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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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Availability for October 14


It’ll be just a quick “opening bell” email from me tonight. The biggest news of the week is that Athens Locally Grown has finally been approved to accept Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program EBT cards! I say “finally” because I’ve been trying for almost five years, as soon as the USDA approved EBT use at farmers markets, to get ALG accepted into the program. I could go on at length about the bureaucratic odyssey I’ve undergone, but the important thing is we have been accepted. We can’t yet accept EBT payments, however! We still have to get the accounts set up and the equipment in place. I’m hopeful that we’ll have everything we need by the time the Athens Farmers Market (both locations began accepting EBT payments this season) closes for the year next month. If I can make that happen, then there will be an uninterrupted opportunity for those needing EBT to obtain fresh, locally grown food. Athens Locally Grown is not yet part of the Wholesome Wave program (a non-profit that doubles the value of SNAP money spent at farmers markets), but I’ve enquired about becoming a part of it in 2011. I’ll keep you all informed!

Athens Locally Grown Hunter’s Moon Feast: October 23, Saturday, at Boann’s Banks (Royston, Franklin County)

“The October full moon has been known as the “Hunter’s Moon” for millennia, and was a time of feasting throughout the Northern hemisphere. We revive the notion here with a day of feasting at Boann’s Banks (the farm of Athens Locally Grown managers Chris and Eric Wagoner) on the banks of the Broad River outside Royston. It’ll be a low-key affair, without any farm work for you to do. Just good food and drink (Eric will prepare a variety of dishes using locally grown vegetables and locally raised meats, and perhaps brew an adult beverage. There’s also the likelihood of home-brewed beer, and the possibility of good live music. There’ll certainly be good company (all of you), and a river to splash in. There’s even some camping space, for those who really want to enjoy the moon. Come any time, but I’ll be aiming for 2pm to have the BBQ and other dishes ready. Stay as long as you’d like, even into Sunday. Nights are chilly, though, so bring a tent if you’re wanting to do that. There is no charge for Locally Grown members and their families. We do ask that you bring a dish to share, and if it’s made from Locally Grown ingredients, so much the better." You can make your reservations for the feast on the Market page of the website, under the Event Reservations category.

The Athens Farmers Market is held every Saturday morning at Bishop Park from 8am to noon and every Tuesday evening at Little Kings downtown. 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!

Availability for September 30


To Contact Us

Athens Locally Grown
athens.locallygrown.net
On Twitter: @athlocallygrown

Recipes

Bell Peppers Lemonly Dressed and Cumin-esque

This versatile recipe will add just the right amount of color to any dish in need of some visual pizzazz. What’s more, the lemony cumin in the peppers will pizzazzify the flavors on your plate. From Farmer John’s Cookbook: The Real Dirt On Vegetables

Serves 4

1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, divided
2 red or purple bell peppers, thinly sliced
2 green or yellow bell peppers, thinly sliced
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (about 1 large lemon)
2 tablespoons minced parsley
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon honey (optional)
1 clove garlic, minced (about 1/2 teaspoon) (optional)
1/4 cup finely chopped scallions or red onion
1/2 teaspoon salt
freshly ground black pepper

1. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the peppers; saute, stirring until slightly soft, about 3 minutes. Let cool.
2. Combine the remaining oil, lemon juice, parsley, cumin, honey, and garlic in a large jar. With the lid tightly screwed on, shake the jar vigorously until the oil and vinegar have combined and thickened.
3. Toss the peppers and scallions or red onion with the vinaigrette in a large bowl; add the salt and season with pepper to taste. Cover; refrigerate for 1 hour.

Market News

The big news this week is Athens Locally Grown is adding another payment method this week, one that has been asked for since we began nine years ago. Starting this Thursday, in addition to paying by cash or check, you will also be able to pay with your credit or debit card, so long as it has a Visa, Master Card, American Express, or Discover logo. There are a few things you should know first, however.

Most people have a vague awareness that merchants are charged fees in order to accept credit cards. There are typically equipment fees, monthly fees, monthly minimums, special merchant banks account fees, a per-swipe fee, and a percentage based fee, and often those fees vary by card type. On average, the fees all added up come to over 3% of your purchase price. The card companies have all kinds of statistics to show that sales increase when a merchants starts accepting cards, and so the merchant knows he can simply raise his prices by 2 to 3% for everyone, and then make up the fees in increased volume. For a medium to large business, that makes a lot of sense, but for small merchants with slim margins, it’s usually only something they do because they feel they have to.

A new company is trying to change all that, by offering a flat per-swipe fee of 2.75% plus 15 cents and eliminating everything else. This has the potential to be extremely disruptive to the entire industry, but the founder of the company, Square (http://www.squareup.com), has experience with that. He also founded Twitter. It took a while for them to convince the big banks to accept this simplified method of credit card processing, so even though we were first accepted into the program almost a year ago, it took until this week for everything to get turned on. We’re now good to go.

Athens Locally Grown has always been weird, as far as businesses go. We don’t run it in order to make money, and we keep our margins as close to zero as we can. We don’t set the prices at all, so the growers decide how to package and price their items. We charge them 10% of that price as a “table fee”, and that is largely how we cover the market’s expenses. Much of that goes to cover food credits for our team of volunteers, and the rest buys market equipment such as all the coolers, the tables, the shelving, the truck, and so forth. So, even a simple flat 3% credit card fee would suddenly eat up a full third of our operating budget. I’m not going to raise prices for everyone, nor will I increase the table fee for the growers, so that leaves one option for now: if you wish to pay with your credit or debit card, we’ll ask you to add a 3% gratuity to your payment. We’ll make that easy for you, if you find the convenience of plastic worth the added expense. If you wish to continue paying with cash or check, payments that cost us next to nothing to accept, we’ll gladly take that.

Another payment method that I’ve been trying to make available for years now is also getting closer: EBT. The Athens Farms Market began taking EBT this year, but we were still shut out because of our “weird” business model. After pushing all summer on this, though, we finally had our full application accepted by the USDA. They still need to approve it, though, and after that we’ll need to obtain the equipment, but we’re closer than ever. I’m hoping that by the time the Athens Farmers Market closes for the winter in November that we’ll be up and running with that, so families who rely upon EBT can still obtain fresh, locally grown food throughout the winter.

And speaking of winter, it looks like we’ll get our first real taste of cooler weather this week. Today’s rain has been wonderful (and so greatly needed), but I’m most happy about the string of 90+ degree days finally coming to an end. The heat has been great about keeping the summer vegetables going, but I won’t be that sad to see it go. These next few weeks, you’ll get to see the summer and fall veggie seasons overlap, and so you’ll get a greater than usual variety of foods to choose from. There are 117 types of peppers alone listed this week, but you’ll also find cabbages, lettuces, and other leafy greens. There are 26 types of beans, 16 of eggplant, and 17 of tomatoes. By the end of October, though, the frost will come, and all of them will be done until next year. Stock up now, and enjoy them all while we’ve got them!

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 Ben’s Bikes at the corner of Pope and Broad Streets from 4:30 to 8pm!

Coming Events

Georgia Organics “Field of Greens” Party

This don’t miss event is held every year at Whippoorwill Hollow Farm right down the road from Athens in Walnut Grove. This year’s event is shaping up to be the best ever. They’ll be having small-plate tastings of farm-fresh food creatively prepared by Atlanta and Athens’ most dedicated farm-to-table chefs, a kid’s learning and activity area, live music, and cooking demos. New this year, many of the Atlanta-area “street food” vendors will be present, so you’ll get a chance to see what the buzz is about. They’ll also have an organic market onsite where attendees can learn about sustainable living options, and purchase farm products, from 50 vendors. The event is being held on October 3 from 11am – 5pm. You can find more info about Field of Greens at their special website, http://www.fieldofgreensfestival.com/

Athens Locally Grown Hunter’s Moon Feast: October 23, Saturday, at Boann’s Banks (Royston, Franklin County)

“The October full moon has been known as the “Hunter’s Moon” for millennia, and was a time of feasting throughout the Northern hemisphere. We revive the notion here with a day of feasting at Boann’s Banks (the farm of Athens Locally Grown managers Chris and Eric Wagoner) on the banks of the Broad River outside Royston. It’ll be a low-key affair, without any farm work for you to do. Just good food and drink (Eric will prepare a variety of dishes using locally grown vegetables and locally raised meats, and perhaps brew an adult beverage. There’s also the likelihood of home-brewed beer, and the possibility of good live music. There’ll certainly be good company (all of you), and a river to splash in. There’s even some camping space, for those who really want to enjoy the moon. Come any time, but I’ll be aiming for 2pm to have the BBQ and other dishes ready. Stay as long as you’d like, even into Sunday. Nights are chilly, though, so bring a tent if you’re wanting to do that. There is no charge for Locally Grown members and their families. We do ask that you bring a dish to share, and if it’s made from Locally Grown ingredients, so much the better." You can make your reservations for the feast on the Market page of the website, under the Event Reservations category.

The Athens Farmers Market is held every Saturday morning at Bishop Park from 8am to noon and every Tuesday evening at Little Kings downtown. 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!

Availability for September 16


To Contact Us

Our Website: http://athens.locallygrown.net
On Twitter: @athlocallygrown
On Facebook: http://facebook.com/athenslocallygrown

Recipes

Roasted Red Pepper Soup

Served hot or cold, this soup is packed with a savory-sweet roasted pepper flavor that might have you skipping the main course and opting for a second bowl of soup instead. It’s preferable to use home-made roasted red bell peppers in this soup. From Farmer John’s Cookbook: The Real Dirt On Vegetables.

Serves 4 to 6

3 tablespoons butter
1 medium onion, chopped (about 1/2 cup)
1 small potato, quartered
2 to 3 cloves garlic, minced (1 to 1 1/2 teaspoons)
1 bay leaf
1 tablespoon fresh oregano or thyme, or 1/2 tablespoon dried, plus more for garnish
1 tablespoon tomato paste
4 large red bell peppers, roasted, skinned, chopped
2 teaspoons paprika
1 teaspoon salt
4 cups vegetable or chicken stock or water
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar or more to taste
freshly ground black pepper
salt
freshly grated Parmesan cheese croutons (optional)

1. Melt the butter in a soup pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion, potato, garlic, bay leaf, and herbs; sauté until potato and onion begin to brown, 8 to 10 minutes. Add the tomato paste and cook for 1 minute. Add the roasted peppers, paprika, and 1 teaspoon salt; cook for 30 seconds.
2. Pour in stock or water and scrape up any of the flavorful caramelized pieces stuck to the bottom of the pot. Bring the soup to a boil, then lower heat to a gentle simmer; cook, partially covered, for 30 minutes.
3. Purée soup in a blender or food processor or run it through a food mill. Return it to the pot and heat until warmed through. Add the balsamic vinegar and a few grindings of fresh black pepper. Taste; add salt if desired.
4. Garnish each serving with some Parmesan, a little fresh herb, and croutons if desired.

Coming Events

Athens Locally Grown Hunter’s Moon Feast: October 23, Saturday, at Boann’s Banks (Royston, Franklin County)

“The October full moon has been known as the “Hunter’s Moon” for millennia, and was a time of feasting throughout the Northern hemisphere. We revive the notion here with a day of feasting at Boann’s Banks (the farm of Athens Locally Grown managers Chris and Eric Wagoner) on the banks of the Broad River outside Royston. It’ll be a low-key affair, without any farm work for you to do. Just good food and drink (Eric will prepare a variety of dishes using locally grown vegetables and locally raised meats, and perhaps brew an adult beverage. There’s also the possibility of home-brewed beer, and the likelihood of good live music. There’ll certainly be good company (all of you), and a river to splash in. There’s even some camping space, for those who really want to enjoy the moon. Come any time, but I’ll be aiming for 2pm to have the BBQ and other dishes ready. Stay as long as you’d like, even into Sunday. Nights are chilly, though, so bring a tent if you’re wanting to do that. There is no charge for Locally Grown members and their families. We do ask that you bring a dish to share, and if it’s made from Locally Grown ingredients, so much the better." You can make your reservations for the feast on the Market page of the website, under the Event Reservations category.

The Athens Farmers Market is held every Saturday morning at Bishop Park from 8am to noon and every Tuesday evening at Little Kings downtown. 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.

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!

Market News

August and September bring many new people to Athens, and many new people to Athens Locally Grown, so I thought this week I’d give a brief primer on how ALG works. Those of you who have been with us during these last nine years probably already know all this, but I’ll try to keep it interesting for you too.

First off, ALG is best thought of like a traditional farmers market, because except for the lack of tents and tables, that’s very much how we operate. The growers are putting their own items up for sale directly to you, at prices and quantities they have set. The market volunteers and I are here to make sure it all happens smoothly, but the growers are all selling their products directly to you. GRowers do have to apply to sell through the market, and I personally approve each of them before they list their products. Here’s a summary of the standards we have set:

  • All growers must use sustainable practices and never use synthetic fertilizers or pesticides.
  • All growers can only sell what they themselves have grown
  • All growers must be from the greater Athens area. Right now, this means within about 75 miles
  • All animals raised for meat or eggs must be pastured
  • 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

When I’ve turned down requests to sell through ALG (and I have turned down many), the items clearly broke one or more of those standards. There are a few edge cases that I take on a case by case basis, such as coffee. In cases like that, we set the standards as strict as we can. With coffee, for example, the beans must be sustainably grown, they must be roasted locally, and the roaster must have a direct business relationship with the farm that grew the beans.

So, the growers list their available products and set their prices. For most all of the products, they do this before they’ve harvested the items, so they have to estimate how much they will actually have. They’ve gotten pretty good at this guess, but it is a guess, and the unpredictable nature of farming means they may have far less than they thought (thanks to deer, a hail storm, etc.) or they may have far more than they thought (a nice rain can double the growth of lettuce overnight, for example). Most of them are conservative with their estimates, and so they let you continue to order, even if they’ve already sold more than they guessed they’d have. That’s why popular items may have a quantity in the negatives when you look at the listings. The system will still let you order, on the chance that they’ll actually have enough, but you’ll get warnings along the way that you’re taking a gamble.

I do not collect items from the farm, and do not know myself until Thursday afternoon what the growers were able to harvest and bring in to town. The growers do have each other’s contact information, so if one grower is short and another has a surplus, they may arrange with each other to get all the orders filled, but in general, if a grower cannot fill an order for something, they’ll remove that ordered item, and you’ll see a comment on your invoice indicating that. Since i’m not a middle-man, I can’t arrange for substitutions myself.

When the growers bring in the items you ordered on Thursday afternoon, packaged and labelled with your name, I pay them on your behalf out of our shared cash box during the hour before we open the market. Then, you arrive and pay into the cashbox for your order. We then rush to the bank to deposit the money to cover the checks we just wrote to the growers. 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 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.

For a number of legal reasons, ALG never takes possession of your ordered items. We don’t buy them from the growers and resell them to you, nor do we repackage them in any way. The growers drop off your items for you, and you arrive and pick them up. The market volunteers facilitate that happening. Because of the need to maintain that separation, we cannot deliver, nor can we generally hold your items later than 8pm on Thursday if you fail to come pick them up. 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 our volunteers, and then we finish loading up the truck and leave. There 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.

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 usually seems there are several things sitting there that were in high demand that week.

Finally, we have recently switched to a paperless system, so we do not have paper receipts for you when you pick up your order. An electronic receipt is generated, though, and can be found on the website. Go to the “Your Account” page, view your order history, and you’ll see an invoice for each order. By 2pm on Thursday, it will show what we expect to have for you that evening. After we fill your order, it will show exactly what we packed for you, and what, if anything, was missing. You can view that at any time, even years from now. If we didn’t get you something we should have, or if anything you got was of unacceptable quality, please contact me ASAP. I’ll share the problem with the grower so we can insure it won’t happen again. If you’re logged into the site, most of the growers have their contact info on their profile page (off the “Our Growers” page), so you can contact them directly if you choose.

So, that’s ALG in a nutshell. If you have any questions, concerns, complaints, or even complements, please send them my way!

Thanks so much for your support of Athens Locally Grown and everything we’ve tried to accomplish. With your help, we’ve been able to build something truly great and inspirational to people all across the country, more than you could know. Thank you also for your support of 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!

Availability for September 2


To Contact Us

Our Website: http://athens.locallygrown.net
On Twitter: @athlocallygrown
On Facebook: http://facebook.com/athenslocallygrown

Recipes

Sweet Potato Pancakes

Serve these for breakfast or as a side dish. Small, even tiny, pan- cakes, 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

It was back-to-school week at my house this past week. I think adjusting to the new daily routine is harder on my than my daughter, but we’re getting there. It’s a little extra challenging this year, since the Franklin County school system is doing something novel to save some money. By starting school ten minutes earlier and ending a half hour later each day, they were able to shave two whole weeks off the school year. Unfortunately, that means we need to leave the house to meet the bus at 6:30 in the morning, and she gets less than three hours at home in the evening before bedtime. So, it’s more important than ever that meals are quick to prepare, nutrient dense, and her breakfasts need to be substantial enough to get her through lunch, yet easy enough for me to prepare while half asleep (and for her to eat while half asleep). And of course there’s the matter of lunch. Her school is typical of the American school lunch, and so most of the time she takes her own, which I make for her in the morning.

I feel really lucky to have ingredients purchased through Athens Locally Grown to help make my job easier. Breads made from multiple freshly milled grains make great breakfast toast. She likes hers with cinnamon, so I’ve been able to have the jars of wonderful strawberry jam I made early this summer all to myself. Eggs laid by chickens that have been able to forage for bugs and greens produce eggs I can trust. As the mornings turn cooler, we’ll have porridge and grits milled by ALG’s two mills. We can even get kid-friendly items like hotdogs, chicken drumsticks, yogurt, and fruit. She’s a typical kid when it comes to vegetables, but of course there’s enough variety available at ALG that she’s got plenty of new things to try.

We still mix in a few “kid foods”. For instance, there’s a fruity loop cereal we’ve found that is decent, and she’s no stranger to the powdered cheese packet. But I can relax knowing that she’s getting a mix of foods, mostly locally sourced, that is both good for her and filling enough to get her through the challenging daily schedule of a six year old. And really, I have no idea how I’d do it without all the growers supplying such a great variety of products through Athens Locally Grown.

I hope you’re finding our market to be just as useful a resource for your household. There are literally hundreds of people working to supply the market. Just as I’ve become dependent on them, they are all dependent on us as customers. It’s a virtuous cycle, a race to the top, where we all come out winners.

Thanks so much for your support of Athens Locally Grown and everything we’ve tried to accomplish. With your help, we’ve been able to build something truly great and inspirational to people all across the country, more than you could know. Thank you also for your support of 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!

Coming Events

Farmer for a Day: September 4, Saturday, at Burnell Farm (Hart County)

“Certified Naturally Grown. We are a produce farm in Royston, Ga. One of are goals is to supply our local community with vegetables grown with no herbicides, chemicals are pesticides. We also raise chickens (Cornish X Rocks) and Rainbow Layers using the same standards as we do with our vegetables. We like to say our birds are DRUG free. We currently farm 9 acres and we have a greenhouse and use raised beds. We also have a 91/2 acre pond.” There are slots still available for both our September Farmer for a Day event, and you can find more details on the Market page of the website, under the Event Reservations category.

Athens Locally Grown Hunter’s Moon Feast: October 23, Saturday, at Boann’s Banks (Royston, Franklin County)

“The October full moon has been known as the “Hunter’s Moon” for millennia, and was a time of feasting throughout the Northern hemisphere. We revive the notion here with a day of feasting at Boann’s Banks (the farm of Athens Locally Grown managers Chris and Eric Wagoner) on the banks of the Broad River outside Royston. It’ll be a low-key affair, without any farm work for you to do. Just good food and drink (Eric will prepare a variety of dishes using locally grown vegetables and locally raised meats, and perhaps brew an adult beverage. There’s also the possibility of home-brewed beer, and the likelihood of good live music. There’ll certainly be good company (all of you), and a river to splash in. There’s even some camping space, for those who really want to enjoy the moon. Come any time, but I’ll be aiming for 2pm to have the BBQ and other dishes ready. Stay as long as you’d like, even into Sunday. Nights are chilly, though, so bring a tent if you’re wanting to do that. There is no charge for Locally Grown members and their families. We do ask that you bring a dish to share, and if it’s made from Locally Grown ingredients, so much the better." You can make your reservations for the feast on the Market page of the website, under the Event Reservations category.

The Athens Farmers Market is held every Saturday morning at Bishop Park from 8am to noon and every Tuesday evening at Little Kings downtown. 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.

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!

Availability for August 19


This week’s newsletter comes from Branson, Missouri. We’re there visiting my family, trying to get one last road trip in before Vivian’s school starts back up. If we time things right, we’ll be rolling back into town just in time for “open house” in her 1st grade classroom.

Having a school-aged child changed a lot of things, as you’d expect, but one thing I didn’t think about was how it would effect my garden. I work in town during the day, so evenings and weekends are my gardening times. Now, there’s always a choice: take care of the weeds or fit in one more trip to the museum (or wherever) before the summer’s over. You don’t even need to see the jungle my garden’s become to guess which option won out most very time.

That’s ok, though, because we have so many growers here at Athens Locally Grown who have been more diligent than I. There are nearly 900 products listed, which is fantastic for mid-August. Right about now, the heat really takes its toll on most everything growing, and the flowers on the plants just refuse to set fruit. Some years, there’s not much of anything other than okra available until things cool off again the first week of September. The last couple years have been better, between the weather cooperating a bit and our growers compensating with variety as best they can. I don’t know what this year will bring, but if you see a lull in a week or two, don’t’ despair. It’ll only be temporary.

One news item before I open market (again I let the time zones trip me up, and I don’t have a full newsletter with recipes and pictures ready to go):

Three celebrated Atlanta chefs will visit Athens to lead a panel discussion on the “Chefs Move to Schools” initiative. Chefs Virginia Willis, Mary Moore, and Amy Ponzoli will lead a panel discussion of the “Chefs Move to Schools” initiative. The three Atlanta chefs recently traveled to the White House for the launch of “Let’s Move!”—First Lady Michelle Obama’s campaign to end childhood obesity. The panel discussion will occur at 7 PM between showings of the movie “What’s On Your Plate” at Cine on Monday, August 23, 2010. This event is sponsored by Athens-Clarke County Green Schools, Ecofocus, and Athens Slow Food. Light bites will be provided by the National. Admission is a $5 suggested donation to the ACC’s Green Schools program to support school gardens. “Chefs move to schools” calls on chefs and food professionals to get involved in adopting a school to help educate kids about food origins, growing techniques, harvesting, nutrition, and preparing and enjoying healthy meals. The chefs partner with teachers, school nutritionists, food service workers, parents, community leaders, school administrators, and food manufacturers to meet dietary guidelines and budgets and revolutionize school food service. “What’s On Your Plate” was filmed over the course of a year and follows two 11-year-old multi-racial city kids as they explore their place in the food chain. Sadie and Safiyah take a close look at food systems in New York City and its surrounding areas. With the camera as their companion, the girls talk to food activists, farmers, new friends, storekeepers, their families, the viewer and each other, in their quest to understand what’s on all of our plates. This film will also be shown in Athens schools during the Ecofocus film festival and will then become a part of the ACC Green School’s library and will be available, along with the companion curriculum, for teacher use. The film will be shown once at 5 p.m. and again at 8 p.m.

Thanks again for all your support of all of our growers, local food, and our rights to eat it. We’ll see you on Thursday at Ben’s Bikes at the corner of Pope and Broad Streets from 4:30 to 8pm!

Availability for August 12


To Contact Us

Our Website: http://athens.locallygrown.net
On Twitter: @athlocallygrown
On Facebook: http://facebook.com/athenslocallygrown

Recipes

Fried Okra and Potatoes

Frying Okra and Potatoes together gives a real taste treat. From www.africhef.com.

Serves 4 to 6

1 lb young Okra pods
2 large potatoes
1 Onion
1/2 cup cornmeal
1 tbsp Salt.
2 pints ice water
oil for frying
salt and pepper for seasoning, to taste

1. Top and tail the Okra pods (cut off the ends). Cut the pods into approximately 1/4 inch rounds. Peel and dice the potatoes into 1/2 inch pieces. Peel the onions and chop finely.
2. Place the sliced Okra into a glass or stainless steel bowl and sprinkle the salt liberally over the pods. Cover the pods with the iced water, making sure that all the slices are under water. Place the bowl containing the Okra and water in a refrigerator and leave for 2 or more hours.
3. Remove the bowl from the refrigerator and drain off the salt water. Place the Okra in a bowl and add the potatoes and chopped onion. Season the cornmeal with the salt and pepper. Place the sliced Okra potato and onion mixture together with the seasoned cornmeal in a large plastic bag and shake until the vegetables are well coated with the cornmeal.
4. Heat some oil (1/2 inch deep) in a frying pan until it begins to shimmer. Place the vegetables in the pan and fry until the potatoes are done and the mixture has browned nicely. Remove the Okra and potato mixture from the oil, using a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Serve hot as a side dish

Coming Events

Farmer for a Day: September 4, Saturday, at Burnell Farm (Hart County)

“Certified Naturally Grown. We are a produce farm in Royston, Ga. One of are goals is to supply our local community with vegetables grown with no herbicides, chemicals are pesticides. We also raise chickens (Cornish X Rocks) and Rainbow Layers using the same standards as we do with our vegetables. We like to say our birds are DRUG free. We currently farm 9 acres and we have a greenhouse and use raised beds. We also have a 91/2 acre pond.” There are slots still available for both our September Farmer for a Day event, and you can find more details on the Market page of the website, under the Event Reservations category.

Athens Locally Grown Hunter’s Moon Feast: October 23, Saturday, at Boann’s Banks (Royston, Franklin County)

“The October full moon has been known as the “Hunter’s Moon” for millennia, and was a time of feasting throughout the Northern hemisphere. We revive the notion here with a day of feasting at Boann’s Banks (the farm of Athens Locally Grown managers Chris and Eric Wagoner) on the banks of the Broad River outside Royston. It’ll be a low-key affair, without any farm work for you to do. Just good food and drink (Eric will prepare a variety of dishes using locally grown vegetables and locally raised meats, and perhaps brew an adult beverage. There’s also the possibility of home-brewed beer, and the likelihood of good live music. There’ll certainly be good company (all of you), and a river to splash in. There’s even some camping space, for those who really want to enjoy the moon. Come any time, but I’ll be aiming for 2pm to have the BBQ and other dishes ready. Stay as long as you’d like, even into Sunday. Nights are chilly, though, so bring a tent if you’re wanting to do that. There is no charge for Locally Grown members and their families. We do ask that you bring a dish to share, and if it’s made from Locally Grown ingredients, so much the better." You can make your reservations for the feast on the Market page of the website, under the Event Reservations category.

The Athens Farmers Market is held every Saturday morning at Bishop Park from 8am to noon and every Tuesday evening at Little Kings downtown. 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.

Please support your local farmers and food producers, where ever you’re able to do so!

Market News

Last week’s all-paperless order pickup went really smoothly. I can’t begin to tell you how great it felt to not print out the giant stack of paper, as we had every week for the past nine years. I’ve long had a vision of being able to coordinate the food from getting from the growers to you all without the paperwork, but it took this long for technology to be both available and affordable. Being able to work directly off the website live as we fill orders also greatly cuts down on the “back office” work. As you might imagine, the logistics behind getting the right items from the growers to the the right customer while getting the right amount of money from the customer back to the growers, all while accounting for missing items, packing mistakes, and so forth, is quite daunting. It all just got considerably easier, though, which is good news for everyone.

Now that that project is mostly behind me, I’d like to turn my efforts to another thing that’s been bothering me (and some of you, too): all the little plastic bags that get used to package most of the items going out to you all. It’s a tricky problem, for a number of reasons:

  • The items must be pre-packaged by the grower, because we are not licensed as food handlers, nor do we have the facilities to re-package anything
  • Paper bags are still environmentally costly to make, and having a bunch of paper bags all the same, even with our stickers on them, makes it very hard to find the right items as we fill orders
  • Plastic produce bags are both inexpensive and readily available, so whatever replaces them must be as well

There are a lot of specifics wrapped up in those general statements, but you get the idea. It turns out, though, that again technology has found an answer, and it’s very close to being affordable as well. There is a new 100% compostable produce bag being made by BioBag that contains no GMO starches, and composts back into soil (not CO2 gas, like many compostable plastics do). It’s even nearly transparent, so it won’t slow up order packing. I can get almost a year’s supply delivered to us for about $6000, which comes out to about 6 cents a bag. If we got an outside funding source, I could give them out to the growers and require them to use the bags to pack their produce, eliminating almost all of the plastic that goes out (the meat and dairy can’t use these bags). If we got about half of it paid for from outside sources, I could offer them to the growers at half price, which would be in line with what they’re paying now for plastic.

So, that’s what it comes down to: $6000 to eliminate almost all of the plastic used by the growers at our market for a year. Sounds like a great deal, and if I (or the market) had the cash, I’d order the delivery today. But I don’t, so I’ll need to see if there is any funding sources around that would sponsor something like this for us. If you have any ideas, let me know.

Another long-standing project I’ve been working on is accepting EBT (“food stamps”) at our market. Several of you have asked about this, and unfortunately, these days EBT is the only way a growing number of families can put food on the table. The Athens Farmers Market, both the Saturday and Tuesday versions, started accepting EBT this year. Athens Locally Grown, though, does not. The biggest problem is the EBT program is extremely bureaucratic. The rules in place are rather straightforward, but are also very rigid. ALG is a new kind of business, not quite a farmers market and not quite a grocery store, and so we don’t really fit in any of the boxes. It also requires approval at the Federal, the state, and the local levels, and at each I’ve gotten “wait, you do what now?” as responses. It’s been a little dangerous. It seems regulatory authorities, at any level, have a universal response to something they’ve never seen before: “You can’t do that.” If I’m not careful, it’s not out of the question that ALG itself would get shut down for a while while we run around assuring people we’re not doing something we’re not supposed to be doing. I’m still progressing, though, and have hope that in the near future we’ll be able to accept EBT.

Just a reminder: due to some logistical conflicts, both Split Creek Farm has gone to an every-other-week schedule through the end of August. They’re here this week, but will be gone again next week.

We’ve re-instated our regular “Meet the Grower” table during the Thursday pickups. This week the table will be hosted by Tim & Liz Young from Nature’s Harmony Farm. They’ll be talking about their farming practices and cheese making, so be sure to stop by and say hello while you’re waiting for us to put your order together. They’d love to meet you!

Thanks so much for your support of Athens Locally Grown and everything we’ve tried to accomplish. With you’re help, we’ve been able to build something truly great and inspirational to people all across the country, more than you could know. Thank you also for your support of 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!

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!

Availability for August 5


To Contact Us

Our Website: http://athens.locallygrown.net
On Twitter: @athlocallygrown
On Facebook: http://facebook.com/athenslocallygrown

Recipes

Baked Zucchini Halves Stuffed with Wild Rice and Quinoa

In this hearty recipe the classic combination of onion, celery, and cheese give plenty of robust flavor to the mixed grains, while zucchini provides the perfect juicy-firm base. This satisfying dish is an excellent accompaniment to roasted chicken or grilled fish. From Farmer John’s Cookbook: The Real Dirt On Vegetables.

Serves 4 to 6

1 large zucchini, halved lengthwise
1 1/2 cups cooked quinoa
1/2 cup cooked wild rice
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese (about 3/4 ounce)
1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil
1/2 cup chopped onion (about 1 medium onion)
1 rib celery, chopped
3/4 cup fresh bread crumbs
1 teaspoon salt
butter (optional)

1. Preheat the oven to 350 F.
2. Cut out the center from each half of the zucchini with a paring knife, being careful not to puncture the bottom or the sides; reserve the centers. Transfer the hollow halves, cut-side up, to a baking dish.
3. Coarsely chop the zucchini centers and put them in a large bowl. Add the quinoa, wild rice, and Parmesan. Stir until well combined.
4. Heat the oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and celery; cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Stir in the bread crumbs and salt. Continue to cook, stirring constantly, until the bread crumbs are well mixed in and heated through, about 1 minute.
5. Add the bread crumb mixture to the quinoa/rice mixture and combine well.
6. Stuff hollow zucchini halves with the quinoa/rice mixture. Cover with aluminum foil; bake for 40 minutes.
7. Remove the foil. If you wish, dot each half with a pat of butter. Continue baking until zucchini is very tender and the filling is gold- en brown, 10 to 20 minutes. Serve warm.

Coming Events

Farmer for a Day: August 7, Saturday, at Flatwoods Farm (Elbert County)

USDA Certified Organic. We are located in the Flatwoods area of south Elbert County. One of the goals of local sustainable agriculture is to grow crops befitting the culture, the land and the nature of a given area. We specialize in growing organic fruits and vegetables that are best suited for the consumers, retail outlets, markets and restaurants of northeast Georgia and the surrounding area. We concentrate when possible on producing heirloom varieties and raise all our crops in the ground, no hydroponics or container produce.” There are slots still available for both our August and September Farmer for a Day events, and you can find more details on all of them on the Market page of the website, under the Event Reservations category.

Athens Locally Grown Hunter’s Moon Feast: October 23, Saturday, at Boann’s Banks (Royston, Franklin County)

“The October full moon has been known as the “Hunter’s Moon” for millennia, and was a time of feasting throughout the Northern hemisphere. We revive the notion here with a day of feasting at Boann’s Banks (the farm of Athens Locally Grown managers Chris and Eric Wagoner) on the banks of the Broad River outside Royston. It’ll be a low-key affair, without any farm work for you to do. Just good food and drink (Eric will prepare a variety of dishes using locally grown vegetables and locally raised meats, and perhaps brew an adult beverage. There’s also the possibility of home-brewed beer, and the likelihood of good live music. There’ll certainly be good company (all of you), and a river to splash in. There’s even some camping space, for those who really want to enjoy the moon. Come any time, but I’ll be aiming for 2pm to have the BBQ and other dishes ready. Stay as long as you’d like, even into Sunday. Nights are chilly, though, so bring a tent if you’re wanting to do that. There is no charge for Locally Grown members and their families. We do ask that you bring a dish to share, and if it’s made from Locally Grown ingredients, so much the better." You can make your reservations for the feast on the Market page of the website, under the Event Reservations category.

The Athens Farmers Market is held every Saturday morning at Bishop Park from 8am to noon and every Tuesday evening at Little Kings downtown. 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.

Please support your local farmers and food producers, where ever you’re able to do so!

Market News

Last week I gave you a heads up about the paperwork we’ve been printing out each week, and this week it’s official: starting this week, Athens Locally Grown pickups will be completely paperless. In case you missed it last week, I’ll just repeat everything here (if you read last week’s email, skip down below the pictures):

I’ve been working over the past several months on an electronic system that our volunteers can use to fill orders so we wouldn’t have to print so much paper. During our last record week, back in early May, we printed almost 750 pages, all of which we sent straight to the recycling bin at the end of the day. We’ve been doing that week in, week out for years, and it added up to far more paper than I even want to think about. Not only did we print your invoices, which we used to pack the order, but we also had a condensed version of them all for the payment table and another report with much of the same information we used to check in the growers.

The folks at Ben’s Bikes let us use their internet service, so the first thing I did was add a grower check-in system to the website’s back end. Then, using some iPads that I borrowed (and one the market bought), we were able to get the payment table using the website as well. In the process, we were able to add a second cashier, eliminating our biggest bottleneck. We were donated some old iPhones to help us test filling the orders electronically, and that has worked really well. I found a great deal on some refurbished iPod Touches a couple weeks ago, and so now we’ll be able to go 100% paperless. It’s a huge relief for me to get us to that point. I just hated to see all that paper going into the recycle bin every single week.

So, what does that mean for you? First of all, we won’t have a paper receipt for you take home with you. Few of you asked for it, but I know for those of you who did it was very important. Those invoices have always been available to you on the website, and they will still be there. These are the exact same things we printed out Thursday afternoon. You’ll find them on the Your Account page of the site, under “Your Order History”. There, you’ll see you can generate an invoice for every order you’ve ever placed. The growers are adjusting orders throughout the week to account for things they couldn’t fill, but they are done by 2pm on Thursday. Any time after that, your invoice is pretty much final, and reflect what we expect you to get when you arrive that afternoon. You can view or print that any time you need to.

There are occasionally adjustments we need to make on the spot, however, so that’s the second thing. Since our volunteers will be filling your order electronically, and since the cashiers will be seeing that same information, we’re going to ask that you not pay until after you’ve received your items. That way, if we need to make any adjustments on the spot (usually either due to the grower accidentally leaving something out or us making a mistake getting the right items to the right people), the cashiers will already have that info on their screen when they give you your total. Paying first, then getting your items, and then making refunds/credits has been a bit confusing for everyone.

Another exciting development this week is the arrival of aged raw milk cheeses from Greendale Farm. With them and Nature’s Harmony Farm, our community now has two sources for traditional raw milk cheeses, both made from milk from their own pastured cows. Add to that Split Creek Farm’s goat milk cheeses from up the road in South Carolina and the various products from AtlantaFresh Artisan Creamery (made with Johnston Family Farm’s milk), we’ve gone from having nothing available a year ago to suddenly having a range of locally made dairy products that would make even a town in Wisconsin or Vermont proud. And not one of them is made using milk from confined, grain fed cows. Even if you’re not as big a fan of traditional cheese as I am, it’s still a fantastic thing for our community.

We’ve got two more “Farmer for a Day” events scheduled for the summer, with the next one this coming Saturday. There are still plenty of slots open, and you can find more details over on the sidebar to the left, and on the website.

Due to some logistical conflicts, both Split Creek Farm and Mac’s Eggs will be going to an every-other-week schedule through the end of August. This is an off-week for them, so they’ll return next week.

We’ve re-instated our regular “Meet the Grower” table during the Thursday pickups. There’s not currently a grower signed up for this week, but I hope to have the table claimed by Thursday.

I feel like I’m forgetting something, but can’t for the life of me figure out what it is. Might as well open the market, then. Thanks so much for your support of Athens Locally Grown and everything we’ve tried to accomplish. With you’re help, we’ve been able to build something truly great and inspirational to people all across the country, more than you could know. Thank you also for your support of 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!

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!

Availability for July 29


To Contact Us

Our Website: http://athens.locallygrown.net
On Twitter: @athlocallygrown
On Facebook: http://facebook.com/athenslocallygrown

Recipes

Broiled Eggplant with Crunchy Parmesan Crust

This is such an easy way to make a crunchy-crusted eggplant appetizer that you may even feel guilty about the raves it receives. Top with tomato sauce for an extra layer of flavor. From Farmer John’s Cookbook: The Real Dirt On Vegetables.

oil for greasing the baking sheet
mayonnaise
eggplant, cut into 1/4-inch slices
freshly grated Parmesan cheese (about 1/2 cup)

1. Preheat the broiler. Lightly oil a baking sheet.
2. Spread mayonnaise sparingly on both sides of each eggplant slice, then dip the slices in the grated Parmesan cheese, thoroughly coating both sides.
3. Arrange the slices in a single layer on the oiled baking sheet and place under the broiler until golden brown, about 3 minutes. Flip the slices and broil until golden brown and crunchy on top and the eggplant is soft, about 3 minutes more

Coming Events

Farmer for a Day: August 7, Saturday, at Flatwoods Farm (Elbert County)

USDA Certified Organic. We are located in the Flatwoods area of south Elbert County. One of the goals of local sustainable agriculture is to grow crops befitting the culture, the land and the nature of a given area. We specialize in growing organic fruits and vegetables that are best suited for the consumers, retail outlets, markets and restaurants of northeast Georgia and the surrounding area. We concentrate when possible on producing heirloom varieties and raise all our crops in the ground, no hydroponics or container produce.” There are slots still available for both our August and September Farmer for a Day events, and you can find more details on all of them on the Market page of the website, under the Event Reservations category.

Athens Locally Grown Hunter’s Moon Feast: October 23, Saturday, at Boann’s Banks (Royston, Franklin County)

“The October full moon has been known as the “Hunter’s Moon” for millennia, and was a time of feasting throughout the Northern hemisphere. We revive the notion here with a day of feasting at Boann’s Banks (the farm of Athens Locally Grown managers Chris and Eric Wagoner) on the banks of the Broad River outside Royston. It’ll be a low-key affair, without any farm work for you to do. Just good food and drink (Eric will prepare a variety of dishes using locally grown vegetables and locally raised meats, and perhaps brew an adult beverage. There’s also the possibility of home-brewed beer, and the likelihood of good live music. There’ll certainly be good company (all of you), and a river to splash in. There’s even some camping space, for those who really want to enjoy the moon. Come any time, but I’ll be aiming for 2pm to have the BBQ and other dishes ready. Stay as long as you’d like, even into Sunday. Nights are chilly, though, so bring a tent if you’re wanting to do that. There is no charge for Locally Grown members and their families. We do ask that you bring a dish to share, and if it’s made from Locally Grown ingredients, so much the better." You can make your reservations for the feast on the Market page of the website, under the Event Reservations category.

The Athens Farmers Market is held every Saturday morning at Bishop Park from 8am to noon and every Tuesday evening at Little Kings downtown. 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.

Please support your local farmers and food producers, where ever you’re able to do so!

Market News

First off this week I wanted to give you a heads up about the paperwork we’ve been printing out each week. I’ve been working over the past several months on an electronic system that our volunteers can use to fill orders so we wouldn’t have to print so much paper. During our last record week, back in early May, we printed almost 750 pages, all of which we sent straight to the recycling bin at the end of the day. We’ve been doing that week in, week out for years, and it added up to far more paper than I even want to think about. Not only did we print your invoices, which we used to pack the order, but we also had a condensed version of them all for the payment table and another report with much of the same information we used to check in the growers.

The folks at Ben’s Bikes let us use their internet service, so the first thing I did was add a grower check-in system to the website’s back end. Then, using some iPads that I borrowed (and one the market bought), we were able to get the payment table using the website as well. In the process, we were able to add a second cashier, eliminating our biggest bottleneck. We were donated some old iPhones to help us test filling the orders electronically, and that has worked really well. I found a great deal on some refurbished iPod Touches a couple days ago, so when those arrive we’ll be able to go 100% paperless. It’s a huge relief for me to get us to that point. I just hated to see all that paper going into the recycle bin every single week.

So, what does that mean for you? First of all, we won’t have a paper receipt for you take home with you. FEw of you asked for it, but I know for those of you who did it was very important. Those invoices have always been available to you on the website, and they will still be there. These are the exact same things we printed out Thursday afternoon. You’ll find them on the Your Account page of the site, under “Your Order History”. There, you’ll see you can generate an invoice for every order you’ve ever placed. The growers are adjusting orders throughout the week to account for things they couldn’t fill, but they are done by 2pm on Thursday. Any time after that, your invoice is pretty much final, and reflect what we expect you to get when you arrive that afternoon. You can view or print that any time you need to.

There are occasionally adjustments we need to make on the spot, however, so that’s the second thing. Since our volunteers will be filling your order electronically, and since the cashiers will be seeing that same information, we’re going to ask that you not pay until after you’ve received your items. That way, if we need to make any adjustments on the spot (usually either due to the grower accidentally leaving something out or us making a mistake getting the right items to the right people), the cashiers will already have that info on their screen when they give you your total. Paying first, then getting your items, and then making refunds/credits has been a bit confusing for everyone.

We’ll still have the paperwork for another week or two, but it will soon be a thing of the past.

The two week long “Taste Your Place” celebration of Athens’ thriving local food system organized by P.L.A.C.E. culminated yesterday with the awarding of the Athens Local Food Awards. The Athens Local Food Awards are an acknowledgement of those who are working hard to create a strong, accessible local food culture in Athens. The awards are presented in four categories.

The first award is the “Excellence on the Farm” Award. We love all the farms we have around Athens. But for this category we want to acknowledge the farms that go the extra mile by raising the standard of farms in our area, reaching out to individuals to teach them about farming, and/or developing innovative farming techniques or business models.

The 2010 Excellence on the Farm Award was presented to Backyard Harvest. Backyard Harvest has been providing Athens with sustainably grown produce on an 18 acre farm in Oglethrope County since 1995. Boo and Becky have over 25 years farming experience between them and have been mentors to many a local farmer. Anyone who knows local food in Athens knows Boo.

The second award is the “Excellence in Education” Award. All educators work hard balancing teaching requirements with the individual needs of their students. Below is a short list of educators who have caught out attention as seeing the need to get their students outside of the standard classroom environment to learn about protecting our natural world, serving our community, and growing food. If you know of an educator who should be on this list, please write in their name to cast a vote for them.

The 2010 Excellence in Education Award was presented to David Berle. Berle is a UGA Horticulturalist who brings a wealth of knowledge to his classroom from his experiences as a county extension agent, nursery grower, landscape contractor and horticulturist for both the State Botanical Garden of Georgia and the UGA Grounds Department.

The third award is the “Excellence in Business” Award. With the local food scene booming in Athens, a few local businesses have helped raised the awareness of local food and/or increased the availability of local food to the Athens community.

The 2010 Excellence in Business Award was presented to Daily Groceries Co-op. Open to all, this Athens staple helps shoppers looking to buy high-quality, organic groceries, produce, supplements and lots more since 1992. Daily tries to keep locally grown goods stocked when possible but always lets you know where their food is coming from.

The final award is the “Excellence in Advocacy” Award. Building a local food culture requires the dedication of many people working hard at many levels. The individuals below are a few of the early advocates and movers-and-shakers of Athens burgeoning local food scene.

The 2010 Excellence in Advocacy Award was presented to Hugh Acheson. Hugh cooks contemporary American soul food as executive chef at Five & Ten in Athens, Georgia. In 2004 he also opened Gosford Wine, and in August 2007 he added the National, a restaurant serving a Mediterranean menu. Hugh is one of the local food pioneers in Athens, supporting local farmers who showed up on his doorstep looking to sell produce and serving local food to his customer, before almost anyone else in Athens.

It is important to state that the Athens Local Food Awards are not a competition. There is no best farm, educator, business, or advocate. The vibrant local food scene that Athens enjoys today is due to countless people working on many levels over the course of many years. It is impossible to recognize everyone, but we feel that it is important to create a space where we can recognize a few outstanding individuals each year.

In other news, several of you noticed the return of raw milk to Athens Locally Grown last week. No, we haven’t yet won our lawsuit against the FDA. Gooneybush Dairy is an Athens (very) small goat dairy, licensed by the state of Georgia to sell raw milk for pet food. So, if your pets have been needing raw goat’s milk from a good, clean local source, you can now order that through Athens Locally Grown.

Due to some logistical conflicts, both Split Creek Farm and Mac’s Eggs will be going to an every-other-week schedule through the end of August. They are listing this week, so if you’re a regular customer of either farm, get two week’s worth now, because they’ll be unavailable again next week.

We’ve re-instated our regular “Meet the Grower” table during the Thursday pickups. This week Blackbriar Farm will be manning the table. Blackbriar sells an eclectic mix of products including dog treats, worm composting bins, fruitfly traps, firewood, and other products made or grown on their farm. While you’re waiting for us to fill your order, step up to the table and say hi!

Thanks so much for your support of Athens Locally Grown and everything we’ve tried to accomplish. With you’re help, we’ve been able to build something truly great and inspirational to people all across the country, more than you could know. Thank you also for your support of 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!

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!

Availability for July 22


To Contact Us

Our Website: http://athens.locallygrown.net
On Twitter: @athlocallygrown
On Facebook: http://facebook.com/athenslocallygrown

Recipes

Homemade Refrigerator Pickles

“Just pickles!!! These are easy to make, and are a great way to use vegetables from the garden.” From allrecipes.com

Makes 8 Cups

1 cup distilled white vinegar
1 tablespoon salt
2 cups white sugar
6 cups sliced cucumbers
1 cup sliced onions
1 cup sliced green bell peppers

1. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, bring vinegar, salt and sugar to a boil. Boil until the sugar has dissolved, about 10 minutes.
2. Place the cucumbers, onions and green bell peppers in a large bowl. Pour the vinegar mixture over the vegetables. Transfer to sterile containers and store in the refrigerator.

Market News

Right now we’re at the peak of the summer season. In a few weeks, it’ll probably be too hot for most flowers to set fruit, cutting down on the availability for a while. But for now, we’re awash in summer flavors. I see 95 listings for tomatoes, 50 for peppers, 27 of garlic, and even 11 of okra. The blueberries will be gone in a week or two, but for now there are plenty. And on and on, down the list. So much variety, so many things to try. If you’re like me, you can’t help but to gorge on your favorites and try as many different things as you can, before they’re gone. Eating locally grown foods means for the most part eating with the seasons, and when the seasons change, our available foods do too.

That doesn’t mean when the weather turns cool we have to go without, though. I’ve been enjoying the bicolor corn from McMullan Family Farm so much, for example, that last week, for the first time, I canned about a bushel of corn. Turns out it was really easy (well, once I bought an OXO corn stripper for under $10), and it’s probably something I’ll be doing every summer now. Yesterday I turned about ten pounds of Roots Farm cucumbers and Sundance Farm onions into a bunch of jars of bread and butter pickles. That took no time at all (other than waiting along the various steps), and the hardest part was slicing all the cucumbers. Today I froze a gallon or more of Jim’s Farm blueberries. Next month I’ll can a bunch of Mills Farm roma tomatoes. As soon as my favorite poblano peppers from Backyard Harvest are ready, I’ll roast and freeze as many as I can afford. I know it sounds like I must have a root cellar full of shelves of jars, but really it’s not like that at all. I don’t try to put enough food away to be able to live off of it all winter, but instead just enough of my favorites to be able to break open a jar now and again when I get a craving for sweet corn, or blueberry crisp, or strawberries. By spending a few hours here and a few hours there throughout the summer, I can enjoy the labors of my farmers even if their fields are fallow.

Most home canners know this already, but it might be surprising to you: UGA is recognized as being the expert on home food preservation. Pretty much every canning recipe has its roots in the National Center for Home Food Preservation, located on campus. If you’ve heard old stories about jars exploding, or making people ill, or whatever, well, the folks at UGA have made that a thing of the past through scientific testing and the development of easy to follow fool-proof recipes for preserving pretty much anything that can be preserved, whether you’re canning, smoking, freezing, fermenting, or what have you.

Building on that knowledge, people have written many cookbooks that take the functional recipes from UGA and embellish them in ways that transform an ordinary jar of pickles (for example) into something really quite special. One of those books is “Canning for a New Generation” written by Athens author Lianna Krissoff. She had a book signing at Gosford Wine (former home to Athens Locally Grown) last Thursday. Of course I was at ALG instead, but I can’t wait to get my hands on a copy and try some of her recipes out. If you’ve never tried preserving some of our locally grown bounty, don’t be intimidated. Start small, and you’ll see how great it is to have a taste of summer in December.

And now, on to other news…

Due to some logistical conflicts, both Split Creek Farm and Mac’s Eggs will be going to an every-other-week schedule through the end of August. This is an off-week for both of them, but they’ll return next week.

If you’ve got an old iPhone or iPod touch lying around you don’t need, would you consider donating it to us? With the two iPads we have at the pay table and if each of the six volunteers filling orders had an iPhone or iPod touch, we will save a ream of paper a week. That’s a lot of paper, and it adds up fast. Not only that, but doing everything live on the website has really helped us cut down on the errors that we sometimes make filling orders, and at the very least makes sure you get a proper refund when we do leave something out. It’s also greatly cut down on the behind-the-scenes work I do keeping all the books in order. It doesn’t matter how old it is. We’ve been given three of them, one of each model Apple of iPhone has made, and all three do exactly what we need. One even has a cracked screen! Only three more, and we can go entirely paperless. Thanks!

We’ve re-instated our regular “Meet the Grower” table during the Thursday pickups. There’s not currently a grower signed up for this week, but we’ll try to get somebody there on Thursday. While you’re waiting for us to fill your order, step up to the table and say hi!

Thanks so much for your support of Athens Locally Grown and everything we’ve tried to accomplish. With you’re help, we’ve been able to build something truly great and inspirational to people all across the country, more than you could know. Thank you also for your support of 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!

Coming Events

Farmer for a Day: August 7, Saturday, at Flatwoods Farm (Elbert County)

USDA Certified Organic. We are located in the Flatwoods area of south Elbert County. One of the goals of local sustainable agriculture is to grow crops befitting the culture, the land and the nature of a given area. We specialize in growing organic fruits and vegetables that are best suited for the consumers, retail outlets, markets and restaurants of northeast Georgia and the surrounding area. We concentrate when possible on producing heirloom varieties and raise all our crops in the ground, no hydroponics or container produce.” There are slots still available for both our August and September Farmer for a Day events, and you can find more details on all of them on the Market page of the website, under the Event Reservations category.

  • Athens Locally Grown Hunter’s Moon Feast*: October 23, Saturday, at Boann’s Banks (Royston, Franklin County)

“The October full moon has been known as the “Hunter’s Moon” for millennia, and was a time of feasting throughout the Northern hemisphere. We revive the notion here with a day of feasting at Boann’s Banks (the farm of Athens Locally Grown managers Chris and Eric Wagoner) on the banks of the Broad River outside Royston. It’ll be a low-key affair, without any farm work for you to do. Just good food and drink (Eric will prepare a variety of dishes using locally grown vegetables and locally raised meats, and perhaps brew an adult beverage. There’s also the possibility of home-brewed beer, and the likelihood of good live music. There’ll certainly be good company (all of you), and a river to splash in. There’s even some camping space, for those who really want to enjoy the moon. Come any time, but I’ll be aiming for 2pm to have the BBQ and other dishes ready. Stay as long as you’d like, even into Sunday. Nights are chilly, though, so bring a tent if you’re wanting to do that. There is no charge for Locally Grown members and their families. We do ask that you bring a dish to share, and if it’s made from Locally Grown ingredients, so much the better." You can make your reservations for the feast on the Market page of the website, under the Event Reservations category.

The Athens Farmers Market is held every Saturday morning at Bishop Park from 8am to noon and every Tuesday evening at Little Kings downtown. 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.

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!

Availability for July 15


Once again I’m writing this from the road, and will pass on the usual recipes and photographs in the interest of getting this to you sooner. This time, I’m in College Station, Texas, doing some work for my day job. As much as I’d like to farm and manage Athens Locally Grown full time, I do have a regular office job that keeps me pretty busy, and so here I am.

It would have been a good week to stay in Athens, as the annual “Taste Your Place” celebration kicked off yesterday. If you’ve not heard of this two-week festival of Athens’ local food system, that’s ok… it’s only in its third year. Put on by P.L.A.C.E., this series of events packs more into two weeks than pretty much any other festival I’ve seen. There are restaurant testings, films, lectures, book discussions, awards, cooking contests, pot luck meals, and more. It’s really quite a lineup, and I encourage you to attend one or more of the events. You can find out more at their website, and the breadth of what P.L.A.C.E. has been able to put together is a testament to how vibrant and mature our food system has become in a few short years, to the point that Athens Locally Grown is just one small part of a much larger whole.

Today was our July Farmer for a Day event, held at Veribest Farm. Unfortunately my flight left too early for me to attend, and I’d been looking forward to his tour all year. Our next one, scheduled for Saturday August 7th, should be an interesting one too. It’ll be held at Flatwoods Farm in Elberton. The farm is run by a recently retired UGA physics professor and his wife, and is USDA certified organic. They’re still small and in the start=up phase (and so only occasional have offerings through ALG), and should be a great introduction into what it takes to start a small scale USDA certified vegetable farm. There are slots still available for both our August and September Farmer for a Day events, and you can find more details on all of them on the Market page of the website, under the Event Reservations category.

Our “Meet the Grower” table will be manned this week by Daniel Dover of Darby Farms. Daniel hosted our first “Grower for a Day” event of the season. This beautiful article in the Flagpole (and this short YouTube video) came out of that event. He’ll love to talk with you about what he does at his farm and why he’s so passionate about it, so please stop and say hello while you’re waiting for us to fill your order.

Due to some logistical conflicts, both Split Creek Farm and Mac’s Eggs will be going to an every-other-week schedule through the end of August. Several of you noticed they weren’t listed last week, and I apologize for not giving you more notice. If you’re a regular customer of either farm, get two week’s worth now, because they’ll be unavailable again next week.

If you’ve got an old iPhone or iPod touch lying around you don’t need, would you consider donating it to us? With the two iPads we have at the pay table and if each of the six volunteers filling orders had an iPhone or iPod touch, we will save a ream of paper a week. That’s a lot of paper, and it adds up fast. Not only that, but doing everything live on the website has really helped us prevent the errors that we sometimes make filling orders, and at the very least make sure you get a proper refund when we do leave something out. It’s also greatly cut down on the behind-the-scenes work I do keeping all the books in order. It doesn’t matter how old it is. We’ve been given three of them, one of each model Apple of iPhone has made, and all three do exactly what we need. Only three more, and we can go entirely paperless. Thanks!

The Athens Farmers Market is held every Saturday morning at Bishop Park from 8am to noon and every Tuesday evening at Little Kings downtown. 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.

I forgot about the time zone difference, and just realized it’s going to be midnight there before too much longer, so I’m going to stop right now and just open the market already. Thank you for all of your support of Athens Locally Grown and our member growers. Without your patronage and demand for locally grown and naturally grown foods, the growers wouldn’t be here to meet that demand, and our entire community would be much worse off. Thank you! We’ll see you on Thursday from 4:30 to 8pm at Ben’s Bikes, at the corner of Pope and Broad!