First off, let me thank you all for spreading yourselves out last week. We went from filling half the orders in the first 45 minutes to steady traffic throughout the entire three and a half hour window. You all couldn’t have done it any better if you’d signed up for specific five minute intervals, and Thursday ran more smoothly than it had in years. Thank you!
This past week, one of our members found a contest being sponsored by NBC and American Express, where they are trying to recognize an inspiring small business by giving it $100,000 in grants and support. It’s called “Shine a Light”, and here’s what they have to say:
Everyday small business are leading our country and their local communities to a new and better way of working and thinking. Through good times and bad, their resilience and entrepreneurial spirit can serve as an inspiration to us all. That’s why American Express, in partnership with NBC Universal, is inviting you to “shine a light” on a small business that you find inspiring. Has this business adopted an innovative approach to surviving tough times? Does it believe in a customer-first mentality? Does it give back to the community? We want to hear the story – in your words. Three Finalists will be selected by judges and one Winner will be selected from the three Finalists through user voting.
After a business gets nominated, it needs fifty people to register with the site and endorse the nomination. So, Athens Locally Grown was nominated, and just through word of mouth over the last few days, we’ve already received the fifty endorsements needed to get us in front of the judges. You can see the nomination here. And even though we’ve received the minimum number, I think it’d really help our odds and impress the judges if we had a lot more. It turns out the leader right now has 878, and the tenth place has only 328. This email is going out to about 2000 people, and if only a third of you also gave your endorsement, we’d be in a solid second. That’s feasible, isn’t it? And a lot of times contests like this just seem like another lottery with long odds, but I really think we’ve got a great shot at this one. They seem to be looking for groups just like us! If you’d like to endorse our nomination, you’ll first need to create an account here, and then click on the “Endorse Now” button on our nomination. The whole process should take less than five minutes. Nominations close on Saturday the 13th, so we have only this week to make an impression. I think we can do this!
Finally, every year I get questions about classes for beginning gardeners or for those who want to better expand their existing garden. Well, this Fall the Athens Area Master Gardener Association, Clarke County Cooperative Extension and Athens Tech are teaming up to provide a series of classes on vegetable gardening. There are 9 classes total with a different topic each night. Classes are Thursday nights beginning September 17th through November 12th and will be from 6:00-7:30pm at the Athens Tech campus. Each class is $15 each or you can register for the series at a reduced rate of $99. Topics include: Soils and Amending, Composting and Mulching, Starting seeds and transplants and seed saving, Spring gardening, Harvesting and Irrigation, Small Fruits, Winter gardening, Insects, diseases and weeds, and Preserving the harvest. To schedule classes, simply call Athens Technical College at 706-369-5763, or register online at athenstech.edu.
Without further ado, it’s time to get on to the food. There are a number of great heirloom varieties of peppers, eggplant, tomatoes, winter squash, sweet potatoes, and other things available this week, so you’ve got a great opportunity to experiment a little bit and try something that’s both rare and delicious.
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!
Our last Farmer for a Day event just happened this past Saturday over at the Johnston Family Farm where we saw their dairy (and sampled some of that delicious chocolate milk, right off the tap). We still have one more event on the schedule at my place: our annual Hunter’s Moon Feast on October 3rd. Spaces are limited, so be sure to make your free 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. Several of our growers also sell at the Hocshton
farmers market, also on Saturday mornings. Please support your local farmers and food producers, where ever you’re able to do so!