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!