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 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.

Locally Grown - Availability for September 18th, 2013


Hey Local Food Lovers,

Every week I get the privilege to describe some type of food, farm or market activity in the hopes that it might inspire some of you to come to market and spend a little of your hard-earned money on some of the hard-earned food that local people here in our particular neck of the woods are so kind to produce.

It’s an interesting exercise to reflect back over the meals I’ve eaten, people I’ve seen, conversations I’ve had, fields I’ve walked through, and anything at all that has to do with local food.

Some weeks are more eventful than others. I think the best stories I have to share are when I’ve actually been able to get out and around to some of the farms to see what they are up to, maybe even lend a hand for a few hours (as I hope to do tomorrow night as a matter of fact).

There’s always lots of stories about what I’m personally enjoying eating, and these are probably the easiest stories to share b/c surprise, surprise, I eat every week, and when I do I like to eat good food. My ideas about what is good food have changed so incredibly over the last 6 or 7 years (as that’s pretty much the length of time that I’ve been highly food and farm focused). Don’t get me wrong, I still eat plenty of grocery store food and I enjoy much of it. I try not to be a snob about food. But I very rarely buy any vegetables at the grocery anymore, because I know that I can meet all my vegetable needs with what is grown here locally and now its even available year-round.

Once you eat this way for this long, you cannot go back. I remember when I was in my early 20s one of the first organic farmers I ever met in Birmingham, AL had returned home after living in CA where he had grown accustomed to what I’m describing. Back then in the late ’90’s there were virtually no organic farms in Birmingham and he simply could not handle going back to eating super market non-organic vegetables. So he began growing them for himself. He had so much joy from his experience learning how to grow his own food that he just got bigger and bigger until he gave up his day job altogether and became a farmer.

I love that story for so many reasons. It’s simplicity to begin with, that he simply had learned to eat well and couldn’t stop. I think if I was forced to move to somewhere like that, I might follow a similar path, at least that I would grow the food I like to eat part.

For me, good food, farming, markets, and the friends, learning, activities and lifestyle that surrounds all of it is one of the best aspects of life. A few weeks ago I visited a farming friend who loaded me up with tons of jalapeno peppers that I sliced in half and filled with my own potatoes and chorizo made from a nearby farms ground pork (that was my first experience of making chorizo too). When I harvest my own sweet potatoes in another week or two I promised to give that farmer some of that crop to say thanks for this fabulous pepper meal that I enjoyed. This sounds like a tale from a by-gone era of neighbors and friends exchanging crops.

Well that’s probably enough romanticizing this local food movement for one night. I do want to invite interested folks to attend the Harvest Celebration at the Hilliard A Wilbanks Middle School in Demorest on Tuesday, October 8, from 6:00 – 8:00 PM. This event is celebrating the farms and others who are making this the inaugural year for FARM TO SCHOOL programs in Northeast Georgia. This is a pretty amazing new development and I’ll tell you more before the date arrives but please put it on your calendar if you can as it is a free event for the public.

Don’t Forget to EAT WELL,
Justin in Habersham
and
Chuck in Rabun

Northeast Georgia Locally Grown availability list for Sept. 18


Good evening Locavores,
Lately we have been seeing hints of fall in some falling leaves, slightly browning grass, and less humidity. This week-end will really be a big change into fall with cool temperatures for daily highs and cooler nights.
Stock up on the summer vegetables that will become more scarce soon. The coming cool nights slow okra and pepper production significantly.
Have a great week-end and enjoy fresh local food.

Locally Grown - Availability for September 11th, 2013


Hey Local Food Lovers,

I had grand plans tonight of sharing the details of making some fresh poblano chile rellenos this weekend stuffed with homemade chorizo and potatoes and then covered with a tomatillo cream sauce. I then wanted to talk about my great love for certain types of cooking equipment, with this week’s emphasis on the mighty toaster oven (a master of efficiency and practicality).

Unfortunately a deadline has come up and I’ll have to postpone both of those in-depth conversations for another time. I’m still waiting for folks to send me photos of their amazing locally grown made recipes. I know you folks are making some killer meals and I also know most of you own digital cameras (even if they are only camera phones) so please consider this quite simple contribution to our community. There’s nothing like hearing about (or seeing) a delicious meal to keep us excited about eating local…..and most importantly excited about buying local from our local farmers. Send em to me at soque@windstream.net.

Hope you’ll consider trying something new this week. Chuck still has a few orders of padron peppers left and the Heavenly Muffin Mix looks splendid so if you haven’t had those yet…..give ’em a try!

EAT WELL,

Justin in Habersham
and
Chuck in Rabun

Northeast Georgia Locally Grown availability list for Sept. 11


Good evening Locavores,
We hope everyone is enjoying this beautiful weather at the end of a cool wet summer. The farmers are busy transitioning from summer to fall and planting winter vegetables.
Leah Lake Farm is not listing this week as they are busy with new plantings.
Have a great weekend visit your local farmers markets.

Locally Grown - Availability for September 4th, 2013


Hey Local Food Lovers,

Hope everyone is having a great Labor Day. This is one of those holidays where we’re glad to have the day off but we might not pause long enough to remember what it is we’re celebrating.

Labor Day began as a celebration of the nation’s labor movement most commonly associated with the manufacturing sector of our economy. There has been a labor movement of sorts in agriculture for the last twenty years (or longer) and its just another component of why and how EATING LOCAL is as important a social and civil movement as it is an environmental, health and gastronomic movement.

Despite the mechanization of agriculture, large scale commercial agriculture still requires agricultural workers. This workforce is actually relatively small (just under 800,000 which is .26% of the US population). Rather than get into the typical workforce injustice issues such as low pay, lack of benefits, or issues of foreign workers I think its more useful to talk about the benefits of a Local FARM ECONOMY workforce.

Small Scale Local Food Farm business swelled to an all time high of $4.8 billion dollars in 2012. These businesses are self owned, and that means that farm owners are vested in the long-term, have an entrepreneurial spirit, and because they are selling to local people in the community, are focused on building and revitalizing connections in the community.

My good friend Steve Whiteman often reminds me that he is selling more than just really good quality food. Local Farms nourish customers in many other ways, sharing their growing knowledge, cooking knowledge, and their creative innovation towards a food system that is unique to the North Georgia Mountains. We often think of regions known for just a few specialty crops like Maine is known for blueberries, Napa for wine grapes, Iowa for corn. Wouldn’t it be great if North Georgia was known because we have a little of everything with one farm really good at Melons, another specializing in figs and potatoes. And together they meet everyones expectations of good delicious food.

In honor of Labor Day and all the good folks that make Locally Grown happen, I want to acknowledge that there would be no Locally Grown and no locally grown food without the inspiration, sweat and dedication of our Farmer Laborers who in our case own their farms, and strive to make their farms produce food for us. I personally have gotten to the point where it just doesn’t feel right to buy a pepper at the grocery if I know a local farmer has a much better tasting one. It takes some effort to either get up early for a Saturday market, or remember to order online Friday-Monday and then also remember to pick up on Wednesday. But remember whatever special effort you take is small compared to that of local growers. The differences between those two peppers (the store bought vs. the local farmer grown) are so vast (the taste, quality, nutrition, gas miles, labor issues, environment, who keeps the dollar). Since I know I’m getting a vastly superior product the most important thing to me is making that conscious decision each week to put my dollars where my values guide me. I like good food, but I love living in a community where people are working hard to do something great, something unique, something very challenging and difficult, because they love it and because they believe it makes their community and this world a slightly better place. The growth of the Local Food Farms and their farm owners is one of the things that gives me the most hope for our region and its ability to solve its problems in the best possible way.

So this Labor Day and all days forward and in between I hope to always make a point to EAT LOCAL and …..

EAT WELL,
Justin in Habersham
and
Chuck in Rabun

Northeast Georgia Locally Grown availabilty list for Aug.30


Good evening Locavores,
Despite a small threat of rain, and we could actually use some now,this promises to be a nice weekend. We hope everyone will have a great Labor Day weekend and visit your local farmers markets.
Northeast Georgia Locally Grown is now open for orders.
Be safe and eat well.