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Availability for October 29


I’ll devote the bulk of this week’s email to the raw milk situation, but before I do I want to remind everyone that this is the last week we will be at the old state farmers market on Broad Street. Starting next week, we’ll move a few blocks closer to downtown to Ben’s Bikes, at the corner of Broad & Pope Streets. I will send out more reminders & change the website after Thursday.

Now, what’s happened since last Sunday…

As you recall, on Thursday, October 15, state inspectors from the meat division of the Georgia Department of Agriculture came to our pickup site, looking for illegal meat. Of course they found none (all of our growers are fully licensed for all of their products), but they did discover our load of raw milk many of you had ordered from Cows R Us dairy in South Carolina and seized the entire load on orders from Peggy Gates, director of the dairy division of the state Ag Department. Instead of taking it away themselves, they left it on my truck and told us they’d be at my house the following Monday to destroy it all.

I spent the next few days trying to prevent the milk’s waste by arranging to get it donated to Nature’s Harmony Farm, who could have used it to feed to their pigs, but Peggy wanted to be personally present when the milk was destroyed and she was not available any sooner than Monday morning.

So, I invited to my home everyone who had milk on the truck, along with a few other interested parties. Several dozen people did come out, but at five to nine, Peggy’s secretary called to say they she had been “held up at another inspection” and wouldn’t be arriving until 1:30. Some people had to leave, but the delay also allowed several more people who couldn’t come in the morning to come after all. Among those present was a cameraman for the documentary project “Farmageddon” (http://www.ftcldf.org/kudos/canty2.html), and several of us had our own cameras running the entire time as well. Peggy Gates came with Marybeth Willis, an agent with the FDA out of their Atlanta office (http://www.fda.gov/Food/FoodSafety/Product-SpecificInformation/MilkSafety/FederalStatePrograms/InterstateMilkShippersList/ucm114736.htm), and one of the meat inspectors that had originally impounded the milk. They wasted no time in wasting the milk, and from the time they gave us the orders to dump it all (they wouldn’t do it themselves) to the time they left took twenty minutes. The whole thing is up on YouTube in two parts, and I invite you to watch it and share the links with anyone who may be interested. Part One: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EMfQXxVAPgk and Part Two: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wPey52Ybp0U. Thanks to our very nice Rubbermaid coolers and the record cold weekend temperatures, the milk was still cold and fresh to drink. Except for the two gallons that were passed around, it all ended up pour out in the grass at my house.

Unfortunately, they gave us no wiggle room at all for allowing the South Carolina dairies to offer their milk in the future. Marybeth from the FDA declared it a federal crime to bring milk across state lines for any reason. She specifically said that if you go to the dairy yourself, buy a gallon for your own use, and bring it back to your own home in Georgia, you would be a federal criminal. It doesn’t matter how it’s labelled, even if specifically as “POISON — DO NOT DRINK”. They handed out copies of the FDA rule in question, 21 CFR 1240.61 (PDF here: http://www.ftcldf.org/docs/21_CFR_1240.61_pasteurization.pdf), but this may be the first time they have enforced such an absolute interpretation of that rule. With that interpretation, there is no way to have South Carolina raw milk offered through Athens Locally Grown.

So, how can we get that changed? There are two way: through legislation and through court action. Both are being worked on. Ron Paul earlier this year introduced HR 778 (http://ftcldf.org/federal_bills-HR778.htm) that would specifically allow what we’re doing while keeping in place the ban on bulk shipments and other practices that caused the ban to be put into place in the first place. It seems there’s little likelihood of it passing, but its important to let our legislators know that we want this sort of legislation just the same. On the other end, a federal judge could rule that the enforcement of the rule as it has been done against people like us is unconstitutional, and could also allow direct-to-consumer purchases cross state lines while keeping the other bans in place. I have signed the paperwork to become a plaintiff in a federal suit to try for this result. I can’t say more yet, but I will keep you informed when the suit is filed, hopefully very soon.

(The federal raw milk rule aside, the fact remains that our truck was searched without a search warrant, and the milk was impounded and destroyed without due process. We’re as yet undecided about what action to take about that. Both state and federal agents were involved.)

Another avenue is finding legal Georgia raw milk. Georgia actually does allow the sale, so long as the dairy is registered as a “pet food” producer and the containers are labelled as such. THe trouble is a) there is no testing of the final product, b) anyone can get a license by just paying $75, regardless of the cleanliness of their dairy, and c) there aren’t any near Athens. In contrast, South Carolina has established a strict testing regimen that ensures milk being sold raw has bacterial levels below that required of pasteurized milk. If Georgia were to adopt laws similar to South Carolina, it would take time for the raw milk to enter the market.

So, in the meantime, only milk from Johnston Family Farm will be available through Athens Locally Grown. I’m not knocking their milk in any way — it’s of the highest quality and the best milk you can buy in Georgia, from anyone. But for those who want and need clean raw milk, it’s just not the same.

Also, we’re not able to regularly drive to Split Creek Farm or to Fred’s Bread (both near Anderson, South Carolina) anymore, without significantly raising the “delivery fee” portion of the final price to cover our cost of going out there. However, we will go out there on the 19th of November, so you can buy cheeses, fudge, bread, and other items for your Thanksgiving table. I know I was planning on having some of it on mine.

And finally, thanks to your generosity, our tip jar was overflowing this past Thursday. Cows R Us did get paid for all of the milk that was wasted, and our shared cash box was filled back up to cover the expense on our end. Thank you so much for that. I can’t begin to tell you how stressful this last week has been, but you have given your support in every way possible, and that was wonderful beyond belief. Thank you.

Here are some news links from the past week. The news spread nationwide, partly due to the new strict interpretation and enforcement of the FDA rule, but here is some local coverage:

ABH News: “Some sour as state grabs raw milk” http://www.onlineathens.com/stories/101709/new_505698081.shtml
ABH News: “Unpasteurized drinkers cry foul over spilled milk” http://www.onlineathens.com/stories/102009/new_506640054.shtml
ABH Editorial: “Raw milk advocates should work within system” http://www.onlineathens.com/stories/102109/opi_507140444.shtml
ABH Commentary: “Raw milk is danger to public health” http://www.onlineathens.com/stories/102509/opi_508629389.shtml
NewsTalk 1340 Interview (10/22/09) http://feeds.1340wgau.com/NewsmakersWithTimBryant
Raw video of the milk dumping: Part One: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EMfQXxVAPgk and Part Two: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wPey52Ybp0U

Availability for October 22


To Contact Us

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

Recipes

Soupe Savoyarde (Savoyard Cream of Potato Soup)

This soup, which is easy to prepare, is particularly liked by children. The normal preparation time is about 15 minutes, with another 35 minutes of cooking time. On cold days, this soup is especially welcome at the table. From Twelve Months of Monastery Soups by Brother Victor-Antoine d’Avila-Latourrette.

Serves 4

5 cups stock (chicken or vegetable)
4 lg potatoes, sliced
2 1/2 cups milk
4 T butter
2/3 cup grated Gruyere or Parmesan cheese
salt & pepper
4 slices bread, toasted

1. Pour the stock into a soup pot and bring to a boil. Add the potatoes and cook them, covered, over low-medium heat for 30 minutes.
2. Blend the soup in a blender and then pour it back into the soap pot. Add the milk, butter, cheese, salt, and pepper to taste. Mix well and continue to cook until all the cheese is melted.
3. Place a slice of toast at the center of each soup place. Pour the hot soup on top of the toast and serve immediately.

Market News

It’s been an eventful week for Athens Locally Grown. Let me start with the good news…

Starting on November 4th, in two weeks, Athens Locally Grown will be moving to a new pickup location. We accepted an offer from the owners of Ben’s Bikes to use their space. They’re located just down the street from where we are now, at the corner of Pope & Broad Streets, in between downtown & Milledge Ave. From your perspective, things shouldn’t change that much. It’s still central, there’s still plenty of parking, and you’ll get to come in out of the rain. For us, we’ll be quite a bit more cramped at first, but we should soon adjust to the new space. Bear with us for a couple of weeks, though, as we will have to make some logistical changes.

Again, that will be in two weeks. We ought to be at the old farmers market both this week and next. Feel free to stop by Ben’s Bikes and say hi and pass on our thanks for letting us use their space. They have many overlapping goals & ideals with us, and though the space may seem cramped at first, there is lots of potential for both of us to work together for something really special there.

I will of course have plenty of reminders, a map, and other things to help you find us when the time comes.

And for the not-so-good news.

Our area lost a champion for local and organic foods this week with the passing of Hilda Byrd. She and her husband Andy ran Whippoorwill Organic Farm just down the road from Athens in Walnut Grove. Their farm has hosted the annual Georgia Organics field day celebration “Field of Greens” every year, and the two of them have been stalwarts in both growing food and working to ensure everyone had access to that food.

Closer to home, nothing has changed on the dairy front since Thursday night. I’m expecting a visit from the state officials and inspectors at 9am tomorrow morning, and we’ll go from there. I’ve invited everyone who had milk on the truck to come witness, along with all the ALG growers, and a few others. I turned down massive offers of support from people who wanted to drive in from all over the southeast US, as I don’t want a confrontational protest at my house. I’m confident we were doing everything legally, though the state doesn’t see it that way. I want to find from them tomorrow what it would take to become legal in their eyes, and that would be harder to do with a giant rally going on.

But in the meantime, we won’t be getting products from Cows R Us, Milky Way Dairy, Split Creek Farm, and Fred’s Bread. Both Split Creek & Fred’s Bread sold items that are not in question, but we just can’t afford to go get those items for you without also hauling a load of your milk. Hopefully everything will be settled by next week, but I really can’t say what will happen tomorrow. Last year a similar police action against a similar group in Ohio didn’t go well for anyone, and it’s still being litigated. I have no reason to expect things will get that bad for us, but you just never know.

There are a number of new items this week. One thing of special note: there are a number of native wildflower transplants being offered this week. Now is the time to plant these wildflowers for the spring, so they won’t be listed for long.

Thanks so much for your support of Athens Locally Grown, all of our growers, local food, and out 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 the old state market on Broad Street from 4:30 to 8pm!

Coming Events

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!

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!

The State of Georgia Seized Your Milk Today


Hello! It’s late and I’m exhausted, but I wanted you all to know what happened today at our Athens Locally Grown pickup.

When we arrived, we were greeted by three badged inspectors from the Georgia Department of Agriculture who were there waiting for us. “We read about you on the internet,” they told me.

I explained to them what Athens Locally Grown is, how we work, discussed that I’ve been diligent to make sure all of the growers who sell through the market have the appropriate licenses when needed, and so forth. The inspectors were very friendly during this time and everything that followed — I do not fault them in any way.

They talked to the growers as they arrived. They were particularly interested in the meat, and indeed found all of that to be legal.

When my wife arrived with the raw milk ordered by ALG members directly from the Cows R Us dairy in South Carolina (A USDA Grade A dairy fully licensed to sell raw milk), the inspectors entered our truck and began opening our coolers.

To be clear, I did not give them permission to enter or search my truck, and they did not have a warrant to do so. When they discovered the coolers to be full of clearly labelled raw milk, they immediately began calling their supervisors. The chain of calls made their way up to Peggy Gates, the director of the Dairy Division of the Consumer Protection Division of the State Department of Agriculture. She immediately gave orders to seize the entire load of milk.

I did try to explain to her all of the very strict rules that we follow to keep things legal. She was very gruff with me and was not at all interested in hearing what we do. “I know exactly what you’re doing” she told me. She told me what we were doing is a Federal offense (it is not, and of course she has no jurisdiction over Federal statute). In the end she declared all 100 gallons an “imminent health hazard” and ordered it seized.

Oddly enough, the inspectors could not seize it themselves, as they only had several small sedans. So, it was impounded in place on my truck, and I was ordered not to disturb the milk in any way, or else I “would be guilty of a felony”.

The inspectors and director Peggy Gates herself personally will be coming to my house Monday morning to witness my “destruction” of the milk. I am hoping they will not be also coming to arrest me, but they do have that power.

Let me reiterate that I believe we have not violated any laws whatsoever. What we are doing is also being done by thousands of groups and individuals throughout the country, and I have been extremely careful that we are doing what has legal precendent. Namely:

  • You order via the website directly from the dairy
  • The dairy receives the orders without any intervention from me. They have a name for every carton of milk
  • We pick up, on your behalf, exactly the cartons that have been pre-ordered. We have a name for every carton of milk
  • You meet us at the pickup location and get your milk.
  • We do not store it beyond the pre-established pickup time.

Given those steps that are followed to the letter (and those of you who ask me every single week “can’t you just bring an extra gallon or two with you?” can attest that they are), I do not believe that the Georgia Department of Agriculture has any authority over those cartons of milk. We are not violating federal law. We are not violating state law.

So where do we stand? Right now, raw milk can no longer be offered through Athens Locally Grown. I have 110 gallons of milk sitting on my truck until Monday morning, when a team of officials will be coming to my house to witness its destruction (and hopefully nothing more). Until Peggy Gates changes her mind (which seems unlikely), that is that. It may well take a court order to change things. I know our membership includes a fair number of lawyers, and if any of you wish to help in this, please let me know. I really don’t know where to even begin.

I’ll keep you all informed. I’m surprised it took so long for them to harass us, and I’m also surprised by how unsympathetic they turned out to be. And by “they”, I really mean director Peggy Gates, who issued the order. Her website address is http://agr.georgia.gov/00/channel_title/0,2094,38902732_125874866,00.html and her office’s phone number is (404) 656-3625. Please don’t harass her, but it may help if they do hear your stories, why you order raw milk, and why you are a member of Athens Locally Grown.

I know many of you were relying on your milk delivery today, especially since our truck’s engine problems kept us from bringing a full load last week. I’m sorry. Hopefully something will happen soon to make them loosen their grip and allow us to once again bring your milk that you ordered directly from the dairy to you.

Please feel free to forward this email to anyone you see fit.

-eric

PS. People around the country are already taking notice of what happened to us today. Here’s one example.

Availability for October 15


To Contact Us

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

Recipes

Steamed Chicory with Pine Nuts and Raisins

This lovely, simple recipe accentuates the bittersweet taste of cooked chicory by pairing it with fruits and nuts. Make a pretty variation by substituting dried cranberries for the raisins and slivered almonds for the pine nuts. Or try chopped dried apricots (use unsulfured for a deeper flavor) and toasted chopped pecans or walnuts. From Farmer John’s Cookbook: The Real Dirt On Vegetables

Serves 4

3 tablespoons raisins
1 pound chicories, such as endive, escarole, or radicchio, leaves separated but left whole (if you’re using radicchio, simply cut it into quarters)
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, peeled, thinly sliced
3 tablespoons pine nuts
salt
freshly ground black pepper

1. Put the raisins in a bowl and cover with boiling water. Set aside to plump, then drain.
2. Put the chicory in a steamer basket, set over 1 1/2 inches boiling water, and cover. Steam just until wilted, 2 to 4 minutes. Transfer the greens to a colander to drain.
3. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and pine nuts and cook, stirring constantly, until the pine nuts begin to brown in spots, about 3 minutes.
4. Give the greens a few chops on a cutting board, then add them to the skillet and stir until the greens are well coated with the oil. Remove from heat and stir in the raisins. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Market News

Since we had a few days off school for Fall break, our family made our annual pilgrimage to Hunting Island State Park, just outside of Beaufort, South Carolina for a long weekend of camping on the beach. If you’ve never been, and are looking for an inexpensive beach getaway (and who isn’t?), I can’t recommend this place highly enough. Campsites are $12 or so a night, with water & electricity, showers with hot water, all just off the prettiest, most uncrowded beach I’ve ever been to. I’m listening to the surf as I type this, in fact.

We took most of our food with us for some good old fashioned camp cooking, all from Athens Locally Grown. Sausage & eggs for breakfast, potatoes & onions & sweet nardello peppers fried in a cast iron pot, a beef stew with carrots, onion, garlic, potatoes, rosemary, & some other odds & ends. Not to different from the sorts of things I make at home, come to think about it. But anyway, we also left some time for exploring the food local to that area. It’s a fun thing to do, and as Athens Locally Grown shoppers, you’re better positioned than most to spot local food when you travel too.





Right on the shore among the salt marshes, sea food is the main find. It’s Gullah country, and it seems like most every house in the marsh has at least one boat tied up next to it with a few hand-thrown fish or shrimp nets. A few larger shrimping operations make their homes there too, but none are the large trawlers that are causing so much damage to the off-shore fisheries. The biggest boats I’ve seen here look to have a crew of six or so.

Just further inland a couple miles, the salt marsh turns to grassland, and there are a few beef pastures and even a few vegetable farms. Barefoot Farm in St. Helena Island is one interesting example. They grow a wide variety of summer produce, but market most of it to tourists who pass by their very large roadside stand. They say the locals are really interested in what they do, and prefer to get their produce from the grocery store. They don’t grow organically, either. The pest and disease pressures are intense there at the edge of the marsh, and they told me they just don’t feel they can risk what they already have for an uncertain market with organics. Still, it’s an unexpected place to find a vegetable farm at all, and was nice to visit.

When you’re traveling, whether for business or vacation, try to discover the food local to that place. It can be hard to find sometimes, especially with the chain restaurants that make every place seem just like every other place, but it’s there. And finding it can often be the thing that turns a ho-hum trip into something to remember.

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

FOLK is holding their second annual Apple Festival this coming Saturday. I received this from one of the organizers: "FOLK’s second annual Fall Apple Festival… FOLK (Furthering Our Local Knowledge) is a local nonprofit organization dedicated to reviving traditional forms of understanding and doing things (www.folkathens.org, if you’d like to know more about us). Our apple festival will be held from 1 to 8 on October 17th this year, and we’re trying to bring out more farmers and local artists this year; last year we had 500-700 people, and we’re expecting it to be just as big, if not bigger (depending on weather) this year."

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!

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 October 8


Hello there! It’s already nearly 11pm as I sit down to write this, so once again I’m going to skip the photos and recipes and skip straight to the availability list. Well, after a few announcements…

Yesterday we held our third annual “Hunter’s Moon Feast” out at my place, and it was our best one yet, I think. A good number of people came out to spend the day with us, and even more came to watch the moon rise over the river. Several tents went up on the riverbank for what turned out to be an excellent night for camping. Thank you everyone for coming out and sharing your food with the rest of us. I hope even more of you can come out to join us next year!

The state has given us a deadline for leaving the old market building: we have at the very latest until early December, and might have to be out even sooner, in early November. I’ll be looking at various alternative sites that have been offered to us over the next few days. Truth is, though, that none of them so far are as ideal as our current location, which was originally built for exactly what we’re using it for. I’ll be searching quickly for something that will work with the least disruption for you, the growers, and the market workers. It’s a tall order, and I’ll keep you well informed.

One of the canonical examples of the dangers of the industrial food system is the good old hamburger. A single hamburger patty can have meat from dozens of animals from cows from around the world, all in the effort to shave a few cents of the cost of producing that patty. The New York Times today had an eye-opening article on the problems of manufacturing food this way that does as good a job of making the case for knowing your farmers than anything else I’ve seen. You can read it yourself here: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/04/health/04meat.html.

Finally, FOLK is holding their second annual Apple Festival next weekend. I missed it last year, and will have to again this year, but I’ve heard it’s a wonderful family-friendly event. I received this from one of the organizers: "FOLK’s second annual Fall Apple Festival… FOLK (Furthering Our Local Knowledge) is a local nonprofit organization dedicated to reviving traditional forms of understanding and doing things (www.folkathens.org, if you’d like to know more about us). Our apple festival will be held from 1 to 8 on October 17th this year, and we’re trying to bring out more farmers and local artists this year; last year we had 500-700 people, and we’re expecting it to be just as big, if not bigger (depending on weather) this year."

Thanks as always for all of your support of local food, local farmers, and Athens Locally Grown!

Availability for October 1


To Contact Us

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

Recipes

Sweet Potato, Broccoli, and Tomato Stew

Make this tasty, one-pot vegetable stew and you’ll have dinner on the table in no time and with little mess. Put your kids or even your dog on this simple project and go relax—dinner will be served within the hour no matter what. This stew will go well with your favorite corn bread. From Farmer John’s Cookbook: The Real Dirt On Vegetables

Serves 4

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, sliced
4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 28-ounce can stewed tomatoes
2 cups cooked or canned garbanzo beans, drained
1 1/2 cups chicken or vegetable stock or water
3 medium sweet potatoes (about 1 pound), cubed
1 medium head broccoli, cut into large chunks (about 2 cups)
salt
freshly ground black pepper

1. Heat the oil in a soup pot over medium heat. Add the onion; cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook for 1 more minute.
2. Add the tomatoes, garbanzo beans, stock, and sweet potatoes. Simmer, partially covered, for 15 minutes. Add the broccoli, cover, and simmer until the sweet potatoes and broccoli are tender, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Market News

I think some of our farms have seen more rain in the past two weeks than we’ve seen in some entire recent summers. I’ve heard a few stories of freshly seeded beds getting washed out and collard plants entirely underwater, but all in all, most of our growers came through these rains with little damage. I think the late snowfall we had this spring did more damage, really, collapsing hoophouses and pulling down trees on several farms.

A bit further west, in Carrolton, one of the oldest organic farms in the state became a river bottom for several days. The farm is currently known as “Love is Love Farm” and is operated by Judith Winfrey (the leader of Slow Food Atlanta) and Joe Reynolds, but for over thirty years it was known as the Glover Family Farm, the home of Skip & Cookie Glover. If you’re on Facebook, you can see photos of the flood and its aftermath here: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Douglasville-GA/Love-is-Love-Farm/14079829974. We wish them a speedy recovery, but I’ve got to say those pictures look devastating. Farmers used to rely on the annual floods to replenish the fields, but late summer?





The rains and cloudy skies have slowed down the growth of the leafy greens we’re all waiting on. The love the cool nights that are here again, but they love the autumn sun even more ,and we just haven’t seen much of that lately. Soon! Until then, feast on the waning crops of peppers, tomatoes, and eggplant. If you’re able, freeze or can some to pull out in February when you’re absolutely craving a ripe tomato or some fried onions & potatoes. And don’t miss out on the winter squash which are now in abundance. Those store well, too, and our growers have some heirloom varieties that are just dynamite in flavor. Certainly unlike anything you can find at the grocery store!

One last reminder: the Georgia Organics “Field of Greens” party is coming up 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. Participating restaurants, who will be providing free tastings to participants include Rosebud, Leon’s, 5 Seasons, Retaurant Eugene,Woodfire Grill, Parish, Rathbun’s, Valencia, Food 101, 4th & Swift, farm 255, Living Foods Institute — with more pending. A new event this year, the heritage pork cookoff pits Ron Eyester of Rosebud, Dave Larkworthy of 5 Seasons Brewing, and Kevin Gillespie of Woodfire Grill, working with heritage pork raised by three different farms. 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 4 from 11am – 6pm. Yes, that’s the day after Athens Locally Grown’s “Hunter’s Moon Feast” at my farm, but what better way to spend a weekend? You can find more info about Field of Greens at their special website, http://www.fieldofgreensfestival.com/

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

We still have one more event on the schedule, up at my place: our annual Hunter’s Moon Feast this coming Saturday, October 3rd. Spaces are limited, so be sure to make your free reservations along with your order! Take a look in the “Event Reservations” category for full details on this event.

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!

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 24


To Contact Us

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

Recipes

Chile Rellenos With Lamb

These traditional New Mexican stuffed chiles are unlike any chile rellenos you’ll find in a Mexican restaurant around Athens. They’re much, much better! These are one of my favorite foods, and were a payday treat when I lived as a frugal student in Socorro, New Mexico.

Serves 4

1 lb ground lamb
1 onion, finely diced
1/2 cup carrots, finely diced
4 eggs
3/4 t baking powder
4 T flour
1/4 t salt
12 whole peeled poblano chiles
1/2 lb shredded Mexican cheeses
oil for frying

1. To peel chiles, heat under a broiler until skin is blistered, turning several times. Place together in a paper bag for a few minutes to steam. The skins will peel right off.
2. Brown lamb, onion, and carrot together. Salt & pepper well. Add some fresh herbs of your choice if you have some at hand. Set aside.
3. Beat eggs until foamy, add baking powder, flour, salt. Set aside.
4. Mix cheese together with lamb mixture.
5. Slit each pepper lengthwise, add lamb & cheese mixture.
6. Dip in batter and fry until golden brown.

Market News

Last week, I told you about several upcoming conferences and events coming up in the next few months. Turns out there’s one organization I’d only vaguely heard of that’s having a great event just next weekend. The Georgia Mountains Foodways Alliance is an organization dedicated to “supporting local foodways through education, outreach and sharing delicious food”. That is to say, they’re a group that suppors exactly the same things we do right here at Athens Locally Grown with the added bonus that their events give you another excuse to go spend a day in the mountains of North Georgia.

Here are the details for their 2nd annual Grow, Cook, Eat: A Mountain Harvest Celebration Saturday, September 26 2009 in Clayton, Georgia, off their website, http://www.georgiafoodways.org :

Regional farmers and other producers of local foodstuffs will collaborate with chefs from area restaurants to create a cornucopia of dishes featuring the season’s freshest ingredients. This community event celebrates locally grown foods and encourages everyone to choose foods produced within 100 miles of where you live for better flavor, more seasonal variety, and to reduce the negative environmental impact of transporting and packaging food for thousands of miles. And best of all, when you purchase locally grown and produced foodstuffs, more of your money stays in your community and supports your neighbors.

Local ingredients to be featured in gourmet dishes at this year’s celebration include corn, summer and winter squash, cabbage, tomatoes, greens, chutney, jam, jelly, honey, goat cheese, fish, aromatic herbs and much more. Many ingredients to be used are from certified organic and sustainable farms. Several local wineries will be pouring prize-winning Georgia wines, and local cider will be served. Live toe-tapping music will be provided by the popular duo, “Mountain Hoodoo,” from 12:00 p.m. until 2:00 p.m. A farmer’s market offering local produce will also featured.

Local businesses participating in the celebration include the Barn Inn, Beechwood Inn, BotanoLogos School for Herbal Studies, Coleman River Farms, Crescent Moon Bakery, David Taylor Farm, Green to Bean Coffee Roasters, Glen Ella Springs Inn, Grapes and Beans, La Gracia Farm, Lake Rabun Hotel, Persimmon Creek Vineyards, Sylvan Falls Mill Bed and Breakfast, The Vines Restaurant at Edelweiss German Inn, Tallulah Grill, Tiger Mountain Vineyards, Yati’s and many others.

This year’s event will be held at the Center on Warwoman, 2368 Pinnacle Drive, (corner of Warwoman Road and Pinnacle Drive) in Clayton, Georgia on Saturday, September 26th from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Tickets are $20.00 each for adults, children under 12 years admitted free. Tickets go on sale August 1st. All tickets must be purchased in advance and no tickets will be available the day of the event.

Tickets are available in Rabun County and in Helen. Ticket locations in Rabun County include the Simply Homegrown Market, Rabun County Visitor’s Center, Butler’s I & II, and Persimmon Creek Winery Tasting Room, and in Helen at the Vines at Edelweiss German Inn. For more information call (706) 782-5485 or e-mail info@georgiafoodways.org.





One food note this week: Black Cow Coffeehouse has gotten out of the baking business altogether. I know this is sad news for those of you who were regular purchasers of their cookies and sweet rolls. Fred’s Bread is on vacation, but is expected to return soon. Fred & Black Cow shared the same kitchen, so I’m sure there is some arrangements being made regarding that.

Just a reminder: the Georgia Organics “Field of Greens” party is coming up 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. Participating restaurants, who will be providing free tastings to participants include Rosebud, Leon’s, 5 Seasons, Retaurant Eugene,Woodfire Grill, Parish, Rathbun’s, Valencia, Food 101, 4th & Swift, farm 255, Living Foods Institute — with more pending. A new event this year, the heritage pork cookoff pits Ron Eyester of Rosebud, Dave Larkworthy of 5 Seasons Brewing, and Kevin Gillespie of Woodfire Grill, working with heritage pork raised by three different farms. 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 4 from 11am – 6pm. Yes, that’s the day after Athens Locally Grown’s “Hunter’s Moon Feast” at my farm, but what better way to spend a weekend? You can find more info about Field of Greens at their special website, http://www.fieldofgreensfestival.com/

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

We still have one more event on the schedule, up 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! Take a look in the “Event Reservations” category for full details on this event.

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!

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 17


To Contact Us

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

Recipes

Spicy Onions and Bell Peppers in Yogurt Sauce over Corn Bread

The key to the creamy sauce in this recipe is yogurt. Whole-grain bread works well in place of the corn bread and that nondairy yogurt can be substituted. The sauce also goes well with curried basmati rice. From Farmer John’s Cookbook: The Real Dirt On Vegetables

Serves 4

1 loaf corn bread
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil or butter
2 cups thinly sliced onion (about 3 medium onions)
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 medium bell peppers, stems and seeds removed, thinly sliced
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
freshly ground black pepper
cayenne pepper (or less, to taste)
3 cloves garlic, minced (about 1 1/2 teaspoons)
1/2–3/4 cup yogurt

1. Set the oven to its warm setting or preheat it to 200° F. Wrap the corn bread in aluminum foil and place it in the oven to warm.
2. Heat the oil or butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and salt; cook, stirring frequently, until the onion is very soft and just beginning to brown, 10 to 15 minutes.
3. Add the bell peppers, cumin, and black pepper and cayenne to taste. Cook until the bell peppers are tender, about 10 minutes. Add the chopped garlic and cook until fragrant, 1 minute more.
4. Remove the skillet from heat. Stir in 1/2 cup of the yogurt. If you would like a creamier sauce, add the rest of the yogurt.
5. Tear the warm bread into chunks and place it on individual plates. Spoon the onion sauce over the bread. Serve immediately.

Market News

Winter is generally the time that farmers get together and talk about the previous year, sharing secrets about what worked and warnings about what did not. Industrial farming might be more like top secret laboratories, where only those with special clearance can get inside and the products are controlled more by lawyers than food makers, but sustainable farmers are by and large a whole different breed. We share and share alike, and get together during the off season to spread the knowledge around.

Two of the largest such gatherings in our area is the Georgia Organics conference and the Southern Sustainable Agriculture Working Group (SSAWG) conference. Both attract over 1000 growers and others interested in sustainable food production, and both are in the processes of getting planned.

The Georgia Organics conference will be held right here in Athens, from February 19th to the 21st. The site planning committee met last week over lunch at Farm 255, and I’m certain you’ll want to be a part of conference. Indeed, you are one of the reasons why GO was attracted to Athens. We’ve earned a reputation for being a city with a thriving local food culture, and many towns across the country look to us as a model. Above all else, it’s your continuing commitment to eating local sustainably grown foods that has led to more growers, more variety, and more people interested in the same. Thank you!

The SSAWG conference will be held in Chattanooga from January 20th through 24th. I’m on the staff there, and it’s already shaping up to be another can’t miss event. I’ll have more details on both as they get closer, and let you know when registrations are open.

Another nice area conference is the Carolina Farm Stewardship Association’s annual get-together. This year it’s being held in Black Mountain, NC, from December 4th through 6th. You can find more information about that at their website: http://www.carolinafarmstewards.org/SAC09.shtml.

And speaking of Georgia Organics, one of their most looked-forward to events is their “Field of Greens” party, 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. Participating restaurants, who will be providing free tastings to participants include Rosebud, Leon’s, 5 Seasons, Retaurant Eugene,Woodfire Grill, Parish, Rathbun’s, Valencia, Food 101, 4th & Swift, farm 255, Living Foods Institute — with more pending. A new event this year, the heritage pork cookoff pits Ron Eyester of Rosebud, Dave Larkworthy of 5 Seasons Brewing, and Kevin Gillespie of Woodfire Grill, working with heritage pork raised by three different farms. 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 4 from 11am – 6pm. Yes, that’s the day after Athens Locally Grown’s “Hunter’s Moon Feast” at my farm, but what better way to spend a weekend? You can find more info about Field of Greens at their special website, http://www.fieldofgreensfestival.com/

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

We still have one more event on the schedule, up 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! Take a look in the “Event Reservations” category for full details on this event.

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!

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 10


To Contact Us

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

Recipes

Baba Ghanouj

This is a traditional Middle Eastern recipe for baba ghanouj, a thick but light spread that is delicious as a dip for pita bread or vegetables or as a filling in a sandwich. Its distinct, nutty flavor comes from tahini, a
sesame paste that is widely available in specialty stores and many supermarkets. From Farmer John’s Cookbook: The Real Dirt On Vegetables

Serves 4

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
2 medium eggplants (about 1 1/2 pounds)
1/4 cup pine nuts
1/4–1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (1–1 1/2 large lemons)
1/3 cup tahini
1–2 cloves garlic, minced (1/2–1 teaspoon)
1 teaspoon ground cumin (optional)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro or parsley

1. Preheat the oven to 375° F.
2. Rub 1 tablespoon of the oil over both whole eggplants and place them on a baking sheet. Roast, turning once or twice, until very soft, 30 to 45 minutes depending on size. Let cool.
3. Meanwhile, toast the pine nuts in a dry, heavy skillet (preferably cast iron) over high heat until they start to brown in spots and become fragrant. (Be careful not to overtoast them, as they will burn very quickly once toasted.) Immediately transfer the nuts to a dish to cool.
4. Cut the eggplants in half and scoop out the flesh. Purée the eggplant flesh in a food processor or finely chop it on a cutting board. Transfer to a bowl.
5. Add the lemon juice, tahini, garlic, cumin, salt, cayenne, and the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Mix until well combined.
6. Transfer to a serving bowl and garnish with cilantro or parsley and toasted pine nuts.

Market News

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!

Coming Events

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!

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 Open for September 3


Just this once I’m going to skip the product listing and fancy formatting, just to better the odds the following announcements make it through everyone’s junk mail filters.

First, the last several weeks, my weekly email has been classified as “spam” by Google, and so for pretty much everyone using Gmail (and possibly a few other services that use Google’s filters), my email hasn’t been making it into their inbox. To keep that from happening, create a filter on my email address, “eric@locallygrown.net”, that sends it to the inbox or otherwise keeps it out of your junk mail system. Also, if you’re in doubt, you can find a copy of the email on the website itself (minus the full product listing) on the Weblog page. And, whether you get the email or not, the website is always open before I go to bed Sunday night.

Second, we open the market for pickups on Thursday at 4:30pm, and we’re there until 8pm. Items that run short are filled in the order the orders are placed, not in the order you arrive to pick them up, so you don’t gain anything by arriving early. We’re starting to get a sizable line at 4pm, and what’s worse, there have been several people who have been impatient with us when we can’t fill their orders right then, despite us not even being open yet. If the growers arrive early and we’re able to start filling orders early, we will, but otherwise, no.

Last week we filled about half of all the orders for the week (and we had a record number of orders) by 5:15, and the entire rest of the night, there was no line whatsoever. If you’re able to arrive after 5:30, please consider doing so. You’ll avoid the rush and make the process smoother for everyone involved.

Finally, the state probation office, located right behind the market building, is beginning to page a new parking lot. It’s unfortunately part of the process of putting the building up for sale. It’s also going to tie up the area behind the building with heavy equipment and piles of dirt. If you’ve been coming in the back gate, you’re probably going to have to come in the front. Also, our growers are going to have to unload in the front, making things even tighter for those early in the afternoon. Hopefully it won’t be too bad, but considering they were going to use the entire facility for staging until Amanda Tedrow, ACC’s wonderful Ag Extension Agent, interceded on our behalf. Thanks, Amanda!

And now, on to the food…