It feels kind of weird to not say hello, howdy, or some form of greeting this time, but sadly this is my last post! We shared some laughs and some snacks this summer, but before I go, I wanted to touch on why these blog posts are special to me and so important for the community. Throughout my internship, I have been exposed to the behind the scenes of our local vendors, the parts that make all this local, sustainable food possible. For those of you who are guilty of never asking the who, what, when, where or why about your food, these blogs are a good start, but I urge you to really dive head first into this aspect of your community!
The Green Market isn’t like taking a stroll through Kroger, and we don’t ever want it to be. The mission is to benefit all parties- the consumers, the vendors, the environment, right down to the earthworms and the aphids. We want people to think of food differently, think of it as a community effort, not a transaction, not a chore. We want people to know that being healthy is actually fun. The market is not only run by families for families, but the vendors make up their own family. This subcommunity of farmers, bakers, skincare enthusiasts, flower-freaks, soap heads, yogis and of course, jellies and jammers have all come together to create more than quality products. These vendors are here to make a real connection with their customers; when one pours the entirety of oneself into the creation of all these beautiful things, it's really something special to have the opportunity to share it with others. I’ve gotten to see the flicker of excitement in a farmer’s eyes as they talked about the new variety of corn that is almost ready for harvest, I’ve heard tales of getting to see families grow and expand every time the blueberries beckoned to be picked, but most importantly I have seen genuine smiles and had real conversations with market customers. When was the last time you got the deets about your food while grocery shopping? Ever heard live music at Kroger? Ever had a Walmart greeter offer you a local cup of coffee? Feel comfortable leaving your child in the corner while you shop around? Probably not, and that's okay, because that's why the Green Market is here! Don’t hesitate to talk to your farmer, don’t listen to the bleeps of items being carelessly swiped, don’t ask a walmart greeter for coffee, and definitely don’t leave your kid somewhere while you shop, just come to the market! Get to know your vendors personally and not just via blog post- and remember, farmers are friends, not (just) food!
Y'all, you knead to hear about this- I got to interview Luke Opperman, the man with the oven, the mastermind in apron, and a recent father to both Our Big Oak and his daughter, Isabel! If you knew I was excited about these baked goods then you must have bread my mind! Our Big Oak is in its second year of production, but tastes like traditional family recipes. Luke has been baking for as long as he can remember- from helping his mother make sandwich bread to baking croissants he is proud to call his own, the man knows his way around an oven! He and his wife, Stephanie, met in Chicago and decided to ditch the city life and get a little cozier down south in a small town. They wanted to find a way to submerge themselves in the community so they thought a permanent bake sale was the way to go and I must say I agree! Who doesn’t love food, especially a good ol’ homemade loaf of sourdough? Luke has expanded on his baking knowledge piece by piece until he felt comfortable with his wider scale production. And a few batches of croissants later, voila! Our Big Oak was born. Soon after they welcomed Isabel. She is only four months old so we don’t typically see much of her at the market- not yet at least! Luke is always enjoying his time at the market, and his customers are always enjoying their baked goods! Come get your croissants and sourdough while supporting our great local vendors like Our Big Oak!
Yesterday I journeyed to Jeffersonville, Georgia to do my farm tour with Rag & Frass Farm! But before all that jazz, myself and several other farmers and aspiring farm owner’s headed down the street for a FSA farm loan workshop. Before you scroll like you life depends on it, no, I am not going to give you any stale details about loans so stick with me. I had never been formally introduced to the farm’s owner and operator, Julia Asherman, before she got up to share her personal FSA loan experience during the presentation. Despite this being prior to the farm tour, I really got to see this farm and farmer in a unique light. Julia started the her journey of loans and renovation in 2013, and did not get the official deed until 2017 because of extensive effort on her part to make sure the land was prepped and liability-free. Often times at these tours, I see the land, I see the farmer's’ muddy boots, I see their-larger-than-life traps from doing so many farmer’s carries, but I do not usually see the endless paperwork where the real blood sweat and tears comes in.
Julia obviously has a passion for her lifestyle- she had plenty of chances to call it quits and find a new strip of farming turf, but instead she used a lil’ elbow grease (okay, a lot of it) and mended the old motel/ BBQ restaurant resting grounds and transformed it. After the oh so glamorous loan meeting, we all drove back to the farm and for the first time ever I was not a solo tourist! Not only did I get to meet a lot of great people and farmers alike, but I really got to experience the bond between separate farmers with a similar cause. Rag & Frass is as unique as its name- if Pinterest had cover stories, this would be a ~the~ cover piece. The amount of creative renovation and heart in the place was amazing. From the cover crops to the new roofs, every bit of this place had a little spark of Julia’s personality woven into it.
Come pick up some fresh veggies and beautiful flowers from Rag & Frass Farm tomorrow!
Learn more about Rag & Frass Farm HERE.
Vegan Friendly Caprese
July 8, 2017
Nourish Cooking Demo
Recipe by: Katelynn Brock
-1 Tbsp. Minced Garlic
-1 Tbsp. Olive Oil
-1 cup Lima Beans (fully cooked, best if sauteed in regular or vegan butter)
-1 pint Babe + Sage Farm Cherry Tomatoes, choppped
-1 bunch Babe + Sage Farm Basil, sliced into small pieces
-1 Avocado, chopped
-Salt to taste
Mix all ingredients together and enjoy!
Hello and welcome again to both returning and new readers!
This week I am happy to say I have the pleasure of touring this farm several times a week! Babe + Sage Farm, distinguishable by its windmill logo and its half-rhyme name, has grown dear to me since my college career started winding to its end. I began my internship at the beginning of May with my supervisor, Chelsea, the manager of both the farm and the Green Market. At my first Saturday market, I heard someone say “my sweet Chelsea!”, a locution that does not only sound like a number one hit, but also appertains to her fluid kind and caring nature that circulates seamlessly to and from her family and work life. I have firsthand experience with Chelsea’s irrepressible passion for getting local, sustainable food into the hands and onto the tables of the surrounding communities. Her inexhaustive efforts to promote the Market and support their vendors is not only admirable, but crucial. In a time where good, whole foods are so hard to come by, Chelsea and her husband Bobby have committed their energy to making their farm as well as the Green Market as accessible as possible, especially to lower-income families. I spent much of the summer aiding Chelsea on her mission to increase awareness about locally grown organic produce, but simply telling people to come to market isn’t enough. That’s why committed farmers like Chelsea and Bobby put so much effort into their beautiful, organic produce- to create a healthy, sustainable, nutrient-rich, and affordable environment for the community and their family!
For those readers who are unaware, I have been splitting my internship time with the Green Market and Babe + Sage Farm. You can catch me playing with the Tripp, the child made of smiles and parrot talk (he just turned 3 so whatever he hears, he enthusiastically repeats immediately) at both the Market and the farm! At the beginning of May, you probably could have seen me stomping carelessly through scallion rows without paying much mind to compaction and you probably could have also convinced me to harvest potatoes without gloves- who knew how many things you needed gloves for? But since then, I have learned a LOT about the processes of growing summer crops. I think my favorite lil’ bit of knowledge I have gathered is that tomato plants are divas (talk about high maintenance, sheesh). Anyway, through this experience I have met some pretty cool people, such as Lauren, the assistant farm manager that tends to her chickens and pigs on the property- I highly recommend you strike up a conversation with this funny, intelligent farmer when you buy some of her delicious eggs and pork at market!
Cucumber and Blueberry Salad with Feta Cheese
7/1/17 Nourish Cooking Demo at The Green Market
By: Katelynn Brock
-2 Cucumbers, chopped
-2 cups of blueberries, whole
-1/2 cup of white or gold balsamic vinegar
-3 mint leaves, chopped
-1 cup of feta cheese, crumbled
-Toss everything together and enjoy!
Hello, hello friends- Katelynn again here to say lucky you! Today I ventured to Potluck Nursery, a neat little spot on the outskirts of Milly, located at 282 Cox Woodland Rd NW, Milledgeville, GA 31061. I was greeted by Loretta, the owner of the nursery of over thirty four years. She and her husband originally grew and sold landscaping plants, hence the ‘nursery’. Although she admitted it was a bit of a misnomer after the transition from landscaping to blueberry-ing, the name stayed do to its popularity. What inspired them to run a pick-your-own style farm? What started as their own personal garden turned into a whole heap of blueberry bushes! I think I should use the term “bushes” lightly, as most of them were taller than me and I like to think I am more of a small-tree height. But seriously, they have 5 acres of these colossal bushes and couldn’t possibly pick them all themselves, so the best (and funnest) solution was to let people pick their own!
The property has a sign that marks the beginning of the quaint dirt road that winds around to the front of the house, where you will see a sign for parking. Once you arrive, head on over to the table with belts and buckets and grab one of each. A belt, you say? To strap the bucket around your waist so you can pick with both hands (trust me, you’ll want to). After you strap on your belt, you're ready to go! There is a sign near the belt n’ bucket table that explains the price per pint and each bucket is marked. Near the first few acres of bushes is a lake and a picnic table for you and your friends and family to relax after you pick your first gallon; pack a lunch and make an afternoon of the experience!
So when are these naturally grown, pesticide and chemical free berries ready for picking? The season typically starts June 15th and can run as long as into the second week of August, but due to the fickle nature of…well, nature, you’re probably better off signing up for the seasonal email or calling 478-932-5390 about the availability. The season usually lasts until the end of July, but don’t wait until then! Plan your trip to Potluck Nursery today! And of course, for those of you who don’t feel like picking your own blueberries, Loretta and her daughter attend the weekly Green Market so swing by and pick some off their table, no belt and bucket required!
“Above all, we want to provide you a delicious healthful product that will offer a satisfying and memorable eating experience.”
Diet fads: they’re everywhere! No-fat, low-fat, high-carb, low-carb, no-carb, but what does it all mean? At the end of the day, our bodies will crave what they need and that is simply biology telling you what your body is missing. Over the past two decades, we have seen every diet fad that could come into existence (hopefully). Due to the health conscious wave that is sweeping the nation, we have seen plenty of lists that include the ‘superfoods’ like kale, spinach, salmon, and especially the elusive grass-fed beef. So what? Everything from quinoa to star fruit has had its time in the spotlight, but specialists continue to come back to the benefits of grass-fed beef; so why should we be eating it?
We have all seen grass-fed beef become all the rage recently but why is it such a big deal? What separates it from the skinless chicken breast us health freaks have come to love? Red meat has been cast in a bad light through the past years, but no more! Thanks to the exhaustive effort by farmers like Bob and Susan, the past twenty years science has shown that grass-fed is actually the healthy alternative to the ‘fat-free diets’ we all grew up on. These health benefits include a lower fat content, healthy dose of omega 3’s, linoleic acid and antioxidants like vitamin E, and these are only a few of the reasons to choose grass-fed. The best part? It's not only good for you, but also great for the livestock and the environment! A commercially raised cow is fed corn, a substance that is not nutritious or naturally occurring in a cow’s diet. Cows were never meant to survive, much less thrive, on a diet of only corn. Just as a human beings couldn’t live a healthy lifestyle munching on strictly cheetos their whole life, cows also can’t live a happy healthy life without proper nutrition! The mission of Fort Creeks Farms, as mentioned in their direct quote above, is not only to help people have a delicious as well as healthy eating experience, but also one that is memorable. How could you forget a meal that was good for everyone involved?
I think a good way to describe this farm is ‘accidentally trendy’ because Susan and Bob had no idea that grass-fed would have such a great reputation! They are very thankful that they learned about grass-fed cattle when it was a scarcely mentioned topic. Although they have several species in their livestock such as cows, chickens and goats, their goal is to provide sustainable beef as well as poultry.
The farm has been continuously used since 1840 (vintage, so trendy!). Susan and Bob have been running it since full time since 2000. I assumed this family has run grass-fed establishment for quite some time, but it turns out these two were actually city slickers with no prior farming experience! Pretty crazy news since I have heard about what a costly venture taking on grass-fed beef could be, even for the experienced farmer. This couple, according to Susan, went from “not knowing the front from the rear of cattle” to managing this farm all by themselves! She said the secret to their success was a lot--and I mean a LOT--of effort and determination. They attended any and every single farm tour and educational session they came across, and even went as far out as Virginia to learn about the ‘hows’ and ‘whys’ of grass-fed beef. Their knowledge grew and the farm grew with it, resulting in the delicious, nutritious, and environmentally-friendly beef that is sold at the Green Market!
Partnered with UGA to do a study about the health benefits of grassfed beef, they found that grassfed was better for humans as well as the cattle! They say “you are what you eat”, so who wouldn’t prefer a healthy, properly-fed steak? Susan mentioned studies are still being conducted on larger campuses such as Clemson, but she and her husband have always been passionate about the obvious (and delicious) benefits of grass-fed beef.
So now that you know where to get it and why it's healthy, how the heck do you cook it?! Susan shared the secret to a grass fed steak with me--get yourself a meat thermometer and once the middle of the steak reads 125 degrees, remove meat from heat and let sit from 5-10 minutes. Why let is sit before slicing into it? The juices need time for the meat to reabsorb them, resulting in a juicy, tender steak! For you hunters and venison fans, remember that these meats are similar in that they are much leaner than commercially grown meats and therefore need a slower, more gentle heat. They also highly recommend using a crockpot for their roasts (which come with free herbs for seasoning when purchased at the Green Market!).
So now that you know how to cook it and where it is available, pick some up on June 24th and July 1st! Fort Creek Farms will not be able to attend the farmers market on July 8th and 15th but will be back for every other market! We'll have samples from Fort Creek Farm at market this Saturday - I look forward to seeing you all for the samples this week and the weeks to come!
Learn more at: http://www.fortcreekfarms.com/
Photos of Fort Creek Farm:
This week's farm tour adventure was at Salamander Springs Farm in Haddock. When I arrived everyone was busy preparing to go berry picking at a neighboring farm. We met at the kitchen area that was oh-so-cutely decorated.
My tour guide, Anna, was from Macon and has been frequently the farm for about four years. She took me to the new library first. Turns out the whole place is as unique as the kitchen. In the library, built totally from recycled materials, there was a map of the farm drawn by local Milledgeville artist, Shelby Spooner.
We then toured the fields and the hoop house, I found it full of an assortment of produce and herbs. "Field" feels like the wrong word- it was more like an elaborate garden. The landscape was full of the personality of the owner and others. Anna told me that owner Debbie Waugh encourages the workers to express themselves through an art project. Workers, also known as WWOOFers (Worldwide Opportunities on Organic Farms) come to work and stay at Salamander Springs from all over the world. As we strolled past the hippie hot tub (bath tub you can light a fire underneath) we came upon the meditation/yoga hut. The front was decorated by one of the past contributors. Nothing more inviting than a mediation hut in the woods where pants are optional!
Salamander Springs donated rattle snake beans, leeks, scallions, and herbs for our cooking demo this week. I'm thinking maybe a hummus and some herbal tea? Stop by the Nourish Cooking Demo booth to check it out!
Photos of Salamander Springs Farm:
ZUCCHINI ZOODLE SALAD
6/10/17 Nourish Cooking Demo at The Green Market
By: Katelynn Brock
-1/2 large zucchini
-1/2 red onion
-1 clove garlic
-4 cherry tomatoes
-2 tablespoons pesto (from $1.29 Aldi, or make your own!)
-parmesan cheese to taste
-salt and pepper to taste
1. Spiralize or thinly slice zucchini
2. Chop onions, tomatoes, and garlic
3. Combine all ingredients and toss with tongs
4. Eat and enjoy!