest Farms here in Habersham is back this week with three different varieties of radishes. I’ve found myself snacking on carrots and radishes more and more, sometime carrying them around in the side of my mouth like a cigar. I don’t know if that’s normal or not, but it just feels right. It feels like each crunch creates a good aura of health all around me. Try it and let me know if you agree.

I also noticed that Melon Head and Shade Creek Farms both have some good jams, Strawberry and Blueberry.

But the big item this week is ASPARAGUS! Since there’s probably no more than three or four weeks left in asparagus season and it’s been an item that is very, very hard to get since only a few farms produce it, I encourage you to go ASPARAGUS crazy and buy a couple of pounds. There are so many things to do with asparagus it’s hard to know where to begin but lately I’ve been in the mood for the vinaigrette salad style. Here’s two options:

Asparagus with Gorgonzola and Hazelnuts
Make a vinaigrette with 3/4 cup of olive oil to 1/4 cup red wine vinegar, 1 shallot minced, 1 teaspoon Dijon, a squeeze of 1/2 lemon, salt and pepper. Whisk until blended. Pour some of it over your roasted asparagus, crumble up some Gorgonzola and sprinkle on top, garnish with toasted chopped hazelnuts.

Chilled Marinated Asparagus
Ingredients
2/3 cup packed brown sugar
2/3 cup cider vinegar
2/3 cup soy sauce
2/3 cup vegetable oil
4 teaspoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon garlic powder (or fresh garlic)
2 pounds fresh asparagus, trimmed
1 cup chopped pecans, toasted

Directions
In a saucepan, combine the brown sugar, vinegar, soy sauce, oil, lemon juice and garlic powder. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 5 minutes. Refrigerate until cool.
Meanwhile, in a large skillet, bring 1/2 in. of water to a boil. Add asparagus. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 3-5 minutes or until crisp-tender. Drain and rinse in cold water.

Place asparagus in a large container; add marinade. Turn to coat; refrigerate for 2 hours or overnight, turning occasionally. Drain and discard marinade. Place asparagus on a serving plate; sprinkle with pecans. Yield: 8 servings.

My mom used to make this dish growing up and it brings back fond memories.

We’ve also been downing strawberries like crazy around our house b/c they are just too good this year. This weekend we added them atop some ciabatta french toast with fresh whipped whipping cream on top and real maple syrup. Ooh la la.

I also think it’s cool we have pecan and hickory wood listed for those who like to slow smoke their meats. I started smoking roasts packed with herbs last year and realized that’s my favorite way to eat a roast. However, I was using store bought wood chips. I just have a feeling using local wood from local farms is gonna make those roasts taste even better. I also just folded an aluminum container and poked holes in it to turn my gas grill into a smoker. You do want to soak the chips in water for an hour or longer though to prevent a fire.

FARM TOUR brochures are now on sale through Locally Grown! I’ve just added them this morning so even if you’ve already shopped, add a brochure to your order.

If you’re not yet familiar with the Georgia Mountains Farm Tour, this is the best opportunity all year to visit many of the farms featured here on Locally Grown and buy food directly from their farm. The event is on June 28 and 29th this year. We pushed it back two weeks so that we’ll be sure and have summer crops like tomatoes, squash, etc. This event is also great for bringing in friends and family from out town. My mother, aunt and uncle all came last year and it was a great way to share how great the lifestyle, friendships and eating habits are here in the North Georgia Mountains.

For more info about the farm tour visit the WEBSITE

The Gainesville market opens just two weeks from this Friday so continue to spread the word on that to your friends in the area. They can sign up now so that they get the messages and can get familiar with the system in the intervening weeks. To let folks know about it print out a BROCHURE

Well that’s about it for this week. Thanks for supporting local farms and don’t forget to…..

EAT WELL,

Justin in Habersham
and
Chuck in Rabun

Northeast Georgia Locallygrown Availability list for May 16


The market is now open for orders.

Locally Grown Availability for May 14th, 2014


Hey Local Food Lovers,

This is a late message this week but you’ve still got at least 6 hours of ordering time so it’s still worth it for me to give a few interesting updates.

First, I want to welcome some new volunteers to Locally Grown. With the Gainesville Market kick off just 3 more weeks away we are needing to recruit new volunteers both to help down there and to help in Clarkesville since I’ll be helping getting the new location started. Chrissy Garrison helped us out at Clarkesvillle last week and will be volunteering every other week. She joins Lynn Mack who volunteers on the other weeks. Both will be helping Teri Parker who is being promoted to Clarkesville Market Manager starting on June 6th. Teri knows the system as well as Chuck and I do now, and she’s been a steady and strong volunteer for over four years now which is impressive. Everybody let her know how much you appreciate her help because it’s key to our expansion.

Andrew Linker who will be help us co-manage the Gainesville Location will be helping us this week in Clarkesville to get to know our system and the flow of farmer drop offs and customer pickups before we get started down there in a few weeks. We’ll also experiment with using our new shelves and pop up boxes to make sure that it’s quick and efficient. Anybody know where we can find Erasable Markers? We’ll be investing in some of those soon too.

We already have 6 customers signed up for the new Gainesville Location. That’s kind of exciting. In the 3 weeks we have left we’ll be sending e-mails to the master gardeners, Brenau staff and faculty and History Center members to encourage more signups. Our goal is to have at least 40 people signed up and at least 20 customers on the first drop off day.

I haven’t studied the listing this week so can’t adequately plug anything new but I can say that we had leeks and kohlrabi for dinner last night (with some pasta alfredo) that was incredible. My wife steamed the peeled kohlrabi then cut it up and sauteed it in just a splash of water with some chicken bouillon and some onions and olive oil. Yum, Yum, Yum!

One last thing. Be sure and check Locally Grown several times between Friday and Monday as farmers are adding items continously. There have been many weeks where carrots were sold out on Saturday then on Monday I found yes, they are back again.

Ok, get your orders in and we’ll see you this Wednesday.

EAT WELL,
Justin in Habersham
and
Chuck in Rabun

Northeast Georgia Locallygrown Availability list for May 9


Good Evening Locavores,
It is exciting to see the produce availability increasing weekly now.
The strawberries are delicious and such a sweet wonderful spring treat.
All the spring greens seem especially good this year too.
Happy shopping and have a great weekend.

Locally Grown Availability for May 7th, 2014


Hey Local Food Lovers,

It’s an exciting food week. We have a new farm joining Locally Grown this week, Taylor Creek Farms near Toccoa. They’ve been farming for at least 4 or 5 years and Chuck and Michelle Taylor are good friends and great farmers and we’re hoping they enjoy selling to Locally Grown so we get to see them every week. They have 4 items listed this week, red russian kale, concept lettuce, sweet valentine lettuce and one of my favorites Kohlrabi. I have some nordic roots so cool season crops like cabbages are right up my alley and Kohlrabi is one of my favorites both because it is so unusual and so versatile. In addition to eaten raw in salads, roasted in the oven, or cut up and put in soups as a more nutritious and tasty potato substitute, I also started grating them a few years ago for cole slaw. You could just forego cabbage all-together and use these with some fresh radishes this week, and chopped spring onion for a non-traditional cole slaw. I like to make my own mayo using simply an egg yolk and oil. Add fennel seed to really blow your mind.

I also want to talk this week about how lucky we are to have an incredibly diverse GLUTEN-FREE Bakery here on Locally Grown. Christy Bowen of Keep It Simple has a whopping 27 products listed this week that make it possible for those avoiding or reducing their gluten intake to enjoy a different delicious product every day of the week, breakfast, lunch and dinner. She makes granola bars (I love that their called “Crazy Good”…..and I agree), muffins, 4 different breads, cinnamon roll bread, bagels, hamburger buns and pizza crust just to name a few.

One of the things that makes this bakery unique is that in addition to providing finished products, she also understands that baking for oneself and being able to add a few extra ingredients that suit your unique tastes can really make your day. That’s why items like the pancake mix, muffin mix, brownie mix, biscuit mix and flour make it possible to take some credit for the finished product. As you bake these gluten free mixes up you can throw in some blueberries to your muffins, or some flax seed in your bread mix allowing you to make it just the way you like. As more and more people realize that unfortunately our bodies have not adapted well to the changes we’ve made to wheat and other flours over the decades, it’s great to have such alternatives being developed by cooking innovators like Christy. Even if you’re not gluten-free try one of her products. And if you know of others who are on a gluten-free diet, do something nice for them and buy a couple of Christy’s mixes to give them as a gift. Nothing beats the thoughtful gift of fresh local
food.

Before we go we just want to give a quick update on our Gainesville expansion that’ll start up in about a month. We went and met with some of our partners last Friday and did a practice setup at the new Market Location at the Northeast Georgia History Center. We couldn’t be more excited about this expansion and the location is just perfect. Over the next several weeks we’re going to start recruiting new customers to sign up so if you have friends in the Gainesville area encourage them to sign up now. We’re hoping to have at least 40 people signed up over the next month, with at least 15-20 customers for our opening day. That should be very easy to meet that goal, but word of mouth is always the most effective means of communication so talk us up.

Here’s what our new pickup site looks like. And meet our new market manager for the Gainesville Pick-Up, Andrew Linker.

We got to know Andrew really well last year when he shot the video for our Georgia Mountains Farm Tour (which is a really great video). This is the part of the message where I realize we have more going on than I have time to talk about but we have scheduled this year’s farm tour for June 28th and 29th and tickets are on sale. It’ll be a few more days before we’ve printed the brochures that describe all the farms but if you want to pre-order we’ll mail you the brochure when it’s complete. We’ll also sell brochures right here on Locally Grown. Here’s a link to where all the tour information will be posted.

http://georgiamfn.blogspot.com/

Ok, I’d better go. Don’t forget to…
EAT WELL,
Justin in Habersham
and
Chuck in Raubn

Northeast Georgia Locallygrown Availability list for May 2


Good Evening Locavores,
Wow, market time is here already. It seems like a very short week here in Tiger.
This week we welcome Chuck and Michele Taylor of Taylor Creek Farm in Stephens County to Locallygrown. Be sure to look for their listings including Purple Kohrabi.
Another announcement is, The Main Street Farmers Market opens tomorrow. The market is at 74N Main street in Clayton and is open from 9:00am until 12:00 noon on Saturdays.
Locallygrown is now open for orders.
Have a great weekend and enjoy fresh, healthy, local food.

Locally Grown Availability for April 30th, 2014


Hey Local Food Lovers,

More great weather this week. In fact it was hot. That’s good for plants trying to grow. The asparagus is coming on strong, I picked my own this morning. That said it’s still a luxury item on the market as most farms just have a very small spot dedicated. Asparagus takes a lot of space as it’s a perennial that comes back year after year. I’ve only got about 12 plants but that’s enough to get all the asparagus you could want. This year I covered the plants with mulch during that cold spell a few weeks ago, and when I pulled the mulch back all the spears were completely white. You might have seen white asparagus in the store before. Apparently some farms mound earth up the entire spear to keep them white. I’m not quite sure why you’d bother but it is was kind of a novelty.

The carrots were sweet and delicious this week. I’ve been munching on them raw and adding them to every recipe I can think of. Local eggs went in my french toast this morning. Kale was long stewed with carrots, onions and red pepper. More roasted beets (in the pan with foil and water) and the beet greens with the sour cream/cilantro/lime garnish this week. I also enjoyed some fresh oregano with my chicken tonight.

The diversity of pork products is boggling to the mind. I’m purchasing some cuts I’ve never purchased before this week to expand my knowledge and my pleasure. I really like some of the details and cooking instructions that accompany many of the items on our market. They are informative and often times instructive on what one may do with an unusual item. Such details are highly encouraged. I don’t know what the word count cut off for describing an item is but I know I haven’t reached it yet. Those farmers that are willing to tell a story are likely to get an extra sale or two out of it. And if the story is good, be bold, try something you’ve never had before.

Markets are opening up! Chuck mentioned that Simply Homegrown started this past weekend. Clarkesville’s Farmers Market starts this weekend. We encourage you to go check these out, even if you order here. There’s many vendors that go to those markets that don’t list here (and vice versa of course) and if you go you’re likely to bump up the percentage of local food you’re eating to a better . I think 50 would be a pretty good goal. That would definitely be doable over the next 4 months if you really put your mind to it.

Well, that’s all I can think of for tonight. I hope this new week is a great one for you.

EAT WELL,
Justin in Habersham
and
Chuck in Rabun

Northeast Georgia Locallygrown availability list for April 30.


Good evening Locavores,
Last week we talked about eggs on the market and the fact that GMO grains are not allowed in the hens feed.
The same is true for the meat sold in this market. Chickens, pork,and beef sold in this market are required to be raised on pasture and supplemental feed may not contain GMOs.
The farm families who produce meat work hard and pay higher price for gmo free feed in order to produce high quality meat free of contaminants.
We feel blessed to have these excellent and healthy products available in our local area.
Melon Head Farm has the first strawberries of the season available this week. They along with Leah Lake Farm also have asparagus listed.
For those who may not know this weekend is the Celebrate Clayton Event.
This celebration is a lot of fun and downtown Clayton blocked to auto traffic to make room for great arts, food,and music.
Saturday is also opening day for Simplyhomegrown Farmers Market. The market is at the Clayton City Hall complex on Hwy 76w and will be open from 9:00am until 1:00pm.
Have a great weekend and enjoy local food.

Locally Grown Availability for April 23rd, 2014


Hey Local Food Lovers,

I hope all of you had as glorious a week as I had. Today was just beautiful, a great day to enjoy the spring and for me work in the soil around the house transplanting some just emerging plants. That reminds me, one of the many growers I want to highlight this week is Hollman Hollow Farm. How fortunate we are to have a farm that specializes in native plants and herbs. They have 39 listed this week including jewelweed, hostas, sedums, poppy and trliium. It’s been fun to watch them come through as customers order and I’m impressed with their vigor and the diversity. All natives makes it a great choice for our type of market that is trying to be sustainable.

Here’s the other things that made me happy this week. Chocolate marshmellow eggs from Sylvan Falls Mill. I hate I forgot to remind folks to buy these as they come only a few weeks of the year. They are an incredibly tasty treat with organic chocolate that is superb.

I also cut my first asparagus spear this week. It was just one and I brought it home and cut it into 1/2 inch pieces and sauteed in butter until they were brown. Then I ate every single piece with my fingers right out of the pan. So good!

Then Wednesday I got my fresh huge beautiful beets from Burton Mountains Farms and just had to eat them right away. I roasted them (the special way) sauteed the greens just right, and garnished with sour cream mixed with lime juice and chopped cilantro. Trust me it was excellent. To wash that down I baked some cheddar corn muffins two ways, with blue corn and yellow corn from Sylvan Falls Mills. Here’s what both of these treats looked like.

If this looks good and you want to try it the recipes are posted on our FACEBOOK page. I highly encourage all of you to post your own cooking success stories to our FACEBOOK page and I’ll make sure it’s shared so everyone can see it. You should also use our RECIPES section of the website. I did add the cornbread recipe there for those who don’t use facebook.

Ok, what else. Chuck wrote a very good snippet about our Egg Laying practices on Friday that I wanted to follow up on. We may or may not have mentioned to everyone that last fall Locally Grown changed (and by changed I mean improved) it’s guidelines for eggs. We decided that all eggs not only had to come from hens that are raised on fresh grass and moved regularly (ie. pastured), but that they also be fed only organic grains. For the first 3 years of the market we did allow eggs that were fed non-organic corn, which these days means it’s genetically modified corn (or GMO for short – the “o” is for organism). We’d always had some confusion about why some eggs were one price, and others another price. This confusion is now removed since all eggs from now on will be from hens that live outside on fresh grass and eat organic corn (and sometimes soy free too). That means that eggs in our market will be more expensive as the price of organic feed is exactly twice that of GMO feed, not to mention that hens on fresh pasture have to be moved frequently and generally managed more carefully than hens kept in a permanent pen. These are very lucky chickens to live so well and eat such a good diet (all the bugs and grass they can eat). And I’m very lucky to get to eat these delicious eggs, because God knows I could never go back to eating grocery store eggs after all this time. They are so inferior I don’t know where to begin. So I’ll tell this story.

Shortly after moving back to Habersham County in ‘09 I was driving down 441 when I saw two chickens sitting right on the dashed line in the middle of the road with trucks whizzing by at 65 miles an hour. I just couldn’t ignore their miserable plight and stopped to rescue them.

They were the most pitiful things I had ever seen, and not because they were scared for their lives (even though they were). It was because they were covered in excrement and their eyes were all red and crazy looking like they were under incredible stress. I’ve spent lots of time in chicken houses before and the best way to describe how it affects the psychology of the chicken is to call them concentration camp victims. With 10,000 other birds competing for space it’s nothing but stress from birth to death. The houses are enclosed so there’s no natural sunlight. The first and only time they see the sun is when they are back on the truck on the way to the slaughterhouse, only there’s cage after cage of chickens above or below them all pooping on one another.

What was interesting about my rescued bird (the other one had broken his leg and didn’t survive the night) was his transformation over the coming weeks. I built him a pen and watched with great interest as he saw his very first insect, and blade of grass and he got to experience freedom and stretch his wings and legs and run. He became a happy animal.

I named him Highway and we became fast friends (even though I fully intended to eat him once he was plump and happy). I ended up giving him away as like many I find it difficult to eat my friends but he taught me a great lesson. We should eat responsibly as often as we can. An animals happiness and/or suffering is the result of our decisions.

I don’t want to give the wrong impression. I still eat fried chicken from Zaxby’s, Chic Fil A and a whole lot of other places I shouldn’t. It’s hard to be a purist in this world. But I appreciate that there are farmers here locally that bother to raise a chicken the right way. It’s worth a lot, and is absolutely worth every penny that they charge for their products and probably a lot more. I can assure you no one is getting rich, It just requires a lot more time, money, and management to raise food the right way. And .50 an egg is more than fair to me.

So this week I also made those deviled eggs with avocado and bacon that I mentioned last week and they were yum!

Like I said it’s been a good week full of good meals, good moments and happy thoughts for the future.

We’re still looking for a volunteer to help us at the Clarkesville Market once in a while. If you know of a good kind soul that would really enjoy being around good food and folks every once in a while (and getting a very small food stipend as our thanks) let us know. Staring June 6th, I (meaning Justin) will be helping the Gainesville market get started and Teri willl be the new Clarkesville Market Manager. She’s been with us since the very beginning and we’re very excited that she’s willing to get even more involved during this very exciting growth year.

Pickup is extended to 7pm starting this week. Make sure your account has your cell number so we can remind you if you forget (late pickups not allowed).

We greatly appreciate all of you wonderful Local Food Eaters and we hope you have a great week!

EAT WELL,
Justin in Habersham
and
Chuck in Rabun

Northeast Georgia Locallygrown availability list for April 18


Good Evening Locavores
I will start the market off this week with some words about the eggs in your market.
Just as vegetables with genetically modified organisms are not allowed in this market, meat and poultry are not allowed to be fed GMO grains.
To the best of our knowledge the soy and corn in all of the standard commercial feeds are gmo grains and so these feeds are not allowed. For the most part that leaves only certified organic feeds and feeds certified to be gmo free for use by growers in this market.
These feeds cost double the prices of standard commercial feed. Obviously this increases the cost of producing meat and eggs. We also require that laying hens must be pastured on grass rather than in a bare dirt pen or on shavings.
When a grower acquires baby chicks he must feed and care for them for 20 weeks or so before they are mature enough to lay eggs. Once the hens begin laying eggs their production usually is not as high as commercial hens due to the fact that they are not housed with artificial heat and light.
In order to supply eggs, the grower must make a commitment to spending money for feed and providing labor to care for the birds daily for five months before getting the first egg.
Consider this when you shop for eggs in this market and apreciate them for their high quality and enhanced health
benefits. If you have not tried the eggs this would be a great time to treat yourself to them.
Have a great weekend and enjoy healthy local food.