The Weblog

This page contains news, event information, and other items added by the market managers, including the weekly availability email. Be sure to check back regularly!



 
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ALG Market Open for February 11


Athens Locally Grown

How to contact us:
Our Website: athens.locallygrown.net
On Twitter: @athlocallygrown
On Facebook: www.facebook.com/athenslocallygrown
On Thursdays: Here’s a map.

Market News

Here at the beginning of the year, growers everywhere are putting together their plan for the gardens, deciding what to grow where, how much they hope to harvest, what tools they need to do the job, and making sure they have a market for everything so they don’t, at minimum, lose money. It’s a pretty expensive time of year, too, since they need to buy everything they need now but they won’t be seeing income until later on. If they’re doing exactly the same thing as last year, and they saved wisely, then maybe they have enough from last seasons sales to get them through the beginnings of this years. But if something went wrong, or some expensive equipment needs repaired or replaced, or they want to expand the operation, what they’ve got stashed away just won’t cut it. Every farm in the world goes through this at the beginning of the year, and it’s why, in this country, theres a multi-billion dollar industry of “Farm Credit” banking. Years ago, every farmer could go down to their bank and sign a note to get them gong for the year. But as farming has become consolidated and industrialized over the years, the banks have changed their scale too, and now they just have no idea what to do with small farms like those that sell through ALG.

Community Supported Agriculture, also known as subscription farming, is one recent innovation that allows some small farms to get the capital they need early in the year. They get their customers to pay up front for the food they’ll be getting throughout the year, often at a substantial discount over retail, and so the farmer has their money right when they need it and the customers (hopefully) get their share of the harvest when they need that. There are several CSA farms in the Athens area, and it can be a very good model for those farmers and customers who can work within that structure.

Crowd Funding is another new way farmers have raised money in recent years. We’ve had several ALG growers use crowdfunding campaigns to successfully fund a milking parlor and cheese production facility, fencing and vegetable bed renovations, and other expensive one-time projects. Burnell Farm out in Royston is currently in the middle of a similar campaign, to replace a borrowed 1951 tractor that has broken beyond repair. The Burnells have an interesting story. They moved here a few years ago after losing everything they had in the Iowa floods, and through a Herculean amount of work have built one of the area’s most productive vegetable farms from the ground up. You can read more about them and participate in their campaign (and get a number of items in return for your contribution) here: https://www.barnraiser.us/projects/burnell-farms-much-needed-tractor

Rockin’ H Farm in Statham have another large expense coming up: doubling the size of their pastures and gardens. They’ve obtained the land and now just need to pay for the labor of clearing brush and such. Instead of starting a crowdfunding campaign, they’ve turned to a much older method of fundraising — a good old fashioned raffle. They’re selling 1500 raffle tickets for a chance to win a tractor, a utility garden vehicle, a mower, and a nice ice chest. You can read more about their farm, the plans they have, and the raffle on their website here: http://rockinhfarm.com/Raffle/.

However you choose to support your local farmers, even if it’s just reading this email and seeing what they have to offer this week, we all thank you so much for your support of Athens Locally Grown, all of our growers, local food, and our rights to eat it. You all are part of what makes Athens such a great area in which to live. We’ll see you on Thursday at Ben’s Bikes at the corner of Pope and Broad Streets from 4:30 to 8pm!

Other Area Farmers Markets

The Athens Farmers Market has closed for the winter. You can watch for news during the offseason on their website. The Comer Farmers’ Market is continuing, weather permitting, on Saturday mornings from 10am to noon. Check www.facebook.com/comerfm on Friday evening for their plans. The other area markets are also all closed for the season, I believe. If you know of any winter markets operating, please let me know. And they might all be closed, but we’ll be here all year round!

All of these other markets are separate from ALG (including the Athens Farmers Market) but many growers sell at multiple markets. Please support your local farmers and food producers, where ever you’re able to do so!

We thank you for your interest and support of our efforts to bring you the healthiest, the freshest and the most delicious locally-produced foods possible!

ALG Market Open for February 4


Athens Locally Grown

How to contact us:
Our Website: athens.locallygrown.net
On Twitter: @athlocallygrown
On Facebook: www.facebook.com/athenslocallygrown
On Thursdays: Here’s a map.

Market News

I’ve just arrived home from a week in Lexington, Kentucky, where I served on the staff of the annual conference for the Southern Sustainable Agriculture Working Group. It’s one of my favorite events, and this year was the largest one ever with over 1400 farmers from across the south and beyond gathering to share stories of failure and success, learn from those, and inspire each other to return home and grow even more real food for their communities. The days there are extremely long, and I’m ready to drop into sleep as I type this, but it is always well worth it.

I haven’t had a chance to go over the listings this week in any great detail to gather notes for this week’s mailing, but I do see lots of great food available. I did get contacted a few days ago by a group in town who has begun the process of putting together a bulk order of solar energy collectors for houses and businesses around Athens. They’re called Solarize Athens, and have a coalition of public and private alternative energy and community groups behind them. If you’ve been considering converting to solar generated electricity, or are just curious what it would take, you’ve got two months to get in with them. The first phase of assembling the coalition and finding an equipment supplier and installation company has already happened, and now they’re putting together the bulk order with them for submission on March 31. For more information, check out their website at http://www.solarizeathens.com.

Thank you so much for your support of Athens Locally Grown, all of our growers, local food, and our rights to eat it. You all are part of what makes Athens such a great area in which to live. We’ll see you on Thursday at Ben’s Bikes at the corner of Pope and Broad Streets from 4:30 to 8pm!

Other Area Farmers Markets

The Athens Farmers Market has closed for the winter. You can watch for news during the offseason on their website. The other area markets are also all closed for the season, I believe. If you know of any winter markets operating, please let me know. And they might all be closed, but we’ll be here all year round!

All of these other markets are separate from ALG (including the Athens Farmers Market) but many growers sell at multiple markets. Please support your local farmers and food producers, where ever you’re able to do so!

We thank you for your interest and support of our efforts to bring you the healthiest, the freshest and the most delicious locally-produced foods possible!

ALG Market Open for January 28


Athens Locally Grown

How to contact us:
Our Website: athens.locallygrown.net
On Twitter: @athlocallygrown
On Facebook: www.facebook.com/athenslocallygrown
On Thursdays: Here’s a map.

Market News

I don’t have much new to report this week. I’ve been spending my last few days getting ready to drive up to Lexington, KY tomorrow for the annual SSAWG conference, my favorite educational farming conference of the year. I’m on the staff, and they keep me busy, but I never fail to learn a ton of stuff and meet many wonderful people all the same. The very first SSAWG conference I was on the staff for was in Louisville, years ago, and it’ll be nice to see that part of the country again. Some of it is under considerable snow and ice, but it’ll be good to see it anyway.

While I’m away, I’ve left our Thursday market here in the hands of our many capable regular volunteers. There are a few things they can’t do, such as looking up account history and resolving old payment issues, so you can send those queries to me via email or wait until the following week. Also, Doug’s Salmon keeps his fish at my place in a freezer, and I bring his sales in to market for him. Since I’ll be gone, the fish will not be available to purchase this week. It’ll all be back next week, though.

I hope you all have a pleasant week. Looks like it should be both warmer and drier than the one we just had. And as much as I miss the occasional heavy snow (the Yankee in me hasn’t left completely yet), I’m glad we didn’t get the 30 inches some of my friends in the mid-Atlantic got. I know our growers feel the same.

Thank you so much for your support of Athens Locally Grown, all of our growers, local food, and our rights to eat it. You all are part of what makes Athens such a great area in which to live. We’ll see you on Thursday at Ben’s Bikes at the corner of Pope and Broad Streets from 4:30 to 8pm!

Other Area Farmers Markets

The Athens Farmers Market has closed for the winter. You can watch for news during the offseason on their website. The other area markets are also all closed for the season, I believe. If you know of any winter markets operating, please let me know. And they might all be closed, but we’ll be here all year round!

All of these other markets are separate from ALG (including the Athens Farmers Market) but many growers sell at multiple markets. Please support your local farmers and food producers, where ever you’re able to do so!

We thank you for your interest and support of our efforts to bring you the healthiest, the freshest and the most delicious locally-produced foods possible!

ALG Market Open for January 21


Athens Locally Grown

How to contact us:
Our Website: athens.locallygrown.net
On Twitter: @athlocallygrown
On Facebook: www.facebook.com/athenslocallygrown
On Thursdays: Here’s a map.

Market News

One note for the week, before I talk more about the gritty details behind ALG: Next week I’ll be in Lexington, Kentucky for the annual conference of the Southern Sustainable Agriculture Working Group (SSAWG). About 1300 growers from across the country will be gathering to share knowledge and bring new ideas back home with them. I’m on the conference staff, and they keep me hopping, but I always look forward to going. I’ll be leaving our Thursday market here in the hands of our many capable regular volunteers while I’m gone. However, Doug’s Salmon keeps his fish at my house in a freezer and I bring his sales in to market for him. Since I’ll be gone next week the fish will not be available to purchase, so if you’re a regular purchaser, you’ll want to get enough to last you two weeks now.

In the past two weeks I’ve talked about the legal organization and considerations behind our market and then the financial operation that keeps everything running. I’ll wrap up my yearly primer on Athens Locally Grown this week with a few words about our growers and other market vendors.

First and foremost, let me preface everything by saying the decision to let a new grower into the market is always made by me alone. I know many farmers markets often get some press regarding one vendor or another feeling left out of the market and complaining that the committee running that market was a little too closed. Well, my efforts to run ALG in a cooperative manner aside, the responsibility here comes back to me. There’s no committee, and no formal application process. I’ve had some potential vendors that I’ve rejected get upset with me and complain that ALG is a “closed” market, and they’re right. It is a closed market, and it’s not open to just anyone to sell through. That doesn’t mean we have arbitrary standards, of course, and actually I think I’ve set the bar pretty high. A good number of our growers also go above and beyond to only bring “the best of the best”, and that pushes the de facto standards even higher. Here’s a summary of what it takes to be able to sell through Athens Locally Grown:

  • All growers must use sustainable practices and never use synthetic fertilizers or pesticides. I’ll come back to this later.
  • All growers can only sell what they themselves have grown, made, or otherwise produced
  • All growers must be from the greater Athens area. Right now, this means within about 75 miles
  • All growers must be willing to be part of our ALG community, and not think of us as just a dumping off point.
  • All animals raised for meat or eggs must be pastured or sustainably wild-caught
  • Handicrafts must be made primarily from items produced or gathered on the farm
  • Prepared foods must use organic ingredients if at all possible, and locally grown ingredients if at all possible
  • All proper licenses, when required by law, must be obtained

That about covers everything, I think. When I’ve turned down requests to sell through ALG (and I turn down several monthly), the grower has clearly not met one or more of those standards. There are a few edge cases that I take on a case by case basis. Coffee is one. 1000 Faces was our first coffee vendor, and they offered direct trade coffees (they purchase directly from the coffee growers with no distributor or middle man) and did all the roasting and packaging themselves and to order. That set the standard, and other coffee vendors (such as GranCoffee Roasting Co.) have to match it. Mills Farm was a founding ALG member, but they buy in organic grains for their mill. We now have Sylvan Falls Mill in Rabun Gap as a vendor, and they primarily buy their grains from local (to them) organic growers. From now on, all future millers wanting to sell through ALG will have to meet that standard. And so on.

Let me get back to that first requirement: “sustainable practices”. There’s no set definition of that, and there’s really a sliding scale. For example, I sometimes use a gasoline-powered rototiller, and our no-till growers and the no-hydrocarbon growers would frown upon that. There is a generally accepted definition of what is “conventional” agriculture, and that includes the use of synthetic fertilizers and pesticides, and confined and grain-fed animals. Those are easy to exclude. At the other end, there is the USDA Organic Certification and Certified Naturally Grown certification. Few small diversified growers can meet the expense of USDA certification, but a good number of our growers are CNG certified. This program uses the USDA rules as a starting point, made a few things more strict, and uses a system of growers certifying other growers to keep things honest. My farm had been CNG certified for nine years (though I dropped my certification the last few years simply because my garden got really, really small), and many others area farms have followed since then. If a new grower does not have a certification, then I talk to them, get information about them, and visit their farm in person when necessary. A good number of our growers were ALG customers long before growing for market themselves, so I’ve gotten to know the people and the decision to let them in was easy.

In short: the growers have satisfied my standards, and I personally have approved them for inclusion in ALG. However, I want you to not just take my word for it. We have had farm tours during the warm seasons so you can go on-site yourself and see the farms in action. We have a semi-regular “meet the grower” table at the Thursday pickups so you can talk with the growers yourself face-to-face. We encourage them to take photos for their online photo album, to describe their practices, and to take care with their product listings. We want to facilitate communication between you and them, so when you place an order, they see your name and email address in case they need to clarify a request or offer a substitution, and likewise for most of our growers you can see their contact info when you view their grower profile (while logged into the site) so you can get clarification from them when needed.

I often wrestle with some of those edge cases. Doug’s Wild Alaska Salmon was one such case. The salmon and halibut they sell was caught in Alaska, but Doug and his family live here (well, just over the line in South Carolina). They own their own small boats, and catch the fish themselves. Their practices are certified sustainable by a reputable organization up there, and their products are high quality. They’ve worked out the logistics of getting fish to you every week (by keeping a supply at my house in a freezer they own). I have in the past talked with sugar cane growers from South Georgia, dairies from across the state, fisherman from Savannah, olive growers from Savannah, citrus producers from Florida, and other people making items we just can’t get from growers located right here. Often, the logistics of getting their items from there to here on a regular and timely basis is what breaks down, but I hope that over time we’ll be able to expand the items at our market without compromising our community of growers located right here.

Hopefully that explains how our growers get into ALG, what standards they have to meet, and so on. It’s a very important topic, perhaps the most important one for our market, but much of it goes on behind the scenes. I know you’ve put your trust in me, and I take that very seriously, If you’d like to talk with me in person about this or any other aspects of ALG, I’d love to do so. Just pull me aside when you come by to pick up your order.

Thank you so much for your support of Athens Locally Grown, all of our growers, local food, and our rights to eat it. You all are part of what makes Athens such a great area in which to live. We’ll see you on Thursday at Ben’s Bikes at the corner of Pope and Broad Streets from 4:30 to 8pm!

Other Area Farmers Markets

The Athens Farmers Market has closed for the winter. You can watch for news during the offseason on their website. The other area markets are also all closed for the season, I believe. If you know of any winter markets operating, please let me know. And they might all be closed, but we’ll be here all year round!

All of these other markets are separate from ALG (including the Athens Farmers Market) but many growers sell at multiple markets. Please support your local farmers and food producers, where ever you’re able to do so!

We thank you for your interest and support of our efforts to bring you the healthiest, the freshest and the most delicious locally-produced foods possible!

ALG Market Open for January 14


Athens Locally Grown

How to contact us:
Our Website: athens.locallygrown.net
On Twitter: @athlocallygrown
On Facebook: www.facebook.com/athenslocallygrown
On Thursdays: Here’s a map.

Market News

I’m devoting the newsletter these first few weeks of the year to documenting in detail just how ALG works. I’ll spend some time next week talking about how growers get allowed in the market, and what standards they have to meet. But this week, I’ll get into the details of how the market sustains itself financially. Many of you ask about that from time to time, and I’m happy to oblige.

First off, we’re legally a sole proprietorship, and the market is owned and operated by me. In years past, it was rolled into my farm, and reported on our Schedule F in addition to our regular tax forms. For now, while my gardens have dwindled, it’s an item on my Schedule A, like many other small home businesses. When the market started in 2002, it was named “Locally Grown Cooperative”, but it was never legally organized as a co-op. Dan & Kris Miller, the founders from Heirloom Organics farm in Watkinsville, were always sure to run things in a cooperative spirit, and since they handed the business to me in 2004 (I’ve sold as a grower since day one), I’ve tried to do the same thing. I’ve since renamed it to “Athens Locally Grown”, but you’ll still hear a number of people refer to us as “the co-op”.

We’re not a non-profit, either, but we’ve structured things so that over time the market can just barely cover its own expenses. Just like all of our member farms are sustainable growers, the market itself needs to be sustainable. So how do we cover its expenses? One small way is through the memberships you pay. The $25 a year you give to the market is enough to cover the costs of having customers: banking fees from depositing your checks, paper and ink for printing, web hosting fees, and that sort of thing. What’s left over goes to helping fund farm tours, food donations to like-minded area groups and events, etc. We currently have 292 paid members out of the 3813 active accounts on the website.

By far the bulk of our funding comes from the growers themselves. They generally pay a 10% commission on their sales through the site. This money covers the many coolers we use, the tables and shelves used to spread out and organize your orders, the truck we bought at the end of 2007, gasoline, the food allowance we offer our volunteers, rent and utilities at Ben’s Bikes, etc. During the slow parts of the year, the sales are usually not enough to cover our weekly costs, but in the busy times (late fall and early spring, for us) there is extra. If we plan things out well, it pretty much all evens out in the end.

Last year, the total sales and memberships combined through the market amounted to $199,240. This is a decline from last year, but the continual rise of so many other markets in the area is the biggest reason for that. We used to be the largest farmers market in this part of the state, but only because the others were so small. Now, not only are there several very large area farmers markets throughout the week, but there are many other locallygrown markets serving customers that used to drive to Athens. About 90% of those sales went straight to our growers, and the rest went to a food allowance for our volunteers ($200 a week), rent ($350/month), web hosting, and transportation. The “profit” gets counted as personal income or loss on my tax forms, and almost always comes out even.

The growers get paid out of the shared cashbox for their previous week’s sales when they drop off their items, during the hour before we open the market. Then, you arrive and pay into the cashbox for your order. We used to then rush to the bank to deposit the money to cover the checks we just wrote to the growers, but now the growers get paid the following week (money you pay via credit cards takes up to a week to reach our account). As explained elsewhere on the website, you are really ordering directly from and paying the growers yourself, but our shared cashbox system makes things convenient for you and them. (Imagine if you ordered from ten growers having to write ten checks when you picked up your items!) This shared cashbox system has so far satisfied the tax man, but it does mean that if you place an order and then never arrive to pick it up, we’re left holding the bag. For that reason, you are responsible for paying for orders not picked up, and that amount is automatically added on to your next order for your convenience. On the books right now (going back to 2007) is about $3887 of produce ordered but never picked up and so far never paid for at all (or picked up but paid for with bad checks). That might seem like a lot (and it is), but considering that the market’s sales total, that’s not so bad. In fact, it’s about a sixth of the US retail industry’s “shrinkage” rate, and almost all of it is owed by only ten people. Only $200 came from this last year. On the flip side, $4149 has been pre-paid into the cash box by people who pay online via credit card or who write large checks in person, and then draw down on that balance over time.

There were 5373 orders placed last year, so that averages to $37.08 spent per order, an increase over last year. There are no good studies on this number, but I’ve seen a few surveys conducted by the USDA indicate that the average customer spends $25 per trip to a farmers market. We continue to far exceed that average, which I think says a lot about the advantages ALG offers over the traditional market. And to your dedication to supporting our growers.

So, in probably far too much detail, that’s how we operate financially. Our market might be more expensive to run than a traditional “booths and tables” farmers market, but that price buys a system that’s simple, time-saving, flexible, and in my opinion, just better. There’s no money in the bank, but the market is paying for itself and that’s my primary financial goal. If you’d like to talk with me in person about this or any other aspects of ALG, I’d love to do so. Just pull me aside when you come by to pick up your order.

Thank you so much for your support of Athens Locally Grown, all of our growers, local food, and our rights to eat it. You all are part of what makes Athens such a great area in which to live. We’ll see you on Thursday at Ben’s Bikes at the corner of Pope and Broad Streets from 4:30 to 8pm!

Other Area Farmers Markets

The Athens Farmers Market has closed for the winter. You can watch for news during the offseason on their website. The other area markets are also all closed for the season, I believe. If you know of any winter markets operating, please let me know. And they might all be closed, but we’ll be here all year round!

All of these other markets are separate from ALG (including the Athens Farmers Market) but many growers sell at multiple markets. Please support your local farmers and food producers, where ever you’re able to do so!

We thank you for your interest and support of our efforts to bring you the healthiest, the freshest and the most delicious locally-produced foods possible!

ALG Market Open for January 7


Athens Locally Grown

How to contact us:
Our Website: athens.locallygrown.net
On Twitter: @athlocallygrown
On Facebook: www.facebook.com/athenslocallygrown
On Thursdays: Here’s a map.

Market News

Welcome to 2016, and another year of Athens Locally Grown! This will be our fifteenth year in operation, and we are looking forward to many more. Many of our growers are have slowed down for the winter, delivering every other week or otherwise reducing their availability. Many others, however, are still going strong thanks to greenhouses and other season-extending methods. Now that the holiday season is behind us, we’ll be going every single week from now until our next week off — Thanksgiving.

Each year, I devote the first few mailings of the year to the behind the scenes operation of ALG. This week, I’m going to talk about the many legal issues surrounding our market. Even though many people call us “the co-op”, ALG is legally a market owned and operated by me, so I can have a place to sell items I occasionally offer from my own gardens. There’s no board of directors, no shield corporation, no pot of grant money. It’s just me, and while that keeps things very simple, it also exposes me and my family to a ton of potential liability. It’s never really been an issue (except when the whole raw milk thing erupted a few years ago) and there are several things I do specifically to minimize that risk:

  • The growers list their own items and set their own prices. When you buy from them, it is from them, not from me, and not from Athens Locally Grown.
  • Athens Locally Grown never takes ownership or possession of the food. The growers drop it off, and you pick it up.
  • Everything at the market has a customer’s name attached to it when it arrives. ALG does not repackage any items, or buy in bulk for redistribution.
  • When you pay, you’re paying into a shared cash box for all of the growers. This lets you write a single check or swipe your card once for convenience, but you are really paying all of the growers directly and individually. Your money goes in, and the software I wrote to keep everything going spits out checks for each of the growers you buy from.
  • The growers give a small percentage of their sales, generally 10%, back to the market to cover the many expenses of keeping the market going. I’ll cover the details of finances another week.
  • ALG never buys from a grower and resells the items to you. Never.
  • When a grower sells items that need licenses from either the state or the federal government, ALG verifies that the proper licenses have been obtained.

The ownership issue is key. It’s one of the reasons why we don’t offer delivery, and why we usually can’t hold items for you if you aren’t able to pick up your orders. Delivery might be a good business for someone (if they could figure out all the legal requirements), but it’s not at all what I personally want to be into. I think it would be a valuable service for you, and I’m hoping someday someone will be able to partner with me for this. Many food co-ops and even some farmers markets aren’t as careful with keeping ownership as straight as I try to be, and that has gotten other groups similar to us into serious legal trouble (deserved or not) over the years. There are so many grey areas in all this, and the written regulations still don’t even consider that something like Athens Locally Grown might exist. We’re so firmly in the grey areas with most everything we do that it’s just too risky for me to bring us into the areas that are clearly black.

So, these are the sorts of things that guide my thinking as Athens Locally Grown has grown over the years. Everything we do has legal ramifications, and the state of Georgia has a reputation for being no nonsense when it comes to enforcement — with the little guy, anyway. That has became extra obvious in recent years, and the FDA is also putting pressure on groups like us too. I’m not a lawyer, but every time we enter those grey areas, I make sure we follow the intent of the laws, don’t flaunt anything, and have a good defense and a paper trail should we need it. And when that doesn’t work, the good folks at the Farm to Consumer Legal Defense Fund are behind us. They have consumer memberships, too, and I do encourage everyone who is able to become a member of the FtCLDF.

The FtCLDF was my legal counsel in the federal lawsuit against the FDA I (and one of our members) was a plaintiff on. The lawsuit was in response to the seizure and destruction of 110 gallons of South Carolina milk purchased by ALG members in October 2009. During the pre-trial phase, the FDA moved to dismiss the suit, and went so far as to claim that the milk dumping, filmed and placed on YouTube, with an FDA agent clearly identified, never happened. The judge refused to dismiss, and gave the FDA six months to give a yes or no answer to whether what we did is really considered illegal. Exactly six months later, they responded that it was illegal, but also claimed that even though an FDA agent was at my house giving direction, they had no hand in the dumping. They also went on record stating that individuals were legally free to cross state lines and buy raw milk to take home with them (something that the FDA agent at my house said, on camera, was completely illegal under all circumstances). After that, the judge dismissed the suit without fully ruling whether ALG was also free to facilitate our members collectively ordering and picking up milk across state lines. In any case, the state of Georgia still says what we were doing was illegal and even tightened the rules right afterward, so raw milk is still rather hard to come by.

And there in a nutshell is the legalities behind ALG. In the following weeks, I’ll get more into the nuts and bolts of finances and other aspects of how we work.

Thank you so much for your support of Athens Locally Grown, all of our growers, local food, and our rights to eat it. You all are part of what makes Athens such a great area in which to live. We’ll see you on Thursday at Ben’s Bikes at the corner of Pope and Broad Streets from 4:30 to 8pm!

Other Area Farmers Markets

The Athens Farmers Market has closed for the winter. You can watch for news during the offseason on their website. The other area markets are also all closed for the season, I believe. If you know of any winter markets operating, please let me know. And they might all be closed, but we’ll be here all year round!

All of these other markets are separate from ALG (including the Athens Farmers Market) but many growers sell at multiple markets. Please support your local farmers and food producers, where ever you’re able to do so!

We thank you for your interest and support of our efforts to bring you the healthiest, the freshest and the most delicious locally-produced foods possible!

ALG Market Open for December 30


Athens Locally Grown

How to contact us:
Our Website: athens.locallygrown.net
On Twitter: @athlocallygrown
On Facebook: www.facebook.com/athenslocallygrown
On Thursdays: Here’s a map.

Market News

I’w got to say, I’ve always wondered how it must feel for those who celebrate Christmas in Australia, where the holiday falls in the middle of summer. I’ve had to turn the A/C on in the house to keep the pets happy, and have gotten the shorts and thin T-shirts back out of the closet. All of the fruit trees in my neighborhood are in full bloom, too. It’s really pretty strange.

Since Thursday is New Year’s Eve, and New Year’s Eve is a bad day to hold a farmers market,this week we are holding a special ALG pickup day on WEDNESDAY December 30. I’ve opened the website for you now, and you have through Monday night to get your orders in. Then on WEDNESDAY, we’ll have pickups from 4:30 until 8pm, and just pretend like it’s Thursday. Some of our growers are taking the week off, so the selection is a little less than usual, but most of them have told me they’ll have things that need harvested (and eggs that need collecting, etc.), and you’ll find all that now on the website.

I’ve relaxed the deadlines for the growers this week, so if you order early you may want to check back on Monday to see if anything interested has gotten added to the listings by tardy growers. It’s always ok to place multiple orders, and we’ll combine them for you when you arrive to get them.

Thanks so much for your support of Athens Locally Grown, all of our growers, local food, and our rights to eat it! You all are part of what makes Athens such a great area in which to live. We’ll see you on WEDNESDAY at Ben’s Bikes at the corner of Pope and Broad Streets from 4:30 to 8pm!

We thank you for your interest and support of our efforts to bring you the healthiest, the freshest and the most delicious locally-produced foods possible!

ALG Reminder: We are closed this week!


Hi there! This is just a reminder that Athens Locally Grown will be closed this week to allow us all to celebrate Christmas and all the other holidays occurring this week.

Since Thursday of next week is New Year’s Eve, a terrible day to try to hold a market, we’re going to try something a little different. We’ll be moving next week’s pickup to WEDNESDAY, December 30, from 4:30 to 8pm at Ben’s Bikes. The time and place will stay the same — only the day will change. I’m planning on opening the website for you before I go to bed on Saturday, December 26th, and giving you through Monday night to get your order in. I’ll be sending you a reminder on Saturday, of course.

Thank you so much for your support of Athens Locally Grown, all of our growers, local food, and our rights to eat it. You all are part of what makes Athens such a great area in which to live. We’ll see you on WEDNESDAY, December 30, at Ben’s Bikes at the corner of Pope and Broad Streets from 4:30 to 8pm!

ALG Market Open for December 17


Athens Locally Grown

How to contact us:
Our Website: athens.locallygrown.net
On Twitter: @athlocallygrown
On Facebook: www.facebook.com/athenslocallygrown
On Thursdays: Here’s a map.

Market News

I hope if you celebrate any of the many holidays that fall this time of year, that things are happy and bright for you. Next Thursday is Christmas Eve, and so we will be CLOSED next week. If there’s anything you need for your holiday meals next week, be sure to order it for pickup this Thursday. I know it’s hard to feel festive when it’s nearly 80 degrees out, but here we are. I’ve heard multiple reports that the blueberry bushes have started blooming, which could mean a disastrous season next year. Or, if it never gets cold, then we’ll be picking blueberries in February. I guess we’ll see which we get.

New Year’s Eve is a bad day to hold a farmers market, but I don’t want you to have to go three weeks between markets, so we’re going to move things around this year. We will have a special ALG pickup day on WEDNESDAY December 30. I’m planning to open the market for orders on the evening of Saturday, December 26, and give you through Monday night to get your orders in. Then on Wednesday, we’ll have pickups from 4:30 until 8pm, and just pretend like it’s Thursday. Some of our growers will be taking the week off, but most of them have told me they’ll have things that need harvested (and eggs that need collecting, etc.), so we’ll be here for them and for you.

Shalley Carrell from Carrell Family Farms will be at our “Meet the Grower” table this week to tell you all about her grass based livestock farm down in Monroe. Her herds are pretty unusual for this part of the world, including water buffalo and alpacas, and she’d love to tell you all about them. I also noticed several of our bakers have assortments of holiday cookies available this week, so I’ve already ordered a couple boxes for you to sample from while you wait for your orders to be filled. In years past I’ve had a pot of spiced apple cider going too, but the way the weather is, I think 1000 Faces iced coffee might be more appropriate.

Thanks so much for your support of Athens Locally Grown, all of our growers, local food, and our rights to eat it! You all are part of what makes Athens such a great area in which to live. We’ll see you on Thursday at Ben’s Bikes at the corner of Pope and Broad Streets from 4:30 to 8pm!

Other Area Farmers Markets

The Athens Farmers Market is open on Saturdays at Bishop Park and Wednesday afternoons downtown at Creature Comforts. You can catch the news on their website. The West Broad Farmers Market from the Athens Land Trust is open Saturday mornings and their farm stand is open Tuesday afternoons. They have a website too. A new Athens Sunday market has opened up at the Classic Center, every Sunday from 11 to 4 now through October. They have a website here: http://www.sundaycentermarket.com. The Comer Farmers Market is open in downtown Comer on Saturday mornings. The Oconee County farmers market is open Saturday mornings in front of the Oconee County Courthouse in Watkinsville. The Shields Ethridge Cultivator Market is held monthly in Jefferson. If you know of any markets operating, please let me know.

All of these other markets are separate from ALG (including the Athens Farmers Market) but many growers sell at multiple markets. Please support your local farmers and food producers, where ever you’re able to do so!

We thank you for your interest and support of our efforts to bring you the healthiest, the freshest and the most delicious locally-produced foods possible!

ALG Market Open for December 10


Athens Locally Grown

How to contact us:
Our Website: athens.locallygrown.net
On Twitter: @athlocallygrown
On Facebook: www.facebook.com/athenslocallygrown
On Thursdays: Here’s a map.

Market News

This is the time for holiday artisan markets, and you can find something going on pretty much every day for the next three weeks. The last few years I’ve been listing the markets here in my newsletter, but this year there are just too many for me to list. However, the Flagpole has done a great job assembling them all into a nice descriptive list. They’ve got an online version here if you didn’t pick up the paper copy: http://flagpole.com/arts-culture/arts-culture-features/2015/12/02/artist-market-roundup. You’ve already demonstrated your commitment to buy some of your food from local farmers. Giving gifts made from local artisans is just as important, and can be even more rewarding!

At our pickup this Thursday, Kathryn from Beehaven will be there with her beautiful beeswax candles and balms. She lists them on the website every week, but I know many of you like to see those sorts of things in person before deciding to buy them. Kathryn would love to show them to you, tell you about the process she uses to make them, and generally share her enthusiasm for bees with you.

This year, both Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve fall on a Thursday. After talking with the growers, we’ve decided to take the week of Christmas off. There was less consensus, though, on the week of New Year’s. Our options are to hold it as normal on New Year’s Eve, to move it up to Wednesday the 30th, or to take that week off too, and return in January. Several of our growers are taking the extra week off regardless. Last year, we moved it to the 30th and had a very light market. Holding it on the 31st seems like a bad idea. What do you all think? I know many of you are overwhelmed those weeks with places to go and people to see, kids out of school, and general holiday exhaustion, but if there’s enough call for a market that week, we can work out the details. Let me know!

Thanks so much for your support of Athens Locally Grown, all of our growers, local food, and our rights to eat it! You all are part of what makes Athens such a great area in which to live. We’ll see you on Thursday at Ben’s Bikes at the corner of Pope and Broad Streets from 4:30 to 8pm!

Other Area Farmers Markets

The Athens Farmers Market is open on Saturdays at Bishop Park and Wednesday afternoons downtown at Creature Comforts. You can catch the news on their website. The West Broad Farmers Market from the Athens Land Trust is open Saturday mornings and their farm stand is open Tuesday afternoons. They have a website too. A new Athens Sunday market has opened up at the Classic Center, every Sunday from 11 to 4 now through October. They have a website here: http://www.sundaycentermarket.com. The Comer Farmers Market is open in downtown Comer on Saturday mornings. The Oconee County farmers market is open Saturday mornings in front of the Oconee County Courthouse in Watkinsville. The Shields Ethridge Cultivator Market is held monthly in Jefferson. If you know of any markets operating, please let me know.

All of these other markets are separate from ALG (including the Athens Farmers Market) but many growers sell at multiple markets. Please support your local farmers and food producers, where ever you’re able to do so!

We thank you for your interest and support of our efforts to bring you the healthiest, the freshest and the most delicious locally-produced foods possible!