The Weblog

This weblog contains 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

Athens Locally Grown:  Availability for November 29

I hope everyone had a happy Thanksgiving. My family is spending one more night in Missouri with my relatives before heading back to Georgia tomorrow. It’s good to see everyone again, especially since it’s become only a once-a-year event.

The big news for Locally Grown this week is we bought a refrigerated box truck for the market. A network of growers in west Georgia and east Alabama had one they were selling, and we’ve been close to capacity on our personal pickup truck for some time now. As you may know, federal law requires us to drive each week to South Carolina and pick up your dairy orders—the dairies are not allowed to bring their items to us across state lines. We can normally carry about 75 to 100 gallons of milk, and last weeks order for 150 gallons sent us scrambling. Well, now that won’t be a problem any more. Part of the money you pay for each gallon of milk goes to us to cover our pickup expenses, and it’ll take quite a few gallons to cover the cost of the truck. So… drink up!

With the holidays fast approaching, our crafters are ramping up their production for you. You can see their items listed on our website, and if you are looking for even more, a new market dedicated to locally crafted items is opening any moment now. You can find it over at if you want to create your account now.

And, of course, our vegetable producers are still producing wonderful food. I see new salad mixes, radishes, and more eggs listed this week in addition to most of the same items we’ve had in weeks past.

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

Athens Locally Grown:  Reminder -- Locally Grown is closed next week

This is just a quick reminder that Locally Grown will be taking next week off for Thanksgiving. We will return the following week.

Also, those of you who came early in the day yesterday saw clear indication of our growth. We filled nearly twice as many orders (both in number of orders, and in total sales) yesterday as a normal week. That, combined with a few “backstage” glitches and a large number of early arrivals made the line longer and slower than normal. We’re continually making changes on our end to keep up with the growing demand.

We fill orders with limited availability items (such as eggs) based on when the orders are placed, not when you arrive to pick them up. So, if you don’t want to wait in line and it fits with your schedule, you can come later. We’re open from 4:30 to 8pm, and usually there is no line at all after 5:30.

Thanks, and happy Thanksgiving!

Athens Locally Grown:  Availability for November 15

Here it is the week before Thanksgiving, and despite the lack of rain, our growers have much to be thankful for. All in all, it’s been a good season. As bad as the Easter freeze was (and it was very bad, especially for our fruit growers), there was still time to replant the summer vegetable crops. Even with no rain, the sustainable methods our growers use made the most of the water the plants did get. Interest and demand for local sustainably grown foods has reached a crescendo, which both keeps our established growers in business and encourages new growers to begin. And you, our customers, keep coming back for more and telling your friends. Thank you!

We will be taking next week off from market, so plan ahead for your Thanksgiving meal when ordering this week. There are a number of new products, including about 100 pounds of young carrots from two growers. Pecan season has arrived, and we have nuts from three growers.

We don’t have any turkeys, however. I did manage to find one grower near Greenville, SC, who raises turkeys that meet our market’s standards, but—he sold out in May. May! Maybe next year we’ll be able to get in on that, so you can save your place in line.

We’ll resume our regular dairy schedule the week after Thanksgiving. That means it’ll be three weeks before we’re back at Split Creek. I know some of you order just enough fudge to get you through two weeks, so be sure to grab an extra week’s worth.

Thanks for all your support! We’ll see you on Thursday from 4:30 to 8pm at Gosford Wine.

Athens Locally Grown:  Availability for November 9

I’m writing this on my cellphone at a campground on the beach at Hunters Island, SC (we finally got around to our summer vacation). As impressive as that is to a nerd like me, it doesn’t lend itself toward typing long prose, so I’ll be brief.

I’m turning the site on a little early, and I know some of the growers are still updating their listings. I need to get on them again about that, but those of you coming in for the stampede for eggs may want to look at the site again tomorrow to see what was added late.

Also, a heads up about Thanksgiving. We will be taking that week off, so if you want locally grown ingredients for your meal, you’ll need to get them the week before.

That’s all for now. Thanks so much for all your support, and we’ll see you on Thursday from 4:30 to 8pm at Gosfied Wine!

Athens Locally Grown:  Availability for November 1

The forecast is calling for nights in the low 30s this week, which means a few of the growers will likely get a freeze. On the list this week you’ll see quite a few green tomatoes (for frying or pickling), a handful of ripe ones, peppers, basil, eggplant, and beans. This may very well be the last week for all of these, unless someone is growing them indoors.

Nok Knead Bakery got some sandwich loaf pans suitable for his no-knead style of baking, so you’ll see those listed this week. Peter Rabbit Bakery has been adding new items as well. I’ve been talking with Wolf Creek Bakery (the new name for the bakery side of what used to be Big City Bread—there’s a long story there) to get their world-class artisanal loaves listed as well. They haven’t this week, but soon you should be able to find most every style of baked good represented here.

The first pecans of the season are listed, and we’ll soon be seeing more of those as well.

Our Hunter’s Moon Feast was yesterday, and many of you came out to our little farm to enjoy what turned out to be a perfect day. Some of you even stayed well into this afternoon – sitting on the riverbank watching the water go by tends to draw you in. Thanks to everyone who came, and those of you who were no able to: circle the 2008 October full moon on your calendar, as we’ll try to do it again. Special thanks to The Would Be Farmers who made beautiful music for us, and to all of the growers who had foods represented there, and to everyone who cooked some to share. One of the highlights of the annual Georgia Organics conference is the main meal, supplied by Georgia organic growers and cooked by some of Georgia’s finest chefs, and I have to tell you—what we had here Saturday had that beat.

Thanks again for all your support. We’ll see you on Thursday from 4:30 to 8pm at Gosford Wine!

Athens Locally Grown:  Availability for October 25th

I spent the weekend making our place look presentable for the big Hunter’s Moon Feast next Saturday. It’d been quite a while since I’d mowed some of areas, so it turned out to be quite a lot of work. But, it all looks nice, the weather is supposed to be about like it was the past few days (perfect!), and the blackberry mead just stopped bubbling. In short, we’re all set.

You’ll find the event listed in the “Event Reservations” category. Add the right number of reservations to your order this week if you plan on coming. I’ll send directions to the farm out to everyone who has placed reservations (including those who did so in previous weeks) on Wednesday.

Members of The Would Be Farmers will be on hand to make music for us. The BBQ (made from local pastured pork, naturally) will be ready at 2pm, and I’ll have the grills fired up. You can come any time from 11 or noon on and stay as long as you’d like. The sun sets a bit after 7, and it’s getting chilly fast after that. Bring a tent if you want to camp over (I’ve got five gallons of mead, and it’s a long drive back to town). I’ll provide a wide selection of meat dishes from local sources, and you can bring a dish to share to go alongside them. (I just happen to like meat more than most organic vegetable farmers, but vegetarians are most welcome too, of course). Bring the kids and some shoes to wear while splashing in the river—this being the 21st century, there’s far too much glass mixed in with the sharp river rocks. We’ll have some chairs and tables, but you might want to bring some chairs of your own.

Enough about that… here’s something really interesting. Many of you eat organically grown local foods because, above all else, they just taste better. You’re not the only ones. A team of Swiss and Austrian scientists recently completed a 21-year study of organic wheat. After lab tests showed little chemical difference between organic and non-organic wheat, they put them to the taste test. Using rats. When presented with two biscuits, one made with organic wheat and the other with conventional wheat, the rats overwhelmingly chose the organic biscuit. Other studies and your own experience has shown that organically grown foods have more flavor, and the leading theory is that plants grown organically are under more stress (from bugs and other conditions), and that stress makes the plants produce more chemicals as a defense that just happen to taste great to us. You can read all about these studies (and another just over the state line at Clemson) here in the New York Times.

Thanks for all your support of local organically grown foods! We’ll see you on Thursday at Gosford Wine from 4:30 to 8pm.

Athens Locally Grown:  Availability for October 18

Last week I said Summer just wouldn’t let go. Well, Thursday night we got a surprise frost. Ice on the cars and tall weeds and everything. Our average first frost is October 15th (a couple weeks before Athens’—25 miles makes a big difference), so it only a little early, but the forecast called for a low in the mid 40s.

There’s a couple announcements this week. First, I changed the website for the growers so they get not just your names, but also your email addresses when you place an order. They’ve promised by they will use it for good, not evil. The idea is if they aren’t able to fill your exact order, but may be able to substitute something similar, they can contact you to see if that’s OK. Anything I can do to help get you food to take home, I will, and this seemed like a great way to do it. I know some of you have already had this work in your favor the past couple weeks. If you think a grower is abusing this knowledge, let me know, but I think this will only be a good thing.

Also, the “Hunters Moon Feast” is only two weeks away. It’s a way for us to get together and celebrate a great year for the market with a great meal. You’ll find all of the details on the “Event Reservations” category of the “The Market” page of the website. If you’d like to come, just add the number of reservations you want to make to your order. There’s no charge for Locally Grown members, though we’d like you to bring a dish to share.

Now for the product listings. You’ll find more varieties of greens this week as the Fall season really gets going. Also, we got a fresh supply of “value added” products from TaylOrganics, which you’ll find in the “Processed Foods” category. We’ve now got three suppliers of baked goods, from breads to granola, to breakfast breads to desserts. It’s a full dairy week, so we have cheeses, milk, cream, fudge, and other items. All in all, there are nearly 300 products to choose from!

Thanks for all your support. We’ll see you on Thursday from 4:30 to 8pm at Gosford Wine!

Athens Locally Grown:  Availability for October 11

Summer just won’t let go, it seems. I had to turn the AC back on just to keep my oven of a house cool, and it felt like August again as I was out trying to make the place a bit more presentable for the Hunters Moon Feast coming up on the 27th (add reservations to your order if you’d like to come).

Even if the tomatoes are gone, the muggy days have kept the beans, peppers, eggplant, and okra producing, and we have plenty of all of them.

The nights have been cooling down, and that’s just what the fall veggies love. We have several types of salad mix this week, radishes, turnips, beets, cooking greens, and other tastes of fall.

There are other products, such as peanuts, flower bouquets, herbs, mushrooms, cakes, candles, soaps, coffee, milk, eggs, and quite a bit more.

Thanks again for all your support! We’ll see you on Thursday from 4:30 to 8pm at Gosford Wine.

Athens Locally Grown:  Availability for October 4

There’s quite a few new items on the lists this week. Fall is certainly in the air, and we have radishes, greens, turnips, winter squash, and other goodies to go with it. The days are still warm and the nights aren’t quite cool enough to stop them, so we have more peppers, summer squash (lots of this available!), okra, herbs, and a few other remnants of summer. We’ve also got sweet potatoes and fresh peanuts!

We have two new growers with items this week. One is another grower of shiitake mushrooms, and they love this weather. The second is a baker (not a literal grower) with a line of wonderful cakes using organic and (when available) local ingredients.

For those of you with juicers, there is wheatgrass available, which makes one of the most healthy juices you can drink.

For you gardeners (tough as it is with these water restrictions), now is the time to plant your strawberry patches for next spring. Sunrise Organic Farm has a number of strawberry starts from South Georgia available so you can start a patch of your own.

There’s three festivals going on this coming Saturday competing for my attention. One is the Loch Hartwell Highland Games going on in Royston, and the McMillen half of my wants to be there. The North Georgia Folk Festival is going on in Sandy Creek Park in Athens, and that’s always worth going to. Finally, Georgia Organic’s Field of Greens event, celebrating local food and local music, is going on right down the road at Whippoorwill Farm in Covington. I haven’t decided which one I’ll go to, but whichever one, maybe I’ll see some of you there.

Finally, just one note about picking up your order. Last week we had seven no shows, which is a full 5% of the total orders placed. Every week, there are a couple people that have forgotten, and I try to call everyone who hasn’t arrived by 7:30 to remind them. I pay the growers on your behalf when they drop off their produce, so even if you don’t pick up your order I have to charge you for it anyway. Last week was especially bad because several of the orders left behind were placed early on Monday and had a number of items that other people wanted but we weren’t able to fill, and I hated to see those still sitting there at 8 o’clock.

One thing you can do is make sure the phone number associated with your account is your cell phone number (if you have one). Most the time when I call with reminders, I get either work voicemail or a home answering machine, and I know that person almost never gets the message in time. Also, if something come up and you know ahead of time you can’t make it, let me know. At the worst, I can offer your items for sale to other customers so you’re not left with the bill, and at the best we can make alternative arrangements for you to get your order.

Thanks for all your support of your local growers! We’ll see you on Thursday from 4:30 to 8pm at Gosford Wine.

Athens Locally Grown:  Availability for September 27

The availability list looks very similar to last week’s. Still no tomatoes, but there are a few more beans, more peppers, more squash, and more cuts of beef listed. There are also various herbs, okra, eggplant, cooking greens, sprouts, and other veggies.

In years past, we’ve pretty much had to shut down for a few weeks when the summer items petered out and before the fall items had come in. This year, though, we have enough growers all contributing that, though the selection is limited, we’re able to keep right on going. If you’ve got an organic garden of your own at home, consider adding a bit more space next year and adding your harvests to our lists. It doesn’t take many homer gardens to together make a major difference in how Athens eats.

We have seen phenomenal growth this year, not just in the number of growers but also in the number of customers. There are a lot of factors that have contributed to our growth, but one of the major ones is our hosts, Gosford Wine. Those of us that were with us before Gosford invited us in last August remember waiting in the parking lot at Kudzu Coffee while I rummaged through coolers for your order, often times in terrible thunderstorms. And before that at the patio of Big City Bread. And before that under the shade tree of the empty lot where the historic home was moved by the old city jail. And before that in the back of the delivery truck at Heirloom Organics in Winterville. We’ve evolved our operation quite a bit in the past six years, and we couldn’t have asked for a better place than Gosford Wine for our pickups.

So, as a thank you to Gosford and as a thank you to you, I’m giving everyone who orders this week a $5 coupon good toward the purchase of anything in the store, so long as you buy it before I leave at 8pm. If you haven’t been a Gosford customer, now is your chance to pick out a bottle even more cheaply. If you don’t drink wine, they’ve got jams, bread, cheese, and even chocolates made by one of our own Locally Grown members. And when you’re at the register, please tell them thanks for giving us such a nice pleasant spot in out of the weather.

Thanks for all your support of local small farms! We’ll see you Thursday from 4:30 to 8pm at Gosford Wine!