Monday, November 19, 2012

Georgia Mountains Farmers Network - UPDATE November 17, 2012

Georgia Mountains Farmers Network  
UPDATE  November 17, 2012

Here's a rundown of topics in this e-mail

1) NETWORK Calendar  - Now through mid 2013 -  Seeking Volunteers to host FARM GET-TOGETHERS?
2) Northeast Georgia Locally Grown POTLUCK at Grace Calvary either November 29th or December 6th (and agenda items)
3) New COTTAGE FOOD REGULATIONS to regulate all home processed foods
4) Bulk Orders (7 springs) scheduled for completion by December 31st w/ Delivery by January 18th
5) MELON HEAD TOUR RECAP  
6) PODCAST of the MONTH - Alex Hitt of Peregrine Farms in NC - PART 1            


Hey Local Food Growers,

Hope your FALL is going great! I've been a tad behind in discussing with you all possible upcoming activities for the FARMERS NETWORK. Hopefully you can help us organize our next six months of activities by giving your input on the items in this e-mail. Thanks!

1) NETWORK Calendar  - Now through mid 2013 -  Seeking Volunteers to host FARM GET-TOGETHERS?
I know many of you operate better with calendars planned many months in advance, so thought we'd try and plan ahead for about 6 months of NETWORK activities. Almost all of you have expressed that the on-farm tours, get-togethers, and potlucks are what you value most about this new FARMERS NETWORK, so it'd be great to continue at least an every other month schedule (bimonthly), or more frequent if desired. If you're interested in volunteering YOUR FARM to be a FARM HOST, or if there's someone else's farm that you'd like to visit that you think would be a good location, please let me or us know. Here's a draft calendar.

DATES
EVENT & LOCATION & TIMES
November 29
or December 6 (Thursday)
LOCALLY GROWN POTLUCK       
St. Julian's Hall 
Grace Calvary, Clarkesville
6pm
December 31
DEADLINE for 7 SPRINGS ORDER
January 18  (Friday)
PICKUP for 7 SPRINGS ORDER
January 21 or 22
(Monday or Tuesday)


NETWORK FARM TOUR AND POTLUCK
Seeking a volunteer farm (or suggestions)
Tours usually begin at 4pm, Dinner at 5pm, meeting at 6pm, done by 7pm.
  • Begin Planning 2013 Farm Tour Details
  • Andy and all other agenda items?
February?
MOVIE NIGHT
Social to watch a farm related movie
(seeking suggestions for movie and place to watch)
And / Or
TOUR TO VISIT WORM COMPOSTING
Operation in Dahlonega
Mr. Natural Worm Castings
March 18 or 19
(Monday or Tuesday)

NETWORK FARM TOUR AND POTLUCK
Seeking a volunteer farm (or suggestions)
Tours usually begin at 4pm, Dinner at 5pm, meeting at 6pm, done by 7pm.
  • Finalize 2013 Farm Tour Details
June 1 and 2
POSSIBLE DATES FOR 2013 GEORGIA MOUNTAINS FARM TOUR


If you have any other suggestions for this CALENDAR or see CONFLICTS with other events, please let me know. Everything is flexible, I just thought it'd be easier if we started scheduling ahead.  SINCE we all have a bit more time over the Winter than other times of year, if anyone has any other suggestions at all for useful meeting topics, etc. please let us know.

Obviously some farms are better suited for winter tour activities than others. Please don't be shy about making suggestions of farms you'd like to visit. And please don't be shy about volunteering your farm for either the JANUARY or the MARCH get-togethers. Thanks!


2) Northeast Georgia Locally Grown Potluck at Grace Calvary - November 29th or December 6th (and agenda items)
I know not all of you are involved in the LOCALLY GROWN market but since one of the main topics we've discussed at NETWORK meetings has been the need to COLLABORATE in MARKETING and the benefits of being able to distribute farm goods from our region to the ATLANTA METRO area, I did want to invite EVERYONE to the end of year Locally Grown POTLUCK as this will be the main point of discussion.

Sorry I'm still nailing down the date, but there's been a slight preference stated for the DECEMBER 6th (Thursday @6pm) date. Please let me know if you'd like to attend but one of those dates just doesn't work for you and we'll see how accomodating we can be.

Here's a quick outline of the AGENDA:

  • EAT and be merry (everyone highly encouraged to bring a dish, drink or dessert)
  • Summary of Locally Grown performance so far in 2012  
  • Improvements needed  / Other marketing & promotion ideas for 2013
  • Expansion to Atlanta Metro Area (or Gainesville) in 2013
  • Impact of Cottage Food Regulations
  • Survey to Customers to ascertain products desired, etc.

If you have any questions about Locally Grown feel free to call or e-mail me, or check out the Locally Grown website if you're not already familiar. http://northeastgeorgia.locallygrown.net/welcome


3) New COTTAGE FOOD REGULATIONS to regulate all home processed foods
Just last week we discovered that the Georgia Department of Agriculture has adopted new statewide standards that will affect the sale of the following items made in home kitchens (as opposed to certified kitchens):

(a) Loaf breads, rolls, and biscuits;
(b) Cakes
(c) Pastries and cookies;
(d) Candies and confections;
(e) Fruit pies;
(f) Jams, jellies, and preserves
(g) Dried fruits;
(h) Dry herbs, seasonings and mixtures;
(i) Cereals, trail mixes and granola;
(j) Coated or uncoated nuts;
(k) Vinegar and flavored vinegars; and
(l) Popcorn, popcorn balls, and cotton candy.

The very short summary is that sale of these items will now require an annual permit (with a fee of $100 annually), be subject to one kitchen inspection prior to receiving the permit, and require the successful passing of a food safety course. The entire regulation is attached to this e-mail, and I'm attaching a link to an EXTENSION class that was recently taught on the details of how the regulations will be enacted.

Instructions: Select the link below and enter your first_lastname in the top login box.

http://uga2.wimba.com/main/classroom.html?channel=locallygrown_2012_1107_1335_39

This will be one of our discussion points at our Locally Grown market meeting coming up, and I expect will be discussed by all markets statewide at some point over the next several months.


4) Bulk Orders (7 springs) scheduled for completion by December 31st w/ Delivery by January 18th
We had a very successful bulk order through Seven Springs Farm Supply up in Virginia last year. About ten of us purchased $1,400 worth of products and received a good discount in the process. If you are interested in purchasing organic amendments, soil mixes, pesticides, row covers, cover crop seed, etc. then you should at least take a look at the 7 Springs catalog to see if you might be interested in getting in on this order by December 31st.

To make your selections:
<Peruse their catalog by clicking this link http://www.7springsfarm.com/catalog.html  
You'll need to submit orders to me via e-mail (soque@windstream.net) no later than December 31st
Orders Must have the following Information exactly or will be declined

YOUR NAME
YOUR PHONE #
YOUR E-MAIL
ITEMS (to select items you should cut and paste the item from the Catalog exactly and make sure the same item doesn't come in two forms like liquid or granular)
QUANTITY
SUB-TOTALS
GRAND TOTAL

Your order should look EXACTLY like this:          

Alan Mashburn   
706-782-4933

HarmonyTM Ag. Organic Fertilizer (5-4-3)            
2x 50 lb bag                 $15.50 ea = $31.00

McEnroe Premium Lite Growing Mix                    
2x 22 qt. bag                $ 8.00 ea = $16.00

GRAND TOTAL before shipping  $47.00


Then just e-mail that to me at soque@windstream.net

I'll e-mail you back to confirm receiving your order. Please help us keep up with orders easily by following this system (I'll basically cut and paste what you submit into a master order form) or I may e-mail you to correct errors. I recommend cutting and pasting the ITEM name from the website to insure you get the name just right (they don't use SKU#s).

SHIPPING FEES
There will be add'l shipping charges and possible handling fees (by 7springs) added to the order. Shipping costs last year ran exactly 8 cents a lb. That's $4.00 for a 50lb bag. I assume they'll be similar this year. Some items received a bulk order discount, but we won't know about those until the orders are placed.

PAYMENT
Don't send us a check until we calculate these fees. We'll write a check to 7springs from the Locally Grown Market bank account. We'll collect check or cash at or before pickup. Checks will be to NE GA Locally Grown or SRWA (that's the market non-profit sponsor Soque River Watershed Assoc). PICKUP may be at Sid Blalock's Burton Mountain Farm near Batesville again. We'll need to double check with him to see if he's willing to do that again. Feel free to give Sid a small thank you gift for helping us by using his BOBCAT to unload the pallets and storing everything under cover until it can be picked up.


5) MELON HEAD TOUR RECAP
Here's a short recap of the last NETWORK meeting at Harold and Joni Kennedy's MELON HEAD FARMS. If you didn't get a chance to listen to it last time I'm re-attaching the  AUDIO RECORDING of the business portion of our meeting (it starts a few minutes into the recording). If you enjoy being able to hear these AUDIO recordings of the meeting let me know and we'll keep doing them. It's a good way to make sure we don't forget our progress from meeting to meeting, and you can feel like you attended even if you couldn't make it.

Georgia Mountains Farmers Network
September 10, 2012
Melon Head Farms
Meeting #4

Farm Tour Discussion and Ideas
About 1/3 of farmers visited another farm during the tour
Better Directions next year
In SC they sell buttons as passes, and every farm sells passes
Encourage people to arrive on an hour, or half hour so that tours are scheduled
Sales – We were able to sell a lot more than expected (many sold out – Leah Lake and Burton Mountain Farms)
Some people just stopped because they saw cars (need to be able to make stopper bys pay)
Volunteers - Have every farm have at least one appointed volunteer by the Network who collect money and explain how the Tour works, so the farmer can focus on the tour and selling things. Recommended 5 people per farm.
Scheduling – some people prefer earlier, some prefer later in the year. A lot of people on the tour are growers themselves and are interested in the process. In NC, SC that’s what people talk about (how to grow things). If our goal is to educate. It was all questions. “We could sell a lot more if we have produce to sell.” Cooler weather earlier.
Budget – we netted $630 from the event and that can be used for the Network, or for next years event. Could be used to pay someone to help do the organization.
Summary – we had 150 people come. The SC event which is 7 years old had about 2500 people attend. Start planning for next year.

Cooperative Marketing
After discussions at multiple meetings arrived at: probably not interested in wholesale sales. Coordinating delivery to a weekend ATL farmers market is tricky, especially conveying through a market manager what the items are, how they are grown, and what do you do

  1. Locally Grown deliveries to Gainseville or Hoschton
  2. Can we meet the demand? – Folks thought yes, “if we could all plan for it.” Which is another reason to start planning now.
  3. Clemson Market increased sales by 1/3rd when they added a hospital. The hospital staff helps distribute and collects the money.
  4. People like the convenience of sitting at computer and order and be done and don’t have to attend open air markets.
  5. Discussed a collaborative CSA – would have to establish a way to equate units. Haven’t seen a good model for this and how to manage who would grow which shares.


6) PODCAST of the MONTH - Alex Hitt of Peregrine Farms in NC - PART 1
I have a handul of recordings of really good farm courses given by some of the best farmers in the Southeast. Winter time is a great time to let this information sink into your consciousness, so I thought it'd be nice to share these with everyone. Alex Hitt is one of my favorite farm lecturers beause he's been teaching courses on small scale farming for many years, so his thoughts are well informed, concise and insighteful. If you like this type of thing Download It and stick it in your ear next time you're headed down the road. I guarantee you'll enjoy it. The first few minutes is just intro, and the audio quality improves once Alex starts his talk.



HOPE YOU ENJOYED THIS LONG E-MAIL! Any thoughts on any of this, send 'em on!



Justin Ellis
Soque Lover Gardens
&
Organizer for
Georgia Mountains Farmers Network


Monday, October 15, 2012

Thursday, October 11, 2012

GMFN - ga mtns farmers network - ONION TRANSPLANTS update - 10.11.12

Hey GA Mountain Farmers,

Buddy Belflower just forwarded me this great opportunity for us to consider a group order of organic onion transplants. He has grown them before and said "They were simply the best onions we have ever grown." This might be a great opportunity for us to divy some up assuming that some of us don't quite have room for 1,000. We're not totally sure if there's a minimum order but IF YOU ARE INTERESTED in sharing in a bulk order please e-mail the list that you are interested by writing

YOUR NAME
VARIETY (such as Red (Mata Hari))
# you would like

Here's the letter from Walker Farms and see other attachments.

Walker Farms
recarwalk@gmail.com
912-481-2263

We’re happy to be offering organic onion transplants to our farmer friends again this year. We have planted the first round of seedlings, which should be available for shipment shortly after Thanksgiving, and we will be planting intermediate-day and some more short-day onions this month, with the intent to provide transplants starting mid to late January.

Now is the time to put in your order. We’re providing in this packet a Selection Guide that make the process as clear and simple as possible. The Selection Guide includes a discussion of short-day and intermediate-day onions and particulars about the varieties we offer. A map shows the recommended type by region, with a significant area of overlap, where short-day or intermediate-day onions can be grown. Remember that the earlier onions are planted, the larger the bulbs they can produce before they have to be harvested.

We expect to ship short-day onion seedlings between December 3 and December 20, as early as possible subject to plant viability, weather, and your readiness to plant.  This is the recommended time for planting short-day onions in south Georgia, and some farmers from further up the state find it works well for them, too. Growers should indicate in the comments section of the order form any particular schedule problems or conflicts. We will attempt to accommodate special requests, but otherwise orders will be scheduled on a first-come, first-served basis.

For those growers who prefer to plant their short-day onions later than the traditional dates, we’ll offer a limited number of plants during our second phase of shipping, between mid January and mid February.

For growers further north, and throughout the mid-Atlantic states, we recommend intermediate-day or neutral-day onions, which can be planted from late January through early March, depending on local conditions.  We offer several varieties of intermediate-day onions, including Candy,  Sierra Blanca, and Stockton Red. Intermediate-day onions will begin shipping mid January, as soon as plants are transplant size, and continue through early March, as long as the plants are viable.

Prices
The price for December-shipped seedlings is $65/thousand including shipping cost.
The price for seedlings shipped after December is $75/thousand including shipping cost.
(The higher price for winter-shipped plants is due to added expense for freeze protection and greater attrition rates for late-planted seedlings.)

How to order
To order seedlings, please complete the attached order form and email it back to us. When we receive and review your order, we’ll assign estimated harvest and shipment dates, then send you a confirmation and payment request. As usual, we’ll consult with you about the exact timing when seedlings are reaching a good transplant size. Immediately after harvest, plants will be shipped by UPS ground, arriving at your farm within one or two days.

As always, we appreciate the opportunity to provide you with certified organic transplants.



Justin Ellis
Soque Lover Gardens
706-499-2261 (cell)
&
Organizer for
Georgia Mountains Farmers Network


Wednesday, September 26, 2012

FARMERS NETWORK - Promoting Locally Grown at TASTE OF CLARKESVILLE this SATURDAY

Hey Local Growers,

 

For the last several years we've set up a booth at the TASTE OF CLARKESVILLE event to promote the Northeast Georgia Locally Grown farmers market. Since the audience consists of food lovers, we've had a lot of success connecting with new customers and even some growers (this is where we met Melon Head Farms for the first time).

 

Since the SRWA office is right behind our booth we've been able to bring a computer down so that folks can see exactly how the system works right there live, and even open an account and place an order if they like. This year we thought it'd be fun for folks to actually meet some of the growers that sell to the market, and perhaps see just a few of the items we sell.

 

If you'd like to join us for anywhere from 30 minutes to a couple of hours, we'd love any growers with Locally Grown (or even if you don't sell to Locally Grown) to come and hang out and meet local food lovers with us. The event is from 11am - 3pm. If you'd lik to sell a few items, go right ahead. We'll be talking up our local food scene, handing out cards and other promotional materials, and getting names and e-mails.

 

The event is free and quite fun. Beer, wine and food tastings are available with purchases of one dollar tickets. Here's the flier.

 

 

We'll also boast a new banner with the NE GA Locally Grown logo that we'll be able to use for future events and promotions. It'll look like this.

 

 

If you'd like to attend, even if just for a quick visit, let us know by sending an e-mail. It'd be fun to see a small gathering of us there. I think it'd make an impression on the community.

 

THANKS,

 

Justin Ellis

Soque Lover Gardens

706-499-2261 (cell)

&

Organizer for

Georgia Mountains Farmers Network

http://georgiamfn.blogspot.com/

(supported by Certified Naturally Grown)

 

 

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Farmers Network meeting this MONDAY - Melon Head Farms - 5pm

Hey Growers,

 

Looking forward to seeing all of you on MONDAY, at Melon Head Farms for a farm tour, social pot-luck, and NETWORK meeting. Here's a quick run-down in preparation for our get-together.

 

Farm Tour starts at 5pm

MELON HEAD FARMS

500 Brando Trail Clarkesville , GA. 30523

Directions-  

Take 197 N of Clarkesville (L after Copper Pot restaurant). In 0.6 miles slight L onto Alec Mtn Road (after BP on left). In 1.5 miles left onto Brando Trail.

 

 

On the tour you'll get to see a cold frame built onto their house and heated using solar energy and captured in black rainbarrels, a wide range of perrenial crops, their tractor and tillage equipment, hear about irrigation and other plans, and of course the melon patch.

 

After the tour around 6pm we'll have a POTLUCK dinner. Please e-mail to this list what you're bringing so we don't duplicate too much. This is always one of the most fun aspects of our get-togethers so thanks for contributing. (I'm planning on bringing Bindi Masala which is an Indian okra dish). Also remember to bring A FOLDING CHAIR, a plate, and cup and utensils. This really cuts down on our waste (and costs for paper goods). We'll have our usual wash tubs for cleaning everything before hauling it home. We will have extras for those who forget.

 

Then our NETWORK meeting has quite an agenda:

·         GA MTN FARM TOUR follow up - if you have time take a look at the participant feedback we received from our online survey. We had 13 people respond which gives some good ideas of how to improve this event for next year. Please think about and offer your own suggestions of how to improve this event.  I'm also attaching the final budget. You'll notice we profited about $600 which will all go to the GA Mountains Farmers Network (that's you guys) for whatever tasks we feel are most valuable (towards next years event, etc, etc). Lastly is our attendees list if you're curious how many people attended (we sold 48 tickets, and had well over 100 attend, probably closer to 150).

·         Co-op Marketing to ATLANTA - This is probably the biggest CO-OP opportunity for us to discuss. We had some good discussion at our last few meetings and we've started to narrow down options (no one is that interested in wholesale markets, etc.). Several of us have been brainstorming here. We'll share our ideas, and please bring your own.

·         SHARED EQUIPMENT -  we've been brainstorming on a cooperatively owned piece of equipment for awhile. This meeting we'll list all options, prioritize, perhaps try and see some in action.

·         BULK ORDERS advance preparations - This went well last year, but should happen earlier and possibly expand to other types of orders. We'll discuss deadlines and dates, and vendors (7 springs, worm castings from Dahlonega, minerals, potatoes, others).

·         GRANTS - the GMFN may want to start looking at potential grants both individually and as a group. USDA VALUE ADDED PRODUCER GRANTS  are available (as a group) as are SARE Producer Grants (individual), and SARE Community Innovation Grants (group). Any grant should arise from the priorities we've identified, but could possible pay to help develop an Atlanta marketing and distribution program. Other ideas?

·         FOOD BANK VALUE ADDED FACILITY - The Food Bank of NE Georgia is interested in building a flash freezing facility in Rabun county that could be used by local farmers. What type of input should we offer as they move forward in their own grant solicitations for this facility.

·         ADDING LISTSERV to COMMUNICATION TOOLS - The website has been a good tool, but one limitation is the opportunity for two way communication. A YAHOO listserv has been established and if folks are willing could be the easiest way for two way communication by all members in the NETWORK.

 

That should just about do it. If you have other issues you'd like to add to our agenda, or to consider at future meetings, please let us know and we'll definitely work it in.

 

Thanks for participating and we look forward to seeing everybody on MONDAY! Don't forget to e-mail to all your POTLUCK dish.

 

Thanks!

 

Justin Ellis

Soque Lover Gardens

706-499-2261 (cell)

&

Organizer for

Georgia Mountains Farmers Network

http://georgiamfn.blogspot.com/

(supported by Certified Naturally Grown)

 

 

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

GMFN UPDATE - Producer Grants to Further Sustainable Ag Now Available

Hey Local Food Growers,

 

Just a quick reminder about the Georgia Mountains Farmers Network meeting next Monday at Melon Head Farms staring at 5pm. I'll send a more detailed reminder in the next day or so. Meanwihle thought you might be interested in the following grant opportunity. I volunteered to do reviews of these last year so have read about 20 or so, and have a pretty good idea of what they like to fund. If you're interested in applying I'd be happy to share my limited knowledge with this grant program.

 

See you Monday,

 

Justin Ellis

Soque Lover Gardens

soque@windstream.net

 

 

SSARE Producer Grant application deadline is Nov. 15 at 11:59 p.m. EST.

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Producer Grants to Further Sustainable Ag Now Available

GRIFFIN, GeorgiaCalls for Proposals for the 2013 Producer Grants, intended for farmers/ranchers and farmer/rancher organizations throughout the Southern region, are now available from the Southern Sustainable Agriculture Research & Education (SSARE) program.

Proposal submission deadline is November 15, 2012. Announcement of grants will take place in late February 2013.

Producer Grants are used to conduct projects that solve challenges farmers face and to develop information on what works and what doesn't so that other farmers and ranchers facing those same challenges can benefit from the results of the funded project. The grants are not designed to pay a farmer to farm. They are designed to take some of the financial risk away from trying a solution.

Projects may be funded for up to two years for a project maximum of $10,000 for an individual producer or $15,000 for a producer organization. Producer organizations should be comprised primarily of farmers/ranchers and must have a majority farmer representation on their governing board.

For detailed information on how to apply for a Producer Grant, download the current Call for Proposals. The Call for Proposals includes application information, program priorities, use of funds, proposal submission instructions, and contact information. Be sure to carefully follow the information in the Call for Proposals when submitting your proposal. Failure to follow the submission guidelines may result in your proposal being rejected.

Click here to learn more about Producer Grants.

Published by the Southern Region of the Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) program. Funded by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), Southern SARE operates under cooperative agreements with the University of Georgia, Fort Valley State University, and the Kerr Center for Sustainable Agriculture to offer competitive grants to advance sustainable agriculture in America's Southern region.

Copyright © Southern SARE 2012, All rights reserved.

Southern SARE
1109 Experiment St., Stuckey Bldg.
University of Georgia
Griffin, GA 30223
770-412-4786

ssare@uga.edu

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Monday, August 20, 2012

NETWORK tour, potluck and meeting - September 10th - 5 pm


Hey FARMER FRIENDS,

It's been a good long while since our last FARMER NETWORK get-together (April 24th as a matter of fact - nearly 4 months ago).  I'm pretty sure you've all been plenty busy. We kind of substituted a summer get-together for the big GEORGIA MOUNTAINS FARM TOUR. Now that things are slowing slightly we thought it'd be nice to all get-together again.

MELON HEAD FARMS in Clarkesville has generously offered to host the next get-together on Monday, September 10th starting at 5pm


Melon Head is a super fun farm that has made a big impression on all their customers this year. Specializing in (surprise, surprise) melons, they grow on just over a half acre, focusing on beans, heirloom tomatoes, and perennial crops such as asparagus, strawberries and rhubarb.

We'll follow our usual get-together schedule with a farm tour from 5-6pm. Then a potluck dinner from 6-7pm. Then we'll have a Network meeting after that from 7-8pm. There's a ton of things we could talk about. Here's an agenda suggestion.

  • GA MTN FARM TOUR follow up - (feedback, income received, ways to improve, tie in with future projects)
  • Co-op Marketing to ATLANTA - options to discuss (internet market vs. live market, do we have enough, what's our target audience)
  • SHARED EQUIPMENT -  brainstorming on a cooperatively owned piece of equipment (list all options, prioritize, perhaps try and see some in action)
  • BULK ORDERS advance preparations - we'll talk about how to plan ahead for bulk orders (ie. 7 springs, etc.), ordering earlier, and adding vendors and items (worm castings from Dahlonega via Sandy Asbill will be included and we'll try and have a price list)
  • VALUE ADDED PRODUCER GRANTS - the GMFN may be eligible as a agricultural producer group and our products do meet definitions of value-added (Is aggregated and marketed as a locally-produced agricultural food product.) . Deadline is October 15th. What might we be interested in doing? Could possible pay to help develop an Atlanta marketing and distribution program.

If you have other suggestions of things you'd like to see us discuss don't be shy, let us know. We'll definitely try and address it, and if it's a big topic maybe include it as a main topic at future meetings.

Here's the details for the meeting one more time:

Monday, September 10th 
Starting at 5pm
MELON HEAD FARMS
500 Brando Trail Clarkesville , GA. 30523

By the way if you still haven't seen or used them yet we have two regular communication tools on the web. The first is our BLOG page.
This is the main page we've used to advertise events, and to post follow ups after each Network meeting so that folks who were unable to attend can stay caught up. It serves as our historical memory of what we've done. Pretty useful. In fact, I'd never have remembered most of what we've done without it.

The other is a FACEBOOK page.
Also useful, especially for posting photos from our NETWORK visits to farms, and feedback and encouragement from others. We've had a surprising number of people LIKE the page who've we've never heard of so people are supportive. If you LIKE the page you'll get automatic updates, and if your farm has a FACEBOOK of its own I'll be sure to have GMFN like you back.


Looking forward to seeing you all on September 10th,

Justin Ellis
Soque Lover Gardens
706-499-2261 (cell)
&
Organizer for
Georgia Mountains Farmers Network



Thursday, July 12, 2012

Lake Rabun Hotel and Restaurant - FEATURED FARMER THURSDAYS

Jamie Alred the executive chef at Lake Rabun Hotel and Restaurant is perhaps the biggest supporter of local, sustainable farmers in the NE Georgia Region. If you haven't already met Jamie, we highly encourage you to give him a call, as he'll almost definitely be interested in your farm products.

If you're not familiar with his FEATURED FARMER THURSDAYS you should go check it out sometime. We'll post his menus here from time to time to let folks know about this great way to feature local farms and local foods. Tonight is David Taylor's farm over in Lakemont!

http://www.lakerabunhotel.com/restaurant.html

Thanks Jamie!


Monday, July 2, 2012

2012 Farm to Fork Event - Saturday, August 11


North Georgia Tech's Cuilinary School at their Currahee Campus is hosting a brand new FARM TO FORK event. They've invited farms and food producers to showcase and sell some of their products the day of the event. For a brochure of the Dinner Portion of the event click HERE

2012 Farm to Fork Event
The North Georgia Technical College Foundation is sponsoring the 2012 Farm to Fork Event on Saturday, August 11, at the beautiful Currahee Campus located on Highway 17 between Toccoa and Lavonia.  The event is designed to showcase products of family farms, support a thriving agricultural economy and introduce the public to diverse food-buying choices.  The Foundation intends to make Farm to Fork an annual event whose focus is to strengthen local agricultural efforts and give growers the opportunity to increase their customer base and form relationships with each other.
You are invited to participate in the Farm Marketplace Portion of the event scheduled from 2-7 p.m.  Set up will begin at noon and you may sell from the parking lot or the grounds.  Should we experience rain, we will move inside or under the large covered patio areas outside.  Throughout the afternoon music, children’s activities, demonstrations, and presentations by guest speakers will add to the family fun.  Educational sessions will introduce the public to the value of fresh, healthy foods, preparation and preservation techniques, availability of products and the importance of agriculture to the local economy.  Visitors will receive a brochure listing your products, hours of operation, location, directions to your farm and any other unique information to encourage them to buy from you again.  You may have samples, recipes and other items to encourage purchases.
To register for the Farm Marketplace, please fill out the attached form and send it to me along with a $10 tax deductible donation to the North Georgia Technical College Foundation.  We would appreciate your furnishing an item for the silent auction that will take place during the Fork Event.  Not only will you be increasing your market potential, but all proceeds will fund scholarships so students with documented financial need may continue their education at NGTC, graduate and go to work. 
The Fork Event will take place from 7-9 p.m. and will feature locally grown food prepared by gourmet chefs.  They will showcase the healthy aspects of farm fresh products and provide recipes and preparation demonstrations for participants.  Music and a silent auction will add to the casual, festive occasion.  Guests will receive a menu, recipes and a printed brochure of those providing the ingredients for the tasting and vendors who participated in the Farm Marketplace.  Advanced tickets will be available for $25 and we would love to have you join us.
We look forward to your registration and participation.  If you have questions or suggestions, please contact Cynthia Brown at 706-754-7714 or cbrown@northgatech.edu.  Forms may be sent to: P.O. Box 65̆, Clarkesville, GA 30523.  Please also visit us at www.northgatech.edu.

Saturday, June 30, 2012

GEORGIA MOUNTAINS FARM TOUR - JUNE 30 & JULY 1 - 2012


GEORGIA MOUNTAINS FARM TOUR - JUNE 30 & JULY 1

2012

1:00pm - 6:00pm


We're just days away from the premiere tour of small scale, sustainable farms throughout the North Georgia Mountains.

Here's how the TOUR works..... Choose from 14 farms in Habersham, Rabun, White, Stephens and beyond, visit community gardens, and eat local foods prepared by local chefs. It's the food and farm event of the summer hosted by SRWA and will help benefit a new Farmers Network. Tour hours are from 1-6pm each day. Different farms are featured each day.
You can read about every farm featured on the tour and get a sneak peak of the event brochure by downloading the PDF here.


How to Attend 
Online Advance Ticket Sales are over but it's still easy to attend the "first ever" Georgia Mountains FARM TOUR.

WEEKEND PASSES are $35 and are available all this week at the following locations:
Drop in and get your farm tour brochure and weekend pass sticker. Each weekend pass and brochure comes with a $5 gift certificate to local farmers markets. In fact, come to the Simply Homegrown market Saturday morning and use your certificate before the tour starts.

PURCHASING THE DAY OF THE EVENT
You can purchase WEEKEND PASSES at any of the participating farms on the day of the event. Here's some important information to make sure you're well prepared.

  • Cash or Check only.

Only two lead farms each day will have the full color brochure (identical to the PDF above) available at their locations. If you'd like to pick up the color brochure at the beginning of the day you should start at one of these locations:
  • LoganBerry Heritage Farm near Cleveland on Saturday 
  • Mountain Fresh Creamery in Clermont on Saturday
  • Lake Rabun Hotel and Restaurant on Saturday and Sunday
  • Cedar Hill Enrichment Center in Gainseville on Sunday
  • Sylvan Falls Mill in Rabun Gap on Sunday
However, you should feel free to start at any farm on the tour, just remember to BRING A PRINTOUT OF THE BROCHURE WITH YOU. That's how you'll be able to get around from farm to farm.

  • Your weekend pass will be your EAT WELL - BUY LOCAL bumper sticker.

  • We hope to have extra bumper stickers available for other folks in your carload the day of the event for a couple of dollars.
  • Don't forget to bring a cooler. Nearly all the farms on the tour will have food available for sale.


If you have any unanswered questions about the farm tour please call us at the Soque River Watershed Association at 706-754-9382 or e-mail soque@windstream.net.

Here's a sneak peak at just a small handful of the farms that will be featured during the tour (Burton Mountain Farm, the Old School Garden, Taylor Creek Farm, LoganBerry Farm and Nacoochee Valley Farm).



HERE'S our PRESS RELEASE


Northeast Georgia region to host 
1st Georgia Mountains Farm Tour

Northeast Georgia and surrounding areas are beginning to be recognized as a rapidly rising region for the production of local and sustainable foods. The first ever Georgia Mountains Farm Tour will showcase some of the farms, farmers, markets, community gardens and restaurants that are making local food happen across the region. Hosted by a brand new Georgia Mountains Farmers Network and the Soque River Watershed Association, the event takes place the weekend before the 4th of July, on Saturday June 30th and Sunday July 1st from 1-6pm, and will feature 14 farms in Habersham, Rabun, White, Stephens counties and beyond, two community gardens, and optional meal stops with local foods prepared by acclaimed local chefs.

Participants on the Tour can purchase one weekend pass that allows everyone in your car to visit any farms you choose all weekend long. Amongst the products featured from the 14 farms on the tour are numerous fruit and vegetables; a dairy cow creamery with milk, cream, butter and ice cream; pastured eggs; certified organic beef; and water wheel milled grains and associated baked goods. Other highlights include a farm demonstrating the lost art of horse-powered equipment, an aquaponic farm for tilapia production, and several farms using hoop houses for season extension.

The tour is ideal for individuals wanting to learn how local, sustainable food is produced, for those looking to find local foods, for aspiring gardeners and farmers who’d like to learn sustainable growing practices, and for food lovers and inspired cooks. 

The event was organized by local farmers who began meeting regularly in January of 2012 and visiting each other’s farms to collaborate on projects that help increase the impact of local foods in the region. The goal of the tour is to introduce people for the first time to the vibrancy of the local food movement in the Georgia Mountains, and encourage more people to join in the fun. Proceeds of the event will help benefit this new network.

In addition to being able to purchase farm products during the tour, many of the farms and meal stops will have prepared foods to sample, or enjoy for lunch or dinner. On Saturday chef Jeff Morris of the Copper Pot Restaurant in Clarkesville will prepare seasonal snack plates using vegetables from their own garden, and served in the garden. On Sunday, Jamie Allred, the acclaimed Executive Chef at Lake Rabun Hotel Restaurant will feature numerous products from farms throughout the tour into small plates during brunch from 11:30-2:30 and dinner beginning at 6pm. Meals are optional and are purchased separately.

Cost of the tour is $30 per carload for weekend passes purchased by June 16th, or $35 for passes purchased after June 16th or on the day of the event from any farm on the tour. Passes can be purchased online at www.soque.org or at one of the following locations: SRWA office (downtown Clarkesville), through the Northeast Georgia Locally Grown market website, at the Simply Homegrown farmers market in Clayton on Saturdays, at the Root Cellar in Clayton, and at Mountain Fresh Creamery in Clermont. All weekend passes include a $5 gift certificate to the Locally Grown or Simply Homegrown markets.

Farms and gardens included on the tour include: White County – LoganBerry Heritage Farm, Mountain Fresh Creamery, Nacoochee Valley Farm, Cairn Rock Farm; Habersham County – Indian Ridge Farm, Royal Oaks Farm, Melon Head Farm, GreenWay Community Garden, Copper Pot Gardens; Rabun County – Burton Mountain Farm, Sylvan Falls Mill, Old School Garden, Lake Rabun Hotel and Restaurant; Other Areas – Cedar Hill Enrichment Center (Hall County), Jan and Zen’s Garden (Franklin County), Taylor Creek Farm (Stephens County), Gibson Farms (Westminster, SC), Leah Lakes Farm (Macon County, NC)

For additional information and a copy of the brochure visit www.soque.org, e-mail soque@windstream.net or call 706-754-9382.


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