The Weblog

This weblog contains LocallyGrown.net news and the weblog entries from all the markets currently using the system.

To visit the authoring market’s website, click on the market name located in the entry’s title.



 
Subscribe to an RSS Feed

Northeast GA Locally Grown:  Locally Grown - Availability for January 16th, 2013


Hey Local Food Lovers,

This still being a relatively new year I thought it would be fun to list all the foods that were either new to me this past year (that I can remember), or that I greatly enhanced my ability to cook well. I haven’t thought this through yet so I have no idea where it may lead, it just seemed like fun. Here goes:

Bahn mi – This is the name for a type of vietnamese sandwich made with a baguette, usually with a pork filling (though I’ve used all sorts of fillings), fresh cilantro, thinly sliced cucumber, sometimes pate, but what kicks it into overdrive for me is the pickled carrots and daikon radish that got me started making these. I’d grown Daikon radishes but had only a few ideas of what to do with them. Once I discovered that they went into Bahn mi I was stoked to make it myself. I hope to keep a jar or two of pickled carrots/daikon from now on. It’s that good. And these sandwiches will change what you think a good sandwich is, and they are quite nutritious as well.

Bhindi masala – you may recall me writing about a spicy okra dish that I made in late summer once I’d gotten to the point I couldn’t eat any more of it fried. This dish is basically about 5 spices cooked very slowly with okra and onions and tomatoes and it has a surprisingly meaty texture. I’d have to say it now tops my list of favorite ways to eat okra.

Savory sweet potatoes – I grew a variety of sweet potatoes this year that is more savory than sweet and found this great recipe for a casserole that combined milk, thyme, and gruyere cheese with onions, garlic, and some chicken stock. I get tired of the sweetness of sweet potatoes but this was something I could eat again and again.

Asian persimmons on fish – now I’d had an asian persimmon before but this was the year I fell in love with them. Not only did I discover they are my favorite fruit to add to a smoothie (and easy too since they have no seeds), but if thrown on the grill with a little butter they are an incredible side dish with fresh fish. I love combinations like this where the juices of the fish are soaked into the fruit as you eat.

Watercress – I’d been hearing about the popularity of watercress for a long time, but this was the first year I actually got to taste it (thanks to Burton Mountain Farms). For those of you who don’t know it actually grows in water, so it takes a special type of farm to grow it. With garlic, oil and a little chicken bouillon it became one of our favorite greens to eat with rice.

One thing you may notice from these select few items, is most of these are pretty unusual items. Lots of international foods too. I dare say that eating in America is enjoying a renaissance like no other, and thanks primarily to the fact that farmers are willing to grow more varieties than they ever have before, and customers are buying them. When I look through the Locally Grown listing, I look for things I’ve never tried. Duck eggs, biscotti, mizuna, jerusalem artichokes, kohlrabi, daikon radish are all foods that I’d never tried until the last few years, and I discovered them right here.

So here’s to new food discoveries in 2013! I hope that you find at least 5 new food to try, or try in a new way. And that’s where you can actively participate. Growers may have the secrets of growing interesting and delicious foods, but many of you have some secrets on preparing and enjoying fresh local food. I would love to see each of you submit to us just one INCREDIBLE meal that you enjoy this year that uses local foods as the ingredients. You can post it in our recipe section, post it on facebook or if you’re really feeling lazy, just e-mail it to us and we may get around to using it somehow. But better than that, submit a letter to editor about it. Share your eating pleasure with your community. You’ll enjoy it, and it’ll make a difference in how someone thinks about food.

And to insure that you get to enjoy all the strange unusual foods you might like to see on Locally Grown (and equally important the more common every week things you like to eat as well), please take these last few days to complete our SURVEY and tell us what kind of foods you want to eat. I guarantee many farms will take your feedback seriously and may just try that unusual variety of potato because one person asked about it.

You can find the survey here

We’ll probably wrap up the survey results this Wednesday night after market so if you haven’t taken it yet, please do.

Ok, better go to bed! I’ll be dreaming of Bahn Mi tonight I can tell. Yum!!!

EAT WELL,
Justin Habersham
and
Chuck in Rabun

Athens Locally Grown:  Availability for January 17


Athens Locally Grown

How to contact us:
Our Website: athens.locallygrown.net
On Twitter: @athlocallygrown
On Facebook: www.facebook.com/athenslocallygrown
On Thursdays: Here’s a map.

Market News

I’m devoting the newsletter these first few weeks of the year to documenting in detail just how ALG works. I’ll spend some time next week talking about how growers get allowed in the market, and what standards they have to meet. But first, last week I promised I’d get into the details of how the market sustains itself financially. Many of you ask about that from time to time, and I’m happy to oblige.

First off, we’re legally a sole proprietorship, and the market is just an extension of my wife’s and my small farm. We file a Schedule F in addition to our regular tax forms. When the market started in 2002, it was named “Locally Grown Cooperative”, but it was never legally organized as a co-op. Dan & Kris Miller, the founders from Heirloom Organics farm in Watkinsville, were always sure to run things in a cooperative spirit, and since they handed the business to my wife and I in 2004, we’ve tried to do the same thing. I’ve renamed it to “Athens Locally Grown”, but you’ll still hear a number of people refer to us as “the co-op”.

We’re not a non-profit, either, but we’ve structured things so that over time the market can just cover its own expenses. Just like all of our member farms are sustainable growers, the market itself needs to be sustainable. So how does the market cover its expenses? One small way is through the memberships you pay. The $25 a year you give to the market is enough (to put it bluntly) to cover the costs of having you as a customer: banking fees from depositing your checks, paper and ink for printing, web hosting fees, and that sort of thing. What’s left over goes to helping fund farm tours, food donations to like-minded area groups and events, etc. We currently have 484 paid members out of the 3743 active accounts on the website.

By far the bulk of our funding comes from the growers themselves. They generally pay a 10% commission on their sales through the site. This money covers the many coolers we use, the tables and shelves used to spread out and organize your orders, the truck we bought at the end of 2007, gasoline, the food allowance we offer our volunteers, rent and utilities at Ben’s Bikes, etc. During the slow parts of the year, the sales are usually not enough to cover our weekly costs, but in the busy times (late fall and early spring, for us) there is extra. If we plan things out well, it pretty much all evens out in the end.

Last year, the total sales and memberships combined through the market amounted to $359,442. This is actually a very small decline from 2010, but the continual rise of so many other markets in the area is the biggest reason for that. (We used to be the largest farmers market in this part of the state, but only because the others were so small.) About 90% went straight to our growers, and the rest went to a food allowance for our volunteers ($400 to $500 a week), rent ($200/month), tables & shelves ($1000), our farm tours (about $750 total), web hosting, and transportation. The “profit” gets counted as personal income on our tax forms, and comes out to roughly $2000. I haven’t yet calculated milage allowances and other minor expenses, and I expect that the profit total will pretty much come out to zero when I do.

The growers get paid out of the shared cashbox when they drop off their sales, during the hour before we open the market. Then, you arrive and pay into the cashbox for your order. We used to then rush to the bank to deposit the money to cover the checks we just wrote to the growers, but now the growers get paid the following week (money you pay via credit cards takes several days to reach our account). As explained elsewhere on the website, you are really ordering directly from and paying the growers yourself, but our shared cashbox system makes things convenient for you and them. (Imagine if you ordered from ten growers having to write ten checks when you picked up your items!) This shared cashbox system has so far satisfied the tax man, but it does mean that if you place an order and then never arrive to pick it up, we’re left holding the bag. For that reason, you are responsible for paying for orders not picked up, and that amount is automatically added on to your next order for your convenience. On the books right now (going back to 2007) is about $2672 of produce ordered but never picked up and so far never paid for at all (or picked up but paid for with bad checks). That might seem like a lot (and it is), but considering that the market’s sales total, that’s not so bad. In fact, it’s about a fifth of the US retail industry’s “shrinkage” rate, and almost all of it is owed by only ten people. Only $600 came from this last year. On the flip side, $5241 has been pre-paid into the cash box by people who pay online via credit card or who write large checks in person, and then draw down on that balance over time.

There were 9749 orders placed last year, so that averages to $36.87 spent per order. There are no good studies on this number, but I’ve seen a few surveys conducted by the USDA indicate that the average customer spends $25 per trip to a farmers market. We continue to far exceed that average, which I think says a lot about the advantages ALG offers over the traditional market. And to your dedication to supporting our growers.

So, in probably far too much detail, that’s how we operate financially. Our market might be more expensive to run than a traditional “booths and tables” farmers market, but that price buys a system that’s simple, time-saving, flexible, and in my opinion, just better. There’s no money in the bank, but the market is paying for itself and that’s my primary financial goal. If you’d like to talk with me in person about this or any other aspects of ALG, I’d love to do so. Just pull me aside when you come by to pick up your order.

One administrative note: next week I’ll be in Little Rock for the annual Southern Sustainable Agriculture Working Group’s annual conference. Since Doug’s Salmon keeps his fish at my house, it will not be available to purchase next week. If you want some for then, order it now! It’ll return the week after.

Thanks so much for your support of Athens Locally Grown, all of our growers, local food, and our rights to eat it. You all are part of what makes Athens such a great area in which to live. We’ll see you on Thursday at Ben’s Bikes at the corner of Pope and Broad Streets from 4:30 to 8pm!

Other Area Farmers Markets

The Athens Farmers Market has closed for the winter. You can watch for news during the offseason on their website. Most of the other area markets are also all closed for the season too. The Washington-Wilkes Farmer’s Market in Washington is open every Saturday 9-12 behind the Washington Courthouse, and several ALG vendors also sell there.

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!

Local Farms First:  Last Day to Order Local! Lamb & cabbage...



Greetings local food lovers!

It’s the last chance to order local in January!

Got a special occasion on the horizon? In addition to chickens , The Living Farm has 2 “outrageously tender” whole lambs for sale!

You can even try making Farikal – a Norwegian dish of lamb and cabbage with the green or Napa varieties still available from Zephyros Farm & Garden!

Plus, there are still processing apples available from Delicious Orchards! It may be -30 in Gunnison, but there is still local produce to be had.

Thanks for supporting local family farms!

Maya Silver
LocalFarmsFirst.org – a 501c3 non-profit
970-641-7682
click here to start shopping on the website:
www.LocalFarmsFirst.com

Madison GA:  The market is now open!!!


Please go to madison.locallygrown.net to order. I’ll see everyone Wed!!!

Conway, AR:  Opening Bell


Greetings Conway Locally Grown Community,

As I slopped through the mud helping unroll hay bales in a cold driving rain with lightning crashing overhead, I felt like I was in a reality tv show about tough jobs instead of just feeding hungry cows on a Saturday afternoon. But it felt good to get the job done – us farmers take pride in the fact that our jobs can sometimes require a little determination and grit – and besides, we needed the rain.

From Cedar Rock Ridge:
The weather outside is cold, so warm up with some of Carissa’s new tea blends: Happy Body, or Calming. They taste great hot or cold, and are made with herbs we grow and dehydrate right here at Cedar Rock Ridge in Conway. Herbs include lavender, chamomile, anise hyssop, catnip, and others. Also, enjoy some freshly boiled JUMBO peanuts! Have a great week.
Steve-

The market is now open. Go to conway.locallygrown.net/market to place your order. Hit the checkout button when you’re done, and you will receive a confirmation email when your order has been placed.

Thanks,
Gabe Levin

United States Virgin Islands:  VI locally grown week of 1/13


Good night St. Croix! This week we’ve rearranged and consolidated the categories on the market to make it easier to find the products you’re looking for. Our growers have a lot of delicious produce and value added goods for sale this week. Take a look!

Champaign, OH:  Some serious specials!


Wow have our vendors been crazy! They’ve gone pure wild offering specials this week! So here they are…Oakview Farm-Fresh Meats is offering Pork (sausage) Ground Pork Patties for $2.50 per package of 4 patties. Spice these babies up with some herbs like Swisher Hill’s Southwest Seasoning Mix or JC Grower’s Garlic Powder. Wowweee, does that sound like a great deal and I can smell dinner now!

For our second special, spice up your life by trying some Apple or Pumpkin Pie Spice in jars or refills from Swisher Hill Herbs: Regularly priced at $2.75 per jar or $2.25 for the refill. This week only $2.25/jar and refills for $1.75. This special smells delicious!

Lastly but not least, is the Cosmic Explosion of a worldly deal from Cosmic Charlie…her Cosmic Plain French and Whole Wheat Baguettes are a sky-falling $3 each. Amazing!

All deals are this week only! Stop in and see us through Tuesday at 8 PM. Happy Shopping and enjoy the deals!

Dothan, Alabama:  Online Market for Friday, January 18th


http://marketatdothan.locallygrown.net/

Hope you have enjoyed the unseasonably warm weather this weekend! January is not known as a typical “growing” season but we do have Seasonal, Local products – Great Greens: Collard greens, Kale, Mustard greens & roots, Rutabaga greens & roots, Turnip greens & roots (Roots + Greens is getting 2 veggies in 1); Cracked Pecans; Hydroponic Salad Mix & Tomatoes; MORE – Breads, Brownies, Teacakes,Casseroles,Goat Cheese, Honey, Herbs and much more!
COMING SOON – Fresh, Local GRAPEFRUITS from Pine Top Farms, Pansy, AL.
Thanks for supporting local farmers and producers! See you Friday morning,
9am – 11am @ Dothan Nursereis in the POTTING SHED.
Gratefully,
Susan & Amanda

Swainsboro, GA:  Market is Open!


HEY GUYS! WE HOPE YOU ARE ALL ENJOYING THIS BEAUTIFUL WEEKEND! REMEBER, PICK-UP IS KNOW ON THURSDAY! *WE HAVE SO MUCH TOO CHOOSE FROM AS WELL AS THE OTHER FARMS. DON’T FORGET WE NOW HAVE PORK ON THE SITE. ENJOY THE WEEK AND SEE YOU ALL ON *THURSDAY!!

Atlanta Locally Grown:  Avaliable for Saturday, January the 19th


I hope this funds you all doing well. For those who were not at last weeks markets, my father Brady Bala was in a bad car accident(Tuesday 9th) and is in Grady Hospital. He has a broken femur-a high leg break on his left leg and 5 broken ribs on his right side with lots of cuts and bruises. He will be realeased from Grady some time this week we hope. Our farm products will be avaliable this week however, he will not be able to attend the markets for the next week or so. We will also not be able to get milk from Milky Way until my father can find a replacement to make the trip. If anyone would like to volonteer until he recovers that would be great. Double B Farm will also need some volonteer help around the farm for the next few months to get ready for spring while my father get’s better. This week we will have lots of great produce. The lettuce, carrots, collards, broccoli raab all look great. We have a few more honey bears avaliable. The mushrooms also look good this week along with the Jerusalem Artichoke. We are also excited about listing our half hogs again. We have 22 piglets and plan to make 10 avaliable in the program. The meat will be from heritage hogs as we have a mulefoot boar bread to our variety of sows. The meat will be darker than traditional pork with lots of great flavor. The half shares will be avaliable for 300 dollars each. The finished sizes will be larger than our previous shares since we are using a larger breed of pigs. Taylor Organic has lots of great produce avaliable this week to go along with some wonderfull flat creek cheese.
As the details are available I will make them available.

Remember you have at least 21 meals to plan for this week, 28+ if you include your snacks. We hope some of your selections come from our efforts. We enjoy being your farmers.

Thank you for all your support. Please remember to have your orders placed by 8PM on Wednesday. Pick ups are on Saturday from 9 to 10 at the Piedmont Green Market (Double B Farm booth), Sandy Springs Green Market (Taylorganic booth)(We will be here from 10-11 for pick ups only). We will try to make a run to Brookhaven if we have enough orders, otherwise we will need you to p/u at Piedmont

Thank you,
Bobby Bala (Son of Brady Bala)