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 July 17th, 2013

Hey Local Food Lovers,

I’m posting this message from Taiwan where I just returned from an all you can eat steakhouse where I gorged myself on more meat, seafood, and ice cream than you can imagine. Food is central to life here and its probably one of my favorite things about Taiwan. It’s very much like the New Orleans motto where they Live to Eat rather than Eat to Live. It’s a little bit dangerous for me b/c I could gain a lot of weight if I’m not careful. That’s why I’m headed off on a 3 day bicycle ride tomorrow….so I can earn my right to eat as much as I want.

So you can get a feel for my challenge I’ll just describe today for example. We started the morning by looking for my all-time favorite food in Taiwan called fantwan, or sticky rice ball. This is primarily a street vendor dish made in the mornings that consists of a layer of sticky rice (the purple variety is my favorite as it has more fiber and flavor), pickled cabbage, pickled radish, fried donut type stuff for crunch, dried pork (its very common to have this type of pork that is like jerky but shredded very fine, almost fluffy), then it’s all rolled into a ball that sticks together.

For some reason my wife took us from the fantwan stand to another place for wonton soup and shalom boa which are these little steamed dumplings stuffed with pork. Now keep in mind it’s 9am and I’m having pork dumplings to help wash down my fontwan, with a little wonton soup to help. But wait, then we had a side of dry tofu and some soy milk. Just to be fair, we saved most of our fantwan for later in the day.

So off we went to explore some of Taipei’s oldest markets….by scooter. Scooter life is quite amazing and something I fell in love with last time I was here. Because there are so many people and so little space, there are many more scooters than cars for the simple reason that you can find a parking space so much easier for a scooter…and it’s cheaper and more convenient to get around. It’s not uncommon to see a mom with one baby strapped to her chest and a 5 year old on the back of a scooter zipping down the road faster than you.

Our first snack at the old market wasn’t that unusual. An ice cream cone. As you walk down the road there are dozens of foods and drinks that look delicious. Our next treat was fresh pressed sugar cane. I’d never had this before and I have to say, it’s amazing. It’s sweet to be sure, but it tastes like juice. It’s a dark green color, and my guess that unrefined it has some nutritious value, maybe from fiber, or even the still living chloroplast that you obviously don’t get from processed sugar. We should look it up. My guess is it’s good for you.

It was scorching hot so about 30 minutes later we were ready for something else to cool us down and there was a lady cutting open fresh cocunuts pouring the juice into bottles and putting the bottles in ice water to make it cool and delicious. It was!

Next we hopped back on the scooter and headed to a little village known for ceramics. Ching-Yu got an iced coffee but I wanted something better. It’s simply called shaved iced and it puts our snow cones to shame. Rather than just pour colored sugar water over ice this treat gives you the following options for toppings on your shaved ice: green jelly, tapioca balls, pudding, taro, then many different types of sweetened beans, then your option to have condensed milk or a sweetened syrup poured on top. This makes it all more like a lite ice cream than a snow cone. It’s the perfect snack on a hot day and other than a little extra sugar, it’s mainly good for you.

I could go on for pages re: food if I let myself, but that’s probably good for now.

Before I wrap up and plug a few items I’ll just mention that one thing that has really impressed me here is that everyone is incredibly thin despite these rich, delicious foods. Only thing I can figure is they are just so physically active. Each day involves lots of walking, riding bikes, or scooters, or taking trains or buses to get to work, school, markets, etc. People are moving, moving, moving non-stop. I’ll admit, it can be a bit exhausting at times, especially given the heat, but it keeps one fit. One of the most impressive things I’ve noticed and enjoyed since arriving here is every river has a trail next to it creating these extensive greenway networks that allow people to get all over the place via pedestrian means without traffic. Most people use these for recreation more than for commuting, but I’ve been very impressed with not only how many of them there are (miles upon miles – 50+), but how many people here are utilizing them. Taiwan, and especially Taipei is known in Asia as being one of the best cycling cities. Lucky for me as other than language lessons and eating, that’s been the other focus of my trip so far.

Ok, time to move on to what’s going on back in Georgia. I know it’s still been raining non-stop and your all about sick of it. We just had a Typhoon here in Taiwan and the price of vegetables is super high this year due to bad weather. Maybe our local growers should be charging more too since obviously there will be less of everything with the mildew and rot that is no doubt going on.

However, even with all these challenges I noticed there are tons and tons of cucumbers and beans this week. It’s pickling season and I really encourage folks to try their hand at making pickles if you haven’t before. Ching Yu started making pickles a few years ago and I don’t care if I never have another store bought pickle. They just don’t compare. If anyone has a great pickling recipe please post it to our recipes section or to our facebook page and maybe you’ll inspire somebody.

I said I was gonna plug Lake Rabun Hotel and Restaurant and I am, but not today. I’ve got to get up early and hit the bike. However, to insure you don’t miss any good eats opportunities I’ll continue to post their schedule here until I do get around to talking about Jamie Alred and all the good he does for our growers and our stomachs by cooking so dang good.

You can see the schedule of farmers for Featured FArmer Thursdays by visiting

or click here

Thanks for shopping local and


Justin in Habersham
Chuck in Rabun

Locally Grown - Availability list for July 12

Good evening sustainable food lovers,
Locally grown market is now open to place orders for Wednesday pick-up.

Locally Grown - Availability for July 10th, 2013

Hey Local Food Lovers,

I want to start out tonight by welcoming all the new farms and other food producers that have joined us here at Locally Grown this summer. It’s quite exciting to see all our area markets growing with customers, with farms and with food. We’re growing right along with that trend.

Hill Manor Farm is right around the bend here in Clarkesville (in the Deep Creek river basin actually). They had some mighty good looking dewberries last week and this week I see cukes and lettuces. Garden Post is also a nearby farm by way of Wisconsin where they were part of the great farm to market scene in Madison. They’ve got lettuce, cucumbers, . Tony Smith of Shade Creek Farms is off to a great start with his trademark red, white and blue potatoes that he does for the fourth of July. I made RBW mashed potatoes and I thought they were really cool! He’s also got blueberries. Hollman Hollow has all kinds of amazing plants, and this week gourds!

I want to welcome back Liberty Farms who are seasonal growers Wesley and Sherri (well known for their bushels of okra) who are mixing it up this year with white half runner beans, sweet onions, squash, and jalapeno peppers.

This is Oakcrest Farm’s second year and we love seeing their beautiful Zinnia’s at market. If you’d like to donate your nice looking glass jars for them to use as vases (Clarkesville location only) you can sit them on the grill under the carport. Not too many though! And try and pick pretty ones.

Ok, that’s all I have time for tonight. I’ll be putting in a lengthy plug for Lake Rabun Hotel next week but just in case you’re in the mood for a good dinner this week go ahead and check out their schedule of featured farmer dinners.


Justin in Habersham
Chuck in Rabun

Locally Grown availability list for July 5, 2013

Northeast Georgia Locally Grown is now open for placing orders.

Locally Grown availability list for July 5, 2013

We hope everyone is having a great and safe 4th of July weekend.
Northeast Georgia Locally Grown is now open for placing orders.

Locally Grown - Availability for July 3rd, 2013

Hey Local Food Lovers,

First off, if you’re gonna grill for the 4th, order LOCAL MEAT this week. We’ve got some great farms producing some great products. All farms EXCEPT BG will deliver products this week just in time for the holiday!

I’m gonna try and make this a quick message tonight….and yet there’s so much to talk about. We’re at the height of the growing season (or nearly there since things are a little behind due to the cooler spring and massive rain). Every week some new items come into play and some other items phase out. It keeps my mealtime interesting to say the least.

This week is definitely noteworthy for bringing on the berries. Blackberries, raspberries and blueberries are all here, though in limited quantities especially for blueberries. I’ve been enjoying some amazing smoothies myself with the raspberries.

It’s also POTATO season. With the fourth of July coming up I highly recommend making a potato salad with homemade mayo and dill (which unfortunately were out of season on now, but dried works too). Haven’t made homemade mayo before. It’s simple but requires a little labor. Just take a teaspoon of dijon mustard and a teaspoon of paprika and add one egg yolk. Then slowly add one cup of your preferred vegetable oil, slowly a drab at a time and whisk it in. Takes about 4-5 minutes and you can add just a touch of water if it thickens up to fast. You can add just a little lemon juice to kick it up. Just mix that with boiled cubed potatoes and if you’re feeling adventuresome add some fennel seed and/or mustard seed. This is the same recipe I use for making incredible homemade coleslaw except I also add a quarter cup of apple cider vinegar.

Ok, I’ve already gone on longer than I planned, but as you know I love talking about, thinking about, cooking and eating local food. It’s just about the coolest thing.

Stock up for the holidays please. It’ll make your family time all the more special if you bring some fresh local food along. And if you make anything cool please, please send us your recipes, or even just a photo. We’ll post it to facebook and may even include it here.

Last but not least, I’m taking a 3.5 week break in July to travel in Asia so this will be my last market until August. That means that just like last year I’ll be posting my announcements from there and sharing all my fun food adventures. We definitely have some planned so hope you’ll look forward to that. Please be extra nice to Teri, Lynn Mack and all the other volunteers that will be helping run the Clarkesville market while I’m gone.

If you attended the FARM TOUR two weeks ago thanks again. Don’t forget to take our survey to let us know what you thought so we’ll have good feedback for next year. The survey can be found at

To both those who made it to the TOUR and those who did not, I think you’ll enjoy this VIDEO made by a.d.linker that really captures the beauty of the day and this great event. If you run into any of the farmers that make this tour possible please thank them for growing good food and sharing their passion with the rest of us! They work real hard so we can have something good to eat.
the Locally Grown Facebook

Don’t forget this 4th of July to

Justin in Habersham
Chuck in Rabun

Locally Grown - market is open

Hey Local Food Lovers,

Just wanted to remind everyone that the market is open. Hope you enjoy this week’s selection of wholesome local foods!


Locally Grown - Availability for June 26th, 2012l

Hey Local Food Lovers,

The market is overflowing with food this week. Summer’s bounty is beginning! There are potatoes, pickles, garlic, mushrooms, and even peppers. 330 total items to choose from. That’s a lot of diversity.

I just returned today from the wedding celebration of a farmer and one of my closest friends, Celia Barss of Woodland Gardens. When it came time to make a toast I thought the best way to honor her would be to share a story I wrote about getting to know her farm way back in 2008. I’d like to share this story with all of you as I hope it may be as inspiring to you as she has been to me.

Winterville farm is a sign of things to come
Published: Sunday, March 09, 2008 in the
Athens Banner Herald

A couple of weeks ago I came home for lunch and sliced an inch-thick center out of a locally grown, organic bright red tomato as big around as the length of my hand, laid it between two slightly toasted pieces of loaf rye bread, slathered it with mayonnaise, sprinkled it with fresh ground pepper and took a bite. It was about 40 degrees outside and overcast, but all of a sudden it felt like the sun was shining in my mouth. Eating a tomato this good at this time of year makes you feel like there’s a small crack in the firmament, and a small beam of heaven’s light focused just on you. I like to call that center slice the “steak” of the tomato, and there’s just nothing on earth as good.

Less than a mile away from where I live in Winterville sits an unimposing small farm called Woodland Gardens. My yummy tomato was grown on this farm only a stone’s throw from Athens-Ben Epps Airport and maybe six or seven miles from downtown Athens. Along the road in front of the farm is an itty-bitty yellow sign that reads, “Organic Garden, please don’t spray.” Down a short dusty road stand 10 tall, domed greenhouses. A curious passerby might pause and say, “I wonder what they’re growing down there?” A good answer would be, “All kinds of stuff!”

My first visit to Woodland Gardens occurred one summer morning about 4:30. It was pitch-black, of course, and I was hitching a ride to the Morningside Farmer’s Market in Atlanta, the only year-round farmer’s market in the state that sells only organic products. Before heading off, I helped two lean, quick-moving, hard-working women load a refrigerated truck from top to bottom with boxes of tomatoes, carrots, cucumbers, beans, squash, zucchini, okra, lettuce, potatoes, onions, leeks, herbs, bunches of fresh-cut flowers and about a dozen items I couldn’t identify. Everything had been harvested the day before. This food was fresh.

Everyone at the market was drawn to the Woodland Gardens booth. There was the bounty of beautiful shiny fruits, with chalkboard signs describing each item and how much it cost in blue, green and pink chalk. The bright colors and the smell of fresh-cut flowers, ripening tomatoes and respiring greens entranced passers-by. The fresh blessings of the earth had been brought to the big city.

Woodland Gardens isn’t an ordinary farm. It’s a new breed of farm; an example of what farms may look like if society truly decides to try and eat local. Most people can’t yet imagine what eating local actually means. To most of us it probably sounds trendy, unrealistic, or downright confusing. But current and future generations are facing some challenging questions that until the last few years were inconceivable. Where will our food come from? How will people make a living in our rural landscapes? What happens if everybody sells the farm?

Celia Barss is a new breed of skilled farmer. She’s young, she’s savvy, she speaks three languages and she’s the farm manager of Woodland Gardens. Born in Canada then raised in New Guinea and Baltimore, she gained her training as a farmer at the University of California in Santa Cruz. She didn’t grow up on a farm, but she always loved to have her hands in the dirt, and after finding her passion for growing food she never looked back. She knew what she wanted to do and focused on it.

These days, a farmer doesn’t have to be born on a farm to be born to farm, and that may be a blessing to the rest of us since less than 2 percent of the nation’s population still grows our food. Barss is tanned, sinewy, and confident in her craft. There’s not an organic farm or farmer in Georgia that can compare to the level of output, efficiency and quality of produce at Woodland Gardens.

When asked to paint a picture of Woodland Gardens, Barss explains the different structures that allow them to grow year-round. A total of one acre of land sits under 10 passively ventilated greenhouses, called high tunnels, and two heated greenhouses. Four additional acres are devoted to field production.

“Each area is the best place to have the crops at different times of the year,” she explains, and she’s developed a system of careful rotations to maximize crop performance and efficiency.

The major advantage of greenhouses is they allow a farmer to extend the growing season, thus providing year-round income, maintaining full-time employees, capturing a bit of a price premium, and allowing folks like me to eat local tomatoes in the month of February. But the greenhouses also preserve nutrients and organic matter in the soil. Since a greenhouse blocks rainfall, precious nitrogen from compost isn’t leached from the soil after a heavy rain. The plants are irrigated with drip tape and nitrogen is slowly released by the decomposition activity of micro-organisms in the soil.

Every good farm starts with a farmer who loves doing what they do. Isn’t that true of excellence in any craft, and every profession? Barss explained that in addition to this love of the craft, many farmers feel responsible for providing good food “because they’re able to do it.”

Fortunately for us, some people are just born with the talents that make for good farmers. They love being in the earth, they have a mind for detail, and possess bountiful storehouses of energy. Bit by bit these individuals are finding their way back to the farm as opportunities expand and society begins to appreciate this contribution. A new breed of farmer is slowly being born.

On behalf of all the farmers, thanks for shopping at Locally Grown this week and ….

Justin in Habersham
Chuck in Rabun

Locally Grown is OPEN

Hey Local Food Lovers,

Just a quick reminder to let you know that Locally Grown is now open. Hope you enjoy this week’s offerings.


Locally Grown - Availability for June 19th, 2013l

Hey Local Food Lovers,

I know it’s very late to be sending out the Locally Grown announcement, but this may very well be one of the busiest times of my life (I sure hope so) and I decided to turn my brain off last night until I could write a decent summary of this weekend’s amazing FARM TOUR!

I’m so thankful to the nearly 200 or more people who came out over the weekend to see what has been accomplished with Local Foods over the last 4 years or so. I can’t think of another weekend of the year that we should feel prouder of the incredible effort of so many farmers all throughout our region. Not only does this event celebrate the individual efforts of each farm, it also demonstrates the benefits of our collective efforts. Farmers throughout a 6-8 county area have only been getting together and collaborating en masse for the last couple of years and it’s really paying off. In fact, the farm tour may arguably be on its way to becoming one of the best known, best attended local food events certainly in the region if not in the state. We all commented that based on the success of the first two years we expect it to continue to grow each year.

Ok, enough about the big picture. I want to talk about the incredible experience that I had over the weekend. The other tour organizer Maggie and a very talented video photographer Andrew drove around both days to experience the tour for ourselves and catch up with our many friends who were featured.

Saturday we started at Steve Whiteman’s Trillium Farms. As soon as we arrived I was able to start off by purchasing a delicious muffin made by Kristen Costley while we waited for the tour to start. I wrote about Steve and his farming innovations extensively for my dissertation (just completed on Friday) and there’s no question that he’s one of the most innovative farmers in our region. In addition to the cob furnace, basement growing, and constructed greenhouses that he uses to grow microgreens it was amazing to see his advancements in greenhouse design and construction. His version of a Haygrove tunnel is to be admired for its understanding of how heat and air and moisture move and how they influence plant growth. Steve understands plants and nature, and natural cycles better than most of us ever will because he’s interacting with them everyday of his life. And it’s too our benefit. His microgreens are amongst the best foods I’ve ever eaten. If you haven’t tried them you need to go find him at the Clarkesville Farmers Market on Saturdays at the Old Clarkesville Mill (as he doesn’t sell on Locally Grown).

Next stop was LoganBerry Farms. Sharon Mauney has one of the most dramatically beautiful farms you will ever see. And she’s brilliant at showing you how to eat the foods that she grows with taste tests and recipes that help those of us challenged with what to do with a garlic scape amongst others. She started the day by explaining her compost tea brewer which is one of the central ways that she increases soil fertility, controls for disease and increases plant vigor. It’s an amazing practice and one that I expect will become common by many sustainable farmers in the years ahead. Next we piled on a tractor bed for a hay ride around the farm. Sharon works to make every area of her farm function holistically and you can see that in her attention to the in-between areas (between her crops that is) where she plants trees, and retains or releases water where it can have the greatest benefit. Before leaving we all topped off our water bottles with her incredible herb infused ice water that she puts out for all her guests. An incredibly hospitable, genteel, southern hostess with the work ethic of ten old-time farmers put together. An impressive lady and an impressive farm.

Our final stop on Saturday was to Scott Hancock’s Nacoochee Valley Farm right on the Chattahoochee River and taking advantage of the incredible bottomland soils. Scott is one of the few farms in the whole region that is re-building the nearly lost art of horse farming. With over 20 different horse drawn farm implements, Scott can demonstrate how we can get off our our reliance on fossil fuels while caring for the land. He’s one of the largest producers of pastured poultry EGGS in the region, and has an honor system stand that is open most of the year. Scott knows how to build things better, using the best materials, and the least energy. Rather than our reliance on creosote soaked wood for our houses, barns, etc., he has Amish friends that harvest Black Locust and other woods that will last just as long with no harmful effects to the soil, crops or animals. He uses wind power to pump his water, and horse power to work his land.

Sunday we started at the Old School Garden, which I have to admit beats the socks off our own Clarkesville Green Way Garden in the creativity department. Each garden has adorned their plots with things like wicker chairs, benches, umbrellas, little fake birds nestled in the bean posts, decorative plates, windmills, and other artistic items that give each plot a unique personality.

Next we were on to Sylvan Falls Mill which I can’t believe I haven’t visited since 2009. It was a long overdue visit and you won’t find a more beautiful grist mill in the Southeast….especially that grinds all organic grains and bakes them right on the site into delicious scones, breads, cakes, sticky buns, and more. The sound of water and the water wheel, and the white corn or flour that has floated onto each crevice of the mill room is just beautiful to behold. They also have an electric car charging station. It’s a sustainability mecca.

Next we headed to Chattooga Belle just over the border in SC. This may be the most stunning VISTA I’ve ever seen on a farm in our area. Blue Ridge mountains as far as you can see in both directions with fruit trees and vines all around you and grass fed beef just off in the distance. The look and feel of the place was spectacular, and the wine tasting was terrific.

Even though the day was over by then we still headed over to Gibson Farms to hang out with Leland. That was a great way to end the weekend as we all plopped down on the grass and talked about how far the local food movement has come in an incredibly short period of time.

The Local Food Movement is going to continue to grow and personally there’s nothing else on this bright blue/green ball of a planet that I’m more excited about. I’m even more excited about how it’s growing in our little region. Because of events like this our local farmers and our region as a whole is making a name for itself as an emerging Local Food System that is making a difference.

Huge thanks to all the farms that participated in this grand event (I hope you enjoyed it as much as we did) and for everyone who attended or talked it up. We’ll have a really amazing video for you soon, so even if you missed the event, you’ll have something that’ll make you want to attend next year.

If you weren’t able to make the event but you’d really like to support the farmers and the FARMERS network you can still purchase a really cool FARM TOUR t-shirt. All proceeds go towards helping the Network purchase a group insurance policy that will allow them to sell to the School System. I’ll try and post the shirts as an item on Locally Grown or you can just ask for them at Market on Wednesday.

And of course the best way to support and celebrate this local food movement throughout the year is to BUY LOCAL and ……..

Justin in Habersham
Chuck in Rabun