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Spring Means Babies at Split Creek Farm


I nearly let this slip by me, but if you’ve got the day free tomorrow you might want to head out to Athens Locally Grown member farm Split Creek Farm for their annual Spring open house.

They’re just over the state line in South Carolina, just a couple miles off I-85. It’s an easy drive from Athens, and visiting their farm is well worth the travel.

Here’s the information from their flyer, and you can find out more about the event and their farm at their website, www.splitcreek.com.

SPRING MEANS BABIES AT SPLIT CREEK FARM, LLC

Saturday, APRIL 14, 2007

11:00 AM - 5:00 PM

Split Creek Farm Grade A Goat Dairy is nationally known for its goat herd and the artisan cheeses and other quality goat milk products produced at the farm. The survival of America’s small farms is dependent on educating the public about rural life and the origin of their foods. Come join us for the day, and learn how one such farm operates.

Tours and demonstrations will be on going throughout the day. Learn about the different breeds of goats, tour the milking parlor, and visit with the farm animals. Photo opportunities available.

Our goat milk products are available for sampling all day. Food and drinks are available for purchase.

Take time to browse through our gift shop, The Hen House, featuring the art of Pat Bell as well as other gifts and collectibles.

Admission – Adults $4.00. Children 12 and under $2.00

Directions – from I-85 – Take Exit 14 (Hwy 187). Turn north toward Clemson Research Park, 2.7 miles. Turn right at the Mobile Gas station. Go 1/4 mile on Centerville Road. Farm is on the left.

Availability for April 12


Our availability is in turmoil this week, as three days of temperatures in the low 20s have done a number on all of our crops. We expect freezes this time of year (my own last frost date isn’t until the second week of May), but the previous warm weather caused the greens to grow too fast and the fruit to bud out early. It’s too early to tell for sure, but at least one grower has reported the loss of the year’s fig and blueberry crops, because the frozen buds won’t reform.

The spring greens didn’t get killed, but they did get bit back pretty hard. The young turnips are wilted, and the radish tops and lettuces are too. The potato plants were several inches tall last week, but are now back down to the dirt today. They all will recover, but it will just take some more time.

In the meantime, it’s nearly time to put out the summer plants and seeds. The farms near town have a last frost date in a couple weeks, and as I mentioned earlier, the outlying farms have a date several weeks later. Those of us that start our own seedlings have all of our cold protection (cold frames, hoop houses, and even heated greenhouses) focused on keeping them going through this late chill. The stuff already planted will make it through, but if those seedlings were to freeze, that’d be the end for them.

Anyway, we’ve all taken a guess what we’ll have this week. We’ve all been very conservative (what looks terrible today may turn out to be recovered by Thursday morning), so if you see quantities in the negatives, order anyway. If it turns out we can’t fill your order, I’ll call you as soon as I know (about 4pm on Thursday) so you don’t drive out for nothing.

Thanks for all your support, and remember—the warm season is nearly here! We’ll see you on Thursday from 4:30 to 7pm at Gosford Wine.

Are You Sure You Want Seedlings?


Just to be sure there is no confusion, the seedling listings from Two Swallows Farms (Isis Cherry Tomatoes, Sugar Snap Peas, Swiss Chard, and Spinach) really are seedlings and not ready-to-eat veggies.

If you ordered any of those four items without seeing the whole story and want to cancel those items, let me know. Otherwise, Two Swallows will have seedlings for you to take home.

Availability for April 5


The PBS station of of North Carolina I get has started showing Gourmet Magazine’s “Diary of a Foodie”. This week the show focused on a Slow Food group in Melbourne, Australia, and some of the local places where they get their food. While watching about heritage black pork, fresh rhubarb, artisanal wines, and so forth, it got me thinking about how blessed we are here.

For example, last weekend I made a batch of butter with cream from Milky Way Farm. I used the light cream I bought, but could have just as easily used the heavy cream skimmed off the milk. I put it in my stand mixer, let the whisk run for twenty minutes or so, and had about a pound and a half of the sweetest, most wonderful butter you can imagine.

I’ve been using it all week, but tonight I chopped and sauteed an order of mushrooms from Double B Farm (along with a Georgia onion I had on hand) in the butter, let that cook down for 10 minutes or so, added a couple cups of stock and let that simmer for another while, and then added about a half cup of milk from Diamond Hill Farm.

On the side was some lettuces and spinach from Mills Farm and McMullan Family Farm, topped with some crumbled feta cheese from Split Creek Farm, drizzled with some vinegar and olive oil (those two ingredients took the longest trip to get to our table).

That was our Sunday meal, on the whole inexpensive and most every ingredient supplied by people we knew personally. And the reason why we can eat this way, the way (I believe) food should be, is because of you supporting your local growers. From me and all of our growers, thank you, thank you, thank you!

Speaking of growers, we welcome back one of Locally Grown’s founding farms, Two Swallows Farm in Comer. They have been in stealth mode the past few years as Melissa Tufts has been pursuing her professional certification as a landscape architect, but she couldn’t resist the drive to propagate bedding plants and garden seedlings out of her greenhouse. You’ll see her offerings in the “Live Plants” section of the website. I’m also returning to market with the first of the heirloom French Breakfast radishes (I think I know where the last of the butter is going… see my radish description for details) as well as some baby turnip greens. We also have arugula, salad mix, more of that fantastic asparagus, mushrooms, and more besides.

By the way, there is a local Slow Food group here in Athens, started by some Locally Grown members, naturally. They’ve just gotten off the ground, but they do have an email list you can join.

We’ll see you on Thursday, from 4:30pm to 7pm at Gosford Wine!

Availability for March 29


Like a switch was turned on, the heat is here. I actually had to come in and rest during midday to escape the sun—maybe I’m just not used to it after taking so long off.

I’m expecting a new colony of bees pretty much any minute now. Those of you who have been with us for a while might remember the floods that drowned my hive in 2005. I had to climb trees downriver to recover my hive bodies! Well, thanks to Double B Farm, I’ll soon have another hive full of busy little bees, taking advantage of the many acres of wild blackberries and helping my garden grow. I moved them high enough that if a flood gets them this time, we’ll all have a lot more to worry about than just the loss of a hive.

In other news, looking at the calendar today I realized I didn’t plan ahead well enough for the dairy. We normally run to Split Creek and Diamond Hill on the first week of each month and Milky Way on the third week. This means the occasional three week stretch between dairy runs. Well, I didn’t give you any warning that it’d be three weeks last time, and I’m even out of milk myself (I forget what store milk tastes like, so I’m actually dreading getting some from the store tomorrow), so we’ll go ahead and make a dairy run this week. It will be three weeks until the next one, so plan your orders accordingly.

There are a few new items this week, including baby romaine and a lettuce and spinach mix. Supplies of everything this early in the season are limited, but another week of good weather will help a lot.

Finally, some of you have been asking about more info on Whole Earth Granary. They are still recovering from the loss of everything in their bakery (including their ovens), so we still do not have anything from them. As soon as they are back and baking, you’ll see them listed here.

That about wraps it up. Thanks again for all your support! We’ll see you on Thursday from 4:30pm to 7pm at Gosford Wine!

Availability for March 22


Hello from Las Vegas! My off-farm job has me on the road this week at a trade show here. It’s my first trip here, and being the nerd that I am, I haven’t done much other than visit the Star Trek Experience. Something tells me that the flaming ribs they served me at the restaurant there were not organic (and they were literally on fire as they were brought to the table), but they were tasty nonetheless.

The produce listing will continue to be in flux over the next few weeks as the spring season gets underway. There are fewer leafy greens this week, but there are a few new items, including the first of the asparagus crop from Mills Farm. We also have eggs from both Mills and Double B farm listed, so those of you who have been coming by early to see if we had some on the table can now just order them directly.

Things grow slowly this time of year, but a day comes when it seems like everything doubles in size overnight and there is more than enough to go around. Until that day comes, just get your order in early for the best chances at what our growers do have.

Thanks again for all your support, and we’ll see you on Thursday from 4:30 to 7pm at Gosford Wine!

Availability for March 15


We’re all back from deep south Georgia, where we attended the Georgia Organics conference. The annual conferences are wonderful affairs for both growers and eaters, and this year was no exception.

The keynote speaker this year was Joel Salatin, who is at the forefront of non-industrial food production at his farm, Polyface Farms in Virginia. In addition to speaking Friday night, he led an on-farm field day Saturday, hosted by a family farm near Douglas that is following in Joel’s footsteps.

Joel had many, many inspirational things to show and tell, but one of the more striking stories was his description of how his farm has moved this past year to an internet based buying program that allows local families to conveniently buy his products every six weeks. Moving to this new model has brought so many new customers to him that it has already become his primary retail market. He firmly believes that this new system, which has worked so well for him, is the future for farms getting their products into the hands of local families. The efficiencies it creates for both the farm and the family approaches (and maybe passes) the distribution efficiencies of even Wal-Mart.

Of course, you here in Athens have known that for over five years now. And today’s listing marks the start of the sixth year that Athens Locally Grown has been bringing you the bounty of many farms and producers surrounding Athens (now up to sixteen!). We anticipate continued growth this year, in farms, in variety of produce, and in families being served. It really is an exciting time to be doing what we’re doing, as the small natural farm is moving from the specialized niche to a sought after mainstream way for people to get their food.

Anyway, on to the listings! We do have a number of new items, though as this is the first week of the spring season, many of them are in very limited quantities. We have baby lettuce mix, mustard, micro beets, spinach, and arugula new this week from McMullan Family Farm. Double B farm has some goldenseal and echanacea products made right on the farm. Songbird Designs has several new soaps. We also have dairy products from Milky Way dairy, milled products from Mills Farm, coffee from 1000 Faces, processed foods from TaylOrganics, and other products I’m sure I’m forgetting.

Oh—many of you have been asking about Whole Earth Granary, and their lack of products the last couple weeks. I did speak with them a few days ago, and discovered that they are recovering from a devastating burglary. Someone took everything—including the ovens! They are in the process of putting their business back together, and they hope to return very soon.

As always, we greatly appreciate your support. It has brought us to our sixth year, has brought new growers to Athens, and has brought other communities to open markets like ours. The latest is the Cumberland Farmers Market in Sewanee, Tennessee, which has begun taking orders this week. We’ll see you on Thursday from 4:30 to 7pm at Gosford Wine!

Closed This Week


This is just a quick reminder that we are closed this week, due to the annual Georgia Organics conference which begins Thursday way down in Douglas, Georgia.

We will return next week, and it is looking good for the first of the spring harvest then as well. See you then!

Availability for March 1


We have a week without fresh veggies this week, but there are still 101 items listed on the website, including several new items. The growers have been listing their own products on the new website, but I’ve been keeping an eye on what goes up (using the optional “What’s New” section).

New this week are bouquets of daffodils from McMullan Family Farm. He doesn’t have any greens, but he expects to the week after next (we’ll be taking next week off, as I’ll explain later). He also has more ground beef, pecans, and walnuts.

Double B Farms has listed several flavors of homemade lip balm (using wax from his own hives) in addition to the fresh and dried mushrooms, mushroom logs, soaps, honey and candles. If you’ve already ordered from Double B, you’ll have found some samples of the lip balm in your bags.

Split Creek returns with raw goat milk, award-winning cheeses, fudge, and soap. Diamond Hill is offering raw cow’s milk. Mills Farm has milled products and dried tomatoes. 1000 Faces has coffee with local connections roasted to order. Soangbird Designs has wonderful soaps and candles. And TaylOrganics has processed ciders, pickles, jellies, etc.

As I mentioned, we’ll be taking next week off due to the annual Georgia Organics conference, which begins Thursday morning way down in Douglas Georgia. Several of us growers are trekking down there, and some of you may be planning on it as well (it’s by no means just for growers, and the locally grown feast Friday night will be well worth the drive). It’s not too late to register yourself if you’re interested—you can find out more at www.georgiaorganics.org

We’ll see you this Thursday at Gosford Wine from 4:30 to 7pm, and then we’ll return the week after next. We expect to have the first of the spring veggies then. Thanks for all your support!

Availability for February 22


I spent pretty much the entire weekend outside working the vegetable beds. It really felt nice to be back in the dirt again. As many of you know, I took the last year off from growing so I could work on the rewrite of the Locally Grown site as well as FarmNotebook.com, a site for growers to manage their plantings and harvests, and keeping their customers informed. With most of that work behind me, I’m back to the garden.

Naturally, after sitting for so long, the tiller wouldn’t start. Considering that it’s older than I am (and half of it is older than my parents), I guess that’s not too surprising. It’s at the shop now, getting a brand new engine. Hopefully that’ll mean we’ll get another 35 years out of it.

In the meantime, I got out the tiny Mantis tiller and got to work. Two beds are now prepped and planted, and we’ll have Amish snap peas, purple and orange carrots, purple and red radishes, golden turnips, and albino and chiogga beets before too long. You can see for yourself what’s going on at my place at boannsbanks.farmnotebook.com. I’ve given the other Locally Grown growers free use of that system, so maybe you’ll get to see what’s going on at all of the member farms in pretty much real time.

There isn’t a whole lot again this week, but you will find a couple new items on the list. McMullan Family Farm has a few bags of mixed asian greens, perfect for braising. Double B Farm is offering inoculated shiitake logs if you wanted to try growing some for yourself this year.

In addition, we’ve got cabbages, coffee, nuts, beef, soaps, candles, and jams and jellies.

One final note: the annual Georgia Organics conference will be going on in three weeks down in Douglas, Georgia. It unfortunately starts on a Thursday this year, so we’ll be closing down Locally Grown that week (March 8th). I’ll be sure to give you several more warnings between now and then.

Thanks for all your support! I know many of you have been out there spreading the word about Locally Grown. It looks like this could be a good year for supply, so keep letting your friends know about us. We’ll see you on Thursday from 4:30pm to 7:00pm at Gosford Wine!