Two weeks ago, we set a record for the number of products listed on Athens Locally Grown. Incredibly, this week we have added nearly another fifty more. Just under 800 products are available to you this week, thanks to the efforts of fifty growers in Athens and the surrounding areas. When I think back to how we started only eight years ago, with six growers participating and the weekly sales all fitting in a couple ice chests, I’m astounded at the array of items in front of me now. I started growing veggies myself and founded my farm because I couldn’t get the heirloom varieties I was wanting to cook with, and now I garden because I enjoy it (when I can find the time) because it’s rare now that I can’t get what I’m looking for, and often I have my choice of growers.
ALG grows in cycles, it seems. At first we were growers with excess produce looking for buyers, and as word spread we quickly became customers trying to beat each other to what was available. We’ve swung back and forth several time over the years, and now it looks like the growers finally have the upper hand, or have at least pulled even with the supply. Now, some growers are always favored and run out first, and some individual items are still in short supply, but in general you’ll be able to find what you need for the week. Soon enough, our growing customer base will again outstrip supply, and next season the existing growers will plant more, new growers will begin selling, and the race will begin anew.
On average, only 2% of the food purchases in the United States is for food grown in the area where it was bought. And on average, less than ten cents for every food dollar goes back to the farm where the food was grown. With Athens Locally Grown, of course nearly all of the food is grown here (the coffee is shipped directly from tropical farms) and 90 cents of every dollar goes right back to the grower. We’re still no where near being able to supply all of Athens with even a significant portion of their food, but with every new grower and every new customer, we’re a little bit closer. Thank you, and tell your friends about us and the other farmers markets around town!
Finally, a repeat from last week: Google and several other email providers have recently classified my weekly email as “junk” and routed it to the junk mail trash heap. I must have started sounded extra spammy or something. Remember that my email is just a reminder that the website is open, and you can order on Monday or Tuesday whether or not you actually got my email. It’s always sent from firstname.lastname@example.org, so you can add that address to your “not junk” filter, if you have such a thing. And, you can always read what I sent out right on the website itself, on the weblog page. You can even subscribe to an RSS feed, if you like to get your news that way.
As always, thank you all for your continued support of our local growers and local food. Without your business, the growers wouldn’t be here to supply this diversity, and we’d all be a lot worse off. We’ll see you on Thursday from 4:30 to 8pm at the old market on Broad Street!
Our fourth Farmer for a Day event is on Sunday, August 9th at Mills Farm in Athens. All of the slots have already been filled, but you can make reservations for our three other upcoming events by adding them to your order. Look in the “Event Reservations” category. Our make-up day for our first tour, rained out at Roots Farm, is coming up later in August, and then in September we’ll head over to the Johnston Family Farm to see their dairy (and sample some of that delicious chocolate milk, right off the tap), and then wind up the season at my place for our annual Hunter’s Moon Feast on October 3rd.
The Athens Farmers Market is held every Saturday morning at Bishop Park from 8am to noon. 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.
Also, Watkinsville has a thriving farmers market every Saturday morning, behind the Eagle Tavern. And further east, Comer has a nice little market Saturday mornings as well. Please support your local farmers and food producers, where ever you’re able to do so!