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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 May 21


Contact Us!

Athens Locally Grown
http://athens.locallygrown.net

Recipes

Steamed Asparagus with Balsamic Butter and Pine Nuts

Perhaps the best way to honor the delectable simplicity of tender-crisp, just-steamed asparagus spears is to prepare them with a light touch. In this recipe a touch of butter makes the bright green spears glisten, a sprinkling of tangy-sweet balsamic vinegar brings out their sweetness, and a scattering of crispy nuts complements their unique silky-firm texture. This is elegant—and a cinch to prepare. From Farmer John’s Cookbook: The Real Dirt On Vegetables

Serves 3 to 4

1 1/2 tablespoons pine nuts or slivered almonds
1 pound asparagus, tough ends peeled or snapped off
2 tablespoons butter, melted
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
salt
freshly ground black pepper

1. Place a heavy skillet over medium heat. Add the pine nuts or slivered almonds. Toast the nuts on the dry skillet, stirring constantly, until they are lightly browned and begin to smell toasty, 3 to 5 minutes. (Be careful not to overtoast them, as they will burn very quickly once toasted.) Remove the skillet from heat and immediately transfer the nuts to a heatproof dish. Set the dish aside to let the nuts cool completely.
2. Place the asparagus in a steamer basket, set over 1 1/2 inches boiling water, and cover. Steam until the spears are tender-firm, 4 to 7 minutes depending on thickness. Remove spears from the water and arrange on individual plates.
3. Combine the melted butter and balsamic vinegar in a small bowl and whisk until well combined. Pour this mixture over the asparagus and sprinkle on the toasted nuts. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately.

Market News

Thank you everyone for the overwhelming response to my call for volunteers to help fill orders on Thursdays. There are over 1800 accounts receiving this email, and I’m pretty sure half of you offered to help. If I haven’t responded personally to your reply to me, I have put you on my “interested” list, but have already filled our immediate needs. I’ll call more of you in later in the season, though. It’s nice to have a large pool of trained people to call to when the need arises. My goal is to have enough workers so that no one has to wait more than 15 minutes to get their order filled. There is always a rush right at 4:30, though, so if you arrive right then, your wait might be longer. Keep in mind that orders are filled in the order they are placed and not in the order you arrive, so there’s no need to get there right when we open. If your schedule if flexible, there is often no wait at all from 6pm to 7:30.

Our first “Farmer for a Day” event was scheduled for today at Roots Farm, but it was postponed due to the weather. When it gets rescheduled, we’ll give preferential spots to those registered for today, and if there are still slots open, I’ll let the rest of you know. Our next one is only a few weeks away at Greendale Farm in Madison.

We’ve seen an upswing in the number of no-shows on Thursday. Remember that you’re responsible for what you order, even if you forget or otherwise are unable to pick them up on Thursday. I’ll try calling everyone who hasn’t arrived by 7:30, using the phone number for the account (check or change yours on the Your Account page of the site), but I usually reach only one out of every ten people I call, with the rest getting answering machines and voice mail. I am not legally allowed to take your items home with me to try and deliver them to you later, so if I haven’t reached you by 8pm and your things are still there, I am forced to give them away to anyone who can use them. And, since I’ve already paid the growers on your behalf, I have to charge your account for the items.

Please take a spin through the New Products carousel on the website. There are lots of new items, a new grower, and plenty of goodies to go around.

Thank you all for your continued support of our local growers and for doing your part to cultivate the thriving local food system we have here in Athens. We’ll see you on Thursday from 4:30 to 8pm at the old market on Broad Street!

Coming Events

Our guest this week for Meet the Grower is Ed Lane from GranCoffee Roasting Co. in Bogart. GranCoffee has been selling through Athens Locally Grown only a few weeks, and is our second supplier of direct trade coffee beans, which they roast themselves in small batches.

Our second Farmer for a Day event is on Saturday, June 6th at Greendale Farm in Madison, where they pasture raise chickens for both eggs and meat. You can make reservations for this event by adding them to your order. Look in the “Event Reservations” category.

The Athens Farmers Market has re-opened for the season, and is every Saturday morning at Bishop Park. 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.

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!

Call for Volunteers & Calendar Correction


I’ve got two short items I didn’t want to wait until Sunday to send to you all.

First, in last week’s email, I referred to the Saturday Farmers Market, and then said it was happening on Sunday. Of course, that’d be silly. The Saturday market is indeed on Saturday, from 8am until noon at Bishop Park in Athens. That market is a separate entity from Athens Locally Grown, but there is quite an overlap of growers between the two.

Secondly, as Athens Locally Grown business picks up for the season, we’ll be needing more market volunteers. I haven’t put out a call for volunteers since last year, so I’m going to assume that people’s schedules have changed since then and start my list over.

If you’d like to work from 3:30 to 8pm on Thursdays, helping growers unload and then filling customer orders in exchange for a $50 market credit, please let me know and I’ll put you on my list. Please do so even if you’ve contacted me before. I’ll begin rotating new volunteers in starting next week to get people trained up, and then add to the permanent positions as the orders continue to grow.

Thanks!

Availability for May 14


Contact Us!

Athens Locally Grown
http://athens.locallygrown.net

Recipes

Sautéed Sugar Snap Peas with Carrots and Honey Glaze

The fresh, summery flavor of sugar snap peas is set off by the sweetness of lightly cooked carrots and a honey glaze. Sweet simplicity. From Farmer John’s Cookbook: The Real Dirt On Vegetables

Serves 3 to 4

1/2–1 pound sugar snap peas
2 medium carrots, peeled
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon honey
freshly ground black pepper

1. Remove the strings from both edges of the pea pods.
2. Cut each carrot into thirds. Slice each third, lengthwise, into quarters so that the slices are about the size and shape of the sugar snap peas.
3. Place the carrots in a steamer basket set over 1 1/2 inches boiling water, cover, and steam until they are just crisp-tender, 3 to 5 minutes. Drain the carrots in a colander.
4. Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the sugar snap peas; cook, stirring frequently, for 5 minutes. Add the carrots. Continue to cook and stir until the peas are bright green and crisp-tender, about 3 minutes. Add the honey and cook for 1 more minute, stirring constantly, until the peas and carrots are thoroughly glazed with the honey.
5. Remove the skillet from heat. Season generously with pepper.

Market News

The last dangers of frost are now behind us for another year, and the nights are warm enough now to keep even the tomato plants happy. If you’re still looking to fill a few spaces in your garden, we have (among many other live plants) tomato, pepper, and eggplant seedlings. Many of them are old heirloom varieties that produce fruit that is exceptional in flavor and appearance. Beware, though: growing heirlooms is one sure way to get hooked on gardening, and before you know it you’ll be wanting to sell your excess through Athens Locally Grown. If you haven’t started a garden, why not dig one hole and throw a tomato plant in it. You know, just for fun.

One of the newest innovations in sustainable farming is the “distributed farm”. There are entire CSAs fed not from one single farm, but by a group of growers who plant gardens throughout their town, using their member’s yards for space. Why have one community garden when the entire neighborhood can be a garden? It’s working well in those areas that have tried it, but one of the biggest resistances they’ve had is from subdivision covenants and other local regulations that effectively criminalize agriculture. We’ve got the same problem here. Just ask the Athens Locally Grown members who got ticketed for having a few laying hens within Athens city limits.

Another recent innovation is the explosion of “local food blogs”, diary-like websites that chronicle the writer’s experience finding or growing local food and cooking it, often with beautiful photography. There are several in Athens, but today I want to point out two of them. The first is from one of our own growers, Nature’s Harmony Farm. Tim and Liz Young began farming only last year, but they didn’t do anything by halves. They went all in, and have been documenting their adventures, both good and bad, on their weblog. Now their site has become a destination for other aspiring farmers and lovers of good food worldwide, and is worth a regular visit from all Athens Locally Grown members who want to know what sort of love and effort goes into raising animals for meat in a way that modern factory farms have totally moved away from. Second, Twin Yolks is written by a recent transplant to Athens and a recent convert to local foods. She expresses her wonder and joy at all Athens has to offer, writes about the meals she makes with ingredients she purchased at Athens Locally Grown (and now the Saturday market too), takes great photos, and even provides recipes. She’ll inspire you to find the same joy in your food. Of course, just because you’re reading this email, I know you already do.

Thank you all for your continued support of our local growers and for doing your part to cultivate the thriving local food system we have here in Athens. We’ll see you on Thursday from 4:30 to 8pm at the old market on Broad Street!

Coming Events

Our guest this week for Meet the Grower is Jennif Chandler from Shady Brook Farm in Danielsville. Jennif is responsible for all of the lamb available at our market. She has also recently begun “farming out” her sheep flock to people needing large lawns and other greenspaces neatly trimmed. They really are the best lawn mowers money can buy.

Our first Farmer for a Day event is a week from today, Sunday May 17th at Roots Farm. You can make reservations for this event by adding them to your order. Look in the “Event Reservations” category.

The Athens Farmers Market has re-opened for the season, and is every Saturday morning at Bishop Park. 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.

The Comer Farmers Market has also begun, as have markets in Watkinsville & Winder (I believe).

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 May 7


Contact Us!

Athens Locally Grown
http://athens.locallygrown.net

Recipes

Baked Beet-and-Carrot Burgers with Brown Rice, Sunflower Seeds, and Cheddar Cheese

If you like veggie burgers, you’ll love this recipe. Sweet beets and carrots give luscious flavor to these baked patties—together with pungent onion, snappy Cheddar cheese, and lots of toasty nuts and seeds. Great on wheat buns with mayo! Additional flour and egg can be substituted for the rice. Angelic Organics Kitchen (adapted from the Rose Valley Farm Food Book).

Makes 12 patties

butter for greasing the baking sheet
1/2 cup sesame seeds
1 cup sunflower seeds
2 cups peeled, grated beets (1–2 medium beets)
2 cups grated carrots (about 4 carrots)
1/2 cup minced onion (about 1 medium onion)
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup cooked brown rice
1 cup grated Cheddar cheese
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup finely chopped fresh parsley
3 tablespoons flour
2 tablespoons soy sauce or tamari
1 clove garlic, minced or pressed (about 1/2 teaspoon)
1/8–1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly coat a baking sheet with butter.
2. Place a small, heavy skillet over medium heat. Add the sesame seeds and stir them on the dry skillet just until lightly browned and fragrant, 3 to 5 minutes, watching closely to avoid burning them. Immediately remove from heat and transfer the toasted seeds to a dish to cool.
3. Return the skillet to the heat. Add the sunflower seeds and stir them on the dry skillet just until lightly browned and fragrant, 3 to 5 minutes, watching closely to avoid burning them. Immediately transfer them to the dish with the sesame seeds.
4. Combine the beets, carrots, and onion in a large bowl. Stir in the toasted sunflower and sesame seeds, eggs, rice, Cheddar cheese, oil, flour, parsley, soy sauce or tamari, and garlic (your hands work best here). Add cayenne (use 1/4 teaspoon for spicier burgers) and mix until thoroughly combined.
5. Using your hands, shape the mixture into 12 patties and arrange them in rows on the baking sheet.
6. Bake the patties until brown around the edges, about 20 minutes. Unless they are very large and thick, it should not be necessary to turn them. Serve alone or on buns.

Market News

We have 580 products listed this week, which I think is a new record for us. There is a wide array of heirloom lettuces, so if all you’ve had is the usual iceberg and romaine, you’ve got a great chance to try something new you just can’t find at the grocery. There are several offerings of young beets this week, too, and I promise you these are like no beets you’ll find at the store. There is more asparagus, snap peas, many types of flower bouquets, a variety of herbs, more spinach, cabbages, kales, and plenty of other goodies.

The days have suddenly gotten hot, but the nights are cool and we’ve gotten just enough rain to keep the plants happy. Still, if the days stay hot like this, the cool weather items (some of which are just starting to produce) may stop producing at any time. Some of the baby cabbages in my garden, for instance, have already gone straight to flower.

There are a couple items I’ve been forgetting to mention. First is we’ve had complementary coffee at pickup each week, thanks to 1000 Faces Coffee. Please help yourself if you’d like. Also, the state legislature did craft a bill that officially put the market property up for sale. The wheels of government turn slowly, however, so we’ll be able to remain there until likely September at the very earliest, and potentially even later than that. I’ll keep you informed on the state’s progress on selling the property.

Thank you all for your continued support of our local growers and for doing your part to cultivate the thriving local food system we have here in Athens. We’ll see you on Thursday from 4:30 to 8pm at the old market on Broad Street!

Coming Events

Our guest this week for Meet the Grower is Melissa Tufts from Two Swallows Farm in Comer. Melissa is one of the founding farmers of Athens Locally Grown, and has been with us since 2002. Melissa grows a wide array of vegetables, but is best known for her array of garden seedlings and other transplants. Her husband Michael’s traditional Shaker brooms are objects of both functionality and beauty.

The Athens Farmers Market is reopening for the season on Saturday May 9th at Bishop Park. 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.

Our first Farmer for a Day event is May 17th at Roots Farm. You can make reservations for this event by adding them to your order. Look in the “Event Reservations” category.

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 April 30


Contact Us!

Athens Locally Grown
http://athens.locallygrown.net

Recipes

Sautéed Radishes with Hard-Cooked Eggs and Spiced Yogurt Sauce

This dish is based on a recipe from Nepal. Cooked radishes add their peppery succulence to pieces of hard-cooked egg in an intricately flavored, curry-like yogurt sauce. Served at room temperature with basmati rice on the side, this makes a marvelous lunch or dinner. From Farmer John’s Cookbook: The Real Dirt On Vegetables

Serves 4

6 large hard-cooked eggs, halved, each half quartered
1 scallion, chopped
salt
freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons ghee or butter, divided
1 bunch radishes (about 1/2 pound), quartered
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
1 teaspoon crushed coriander seeds
1 teaspoon crushed sesame seeds
1 teaspoon ground cumin
11/4 cups plain yogurt
1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
freshly squeezed juice of 1 lemon (about 3 tablespoons)
1 teaspoon paprika

1. Arrange the hard-cooked egg pieces in a shallow serving dish. Scatter the scallion over the eggs and season with salt and pepper.
2. Melt 1 tablespoon of the ghee or butter in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add the radishes; cook, stirring, until tender, about 8 minutes. Transfer the radishes to a plate and set aside to cool.
3. Let the skillet cool for a couple minutes, then return it to the stove over low heat. Melt the remaining ghee or butter in the skillet. Add the cardamom, coriander, sesame seeds, and cumin; cook, stirring constantly to prevent them from burning, until they are fragrant, 3 to 4 minutes. Scrape the spices into a small bowl and set aside to cool.
4. Put the yogurt in a medium bowl. If it is firm yogurt, beat it vigorously with a fork or whisk until creamy. Add the cooled spices, cilantro, lemon juice, and paprika; stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
5. Arrange the cooked radishes over the eggs and scallions in the serving dish. Pour the yogurt sauce evenly over the dish. Serve immediately.

Market News

The grower is IN

One drawback to ordering your produce online is that, compared to a traditional market, you don’t get to put a face to the food. That is to say, you may know the name of the farm your food is coming from, but unless you go on all of our farm tours, you might not know just who that is, who the person actually is. Well, starting this week, we’re hoping to change that with a new table on Thursdays we’re calling “Meet the Grower”. Each week we can arrange it, we’ll have a different grower on hand for you to meet, talk to, ask questions of, thank, and so forth. They’ll bring info about their farm, photos, stories, possible samples, and other things to help you get a better sense of the specific place and people behind your food.

We’ll start things off this week with Todd Lister from Veribest Farm. It’ll be virtually impossible to meet him and not get more enthused about your food.

I was going to do my usual thing and talk about the weather, the state of everyone’s gardens, and so forth. I’m having a hard time thinking about all of that, though. As many of you who have been with us for a while probably know, I’ve been an active member of the Town & Gown Players since literally the day I moved to Athens in 1997. Much of my creative energies and time these days go into Locally Grown, but the people at Town & Gown are still the closest thing I have to family in Athens. I’ve spent countless days at the playhouse, met my wife there in fact. Three of my friends were gunned down there yesterday, including two of the first friends I made in Athens. I know there is some overlap between the membership of Athens Locally Grown and Town & Gown, and that some of you were even there. Please keep everyone, especially the families, in your thoughts. A lot of people are hurting, and Athens is temporarily a darker place. This will be a very hard, sad week.

Thank you all for helping make Athens a better, brighter place to live. We’ll see you on Thursday from 4:30 to 8pm at the old market on Broad Street.

Coming Events

Split Creek Farm (the goat dairy that offers the wonderful cheeses and fudge every other week) is holding their spring festival on Saturday, May 2nd. Spring means babies at Split Creek, and this even is a wonderful family affair. They’ll have tours and demonstrations throughout the day, and you’ll find details and directions on their website.

The Comer Farmers Market opens on Saturday, May 2nd. There is a bit more info here.

Athens Montessori School Birdhouse Auction is Saturday, May 2nd at the Lyndon House Arts Center. The reception & Silent Auction begin at 5:30pm with a live auction of the many birdhouses created by local artists at 7pm.

And finally the Athens Farmers Market is reopening for the season on Saturday May 9th at Bishop Park. 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.

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 April 23


Contact Us!

Athens Locally Grown
http://athens.locallygrown.net

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 11/2 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

Even though there are many new items this week, you may notice that the actual quantities available for many items we’ve had recently are down a bit. The “March Blizzard” and all of the much-needed rain disrupted spring planting for pretty much everyone, and so there’s a bit of a gap right now in the spring greens. It should be temporary, and might last only this one week. I know my garden is doing great, as the warm days, cool nights, and plenty of rain is exactly what my little plants love most of all. I was out today, finally putting in supports for trellising for all of the snap peas, which have until now just been sprawling across the ground. I’ll try to harvest enough to share with you all, but to be honest, these Amish heirloom peas rarely make it from the garden to the house. They’re just too delicious to resist, even during that little walk.

We have scheduled our “Farmer For a Day” program for the year, and by “we” I mostly mean “Marc Tissenbaum”, our Farmer For a Day volunteer coordinator. Each month, participants will visit a different sustainable farm to gain insight into some of the low-impact agricultural methods used in our community. They will also be able to match faces and names with farms that provide fresh, chemical-free goods to Athens area markets, restaurants, and individuals. In addition, the farmers will receive some much-deserved recognition while getting a little help and potentially picking up a few new customers. All in all, it will help individuals create an even stronger sense of community in Athens, GA.

One Saturday or Sunday a month from May through October, we will meet at our host farm at 10am. From 10 to noon, participants will get to see first-hand what goes into producing their food by helping with small, fun and interesting projects the grower will have prepared. We’ll then have lunch (free for all volunteers) followed by a full tour of the farm. The tours generally wrap-up by 2 p.m. Our food sponsors this year are Daily Groceries Co-op, Athens Locally Grown, and participating farmers.

Each tour is limited to 25 participants on a first-come, first-served basis. You can make reservations right on the Athens Locally Grown website as you’re shopping. You’ll find all of the events listed under the “Event Reservations” category, and you can add your reservations to your cart right alongside your veggies for the week. For example, if you plan on bringing four people, add four reservations. Directions will be provided and a carpool will be organized for each tour.

The list of farms and dates are as follows:

Roots Farm (Winterville), May 17
Greendale Farm (Madison), June 6
Dancing Sprout Farm (Athens), July 11
Mills Farm (Athens), August 9
Johnston Family Farm (Newborn), September 5
Boann’s Banks (Royston), October 3
The May and August tours fall on Sunday; the other monthly tours fall on Saturday.

The Johnston family run a dairy farm, Greendale produces free range eggs and pasture raised chicken, and the other participating farms emphasize vegetable production, with Mills Farm, additionally, utilizing their mule to grind corn grits, polenta, and meal. We’ll end the season with a big feast at my farm during the Hunter’s Moon in October. I’ll open that event up for reservations later this summer.

As always, we thank you for your continued support of Athens Locally Grown and our member growers! We’ll see you on Thursday from 4:30 to 8pm at the old market on Broad Street.

Coming Events

Nature’s Harmony is hosting a Volunteer Day on the Farm on Saturday, April 25th. Here is some info, in their words: “Many of you have graciously asked from time to time about helping on the farm. Well, if you’re still interested, here’s your chance. We are having a volunteer day on the farm on Saturday, April 25, 2009. The day will start at 9:00 a.m. and go until 4:00 p.m. Afterward, we hope you can stay for an early cookout featuring meats from Nature’s Harmony.” They’ve got a variety of projects planned, and it doesn’t matter if you have farm or carpentry skills. Contact Liz Young for more info at liz@naturesharmonyfarm.com

Split Creek Farm (the goat dairy that offers the wonderful cheeses and fudge every other week) is holding their spring festival on Saturday, May 2nd. Spring means babies at Split Creek, and this even is a wonderful family affair. They’ll have tours and demonstrations throughout the day, and you’ll find details and directions on their website.

The Comer Farmers Market opens on Saturday, May 2nd. There is a bit more info here.

And finally the Athens Farmers Market is reopening for the season on Saturday May 9th at Bishop Park. 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.

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 April 16


Contact Us!

Athens Locally Grown
http://athens.locallygrown.net

Recipes

Asparagus and White Bean Salad with Feta and Lemon Dressing

Served with crusty bread, this salad makes a terrific meal. White beans provide a delectable hearty-tenderness, without overwhelming the delicate asparagus. Tangy feta, zesty lemon, and a touch of mint give this salad a bright and refreshing flavor. From the Farmer John Cookbook.

Serves 4

1 pound asparagus, cut on an angle in 1-inch pieces (about 3 cups)
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 teaspoon chopped fresh mint
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 cup cooked or canned white beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
1/2 cup thinly sliced radishes
2 tablespoons thinly sliced scallions

1. Place the asparagus in a steamer basket set over 1 1/2 inches boiling water, and cover. Steam until the spears are tender-firm, 4 to 7 minutes depending on thickness. Drain and place in an ice water bath (or under cold, running water) for a moment to stop the cooking.
2. Put the olive oil, lemon juice, fresh mint, lemon zest, salt, and pepper in a small bowl and whisk until well combined. Drain asparagus.
3. Combine the beans, feta, radishes, and scallions in a large bowl. Add the asparagus pieces. Pour on the dressing and gently toss. Serve at room temperature or chilled.

Market News

I’m trying something a little different with the email this week. Some of the other locallygrown.net markets (did you know that there are nearly 100 communities across the country now using our system to feed themselves?) asked me if they could send out “newslettery” emails instead of just the plain text ones like I usually do. I tweaked the system a little to make it easier to do just that, and thought I’d give it a try myself. What do you think?

I know I’m always talking about how the market is growing, but last week I actually dug up some old numbers to see how they looked. I noticed last Thursday that is was still a month before the traditional start of “farmers market season”, yet our availability and total sales hod more of a mid-summer look to them. So when I got home I looked through the records and saw that last week’s total sales were just about twice the same week from last year, and a full ten times larger than the same week just two years ago. By pretty much every metric, sales, number of growers, number of customers, and items available, we’ve been pretty much doubling every single year. Many of our growers have told me that they are planting even more than ever before this season, to try to meet the demand of Athens Locally Grown and the Athens Farmers Market. And when/if we move to a new location, I’ll have to make sure the new place can handle the growth too. It’s a challenge, but really it’s a good problem to have. Thanks to you all and your demand for locally produced food for making it all happen!

We will be doing our popular “farmer for a day” program this year, starting in May. We’re still working out the schedule, and we’ll announce at least the first one as soon as its set. We’ll do one a month, and for those of you not familiar with the program, we visit a farm, spend a couple hours pitching in to do simple but much needed work, have a provided lunch, and then take a full guided tour. Space is limited, and we’ll be taking reservations as soon as we schedule the dates. There’s no charge, and it’s a great way to visit the farms and get a better idea of the people, places, and effort behind your food.

As always, we thank you for your continued support! We’ll see you on Thursday from 4:30 to 8pm at the old market on Broad Street.

Coming Events

The Southern Seed Legacy is holding their 12th Annual Seed Swap next Saturday at the Agrarian Connection Heritage Farm in Oglethorpe County. Don’t let the name fool you — you don’t have to bring any seeds to swap. You can find many heirloom seedlings and seeds to try, for free or for a donation to the SSL. Or just come for the old timey music and the slow cooked barbeque. All the details are on their website.

Split Creek Farm (the goat dairy that offers the wonderful cheeses and fudge every other week) is holding their spring festival on Saturday, May 2nd. Spring means babies at Split Creek, and this even is a wonderful family affair. They’ll have tours and demonstrations throughout the day, and you’ll find details and directions on their website.

And finally the Athens Farmers Market is reopening for the season on Saturday May 9th at Bishop Park. 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.

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 April 9


The growers have been using the break in the much-needed rain to work in their beds, get seeds and transplants in the ground, and otherwise try to get a little caught up. We’re expecting a couple nights of freezing temperatures this week, though, so don’t let the warm days fool you! Unless you’ve got some protection, you’ll need to hold off putting out those tomato plants just a little longer. The average last frost day for Athens is around the 15th of April, but local microclimates can make that date meaningless. At my place , for example, last year was the first year in the last seven that we didn’t get a frost in the second week of May. Backyard Harvest has a similar last date for their farm, so you just have to keep an eye on things, just in case.

Those of you who have been ordering breads from Black Cow Coffeehouse will notice something a little different this week. Black Cow has decided to stop making breads under their name, but their baker is continuing to bake, in the exact same ovens with the exact same recipes. You’ll now find the loaf breads listed under the name “Fred’s Breads”. Several of you also noticed the Crunchy Spelt bread hasn’t been available lately. The cost of spelt has suddenly skyrocketed such that the cost for ingredients alone would be near $10 a loaf. So, until either the price drops down or another supplier of equally high quality spelt can be found, that bread is off the list.

Many more of you have been asking about the progress toward finding a new location. I’ve been taking my time looking for a new place, since it looks like we have at least three months or so where we are (and actually, the sale process could drag on for years in this economy). I haven’t yet found a place that has everything we’d like, but there is one potential site that is close to perfect except for one little thing… it is out near the mall. If we were to move out there, how would that affect you? Would be be less likely to order from us if we were that far from downtown?

And now on to this week’s list. I see a number of new items this week, and I’m excited about the great variety of fresh herbs that are now again available. I hope you find a number of things you like, too.

Thanks for all your support! We’ll see you on Thursday from 4:30 to 8pm at the old market on Broad Street.

Availability for April 2


It took less than a week for Michelle Obama’s White House organic garden to draw official protests from industrial agriculture. For example, the Executive Director of the Mid America CropLife Association says the idea of an organic garden at the White House makes her “shudder”, and wrote a letter to Mrs. Obama expressing her organization’s desire for conventional agriculture to be represented in her garden.

Meanwhile, many of you have been asking me about HR 875, the Food Safety Modernization Act of 2009. The internet is abuzz right now with websites and emails saying things like this would outlaw organic agriculture, close farmers markets, and is about to be rammed through Congress by Monsanto. First off, let me assure you that none of these things are true. HR 875 is actually just one of several bills before Congress drafted in the wake of the salmonella outbreak tied to the peanut facility in south Georgia, and it may well be the best of the bunch. At its core is a proposal to divide the Food and Drug Administration into two agencies, one for drugs and the other for food. The legislation itself is somehow both very detailed about the authority the new food agency would have yet very vague about how its charge would be carried out. You can read the legislation for yourself here. It’s been referred to committee, but there has been no action taken on the bill. Its author, Rep Rosa DeLauro (her husband does not work for Monsanto, as some of the emails claim), has actually sat down with organic and small-scale farmers and is making sure amendments get written that would clarify and strengthen the legislation and make sure there is no undue burden placed on growers who sell locally. You can find a well-researched article about it all here. If you’re politically minded, it’s never too early to write members of the House Agriculture committee to let them know what sort of food safety law you’d like to emerge. Rest assured, something is coming down the pike.

In other news, the Athens Farmers Market is only a month away from its opening Saturday, on May 9th. A good number of our growers also sell there, so you’ll soon have another source for sustainably grown local food. Also, my cooking class covering “nature’s perfect food”, the egg, is next Monday, April 6, at Athens Rolling Pin. Registration is required, and it costs $35.

Now, on to this week’s bounty! There are quite a few new items this week as more growers come online. There are even veggie seedlings ready to go into your own garden is you want to give growing your own food a try. If you need a hand with that, Kevin Yates, a former grower at Roots Farm, has started an edible landscape business in Athens, Hungry Gnome Gardenscapes, that can help you get going.

Thanks for all of your support! We’ll see you on Thursday from 4:30pm to 8pm at the old market on Broad Street.

Availability for March 26


I spent the past two days on the campus of Agnes Scott College in Decatur, attending the annual Georgia Organics conference. Both the conference and the organization has really grown and expanded since I first began going eight years ago, and as I say every year, this one was the best conference yet. The highlight was the keynote address by Michael Pollan. His talk was essentially a “state of the movement” address for local and sustainable foods. One take-away was a quote from President Obama: “Make me do it. Show me the movement.” This was in response to a long discussion about sustainable foods and the pressures opposing them from the industrial food industry and government policies that directly or indirectly support that industry. The president, while he supports what we’re trying to do, needs to know there is a cry from the populous to reform those governmental policies that have encouraged monocultures of corn and soybeans and factory meat farms at the expense of so many other things. By buying a portion of your food from your local farmers, and be spreading the word about who they are and what they offer, you’re adding your voice to the cry that the president needs to hear.

On a related note, after that conversation, President Obama turned to his wife Michelle and said, “This is your issue, baby”. She apparently took that to heart, with the planting of an organic vegetable garden on the White House lawn. If that or anything else has given you the urge to plant your own garden, but have some questions, please let us know. If we can’t answer them, we’ll point you to some resources that can. And no, we’re not worried about you growing all your own food and leaving Athens Locally Grown. It turns out that growing some of your own food changes your eating habits enough that gardeners often buy even more items from farmers markets than before :)

There are a few events coming up you might like to know about. First, I’ll be teaching a cooking class at The Rolling Pin in Beechwood on Monday, April 6th, from 6:30 to 8:30pm. The topic is all about the egg, and I’ll go through as many techniques for perfectly using eggs as two hours will allow. The cost is $35, and you can register at www.athensrollingpin.com. On April 18th, The Southern Seed Legacy will hold its 12th annual Seed Swap near at UGA’s Agrarian Connections Farm near Crawford. Even if you have no seeds to swap, come for the free seeds to try in your own garden, the great array of heirloom tomato and pepper seedlings, the bluegrass music, and the traditional barbeque. It looks like their website doesn’t show the current date yet, but you’ll be able to find out more at http://www.uga.edu/ebl/ssl/activities/seedswap/. This is on my short list of “don’t miss” yearly events.

Finally, on June 28th as part of AthFest, Craig Page, executive director of P.L.A.C.E. and myself will battle it out in an “Iron Chef” style local foods cooking competition. The event has just gotten approved and there are many details to be worked out, but I’m excited and already nervous.

Now, on to this week;s listing. I see several exciting things added this week, including the season’s first asparagus and a number of native wildflower seedlings ready to be planted. There are over 400 items in all. The farms are gardens are really starting to return to life!

Thanks for all of your support. We’ll see you on Thursday from 4:30 to 8pm at the old farmers market on Broad Street!