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 November 20th, 2013


Hey Local Food Lovers,

Locally Grown is on the cusp of a pretty cool milestone. We’re just $7,000 away from selling $150,000 in our first 4 years of operation. Considering we average about 20 farms listing per week that would average about $7,500 per farm over the 4 years or almost $2,000 per farm per year (actual earnings vary of course but you get the idea). With the end of year close at hand we just wanted to let you know how your food purchases are benefiting local farmers. The Locally Grown market has become an important part of many local farms earnings especially during these colder months.

We only have 5 markets left in 2013 (since we’ll be closed on Christmas Day) which means if we sell $1,400 each week for the next 5 weeks we’ll make it to the $150,000 mark. We’ve been selling about $1,000 per week, but would need to increase that by about $400. While that’s pretty ambitious, it would be so great to make it and with the holidays at hand now is a great time to be thinking of gifts for friends and family.

This week would be a great week to bust that $1,400 goal by several hundreds since we’re already at $1,200 in sales and WE HAVE Split Creek Farm’s GOAT CHEESES this week. This is a special occasion as we only offer these treats a few times a year. Most of these cheeses do freeze well so consider buying some as Christmas presents for a month from now.

If you can forward this e-mail to a few friends. We have until 9pm tonight (Monday) to order. We plan to get a press release to the local papers to make a big push for Locally Grown before the end of the year. Thanks for being a part of this increasingly vibrant part of our North Georgia communities. And remember you could be eating moist delicious pasture raised, organic feed fed chicken sprinkled with goat cheese crumbles with a side of baked sweet potato and fresh stewed kale this week. Now doesn’t that sound good.

Eat Well,

Justin in Habersham
and
Chuck in Rabun

Northeast Georgia Locallygrown availability list for Nov.20


Good evening Locavores
Despite experiencing a hard freeze this week there are still lots of vegetables available.
Also there are the great meat products available from B G Farms and Smart Chicks.
This is a good time to stock up on skin care products to handle the cold dry air of winter.
Have a great weekend and enjoy local, healthy food.

Locally Grown - Availability for November 13th, 2013


Hey Local Food Lovers,

It’s gonna be cold, real cold starting the next couple of days. Just a quick reminder we’re on our winter schedule so market pickup ends at 6:30 and the earlier you come the better so we’re not shivering in the darkness. We truly appreciate your extra efforts when we get to go home early.

I also want to thank a few people and welcome some others. Gloryseeds Farm up in Rabun County recently donated some collapsible plastic crates that have really made our job a lot easier. You may have noticed that we can now sort your items into these crates so that when you arrive there’s a lot less scurrying around to find your items. Big thanks to them for making our lives easier. Also, HUGE thanks to Grace Calvary church who has been the sponsor of our pickup location in Clarkesville for a year and a half. We couldn’t have gotten luckier with a supportive location that has everything we need. Covered space, picnic tables, and just recently we got a key to the closet and can now keep our coolers and crates (and light) in there from week to week making everything so much easier, more organized, and efficient. We’re very fortunate to have such an outstanding community partner. Extra special thanks to Chuck and Amy for donating use of their home for pickups. It’s a privilege to get to see two of finest people in the North Georgia Mountains on a weekly basis, and their array of cats, chickens, goats and La Donna (isn’t that the name of the Pyreneese.

I want to welcome two new growers to the market this week. Nathan and Rebecca’s Farm near Clarkesville is a super cute homestead farm run by two young farmers in their early, early twenties. This week is their first listing with Green Onions, 10-15 shoots for $2.50. Welcome them to the market by making an order. And their kin to one of our long-time customers.

I also want to welcome Smart Chick Farms. They are located in Seneca, SC and this is their 3rd week listing. They are increasing our chicken product diversity by providing smaller cuts in addition to whole birds. 14 different products in total. You can check out their website at http://www.smartchickfarms.com/

Well, that should be good for this week. I was gonna talk about sowing cover crop seed as that was something I got to do out in the garden over the last two weeks but we’ll save that for another day.

Until then EAT WELL,

Justin in Habersham
and
Chuck in Rabun

Northeast Georgia Locallygrown Availability list for Nov.13


Good evening Locavores
Another chilly fall weekend is upon us and there are still lots of vegetables listed on the market. Be sure to check the market again on Sunday for late listings.
If you are in the Clayton area tomorrow, the Simplyhomegrown Farmers Market at the Clayton Municipal Complex will be open from 9:00am to 1:00pm.
Have a great weekend and eat local and healthy.

Locally Grown Availability for November 6th, 2013


Hey Local Food Lovers,

November is already here. Cooler days ahead and the leaves are falling. One thing I like about the fall is it’s bulb planting season. For those of you who don’t know this is when garlic gets planted (or even a little earlier) so that they can get their roots established before the ground freezes.

For some reason garlic is one of my favorite things to plant. Maybe it’s the simplicity of just breaking up a head of garlic into the indivdiual cloves, then shoving them into the ground about two inches below the surface. In about 7-8 months they’ll each be ready to harvest as whole new cloves.

One question is why plant garlic now. Can’t you just plant it in the spring. No. Garlic requires a process called vernalization in which some plants require a certain number of days exposed to cold weather. This is an adapted trait by plants to make sure that they don’t flower at the wrong time, like autumn right before a freeze. By passing a chilling days threshold the plant then knows, ok, soon it will start to warm up and I can start growing like crazy. Pretty neat huh? Virtually every fruit tree does this as well. They are literally counting the (cold) days until spring returns. It’s kind of like a farmer with his planting calendar based on years of experience, except for the plants its in their DNA selected for by the ones that have survived again and again.

Perhaps a little bit of all this is going through my head as I separate the garlic, prep the bed, lay out my nice straight line (b/c I like it to be nice and neat and it also makes hoeing easier), lay out all the garlic 8" apart. Then once they are all in place, I just go along and shove them in. I like the feel of the garlic going down into its new home. When I can feel the soil is nice and soft all around it I know it’s gonna be happy to send out it’s roots.

I’ve started to get more interested in bulbs around my house too, though I won’t go too far into that. Just like garlic, it’s miraculous to me that these bulbs divide and spread right there in the ground, allowing you dig up the extras and move them around to new zones in your yard, or trade with friends. Daffodils, peacock orchids, dahlias, hyacinth, calla lillies, and the list goes on and on.

Flowers, roots, greens, seeds ….they are all so fascinating when you’re touching them, watching them, washing them, eating them.

Had some great meals this week. The potluck for our farmer network meeting was one of the best one’s ever. I could eat the food prepared for a farmers potluck every week of my life. That’s good stuff. Another highlight was the last of the fennel until the spring cooked up in a Morrocoan chicken dish that included orange juice and tons of spices. I’m gonna add that to the recipe section and to our FACEBOOK page for those who are interested. Also made some chili with a ton of peppers from local growers…at least 6 different types of peppers. I mean where do you think the word chili comes from after all (it’s not just about the meat and beans that’s for sure). Speaking of chili you should try the Ancho chili powder from Ohana farms. I bet that’ll kick up your chili. And get the peppers while you can. Not many more weeks of them I’m certain.

If you have any sunny spots around your house, shove some garlic in the ground and see what happens. If it doesn’t grow you can still buy all your garlic here, but you’ll have a nice story to tell.

Be well and EAT WELL,

Justin in Habersham
and
Chuck in Rabun

Northeast Georgia Locally Grown Availability list for November 6.


Good evening locavores.
We want to open the market tonight with a reminder that the winter hours for operation are in effect. The pick up time on Wednesday is now 5:00 to 6:30pm.
Have a great weekend and enjoy local food.

Locally Grown Availability for October 30th, 2013


Hey Local Food Lovers,

The first announcement is we’re staring our winter hours at Locally Grown this week. That’s where we shorten our pickup times to 5-6:30 instead of 7pm. The reason we do this is simple. It gets very cold and dark this time of year after 6:30. With the time change coming up a week from today we thought we’d go ahead and get folks in the habit this week so by next week when it really will be cold and dark we’ll already be on our new schedule. Thanks for helping us with that transition and we move the time back to 7pm usually sometime in April.

Even though frost has come there’s no shortage of local food this week and throughout the fall and winter. Sometimes I wish we could take a look back in time to see how the total number of products has changed at Locally Grown over the years and through the seasons.

For instance, I know that we haven’t had many more than 300 items at any one time (maybe around 320 or something during the height of summer). Here it is a cold week in October and were still at 253. That’s a lot of local food options as we head off into the cold months.

One of the biggest reasons for this is there are lots and lots of folks using greenhouses. About a dozen new greenhouses have been built in the last 3 years alone.

Another thing worthy of mention is the growing array of fresh made processed foods. There’s 6 jams and jellies, 10 baked goods, one vegetarian burger, a whopping 27 gluten free products (that’s a whole lot of choices), 10 milled grains, and for the first time ever this week on NE GA Locally Grown fresh made PASTA. That’s an exciting addition to a growing list of talented food makers. We really appreciate the creativity and passion of these food producers because its as important a role as having local farmers.

But just in case you’re worried that the winter months will have nothing but processed foods, there are 100 vegetable items this month and I’d be surprised if during any given month this winter we ever had less than at least 50-60 items (unless Brooks takes a week off of course).

This week I had the great personal joy of pulling in my sweet potato crop. I didn’t grow a whole lot this year due to other distractions, but the little bit I did grow (things like garlic and onions that keep for months) has really lifted my spirits by having my own food to draw on for months and months.

Pulling up the plants and finding impressively large roots (cause you never know until you dig what you got in the ground) then mounding them up and taking them home.

Here’s a few things you may not know about sweet potatoes. Unlike most other vegetables, sweet potatoes don’t taste best after harvest. They actually require a curing period during which enzymes are produced that convert starch in the potato to sugars. This curing is also what allows sweet potatoes to keep for so long (up to 10-12 months if done right).

Now this is where my expertise ends b/c proper curing of sweet potatoes takes some work, and I’ve never done it the way it should be done, but I’ll describe what I’ve heard all the same.

Immediately after harvest you’re supposed to store sweet potatoes at quite warm temps (preferably between 85-90 Fahrenheit) and high humidity (greater than 80%) for at least a week. This helps sweet potatoes to induce healing (as the thin skins are inevitably scraped during harvest) allowing them to retain their moisture, and keep out rot. This process is very important, and I really need to inquire from my farm cohorts how they accomplish it. It’s the heat with humidity that makes it challenging. I don’t have a humidifier or I suppose you could put them in a small room or bathroom with a little foot heater or something.

Ok, that’s a very brief farming 101 for the week. It is quite fun to slowly over time learn the natural history of the foods we eat. We just made sweet potato fries (from someone else’s cured potatoes) for the weekend, so I’m very much in the mode. It’s just such a fantastic vegetable. It’s one of the highest sources of vitamin A (just one cup contains 438% of the RDA). Another cool note on nutrition is that our bodies absorb Vitamin A better when we take it with at least 3.5 grams of Fat. That’s why sweet potatoes taste so good with steak! But just in case you’re a vegetarian, no worries, 3.5 grams of fat can be obtained in just one tablespoon of olive oil. So don’t forget to sprinkle that on top next time (as we do everytime we bake our sweet potato fries…and we also add paprika).

Thanks for EATING LOCAL and

EAT WELL,
Justin in Habersham
and
Chuck in Tiger

Northeast Georgia Locally Grown Availability list for Oct. 30


Good Evening Locavores
This week we welcome to the market, Smart Chick Farm in Seneca, SC. They produce pastured and Certified GMO-Free poultry.
Also remember if you want a particular item that is not on the availability list tonight, check the market again on Sunday evening. Some of the farmers will update product availability after their Saturday markets.
It is fine to make multiple orders if you wish.
Stay warm and eat local.

Northeast Georgia Locallygrown availability list for Oct.23


Good evening Locavores
Tonight is the full moon, the Hunters Moon. Luckily you won’t have to hunt further than the availability list to find great food.
We want to remind everyone about the ordering procedure. I and many of you have at sometime failed to complete the process and found out at the pick up time that the order did not go through.
After you have finished adding selections to your shopping cart click on ‘proceed to check out’. That will show your order invoice, allow you to check it for accuracy and edit if necessary. If your invoice is correct you must then click on the box to ‘pay later and place this order’
If you forget to click place the order then it will not go through. Dissapointment and heartache will surely follow.
When your order is completed Locallygrown will send you an e-mail confirmation.If you do not get the e-mail confirmation then your order did not go through. Double check and be happy.
Enjoy the brilliant full moon and eat local.

Locally Grown - Availability for October 16th, 2013


Hey Local Food Lovers,

There a tons of items this week to choose from. It’s been really great to see folks returning week after week through late summer and into early fall. This has been the best transition between the seasons we’ve seen at Locally Grown with sales consistently higher than they have been in years past.

Big thanks to all those who are eating well week after week. Lately I’ve been eating a lot of pita pizzas topped with local ingredients. Been loving the peppers from Oakcrest farms, and mushrooms from Orchard Valley, then some onions and tomatoes of our own to fill it out.

YOU ARE invited to consider attending the Soque River Watershed Association’s FALL SOQUE CELEBRATION next Friday on October 18th at 6pm at Blackhawk Flyfishing on 197 north of Clarkesville. The event is just $15 and features dinner, wine, beer, music, silent auction, and fly fishing demo to see rainbow trophy trout.

If you’re not quite sure why you are being invited it’s because by shopping at Locally Grown you are helping to support a program of the Soque River Watershed Association as one of our programs to promote sustainable land-based businesses. There are some real benefits to the non-profit organization of local food efforts. For example, all the breads, jams, jellies and other baked goods are only allowed for sale at local markets as the result of a non-profit exemption. It also takes quite a bit of bookeeping to run a market such as ours and we’re able to take care of the IRS obligations through the non-profit. Most recently we also found out we’re approved to participate in the SNAP for food stamp program (once the government shutdown if over that is) so that food stamps can be spent at Locally Grown. All these benefits come from our affiliation with the SRWA non-profit.

As our way to say thanks we’d like to invite you to attend this great party. We’ll have BBQ chicken, slaw, potato salad, and for dessert we’re encouraging folks to bring a seasonal dessert as a Potluck. For more information check out our website at www.soque.org or here

Tickets can be purchased online or at the Clarkesville market location on Wednesday. Even if you can’t make the event, you can help support the SRWA by considering donating a silent auction item, becoming a member, or consider sponsoring an event like the FARM TOUR coming up again next Summer.

That’s it for tonight.

EAT WELL,

Justin in Habersham
and
Chuck in Rabun