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You’ll find this classic dish on the menu at any real Irish restaurant. It’s a recipe that takes two staples of the island, potatoes and kale (or sometimes cabbage), and transforms them into a dish truly worthy of the word classic. From Farmer John’s Cookbook: The Real Dirt On Vegetables

Serves 6

1 1/2 pounds medium boiling potatoes (about 3 medium potatoes)
2 teaspoons salt, divided, plus more to taste
1 1/2–2 pounds kale (15–20 large leaves)
1 cup chopped leeks or scallions
1 cup half-and-half or milk
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup butter, melted

1. Put the whole potatoes in a large pot, cover with water, and bring to boil. Add 1 teaspoon of the salt and boil until the potatoes are tender, 15 to 20 minutes. Drain the potatoes and mash. Put in a heatproof dish and keep warm in a 200°F oven.
2. Meanwhile, put the kale in a pot, cover with water, and bring to boil. Add the remaining 1 teaspoon salt and cook until the kale is tender, 15 to 20 minutes. Drain and finely chop the kale.
3. Place the leeks or scallions in a small pot, cover with the half-and-half, and cook over low heat until very soft, 15 to 20 minutes.
4. Add the kale to the warm potatoes and mix well. Add the half-and-half with leeks or scallions. Add pepper; season with salt.
5. Spoon a little of the melted butter over each serving and serve hot.

Market News

With more people ordering, and order sizes growing, we’re starting to have a problem again with people not arriving to pick up their orders on Thursday. Please remember that for both legal and logistical reasons (the legal being the most important, of course), I can not hold your items beyond 8pm on Thursday. We start calling those who haven’t arrived by 7:30, but most of the time we just get answering machines and voice mail. Anything still at our pickup location at 8pm will get divided up among those there at the time, primarily my volunteers, and then we finish loading up the truck and leave. Since I had already paid the growers on your behalf earlier in the day, you are still responsible for paying for any items you order but do not come pick up. If this happens, I charge your account, and the total is added to your next order.

Here are some things you can do to insure you won’t get charged for things you didn’t come get:

1. If you know prior to Tuesday at 8pm that you won’t be able to come get your order, send me an email and I will cancel your order.
2. If you find out later that you can’t come, send me an email. So long as I know before market begins, I can put the things you ordered on the “extras” table, and your fellow customers will almost certainly buy them for you.
3. If you discover Thursday while we’re at market that you can’t arrive, give me a call at 706-248-1860. I’ll put your items on the “extras” table, and if they sell, you’ll be off the hook.
4. If you have a cell phone, make sure that number is the number on your account. You can go to the “Your Account” page on the website to be sure. If you’re out and about and I get your home phone or your work phone, no one gets helped.

Finally, there’s often a sizable pile of things up for grabs at 8pm. If you’re in the area and want to do a little extra shopping, swing by at about ten til (or wait until then to come get your own order). There may be things for sale you want, and you can save a fellow customer a charge to their account. Our volunteer workers get to split things up as a benefit of working, but paying customers do come first. And it always seems there are several things sitting there that were in high demand that week.

I do wish that I could be more flexible and accommodating for those who missed the window, but one of the legal “loopholes” we have to operate under is that I never take possession of your orders. You are buying directly from the growers, who bring their items to our pickup location, and then you arrive to pick it all up. The volunteers and I are there to facilitate and orchestrate the process, but if we go beyond that then we fall under the category of food resellers and distributors, which means we’d need the same equipment you’d find at the grocery store: refrigerators with charting temperature recorders, hot and cold running water, freezers, stainless steel tables and fixtures, etc. In short… Athens Locally Grown would cease to exist.

Well, with that out of the way, I won’t delay the opening of market any further. There are just under 700 items for sale this week. The summer items are coming on strong, and I see heirloom tomatoes, cucumbers, squash & zucchini, peppers, lots of beans, and more. A few things you won’t yet see but might be looking for: corn (the March snowstorm killed the first several plantings, but more is on the way), eggplant (they need a few more weeks of heat before they begin producing), and okra (they come even later, and really reach their peak in late summer).

One last thing: Catarina Passidomo is compiling recipes from local-food-lovers to put into a cookbook, and would love input from both the farmers and customers in the ALG network. Any recipe that highlights local ingredients (from any season) will be considered. In addition to the recipe, she invites that contributors provide a short story, memory, or description to accompany it. The cookbook will be available for sale at the Athens Farmers’ Market as soon as all recipes are compiled and the books published, and sales will benefit the farmers market. Anyone interested in contributing to this project can email her at

As always, thank you all for your continued support of our local growers and local food. We’ll see you on Thursday from 4:30 to 8pm at the old market on Broad Street!

Coming Events

We currently don’t have anyone scheduled for our “Meet the Grower” table this week. Someone may volunteer before Thursday, however.

If you’ll be in town for AthFest, be sure to swing by the special outdoor kitchen on Washington Street on Sunday afternoon, June 28th, where Craig Page (director of P.L.A.C.E.) and I will be competing head-to-head Iron Chef style cooking locally grown food purchased directly from growers at Athens Locally Grown and the Athens Farmers Market. I’ll have more details next week, but we’ll have a locally grown “mystery ingredient”, nearly all of our pantry items will be from ALG and the AFM, we’ll have local dignitary judges, and a whole lot of fun.

The Athens Farmers Market has re-opened for the season, and is every Saturday morning at Bishop Park. It’s a totally separate entity from Athens Locally Grown, but you’ll find many of the same growers at both. And of course, you can learn more about that market on their website.

Our third Farmer for a Day event is on Saturday, July 11th at Dancing Sprout Farm in Athens. You can make reservations for this event by adding them to your order. Look in the “Event Reservations” category.

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!