The Weblog

We send out cool articles and farmer highlights using a different email program. You can see the archives of those emails here and through our facebook page! We use this “weblog” every Friday evening to let you know the market page is accepting orders (look for the little add to cart buttons next to products). Northeast Georgia Locally Grown was officially OPENED on Monday, April 26th, 2010 and we are so thankful that you are helping support fresh local foods each week.



 
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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

Northeasr Georgia Locally Grown availability list for Oct.16, 2013


Good Evening Locavores,
This promises to be a magnificent fall weekend, perfect for visiting your local Saturday Farmers markets. Each week now we have to wonder when will be the first killing frost to finish off the summer vegetables.
Your local farmers get another frost free week to harvest late summer produce and plant winter crops.
Take advantage of these opportunities to finish stocking the freezer and pantry.
Have a great weekend and enjoy local food.

Locally Grown - Availability list for Oct. 9


Good Evening Locavores
The market is now open for orders. Have a great week-end and enjoy healthy local food.

Locally Grown - Availability for October 2nd, 2013


Hey Local Food Lovers,

I have to keep it short and sweet this week. But speaking of sweet, this weekend was the second of only 3 weekends that Stack Farms up in Tiger, GA opens their orchards for Asian Pear picking. We’ll have some for you to taste and buy at the Clarkesville location this week so bring a few extra bucks with you if you like pears. Those of you in Tiger we figured were close enough to cruise by yourselves. They will be open one more time, next Sunday from 12-4pm. If you don’t know how to find them just ask Chuck or I at market this week and we’ll give you the directions.

Another really great food event this weekend was the 4th annual Taste of Clarkesville. I won’t go into it too much, but I will say it’s a lot of fun to taste test every restaurant around while also imbibing some local wine from the wineries. There’s still plenty of room for more of a local foods flavor, and maybe next year we can all work together on that.

Until then have a great weak and don’t forget to….

EAT WELL,
Justin in Habersham
and
Chuck in Rabun

Northeast Georgia Locally Grown availability list


Good Evening Locavores,
Northeast Georgia Locally Grown is now open. Have a wonderful weekend and enjoy fresh local food.

Locally Grown - Availability for September 25th, 2013


Hey Local Food Lovers,

I’ve been wanting to talk about one product type on Locally Grown for weeks that is pretty new and very unique. Mushrooms.

Though we’ve had wild harvested mushrooms on Locally Grown since our very first year (2010), this year was a milestone in having a new grower that can produce mushrooms all the year round. The farm is called Orchard Valley Farm and Julius Miller is the guru that has made this all happen. Those of you who have lived around Clarkesville for awhile may know Julius as the guy who until very recently owned and ran Orchard Valley Signs. If you’ve ever driven down Clarkesville’s Main Street and thought wow, I really like how nice all the business signs are and they have just a hint of a similar quality. That would be Julius. I feel pretty certain he is one of the best sign makers you’ll ever meet. Or I should say was the best as last year he sold the business with two goals in mind. He wanted to start a youth camp for troubled youth as a way to give back, and he wanted to become a grower.

Julius is one of those people who likes to figure things out, and even before he zeroed in on mushrooms he was doing a lot of reading about different niche farm products and technology. He got fascinated with mushrooms because there aren’t many people who grow them, and it’s not the easiest thing to do. It was a challenge and a puzzle he could work to figure out.

I won’t pretend to understand his growing system well enough to explain it but I will share just a little bit of what he’s told me. Each different mushroom is unique, has its own unique likes and dislikes. It all starts with the growing medium. Shitakes as you may or may not know prefer hardwood as a medium, either a log or sawdust. Oyster mushrooms prefer straw. I’m not sure what Portobello mushrooms prefer.

A mushroom grower is more like a cheese maker than a farmer. Every little detail about how a cheese is made affects the flavor, and every little detail from moisture, to air flow, to growth medium, all effect how the mushrooms grow. It’s easy to make a mistake, get the wrong type of spores in the growth medium and boom….problems.

Julius a few weeks ago was telling me that Oyster mushrooms are his favorite because they are so fascinating….and by far the most difficult to grow. For one, they are completely different from the other mushrooms. Most mushrooms are just the fruit of the mycellium that is feeding on the organic matter of the dead wood or straw. In other words think of the mushroom cap as the tomato and meanwhile the big green plant is growing in the wood and straw. When you harvest the cap, that’s it, it is dead, just like you can’t put a tomato on the ground and it continue to grow, or form a whole new green plant. But the oyster mushroom can. When you cut an oyster mushroom it is still alive. In fact it will try and recolonize anything it thinks it can eat. Julius described how he placed some in a cardboard box and they started to send out mycellium into the box (the box of course was not nearly delicious and nutritious enough for it to live, but it was gonna give it a try).

I like that we have people in our community who not only provide a fresh food that is so incredibly good for us, while also tasting so so so much better than what you can find in the store. I also like that such people teach us about our world and the sources of our sustenance that we so rarely would be exposed to on our own. I’ve always loved mushrooms naturally, but now I feel I understand and respect them just a little more…..as I sautee them up in butter and gobble them up…..I’ll be respecting them the whole way down.

Thanks to Julius we have mushrooms. I hope you’ll try some and if you enjoy them, eat them frequently.

EAT WELL,
Justin in Habersham
and
Chuck in Rabun

Northeast Georgia Locally Grown availability list for Sept. 25


Good evening Locavores,
We hope everyone will have a great weekend.
The market is opening early tonight to all us to get to the Rabun County Fair. Tomorrow is a big day at the fair with a rodeo and music as well as many agricultural exhibits and vendors with arts crafts and farm products.
Proceeds from the fair are to benefit the 4-H organization and students.
Check out your local farmers markets then come to the Fair at the Rabun Arena 100 West Boggs Mountain Rd Tiger, Ga. Saturday 9am to 9pm.
Good eating.