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 15th, 2012


Hey Local Food Lovers,

Whether you are brand new to Locally Grown or have been with us from the beginning, we want to welcome you to the first week of our extended ordering hours!

For the last 3 years we’ve had a rather short ordering window from Sunday at 9pm until Monday at 9pm (just 24 hours) for customers to peruse the market looking for local food goodies. We hope that by adding two more days to that timeframe (Friday – Monday) we may make it easier for some of you to check out the market all weekend.

Pickup is still on Wednesday from 5-7pm. Please be sure and mark your calendars to pick up your order and be sure to give us your cell phone on your account so we can reach you if it looks like you forgot. If you don’t make it by 7 pm we do have to bill your account as farmers pack orders specifically for you and leave it at the market in good faith that you’ll come and pay for it. It’s a great system, very convenient, and allows you to buy food from farms across at least a 5 county area of Northeast Georgia.

That’s the great thing about our market. Over 20 farms and just about every food group is represented.

Friday messages will typically be shorter, just to let you know the market is on, then we’ll do our usual Sunday night thing where we ooh and aah over all the great offerings. And I usually will give a tip or two on some great ways to eat some local food.

So have it and don’t forget to ……

EAT WELL,

Justin in Habersham
and
Chuck in Rabun

Locally Grown - Availability for May 8th, 2012


Hey Local Food Lovers,

I want to start out tonight by making some good plugs for some great springtime products. As many of you know there are quite a few items that you can only get for a very short season and I wanted to remind you what those are for the SPRING:

ASPARAGUS – there’s only about 3 more weeks left
BEETS – we often have these through early summer sometimes
Spring GARLIC / Garlic Scallions – milder taste / very springtimey
PEAS
RADISH
RHUBARB
SPINACH – we have 4 growers posting this product this week.
STRAWBERRIES – make sure you scroll to the end and order a quart from Mountain Earth Farms

Wow, that’s a fun list. Of course there are many other items that like cooler weather like Swiss Chard, Arugula, Collards, almost all the greens so don’t forget those.

One last big plug this week. If you would like to visit many of the farms that sell through Locally Grown this summer your chance is coming in just over a month. The second annual GEORGIA MOUNTAINS FARM TOUR will be on Saturday and Sunday June 15 and 16. PASSES are on sale now and you can reserve yours right here through Locally Grown. Just look for it amongst the products and add it to your shopping cart.

Grab some friends and tour around north Georgia’s farms for just $30 for the entire carload. Choose from 16 farms. Bring a cooler and stock up on delicious, fresh, local, sustainable food.

You can also visit the TOUR WEBSITE
http://georgiamfn.blogspot.com/
or if you don’t plan to make a purchase through Locally Grown you can PURCHASE PASSES HERE
https://donationpay.org/soqueriver/farmtour2013.php

and we’ll mail you the brochure.

It’s the best way to see what’s going on with Local Farms in the north Georgia Mountains and meet some of the farms who grow your food.

One last reminder before we sign off. Next week will be our 2013 Locally Grown kickoff and to shake things up a bit we’ll be starting our new Market opening time next Friday May 10th at 9pm. We’ll send you a short e-mail reminder that night, then you’ll get your usual Sunday e-mail like this one. But you’ll have two whole extra days to shop! We hope this makes it easier for more people to check out all our great offerings every week. And you can always place your first order on Friday then come back Sunday and see if anything new has been added and order a couple more.

It’s a great week to invite a friend to check out Locally Grown so please forward our message to a friend.

Thanks and ….

EAT WELL,
Justin in Habersham
and
Chuck in Rabun

Locally Grown - Availability for May 1st, 2012


Hey Local Food Lovers,

I’m gonna be super quick tonight because dinner is on it’s way and I’m hungry. I do want to plug a few things this week that I know you’ll enjoy. First off is Belflower Gardens has Sugar Snap Peas called Sugar Ann this week that I’m certain are gonna be delicious. If you are interesting in eating with the seasons then don’t forget you only get peas in the spring and summer will be here soon so better enjoy them now.

Another spring crop coming soon will be strawberries and if you’re interested in growing your own you should buy some plants from Melon Head this week.

Speaking of plants, of the 253 items we have listed this week, 68 of them are plants for your garden. There’s just no excuse to go buy cruddy Bonnie’s plants from the hardware store when you can get the very best plants for your garden grown by local farmers. I highly encourage you let all your gardening friends know. Or buy one for them as a gift.

Last but not least, Asparagus is back this week, and this time from 3 different growers. I enjoyed some on the grill earlier this week. I’ll share a little secret. every time I harvest asparagus I always eat at least one spear raw right after plucking it. It’s one of my favorite raw foods.

One small reminder. We’re back on our regular 7pm schedule now. We’ll also start opening the market up two whole days earlier (on Fridays) starting in under two weeks. So get prepared to do your shopping all weekend long coming real soon.

Ok, dinner is here so I’m off to…..

EAT WELL,
Justin in Habersham
and
Chuck in Rabun.

Locally Grown - Availability for April 24th, 2012


Hey Local Food Lovers,

This is a killer week for Locally Grown. Let me start off with a few plugs and then I’ll share some personal food experiences and a recipe.

It’s ASPARAGUS season! We’re thrilled to have LoganBerry Farm join us this week with their beautiful delicious asparagus spears. Show Sharon and her whole crew how appreciate we are by buying two bundles and share one with a friend. I guarantee they’ll feel special. Asparagus season is short, just a few weeks. So don’t wait as it may not be here next time. I’ve been picking my own asparagus (planted from crowns) and watching my four baby plants that I planted from seed as they embark on their first year of significant growth. You’re not supposed to pick them for their first two years, but considering this is their second year, I’m grabbing a spear here and there just to remind them who they are and what they’re for.

But wait before I get distracted, it’s PLANTING SEASON, in fact it’s TOMATO planting season. Moonshadow Farms is known around these parts as growing some of the best and most diverse heirloom tomato starts for people who like to keep an organic garden. Buy half a dozen for yourself and give two or three to a friend. I’ve grown them many years and enjoyed some of the best tomatoes of my life. I’ve even sold quite a few, canned some, and pretty much fallen in love with her incredible choices. She keeps all her own seed to, so these are plants that have been selected because they do well in our area, and produce the biggest, sweetest fruits. And Linda’s an awesome person too. That’s one of the cool things about buying local is you’re not just getting a great product, you’re supporting some really great people with some real talents.

Also this week, PEA SHOOTS from Mill Gap Farm, Brussel Sprout Greens from Burton Mountain Farm, and so much more.

Ok, here’s what I did with my Asparagus this week. It’s a recipe my Mom used to make, so it’s got a special place in my heart.

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
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 resealable plastic bag; add marinade. Seal bag and 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.

Before we go we want to make two quick announcements. We’ll be having our BIG 2013 kickoff on May 15th, which means we’ll have FEATURED FARMERS at both pickup locations, lots of advertisements in the press, and lots and lots of food! Please spread the word.

We’re also planning to make a small change to the market. Rather than open up ordering on Sunday night at 9pm the way we’ve done for three years, we’re planning to open it two days earlier on Friday nights at 9pm. It’ll be kind of a soft opening, with just a simple e-mail that says the market is now on. Then on Sunday you’ll get one of these exuberant messages we like to send as a reminder of what’s available and what’s going on with local food.

We wanted to give you two weeks to prepare, but that’s the plan. Hopefully you’ll enjoy having two additional days to shop for local food.

That’s it for this week!

EAT WELL,

Justin in Habersham
and
Chuck in Rabun

Locally Grown - Availability for April 17th, 2012


Hey Local Food Lovers,

I almost forgot to post a message tonight, and I’m afraid this one will have to be brief. That’s a bit odd, since I’ve been writing all about Locally Grown for my graduate thesis for about two weeks now. I hope to share some of this with you later in the summer, when I’ll have a bit more time.

I will add that every spare moment I’ve had out in the sunshine (or rain) have been pure bliss the last week or so. I was able to plant some beets and Napa cabbage today, pick asparagus, weed onions, check on blooming strawberries, admire the leaves poking out on the raspberries, and check on the mulch around blueberries, persimmons, figs and paw paws. Yesterday I completed the final plantings of asian persimmon trees (that’s 60 total fruit trees planted over the last two months). I also planted quite a few dill and just a couple of cilantro. Spring is still my absolute favorite time in the garden. And if you’re the same then you are in luck because Leah Lake Farms has a gazillion plant starts posted this week. So do yourself a favor and spread some compost in the garden and get to planting. The spring season is short…..and sweet.

Hope you enjoy this weeks offerings!

EAT WELL,

Justin in Habersham
and
Chuck in Rabun

Locally Grown - Availability for April 10th, 2012


Hey Local Food Lovers,

What an incredible weekend. Beautiful springtime weather. I’m guessing many of you were like me and felt the compulsion to go out and dig in the dirt a bit. I myself continued planting a few more of the nearly 60 fruit trees we’re trying to get in the ground here at the last minute. UPS and Keep Georgia Beautiful awarded us a grant to plant 5 fruit orchards at our local Greenway and four schools in Habersham County (Clarkesville Elementary, Wilbanks Middle, 9th Grade Academy, and Fairview Elementary). Each school now has a handful of fig trees, asian persimmons, paw paws and even some blueberries. It will take a little time, but as these trees mature it will be a great way to expose kids to the benefits of local foods.

I had many a delicious meal this week with some of the incredible offerings from Locally Grown. I’ll be honest with you, springtime is my favorite local food season. I don’t know why but beets, carrots, cilantro, collards, spinach, and in just a few more weeks strawberries and asparagus are just so dang exciting after a long winter. Here’s my two tasty treats of the week.

First is a delicious BEET DIP. I took one order of beets from Mountain Earth Farms, chopped the greens off and sauteed them with onion and a little broth. Then the roots I boiled for about 20 minutes. Then slipped the skins off and put them in the food processor with a quarter cup of fresh spinach from Leah Lake Farms. I’d also sauteed some onions (half were for my beet greens the other half for the dip) and put them in. Then added about a quarter to a half cup of sour cream and turned the food processor on until it was all mixed. Then I toasted some bread from Habersham Bakers with butter and smothered it with the beet dip. YUM!

A few days later I took some collard greens from Leah Lake farms and a few more from Mountain Earth Farms and chopped them coarsely and added them to some onions cooking in oil and covered. Once cooked down I added a cup of white riced and cooked further, then added a cup or more of broth (chicken, beef or vegetable will do), two tablespoons of dried dill, some salt, some pepper and some fresh ground coriander, then covered and simmered for 15 minutes. KAPOW! That’s a hearty, nutritious dish right there.

Here’s one more tip from Sid Blalock from Burton Mountain Farms.

This is a simple salad, but totally incredible, doesn’t taste simple at all… the lemon juice kind of breaks down the kale in just a few minutes, and is is wonderful… works best with young tender kale (such as mine), (older kale would just have to sit a few minutes longer, I guess)…

Ingredients
4-6 cups kale, loosely packed, sliced leaves, midribs removed, juice of 1 lemon
3-4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, mashed
salt & pepper, to taste
hot red pepper flakes, to taste
2/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese, or Asiago
1/2 cup freshly made bread crumbs from lightly toasted bread, or Panko

Instructions
1. Whisk together lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, salt, pepper, and a generous pinch (or more to taste) of hot red pepper flakes.
2.Pour over kale in serving bowl and toss well.
3.Add 2/3 of the cheese and toss again.
4.Let kale sit for at least 5 minutes. Add bread crumbs, toss again, and top with remaining cheese.

This ought to inspire some of you to buy some greens this week! Feel free to submit recipes to us as we’ll post them to our FACEBOOK page and possibly even here if it sounds yummy enough.

AND BUY SOME PLANTS THIS WEEK! There are quite a few offerings of organic plant starts for your garden. Don’t waste your money on sorry starts from the hardware store. If you want to eat well from your own garden, get a head start with plant starts from local farmers here at Locally Grown.

See you on WEDNESDAY and ….

EAT WELL,

Justin in Habersham
and
Chuck in Rabun

Locally Grown - Availability for April 3rd, 2012


Hey Local Food Lovers,

I’m gonna keep it short and sweet tonight. I would like to mention quickly that the Georgia Mountains Farmers Network gang had a meeting at Brooks Franklin’s Leah Lake Farms last Tuesday. I think we all were very impressed with the unique growing system that Brooks has assembled in just three years.

I’ll give you a quick example. Most of the delicious greens that you order week in and week out from Leah Lake Farms are grown in small hoop houses constructed out of inexpensive PVC pipes bent over and attached to rebar stuck into the ground. Lettuces really like the extra protection from the elements and thrive under cover. Because Leah Lakes Farm is on a hillside the tunnels have a low end and a high end. This allows the super hot air that can accumulate in a tunnel during the day to simply rise and vent right out the high end of the tunnels pulling in cool air from the bottom.

This is an example of capitalizing on the strengths of your surroundings and there aren’t many farms that have done it as well as Brooks!

Show him your appreciation this week by ordering something extra and give it to a friend if you have to. We had one heckuva a pot luck after our tour. That’s our favorite part about getting together.

We’ll be inviting all of you out to these wonderful farms too. June 15 and 16th will be your chance to visit most of the farms we have featured here on Locally Grown. So make your plans now!

EAT WELL,
Justin in Habersham
and
Chuck in Rabun

Locally Grown - Availability for March 27th, 2012


Hey Local Food Lovers,

I’ve got a couple of things to plug this week. First off, is Sylvan Falls Mills is offering their chocolate easter eggs again this year, and I have to say if you like seasonal sweets, you’ve got to try ‘em. They are scrumptious! It’s nice to have a few guilty pleasures that you can only enjoy a few weeks of the year.

Last week I really enjoyed the fresh beets and greens from Ronnie Mathis and Mountain Earth Farms. I roasted the roots, quartered, drizzled with salt, oil and water and then covered with foil on 400 for about 35-40 minutes. The greens I sauteed with garlic and olive oil. I had leftover beets so the next day I cut them into chunks and put them on a microgreen salad with balsamic vinegar and a splash of pomegrantate juice. I didn’t have any goat cheese so a little fresh grated parmesan was a nice substitute.

We’re still looking for an occasional VOLUNTEER for Locally Grown! If you’re looking to get more involved in local foods this year let us know as we could really use the help once or twice a month for just two hours. In addition to the small food stipend, you’ll be rewarded by getting more engaged with local food and farms in 2013, making new friends and learning a ton!

And speaking of local food and farms in 2013, our Georgia Mountains Farmers Network is once again organizing a TOUR of FARMS for June 15th and June 16th. It’s early yet so just reserve these dates on your calendar.

And if you know of businesses or organizations who would like to sponsor the event feel free to forward them the PDF link below. We hope to make this event a part of what Northeast Georgia is known for. And super thanks to Simply Homegrown and Duane Hartness with State Farm Insurance for being our very first two sponsors. We’ll be taking sponsors through April 15th so help spread the word quick!

FLIER AND SPONSORSHIP BROCHURE:“http://www.soque.org/pdfs/Sponsorship_SUMMER_events_PRINT.pdf”

That’s it for tonight. Don’t forget to

EAT WELL and EAT LOCAL,
Justin in Habersham
and
Chuck in Rabun

Locally Grown - Availability for March 20th, 2012


Hey Local Food Lovers,

Just want to mention that this is a SPLIT CREEK goat dairy and cheese week so order now while you can. We’re only picking up their cheeses once every 3 months now so you’d better order big as it’ll be July before they come around again.

In just a few days a bunch of farmers are heading up to Blairsville to see a brand spanking new Cannery built right next to the Union County Farmers Market building. What is unique about this cannery (aside from it being new) is that it was designed with the idea that once farmers are done with their sales on Saturday, if they have left over items they can take them into the cannery, process them, and then bring them back out and sell them as value added products the very next week.

In order to really redesign how we buy food and build up a new economy of local food, we’re all going to have to start to think outside the box. Like why should a cannery be just for home canning? Luckily there are some communities both nearby and around the nation that are taking some innovative steps that we might follow. Our new farmers network has been working hard to pursue as many of these ideas as we have time for. And now with the new Farm 2 School program, and Habersham County in the process of building their new cannery our little group is trying to cross the threshold to influence our future food options.

In order to be successful though we need as much help and support from the rest of the community as we can muster. If you find yourself running into local officials go ahead and tell them you’re all about eating local. You think there’s a future local food economy out there that you’re prepared to invest in. And this is maybe the best example of being able to put your money where your mouth is, because local food is finally available in our region. And it’s available 365 days of the year, thanks to farmer/volunteers like Brooks Franklin, Sid Blalock and Joni Kennedy stepping up to help run the Clarkesville side of the Locally Grown market all winter long.

As farmers are getting busier we want to free up their time to spend on the farm, and ask if ANY OF YOU would like to HELP FOR A FEW HOURS EVERY OTHER WEEK by volunteering to distribute food from 5pm-7pm at the Clarkesville Pick-Up. And as a small way to say thanks, you’ll receive a stipend for $5 towards a local food purchase each week you volunteer. Anyone interested should send an e-mail to Justin at soque@windstream.net and he’ll let you know when there may be some open dates in the near future.

Don’t forget the goat cheese!

EAT WELL,

Justin in Habersham
and
Chuck in Rabun

Locally Grown - Availability for March 13th, 2012


Hey Local Food Lovers,

Beets, Onions, Spinach and Chard are all newly listed this week. We’re also barreling towards more and more offerings each week as the days get longer and warmer. Hoorah!

I have to be quick tonight so I just want to encourage everyone to support our local farms as their goodies will start multiplying rapidly now.

Hope you’re out enjoying this incredible weather!

Eat well,

Justin in Habersham
and
Chuck in Rabun