Athens Locally Grown has closed.
A Few Announcements
Our market keeps growing at an astounding rate, as people become more aware of the importance of eating local foods. I’ve resisted such growth over the last few years, but the stars have aligned to bring together more growers and more households so here we are. Many businesses consider 20% growth in a year to be huge, but we’re now seeing that each week. It used to be Thursday afternoons were when I got my reading done, but no more! To cope with that, we’re making a few changes.
First, we’re extending our hours to 8pm. This will give you more time to come by, and maybe thin the line out a little bit. We can’t open any earlier, so the new hours are 4:30pm to 8pm.
Second, we’re looking for a couple “volunteers” to help us fill orders. These people should be adults or older teens and should be present from 4pm until 8pm (though we could let you go earlier). We’d prefer people who can make it each week over one-time volunteers, as it takes time to learn what everything is, even with labels on them. In return for your help, we’ll credit you for $50 of produce each week. If you’re interested in this trade, please let me know. We can use you as early as next week.
Third, we had an unacceptable amount of items we shorted you yesterday. We’ll try harder to make sure you leave with everything we have for you, but you may also want to go through your invoice before you leave to be sure. I’ve credited everyone I know for sure we shorted yesterday, but we had a number of unlabeled items left over. If you were missing any of these, let me know and I’ll refund your account:
Dry feta, Feta in brine, ground beef, eggs, flower bouquet, and a Persian Shield bedding plant.
Hopefully these measures will help you get in and out of the store more quickly and help us keep our sanity. We’ll continue to adjust as needed!
Also, even though the overall rate is low, the incidence of no-shows has increased of late. I can sometimes make arrangements to get you your produce on Friday, but not always. The Thursday pickup is really the only guaranteed time we can have your orders for you. We’ve already paid the growers for your orders by the time we open our doors, and it only takes a couple large orders to wipe out the amount the growers let us keep to cover our gas, time, and other expenses. Because of that, we have a strict policy of charging you for orders placed but not picked up. You all have been really good about honoring that, but I wanted to spell it out for all the new folks that might have missed that on the website.
And one last thing… we really appreciate Gosford Wine allowing us to completely take over their store, front and back, for four hours. Having pickups there is so much nicer for everyone than the old days of meeting in a parking lot in the hot sun. Please keep them in mind when looking for wine for yourselves or others—there’s no better place in town to get quality wine.
From myself and all of Locally Grown’s 26 suppliers, thank you for all of your support!
Availability for June 14th
We welcome two new growers to Athens Locally Grown this week.
The first is a regular at the Athens Green Market (the Saturday market at Big City Bread) and used ti sell right next to me back when I used to sell there. Sundance Farm outside of Danielsville, Georgia is run by Ed and Kim Janosik, and they grow a variety of beautiful vegetables. I heard a rumor they were exploring heritage breeds of turkey for Thanksgiving, and I’m hoping it’s true.
The second is Greenbrier Creek Goat Farm in Watkinsville. They are offering different cuts of goat meat as well as custom processing. You’ll find the cuts listed on the website, and if you’d like a whole or half goat you’ll find their contact information on their farm’s Locally Grown page.
Also on the same subject (sorry to all you vegetarians on the list), Dyal Family Farm has a few half hogs from their pasture ready for processing. They cost apx. $375 for a hanging weight of about 115 lbs. They will be processed to order (i.e., you specify the thickness of chops, the roasts, ham and bacon curing, etc.). If you’ve got room in your freezer, this is an economical way to get local (well, they’re down near Vidalia, but it’s close) pastured pork. If your freezer is small, you can go in with friends or neighbors and split things up as you’d like. Either way, if you’re interested in this, let me know and I’ll get you in touch with the Dyals—this will all happen outside of Locally Grown proper.
The three day Athens Tour de Farm bike trip ended today with a stop at Mills Farm for some shrimp and grits and fresh off the vine tomato sandwiches. I didn’t make the bike ride, but I did happen to be at several of the farm stops. It seemed like a good time was had by all. We’ve also got our own Farmer for a Day Farm Tour happening this coming Saturday at Double B farm in Oxford. I know all of the slots have been filled, but we’ve got more tours coming. See the “Event Reservations” category to save your place for those other tours.
I saw several new products listed on the website for the week. The growers are still adding items as I write this, so you might want to wait a bit to order (or order now and come back later to order again). I’ve got to catch a plant to Louisiana in a few hours, so I’ll go ahead and open the website now rather than wait for them to finish.
We are going to both Split Creek Farm for goat milk, cheese, fudge and meat and to Diamond Hill for Jersey cow milk, cream, and buttermilk this week.
We thank you for all your support. The growth in both growers and customers recently has been phenomenal—we crossed 400 customers on the list yesterday and we’re now at 26 growers. I think we’ve got the hang of things in the stockroom at Gosford Wine now, and starting this week we’ll have a couple university students helping us out as well. We’ll see you all on Thursday from 4:30 to 7pm there at Gosford!
Availability for June7th
We got rain both yesterday and today at my place. By my reckoning, it was the first significant rain since March 1st (though I think I forgot to write down one brief shower since then). We didn’t get a lot of rain, but it was nice to let the well pump rest for a couple days.
We’ve got two Locally Grown events coming up soon. First, next weekend is Athens Tour de Farm. This isn’t purely a Locally Grown event, but there are a number of LG members and growers involved. The three day bike tour of area farmland is full, but you can learn more about it at farmlandconservation.org.
Second, the following weekend is the second installment of our Farmer for a Day program. This time we’ll be at Double B Farm in Oxford, who has been supplying us with the wonderful honey, mushrooms, and other items. It will be held on Saturday, June 16th, and there are still a few slots open. You can make your reservations along with your order—just look in the category “Event Reservations” for that and future tours.
We do have a number of new items this week, and more of the summer goodies that have been trickling in the past two weeks. More basil, squash, potatoes, and zucchini in particular. No tomatoes yet, but they will be here soon.
We continue to increase our sales each week, and we’re continuing to adapt our operations to cope. We took over every square inch of Gosford Wine as well as a nice chunk of the back parking lot last week. I know there was a sizable line right after we opened the doors at 4:30, but once it got moving it went pretty fast. There was no waiting at all later in the day, so if your schedule is flexible and you don’t like lines, 6:30 seems to be a good time to come by.
Thanks for all your support, and that goes for those of you who have been with us for five years, those of us who are joining us this week, and everyone in between! We’ll see you at Gosford Wine from 4:30 to 7pm Thursday.
Availability for May 31
There’s no new growers to announce this week, but the market is still growing! Several growers will be coming on board in the next few weeks with flowers, veggies, lamb meat, and wool. Our customer list has swelled to nearly 350 people, and we were just three shy of hitting 100 orders last week.
We’ve got quite a few new products this week. We’ve got feta crumbles from Split Creek Farm, new bedding plants from Jan’s Garden, lots of fresh herbs from a variety of growers, more squash and zucchini, and more. There are a few items leaving us this week, including broccoli and asparagus. The seasons are shifting, and we’ll be seeing less and less of the cool weather crops and mpre and more of the summer goodies. Alice Mills let me know that she ate her first cherry tomatoes today. Of course she keeps the first ones of the season for her own house, but it won’t be long now before there are enough to share!
I’ve got a veggie growing for the first time, and I didn’t know what season to expect a harvest. It’s called a “winged pea” or “asparagus pea”. It is a legume, and grows low to the ground instead of climbing. I got the seeds from Seed Savers Exchange, who said only “This legume is not related to either asparagus or peas. Mentioned as early as 1734 by Philip Miller, one of the earliest garden writers. The pods are best when eaten small and are good steamed or added to other vegetables. Thrives in poor soil. Beautiful purple flowers. Plants are low growing and spread laterally along the ground.” I planted them as early as I could and have been watching them ever since. They’re spread out in little clumps, about ten inches across, and they have just begun blooming. They really are beautiful flowers, looking like tiny little pea blossoms and a crimson so deep they’re almost black. I’m taking the blossoms as a good sign that maybe they’ll produce even in this heat, and I’ll have a few to share with you.
We are doing dairy runs every week now, and this week we’ll head out to Split Creek for goat milk, cheese, and fudge, and to Milky Way Farm for milk, cream, and buttermilk.
Thanks for all your support, and welcome all the new members! We’ll keep adjusting Thursday afternoons to get your orders to you as quickly as we can. We’ve completely overtaken Gosford Wine’s storeroom and are spreading out into the back parking lot. It all adds up to a lot of food, and it’s food that has been grown right here and not shipped in from California, Chile, or China. Thank you for helping make it all happen! We’ll see you at Gosford Wine this Thursday from 4:30pm to 7pm.
Availability for May 24th
It was great seeing several of you at our first “Farmer for a Day” event of the summer at Two Swallows Farm yesterday. The weather was beautiful, the many hands made light work of a number of projects (from planting tomatoes to spreading mulch to tidying up the hoophouse to shoveling out the barnyard [Marc claimed that job before we even got started]), and a great lunch under the shade tree was had. We rounded out the day with a full tour of the farm, including the beautiful pond tucked back in the woods that was dug out using mules back in the day. We’ll continue to hold these events through the summer, with the next one out at Double B farm next month in Oxford. You can find out more on the website (a graphic at the top of each page will point you in the right direction) and you can make reservations as you place your order—just look in the “Event Reservations” category.
We welcome two new growers this week. First, 10 Signs Garden & Gourmet is offering both turkey and duck eggs. Both of those are exceedingly hard to find, but well worth the search. Second, Jan’s Garden is a well-known in-town garden in Athens, and is supplying a number of live plants this week. You can find out more about both growers (and all the rest of them as well) on the “Our Growers” page of the website. We have 23 growers now, and many of them have started putting up photos so you can take a “virtual tour” of their farms.
We have a number of new items this week. The “New Products” carousel at the top of the Market page is a great way to keep up with those. I tweaked it to show the new products with photos first. It’s my goal to have photos for most all of the products that get listed.
On final note about the dairy runs. As mentioned last week, due to your demand for the great raw dairy you can purchase from South Carolina dairies, we are now making dairy runs every week instead of just twice a month. We have tweaked the route a little, though, so now we’ll be pairing Split Creek and Milky Way, and then on alternate weeks going to Diamond Hill. This week we’ll go out to Diamond Hill for raw milk form their pastured Jersey cows.
Welcome to all the new people who found us via the recent press! I know the influx of customers has made Thursday pickups much busier, and we’re adjusting things on our end to match. I know there was a sizable line early on on Thursday, but it seemed to be moving pretty quickly. We’ll try to keep it that way. Remember that pickups start at 4:30. We use every minute before that to organize the back room so we can quickly pull orders, so it may not be possible to pull your order is you arrive early.
Thank you for all your support of your local food producers! When a community can feed itself, everyone wins. Athens is a long ways from doing that, but you are bringing us closer to it. We’ll see you on Thursday from 4:30 to 7pm at Gosford Wine!
Availability for May 17
We welcome not one, not two, but three new growers to Athens Locally Grown this week!
First, Dancing Sprout Farm here in Athens has a number of lettuces this week. This farm is run by Geoff Lewis, who used to sell live plants at the table next to mine at the Athens Green Market on Saturday mornings. They have now expanded to vegetables and cut flowers, and are “focusing on delivering quality products using sustainable, all-natural growing methods.”
Second, Generositee Gypsy in Iva, South Carolina has just one item listed this week (sunflower sprouts), but that is the first of many. This farm is run by Alison Mattio, the wife of Michael McMullan (of McMullan Family Farm). The two of them actually met while selling at the Hartwell Farmers Market, and have kept both farms in operation since becoming a family.
Third, Mac’s Eggs in Anderson, South Carolina is going to solve our egg shortage by listing 42 dozen eggs this week. After you all taste them, however, we’ll be short again, as you’ll find yourselves eating a lot more eggs when they’re this good. Mac McGee has a nice sized flock of pastured hens that he supplements with a feed he mixes himself from cracked grains (including oats he grows himself) and an organic mineral mix.
To see more information about all of our growers (now numbering 21!), please visit the “Our Growers” page on the website. If you have a chemical-free garden with extra production, big or small, contact me about selling your produce through our market.
The new growers have come on board at just the right time, as the front page article in last Thursday’s Athens Banner Herald has pushed the number of accounts at the market to over 300. Welcome, everyone! There’s another article coming out in this week’s Flagpole on local food. It’s a topic of interest to a great number of people, and we’ll do what we can to match the supply with the growing demand.
In addition to the new growers, there are a number of new items this week as well. Looking at the “New Item” carousel on the website, I see heirloom radishes, miner’s lettuce, red scallions, baby carrots, flower bouquets, sunflower sprouts, a number of lettuces, and other items. Beef from McMullan Family Farm returns this week also—Michael is picking up a freshly processed batch from the butcher tomorrow. I know many of you have been waiting for that. It’s also a dairy week, so we’ll be stopping at Milky Way Farm for raw milk, cream, and buttermilk.
Speaking of the dairy. We’re changing our schedule starting this week. We’ll be going to the dairies every week now, instead of twice a month. We’ll be alternating between Diamond Hill and Milky Way, and one of those will be paired with Split Creek. We’re still working out the exact schedule, but the important thing is you don’t have to buy three week’s of milk this week—only one!
The first of our summer “Farmer For A Day” farm tours is this Saturday at Two Swallows Farm in Comer, GA. To help our planning, we request that you make a reservation (look under “Event Reservations” alongside all of the products we are offering this week) for these events. You can find out more details about our tours on the “Farm Tours” listing on the “Our Growers” page on the website.
I think that’s all the news for the week. The summer veggies will be here soon (beyond those Michael McMullan is already listing). I finished planting all mine today, except for a melon patch down by the river. It’s good to get everything in the ground. Now all that’s left is fighting off the weeds, the bugs, and the other critters…
Thanks for all your support. With that support we continue to grow, and that growth does present us with new challenges. We thank you for your patience as we sometimes have a line on Thursday or seem a bit more frazzled than normal. We’ll see you on Thursday from 4:30 to 7pm at Gosford Wine, and if not then, then maybe Saturday at Two Swallows Farm!
Availability for May 10
It looked going in that I’d spend most of this weekend working inside as the gardens got some much needed rain. We did get some Friday night, but the rest of the weekend was just perfect for getting things done outside. The beds got weeded, drip hoses got laid out, the veggies that never recovered from the freeze got ripped out (and in some cases replanted), and the summer veggies started going in. We usually get a late frost the second week of May, but it looks like it’ll only get to the low 40s. So, in went about 60 heirloom tomato plants (about 30 different varieties), eggplant, cucumbers, squash, and beans. I started with my favorite bean (“Kentucky Wonder”) but I’ve got six other heirloom pole beans to try that different people have suggested to me. We’ll see if any of them can de-throne the Kentucky Wonders (and really, I don’t see how they possibly could).
We’ve got many, many new offerings this week. Too many to list here, but the “New Products” gizmo on the website does a pretty good job of showing off the goods. We have many heirloom lettuces, several fresh herbs, flower bouquets, zucchini, broccoli, and more. Cedar Grove Farm returns from winter this week with eight items. There’s 15 pounds of spinach offered (and really, that’s a lot of spinach). The list goes on.
There are five new “products” listed that aren’t products at all. Under the “Event Reservations” category, you’ll find listings for the five farm tours we have scheduled for this summer. It really helps our planning if you could reserve your spots (and in fact, spots are limited!), so if you plan on coming to any or all of them, just add the appropriate number of reservations to your order. The first tour is Saturday, May 19th at Two Swallows Farm in Comer. In general, the schedule for the tours are 10-noon group work sessions, then lunch on the farm (provided for all our volunteer farmers-for-the-day), followed by the tour itself. I’ve also added “Farm Tours” to the grower listings page, so our tour coordinator, Marc Tissenbaum, can keep us all updated on the details.
I spoke today with a neighbor of Milky Way Dairy. The fellow there, Mac, has been raising pastured hens for eggs for five years, and he’s looking for a market. “I’ve got just the place,” I told him, and starting next week you’ll find his eggs listed through Locally Grown. We’re always short on eggs in a big way, and he’ll be able to add 30 dozen or so to our listings each week. The hens are pastured, and he supplements with a grain mix he makes himself, including oats that he grows and a certified organic mineral mix. The more eggs we have available, the more demand there is, so we’re very glad to have Mac aboard. If you’ve tried any of the pastured eggs we offer, you’ll know why.
And, speaking of Milky Way Dairy, last week’s milk run had our pickup truck at (really beyond) capacity. We’ve run the numbers, and it looks like we can justify driving out to the dairies every week instead of twice a month. So, this will be the last week without dairy. We’ll go to Milky Way next week and the week after, and then starting June 7th we’ll alternate between Split Creek/Diamond Hill and Milky Way.
Even then, it won’t take much more growth before our pickup will be inadequate. Most folks think a refrigerated truck is the next step up, but at the Georgia Organics conference, visiting speaker Joel Salatin of Polyface Farm in Virginia turned us on to the small buses often used by churches and senior centers. Turns out those places buy them new every ten years or so, maintain them perfectly, and then have problems selling them when it’s time for a new one. Joel now uses one for his farm’s deliveries, and it sounds like just the thing. I’m not sure we could afford one even at the rock bottom prices they go for, but if you belong to a church or group with one who is either looking to sell (or even lease) one, have them get in touch with us.
I think I’ve gone on for far long enough, so on to the food! Thanks so much for all your support, and please continue to tell your friends. The more customers we have, the more growers we have, and the more our community as a whole benefits. We’ll see you Thursday, from 4:30 to 7pm at Gosford Wine!
Availability for May 3
It seems the more I tell people about Locally Grown, what we do and how we do it, the more people seem to like it. Except for one little thing…
Our system has helped the growers considerably by taking out the speculation that goes into selling at a regular farmers market, and from what you’ve told me, it does the same for you the customer. In almost every respect, what we do is better than a traditional market. The one thing we lack, though, is the social atmosphere that a thriving market provides.
I know you all get a chance to meet each other and converse when you wait in line as I fall behind putting orders together, but that’s not the same thing. Many of you lived elsewhere before moving to Athens where markets were not just the place to go buy veggies, but were just the place to be, to meet up with friends, to watch demonstrations, etc.
We’ve managed to have the isolated event here and there, but things have shaped up this year to allow us to offer a series of coordinated events throughout the year that may help bring that missing piece back to our market. Thanks to the efforts of member Marc Tissenbaum, we’ll be offering monthly “Farmer For a Day” sessions at member farms each month, starting on May 19th at Two Swallows Farm in Comer. The full calendar and details are still coming together, but in general they’ll work like this: people will meet at the farm at 10am on a Saturday morning (organized car pooling is in the works). 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. More details and a full schedule will follow, but if it sounds fun, mark your calendars for May 19th.
Justin Ellis, a recent Athens resident and new LG member is also organizing an interesting event of an entirely different sort. He calls it “Athens Tour de Farm” and here’s what he has to say:
“ATHENS Tour de Farm 2007 is a remarkable opportunity to see, touch, taste and explore a broad diversity of local farms during a three day bicycle journey across the North Georgia landscape. Over the course of the journey 30 riders will visit 8 farms in three counties, traveling nearly 100 miles, providing a host of stories to tell about great food, interesting farmers, and the secrets of our rural landscape. The event is held on a Friday, Saturday and Sunday on June 8th-10th. In that brief span of time we’ll visit an array of farms featuring cattle, quail, chickens, goats, alfalfa, wheat, organic fruits and vegetables, a dairy cow, blueberries, and even a farm powered by a mule named Luke. We’ll pass by small towns, antebellum homes, and even a covered bridge. Delicious farm fresh meals will be provided, and each night will camp in the pastures beneath the stars. Athens Tour de Farm promises to be a one of kind experience for the whole family; an educational opportunity wrapped up in an adventure! Now tell me that don’t sound neat! For more information on registration visit the website at http://www.farmlandconservation.org.”
We’ll have more details as that event draws closer, but if you’re interested in that, head over to his website. He only has a limited number of slots open for the tour.
And of course, if you’re a hermit (like I tend to be sometimes), you can continue to quietly slip into Gosford Wine to get your veggies and split. Nothing wrong with that.
One other note. Jim McBride, of Jim’s Farm, has this to say: “Jims Farm, Winterville can no longer produce the kind of food we all want due to a serious back problem. Anyone with a real [3+ days] interest in growing from seed to harvest, and all the chores in between, is invited to â€œwork for foodâ€. firstname.lastname@example.org – 706-742-5805”
Finally, on to the produce. It is a dairy week, and we’ll be running to Split Creek and Diamond Hill to pick up your orders. Split Creek does have chevon (goat meat) this week, so now is your chance to get stew meat, roasts, and ground. They tend to sell out fairly quickly, so this week may be your only chance for those items.
Thanks for all your support! We’ll see you on Thursday from 4:30 to 7pm at Gosford Wine.
Availability for April 26
This week we welcome back Locally Grown founding grower Backyard Harvest from a long winter’s nap. Like my own place, Backyard Harvest tends to get hit by cold weather a bit harder than many of the other farms, and the recent freeze was no exception. Still, Boo and new wife Becky have several items to offer this week.
My new bees arrived last weekend, and they’ve been busy settling in to their new hive, located within sight of my back porch next to the pond, under an oak tree. They’ve been busy, exploring their new surroundings and bringing back pollen. They’re about to be very happy bees, as the first blackberry flowers are poised to open. By this time next week, they’ll find themselves in the middle of about 10 acres of blooming blackberry bushes.
Those of you with your own gardens may be interested in an event taking place next Saturday. The Southern Seed Legacy, an heirloom seed and heritage breed conservation group affiliated with UGA is hosting their 10th Annual Old Timey Seed Swap Saturday April 28th from 3 to 8pm at UGA’s Agrarian Connections Farm in Oglethorpe County (just outside Crawford, which is right down 78 a few minutes from Athens. Besides swapping seeds, the event will feature bluegrass music, southern BBQ (prepared by Slow Food Athens), tours of the new heritage orchard, and introductions to the herd of piney wood cattle. I’ve been meaning to get out to this event for five years now, and it looks like this will be the year. Directions and more info are at their website, linked above.
I’ve been so busy helping other markets get started with the website system that I’ve been neglecting our own. I’ve been meaning to flesh out the Q’s & A’s page for a while, and I’ll try to do that this week. I’ve already added one explaining our dairy schedule. I’m in the middle of writing one about how to prep your greens when you get them home (are they pre-washed? why or why not? how do I keep them longer? etc.). If there are any other questions you’d like to see answered, pass ‘em to me!
I think that’s enough rambling for this week. You’ll find more variety this week, as I’m sure you’ll find for the weeks to come. Some of the growers are planting the summer veggies now, and the rest of us have only a couple more weeks to wait. I can almost taste the Cherokee tomato!
Thanks for all your continued support. We’ll see you Thursday from 4:30pm to 7pm at Gosford Wine!
Availability for April 19
I had a nice long email to you all planned out, but after spending the evening filing my taxes, my brain has turned to mush. Let’s see if I can hit the highlights.
Sunrise Organic Farm returns after the winter with their first harvest of the year, a radish mix and turnip greens.
We welcome a new grower to Athens Locally Grown this week as well. High Shoals Eggs, run by a friend of a friend I’ve known for several years, has a small flock of 25 free-roaming, well fed, heritage breed hens. They’re starting to lay well now, so their eggs should ease our egg shortage we’ve been suffering of late. I’ve been eating some the last few days, and they’re almost as good as the eggs I used to get from my hens…
We’ll be making a run to Milky Way Farm this week for raw milk, buttermilk and cream from their Jersey cows. In two weeks we’ll return to Split Creek and Diamond Hill.
The bakery is still working on putting their business back together. They’re taking this opportunity to re-organize, and will re-open as “The Granary”, a certified organic bakery still following the same guiding principles as before.
Damage reports are still coming in from last week’s freeze. It looks like local fruit of all sorts will be in very, very short supply this year. Many of us also lost vegetable crops already in the ground, including several items that normally would survive a freeze. On the other hand, varieties that should have perished, such as the 200 feet of various heirloom lettuces, made it through with no harm at all.
Another Locally Grown market has opened this week in Conyers, GA, run by Brady Bala, of Athens Locally Grown grower Double B Farm. If you know anyone in the Conyers area that wants local food, point them to conyers.locallygrown.net.
I think that’s all the highlights for the week. I see 120 items listed on the website, so despite the sudden cold snap, new items are still rolling in.
Thanks for all your support, and we’ll see you on Thursday from 4:30pm to 7pm at Gosford Wine!