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

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Athens Locally Grown:  Availability for July 19

Summer keeps rolling right along. We’ve got a few new items on the website this week, but in general all the summer stuff is coming in. We’ll see some variety in the upcoming weeks as specific varieties and successive plantings come in (especially peppers and eggplant), but this is for the most part our summer list.

For those of you in your first Georgia summer, prepare yourselves for a dearth of products next month. Unless the weather cooperates just right, production always falls off to next to nothing for a few weeks in late August, as it just gets too hot for blossoms to set fruit on most everything but okra. The slowdown lasts for a few weeks, and then it cools down just enough to get everything going again until frost. Fair warning!

There was enough interest in the cookbook “Farmer John’s Real Dirt on Vegetables” that I went ahead and ordered a couple cases of them. It looks like they’ll run $22 (as opposed to the $30 store price) and they’ll even come with a free DVD of a PBS series episode they were featured in.

And speaking of TV shows, on more or less of a lark I decided to audition for a Food Network TV show. It was a fun little project my wife and I filmed in our garden over the weekend. The final video (unless I edit it a bit more) can be seen here. It’s three minutes of me making a “North Georgia Beef Stroganoff” using ingredients I bought through Locally Grown. I had to cut a lot of things to get it down to the allowed three minutes, but I think I got across the notion of local food. I think that’d make a great premise for a cooking show.

We all thank you for your support, and we’ll see you Thursday from 4:30 to 8pm at Gosford Wine!

Athens Locally Grown:  Availability for July 12

We’ve got a lot of new items this week. The first flush of beans and corn are done, but the second plantings are just now coming on. There are three varieties of corn to choose from this week, and a wide variety of tomatoes—including quite a few wonderful heirlooms.

I’ve been telling you about how we completely take over Gosford Wine on Thursday afternoons (and we’re very, very greatful for their letting us do so). We use every square foot of their store room and spill out into the back parking lot. I finally got around to taking photos of the whole operation, and now you can see what goes on in the back as we prepare for your arrival and fill your orders. The whole album is up on our website, but it’s already out of date. We had been using a few old shopping carts that Kroger has stacked up behind their store to help us organize, but last week the store manager came out and asked us not to use their carts any more. So, we’ve come up with another way—army cots. Turns out they fold very compactly (so I can get them all in my trunk) and have more surface than any folding table. So now we’ll have stuff spread out and organized under two tents on top of army cots. Quite a sight to see, I’m sure.

I’ve added a few more entries to the Q’s and A’s page, including an explanation of the various certifications our growers have (or don’t have—though none of them use synthetic fertilizers and pesticides). Also, don’t forget to check out the recipe pages listed there as well. I’ll try to have my copy of “Farmer John’s Cookbook” at the checkout table on Thursday so you can look through it and decide if it’s worth it for me to get a case of them.

Thanks again for all your support. I know you’ve been spreading the word to like-minded folks, and all of us appreciate that. We’ll see you on Thursday from 4:30pm to 8pm at Gosford Wine!

Athens Locally Grown:  Availability for July 5

Welcome to July! We’re in the thick of the summer season now, with more new products than I can possibly name in this email. You can check the “New Products” carousel on the website to see them all, but here’s an overview:

Many more varieties of tomatoes, the first of the peppers, some okra, more corn, more eggplant, tomatilloes, more beans, more squash, and so on.

With all this produce, many of you have been looking for ways to use it all. I’m in the process of building a really nice recipe system that ties into the website, but in the meantime I’ve gotten a number of recipes from the largest CSA in the country, Angelic Organics. They’ve recently put out a cookbook that is equal parts reference library, user manual, and recipes that is very, very good. They’ve allowed me to share a number of recipes with you, and you’ll find them in the “Q’s and A’s” section of the website, along with a link to their own site where you can certainly order yourself the whole book. They’re also offering a bulk discount on their book, so if enough of you are interested I can order a case and pass the savings along to you.

We’ve got the next in our series of monthly “Farmer for a Day” events coming up on Saturday. This one is at Jim’s Farm, in Winterville, and will be the closest farm to Athens proper we’ll be featuring this summer. I believe there are a few slots still open, so be sure to add a reservation to your order (you’ll find them under the “Event Reservations” category).

My own small farm is coming along nicely. I’m growing far less than I have in previous years, and am taking the opportunity to try a few heirloom varieties that are new to me. I don’t have anywhere near the quantities of our other growers, but it’s been good to have things in the ground again, after taking last year off entirely. I always feel a bit off when there’s no garden to work in…

Thanks again for all your support of your local food producers. With your help, we’ve built a market here that rivals any in the southeast for variety of local foods. It really is a great thing we’ve all done together, and I regularly get phone calls and emails from people around the country who are moving to Athens and are so excited to see our market here. We’ll see you on Thursday from 4:30 to 8pm at Gosford Wine!

Athens Locally Grown:  Availability for June 28th

All these farm tours and other procrastinations of my own making has put me far behind on my chores list here at my little farm, but I was out in what has become officially the hottest weekend of the year trying to get caught up. In between many breaks for ice water and diet coke (one of my vices) I did manage to get a lot done. A few more rows of beans are trussed, a lot of weeds got pulled, drip irrigation got put down the two rows of tomatoes and the squash, and ten bales of local straw got put down as mulch. There’s still a lot to do, but I’m feeling a little better about things.

I had a little celebration consisting of the first real BLTs of the summer. Two of them, in fact. Nice toast, a large Big Beef tomato, some home smoked bacon, a pile of sunflower sprouts (a rather decent stand-in for lettuce), and mayo. They were good and drippy, so I had to eat them over the kitchen sink (which is really where tomato sandwiches ought to be eaten in the first place). We also picked the first beans, squash, and zucchini out of the gardens this week, and it’s clear why this is the season everyone has been waiting for (100 degree days not withstanding).

We’ve got a number of new items listed this week, including several live plants from a new grower in Danielsville, The Flower Girls. We may also have the first sweet corn of the season—big emphasis on the “may”. This first planting of corn got no rain at all during its growth, and the plants show it. The ears haven’t been checked yet, but they’re getting harvested this week ready or not. If they look good, they’ll be coming your way. Otherwise, they’ll be food for Luke the Mule. The second planting fared much better and will be ready very soon.

We’ve also got more herbs, tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, squash, and more. We’ll be visiting Split Creek for goat milk, cheeses, and fudge, and we’ll also go by Milky Way Dairy for raw milk, cream, and buttermilk.

Our now checkout system (using three customer-volunteers) seemed to work really well last week, and we’ll be sticking with it. We’ll be sticking with our three helpers for now, but I’ll be contacting some of you on the rather lengthy backup list individually to come by and get trained at some point, so you’ll be able to fill in some weeks and/or take over when one of our three needs to move on.

Thanks for all your support. Through your word of mouth and the recent press, we’re now almost at 450 customers, and the number of order grew by another 10% last week. I feel good about how the market is running now, and know we could handle more growth if needed, assuming we have the growers to fill the orders. I know there are quite a few people around Athens now looking at their organic gardens and thinking about how they could expand it to serve our community, and that can only be a good thing for everyone.

We’ll see you on Thursday from 4:30 to 8pm at Gosford Wine!

Athens Locally Grown:  Availability for June 21

The summer solstice is upon us this week, and so we have more tomatoes, the first beans, and other tastes of summer right on cue. We’d normally have corn by now too, but the dry weather has put that a few weeks behind. We can put drip hose on the tomatoes, but it’s much harder to irrigate a stand of corn. It’ll get here soon enough.

There are quite a few others new items listed this week, from herbs to potatoes, cabbage to dog biscuits. We’ll also be running out to Diamond Hill Dairy for raw milk from their pastured Jersey cows.

A good number of us had a great time out at Double B Farm yesterday for this month’s Farmer For a Day program. It was great to see what he’s doing down there in Oxford, tucked away in what looks at first glance to be a normal subdivision. His many mushroom logs, medicinal herbs, and small vegetable garden show again that you don’t need a lot of land to produce a substantial amount of food for your community. There are a few slots open for our three remaining tours—make your reservations now by adding them to your order. You’ll find them listed under the “Event Reservations” category.

Thank you all for your rather enthusiastic response to my call for volunteers. The slots were quickly filled, but the response was so great that we’ll see how we can have a rotation system to get more of you in the back. I’ll keep you up to date as we formulate that. I think I responded to everyone who offered their time, but if I missed you, this paragraph explained it all.

I hope all you fathers out there had a great Father’s Day. My own father, who I only get to see a few days a year, just happened to be passing through the state today, and so my parents, one sister, and two nephews are all sleeping in the next room. I walked my dad through the garden tonight, showing him everything we’ve got growing. His father (who’d be closing in on 120 if he were still alive) had a sizable vegetable garden and working sheep farm which he managed by hand until he could no longer walk. I discovered tonight that several of my favorite heirloom varieties were also some of his. I certainly feel his blood in me when I’m out working my own gardens with many of the same tools and methods as he did his.

Thanks for all your support of your local growers. We’ll see you on Thursday from 4:30 to 8pm (yes… we did extend the pickup time by a full hour) at Gosford Wine!

Athens Locally Grown:  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!

Athens Locally Grown:  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!

Athens Locally Grown:  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

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.

Athens Locally Grown:  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.

Athens Locally Grown:  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!