Athens Locally Grown has closed.
Abailability for February 21
The veggie list is continuing to grow this week as several other farms awaken from their winter slumber. As is usually the case, my own farm is a bit late to the game—we’re only just now putting together our seed order.
The recent rains have been more than welcome. It seems like we’ve had a nice moist winter when compared to the dry summer, but its important to remember that we’re already at a deficit for the year and that the resevoirs are in far worse shape than they were at this time last year. Ignore what the politicians are saying by relaxing water restrictions and providing recreational exemptions – we’re still needing much more rain than we’re used to getting.
By growing sustainably, the Athens Locally Grown growers are well ahead of the game when it comes to reducing water usage. But it means a lot of work, laying drip hoses, applying fresh mulch, digging beds to optimize water flow, containing rain water, and so forth. We’re beginning to plan our series of farm tours for the year, and if you attend any of them, be sure to get a glimpse of how our sustainable growers make use of the water we have. We don’t just not spray chemicals and call it a day – we’re protecting our water, our soil, and all of our resources.
Thanks again for all of your support. We’re plannig hard to make this year Athens Locally Grown’s best year yet! We’ll see you on Thursday from 4:30pm to 8pm at Gosford Wine.
Availability for February 14
There’s a nip of Spring in the air, and we have a few early arrivals this week. New greens, new carrots, salad mix, tomatoes, and a few other veggies are on the list this week.
There are also dairy products from Split Creek and Milky Way dairies. There are meats from Tink’s Beef, Shady Brook Farm, and Split Creek. There are bath and beauty products, candles, notecards, knitted items, granola, and other farmstead items from a variety of sources.
The list should pretty much grow from here on out as the days get longer and the nights a little warmer.
Thanks for all of your support! We’ll see you on Thursday from 4:30pm to 8pm at Gosford Wine.
Availability for February 7
This week’s list looks very similar to last week’s. A few things have been added, including some hand-knitted items from Backyard Harvest.
Tink’s Beef is having a sale on her ground beef. She has a large supply in her freezers, which she needs to move out to make room for new cuts coming in. If you have room in your freezer, now is a good time to stock up.
Many people wonder what the farmers do during the Winter months. It’s traditionally the down time for growers (though the year-round nature of markets like ours are starting to change that), so that’s when conferences are held. Georgia Organics is holding theirs at the end of this month in Dalton, Georgia. Even if you’re not growing yourself, the conference is well worth attending, and you can find details at www.georgiaorganics.org. Myslelf, I’ve been keeping busy by directing a play with Athens’ own Town and Gown Players. The play, “A Streetcar Named Desire”, opens this Friday and runs for two weeks. Details about ticketing, times, etc., can be found at www.townandgownplayers.org. It’s a very, very good production, if I say so myself.
Thanks for all of your support! We’ll see you this Thursday from 4:30 to 8pm at Godford Wine.
Availability for January 31
There are nearly 200 active items on the website this week, and several of them are new. Roots Farm returns with several salad mixes, braising greens, and herbs. Jan’s Garden has some green bunching onions. McMullan Farm has a few greenhouse tomatoes, turnips, and other items. Backyard Harvest must have dug up all of their carrots last week, but they have eggs this week. 10 Signs, 1000 Faces, Split Creek, Mac’s Eggs, Milky Way, Mills Farm, Double B, Cedar Grove, Canoe Lake, Generositee Gypsy, Green Knee, Mertie’s Oven, Shady Brook, Songbird Designs, TaylOrganics, Scott’s Eggs, Tink’s Beef, and Two Swallows all also have items listed this week.
Quite a list, really. Twenty-three growers have items for sale in late January, when most every other farmers market in the state is closed for the winter. And we’re not having to truck in food from Florida, California, or South America to do it.
Another statistic that makes me happy is last week locallygrown.net saw its 10,000th order since going live exactly one year ago. This includes all markets using the system, but the majority of those orders were placed through Athens Locally Grown. And, I’m happy to say the 10,000th order was also placed at our market. We surprised that customer by giving her her entire order for free. She said she’d never won anything before, but I feel like we’ve all won – and continue to win – by having such a diverse selection of locally produced foods week after week.
All of our growers have told me they are expanding operations this year to handle further growth of the market. Be sure to tell your friends about us, so that the customers will be here when the first wave of spring products come along in the upcoming weeks!
Thanks for all of your support. We’ll see you on Thursday from 4:30 to 8pm at Gosford Wine!
Availability for January 24
I just moments ago walked in the door after a ten hour trip home from a wonderful SSAWG Conference. I was in charge of the computers, projectors, and other electronic equipment used by the presenters, so I didn’t get to attend many sessions myself, though my wife did. One notable exception was one session where the presenter was unexpectedly absent. The absence wasn’t discovered until a couple hours before the start time, and the subject was “Internet Farmers Cooperatives”. Well, even though we’re not legally organized as a cooperative, it was easy enough for me to get up and talk for ninety minutes about the wonderful things we all have accomplished here in Athens. The room was half empty when I started, but by the time I finished the room was full with a few folks standing in the back. It’s easy for me to get excited about our little market here, and I think when it was all over, I’d managed to infect many others with some of that excitement.
Speaking of excitement, while scrolling through the list of products available this week, I noticed a surprise buried down in the vegetables listings. There’s not many, so if you like tomatoes you’ll need to hurry to get some out of Michael McMullan’s greenhouse.
It’s nearly one in the morning, so I’ll stop right here. We all thank you for your support, and I look forward to seeing you all again on Thursday from 4:30pm to 8pm at Gosford Wine!
Bad Weather -- Might Postpone Pickup
The weather looks pretty bad for tomorrow. Right now, they’re saying it’ll just hit freezing overnight and will be spitting ice pellets, snow, and rain all night and into tomorrow.
It could go either way—too icy to be out, or just cold, wet, and miserable. We won’t know until tomorrow which it is.
If it’s “just” miserable, the market will go on as scheduled. If the roads are too bad, we’ll postpone until Friday.
For now, assume we’re on. If we do postpone, I’ll send out another email tomorrow.
Availability for January 17
My family and I are traveling to Louisville, KY on Tuesday for the annual Southern Sustainable Agriculture Working Group (SSAWG) conference. I’ll be making sure all of their computers function during the run of the conference and my wife will be attending the sessions. Together we’ll be evangelizing Locally Grown, of course. Word has already spread—there are a couple dozen markets throughout the country now following our model.
I almost canceled market this week, but Michael McMullan (of McMullan Family Farm) offered to make our run out to the dairies and keep the market open. Our regular crew of volunteers, Marc, Christina, Cynthia, and Molly, will be on hand to fill orders. It’ll be the first time market has gone on without us being there in four years (well, except for the day our daughter was born, when Dan Miller jumped in to help) and it’s actually nice. It’s good knowing that the market isn’t dependent on us, and that it’s grown to the point where it can go on should we, for whatever reason, not be here.
Another nice thing about our growth is the market now has a diversity of products. The recent freezes took their tolls on the vegetables (there are only ten listed this week), but the eggs, dairy, meats, and other products allow us to stay open when in years past we would have had to close down for lack of products.
There are a few new items this week. Michael has some heirloom turnips, Backyard Harvest has started listing eggs, and I see some new live plants. We also have lots of dairy from Split Creek and Milky Way, eggs from a variety of sources, soaps, processed foods, Tink’s Beef, and a lot of other great products.
Thanks for all your support, and our volunteers will see you on Thursday at Gosford Wine from 4:30 to 8pm!
Milk is Available!
I forgot to make the milk from Diamond Hill Dairy available last night. I’ve fixed that. If you’ve already ordered, feel free to order again for milk.
Availability for January 10
Well, the deep freezes last week really put the hurt down for most of the fresh veggies. One grower reported a low of nine below zero, and it’s hard for any leafy green, no matter how protected, to make it through a night like that.
Still, there are a few items listed in the “Vegetables” category, and a lot more other items besides. There’s plenty of milk, meats, and more eggs than ever before. Mac McGee, of Mac’s Eggs, has listed 50 dozen this week, and that plus all the other dozens listed by the other growers, might just be enough to go around for everyone who wants some, for the first week ever.
One question I get asked a lot, especially by people new to Athens Locally Grown, is why most of our food is not USDA Certified Organic. I tell them that everyone who sells here grows “organically”, but they have found that gaining the trust of their customers (you) by being open, honest, and available has been much more important than getting some government stamp. Also, I say the official government “Organic” program has pretty much lost its meaning, what with the loopholes for large growers, the hurdles for the small, and so forth. That last bit often opens up a long conversation about the pros and cons of the organic program, but now I have a single example I can readily point to: Batter Blaster. If a spray can full of pressurized pancake batter can get the USDA Organic label, what’s the point really?
Thanks for all of your support of your local food producers. We’ll see you on Thursday from 4:30pm to 8pm at Gosford Wine!
Availability for January 3
Happy New Year! 2007 was a challenging year to be a grower, but enough growers and enough of you came together to make it a very successful year for Athens Locally Grown. I don’t have official numbers to look at, but from my informal “asking around”, I think we are now the largest retail farmers market in Georgia. We have high hopes for 2008, our eighth year in operation, as well.
There are just over 200 product listed on the website. New this week are some lettuces, chervil, spinach, and a few other products. Everyone’s hens are starting to come out of their annual molt, so we should start seeing our egg supply steadily increase from here on out.
We’re coming into the two coldest months of the year. Our growers are growing veggies under cloth, in hoop houses, and in heated greenhouses to protect them from the coming freezes. It’s a challenge, more so maybe than growers further north, because we can have days in the 70s (or higher) followed a day or two later with nights down in the teens. It takes constant adjustment and effort, but I’m sure you’ll agree that the results are worth the effort.
We thank you for your support, especially those of you that have been with us for all seven years. Without you, we wouldn’t be here, and there’d be a lot fewer organic growers around Athens. We’ll see you on Thursday at Gosford Wine from 4:30 to 8pm!