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Availability for August 20

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Athens Locally Grown
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Sweet Potato Pancakes

Serve these for breakfast or as a side dish. Small, even tiny, pancakes, topped with spicy pineapple salsa or something creative of your choosing, make ideal hors d’oeuvres. From Farmer John’s Cookbook: The Real Dirt On Vegetables

Makes about twenty 3 1/2- to 4-inch pancakes

6 medium sweet potatoes (about 2 pounds), peeled and grated
1 medium red onion, thinly sliced or finely chopped
1 cup all-purpose flour
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup vegetable oil

1. Combine the sweet potatoes and onion in a large bowl. Add the flour, eggs, and olive oil; mix well. Stir in the milk, salt, and pepper.
2. Heat the vegetable oil in a heavy skillet over medium heat. Test the heat by dropping a small amount of batter in the pan— if the oil immediately bubbles up around the batter, it has reached the proper temperature. Be careful not to let the oil overheat and smoke.
3. Using a ladle, 1/2 cup measuring cup, or large spoon, drop the pancake batter into the hot oil and then lightly press it into a pancake shape with a spatula. Cook until pancakes are golden brown on the bottom, about 5 minutes, then flip them and cook until brown on the other side, 5 minutes. Remove pancakes and drain on paper towels. Serve immediately or keep them warm in the oven.

Market News

I’m sure I’d wanted to write a nice long letter to you all this week, but I can’t for the life of me remember what I wanted to say. You see, my daughter had her first full week of kindergarten last week, and adjusting to the new household schedule has just been exhausting. I’d though the life of a farmer was tiring, but making sure the young’un gets on the bus at 6:55 seems to be more tiring still. I’ll adjust, I’m sure, but most nights I seem to wish that I had the same bedtime as her.

One thing I definitely wanted to mention is a yearly occurrence that always seems to catch people by surprise. I’m talking about the sudden drop in available produce in late August that just seems to come out of nowhere. You see, most years, the last two weeks of August are so hot and so humid that most of the traditional summer veggies just can’t bear fruit. They’ll flower as usual, but nothing happens after that. Tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, melons, squash… it seems to affect everything. Some years it’s not so bad (last year was one of those), but other years it seems like suddenly there’s nothing but okra to be had. I think that most of our growers have diversified their offerings enough that even in the worst heat there will be plenty of things to go around, but here’s your head’s up: there may not be for a couple weeks. It’s only temporary, and everything always recovers in early September, and keeps producing up until frost (mid-October around here).

We still have two Farmer for a Day events coming up and our annual fall party in October, including a visit to Roots Farm next Saturday. Seats to all three events are limited, so you’ll need to make reservations. Take a look under the “Events Reservations” category and add them along with your order. All three events are free, so you’ll just need to add yourselves to the list.

I’ve been asked a few times recently about the fate of the old state farmers market we’re using for our pickup location. The state has declared it surplus and still intends to sell it at auction. LUckily for us, they are moving exceedingly slow, and we are allowed to use it up until it does get sold. The closed bid auction is a 90 day process, so we should get at least that much notice before we have to leave. I’ve been looking around for other options, and there are a few at this point, but to be honest… none are as good as what we’ve got now. Still, I’m confident we’ll be able to make something work out for most everyone when the time does come.

Thanks so much for your support of Athens Locally Grown, all of our growers, and local food in general. You all are part of what makes Athens such a great area in which to live. We’ll see you on Thursday at the old state market on Broad Street from 4:30 to 8pm!

Coming Events

Our next Farmer for a Day event, a make-up day for our first tour, rained out at Roots Farm, is coming up on August 22nd. Most of the slots are filled, but look in the “Events Reservations” category to claim the last few slots. 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. Spaces for all are limited, so be sure to make your reservations along with your order!

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!

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!