PLANET GARDEN: Eco-Friendly Resource Guide

Planet Garden Immeasurably Grateful Hearts

Posted in Sustainable Column by planetgarden on November 24, 2009

It amazes me every day what a little encouragement can do to bring about a grateful heart. Because it is Thanksgiving and we all really do have so much to be thankful for, it is my aim to say how grateful I am for our little farmers market at the former RC Cola Building. We have been so touched by the many people who have come out week after week to support the efforts to build up our community people. It is so encouraging when someone drives up on a Saturday morning bringing a little basket of cookies to sell or some turnip greens that they have grown. And it is even more encouraging when I watch local people come and shop and take home bags of locally grown fresh veggies and baked goods.
Our artisans are increasing and that is because they are finding a little market here for their products. We have had over 50 vendors since June at the market. Many out of town visitors tell me they are delighted with our Bluebird Market and they are coming from Griffin, Columbus, Atlanta, Zebulon and many other towns around us to shop with our local people. Farmers Markets are growing and springing up and it is competitive for us to keep the top vendors like James Family Farm. They are invited to many bigger markets in Atlanta, McDonough and they attend at Peachtree City where the shoppers come out. However, Donna James told me Bluebird Market is their favorite and I was so glad to hear how they really love the friendly local people of Thomaston.
So this Thanksgiving one of my most grateful experiences is launching a venue for our local people to network and shop and bring their arts and harvest out each week. We are so blessed and word has been spreading. We had a nice letter from Quaker Oats that they loved what we were doing and were sending it to their marketing team for sponsorship consideration. Also a former chef from the Food Network has visited and shopped at the market and was very pleased with the experience.
The community garden is growing with lots of fall veggies and you are so welcome to Adopt a Row like the 4-H, and MOMS Club for your family or group. Thank you especially to everyone who worked to establish this for our community. When we share together and work together such amazing things happen that bring hope and delight to our community. I am grateful for Thomaston and for our friends here and our little Bluebird Market. We all truly have so many blessings each day when we wake up. We all have unlimited hope and love that we can share. How can the value of love ever be measured?  Love and gratitude is immeasurable.  Encouragement is a most priceless gift we can give to others. Isn’t it lovely to greet people each day with a grateful heart? It takes so little to give an immeasurable gift of gratefulness.
Enrich your life on Saturday at the Bluebird Market. Explore with us each week to discover simple ways we can affordably contribute to sustainable and renewable eco-friendly living. Find resources online at www.
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Planet Garden Sleighbell Arts Market Tells a Story Indeed

Posted in Sustainable Column by planetgarden on November 24, 2009

It’s lovely weather for a sleigh ride together with you! Giddy yap over to the Bluebird Market on Saturday, December 5th for a collection of our local folk artisans’ most lovely works. When you buy local arts from our local people you buy more that just a piece of work…it is a collective story of our culture. I am so proud of our local people and have seen such gorgeous pieces of work that bring culture to our community that stands the test of who we are as a hometown. In our storybook hometown, it is the people that make up the story and these works of art are the unspoken expression of our local hometown collective storybook.
Sleighbells and mistletoe and warm cider with cookies brings us together for a season of love and hope of how we can continue to grow and turn the pages as the story gets better with every day. Thomaston’s storybook hometown identity should want you to keep turning the pages because you can’t put it down …our fascinating people, love of the arts, homegrown gardeners, friendly shops and fantastic spirit of community is what keeps me turning the pages.
I can’t wait to get up in the morning and read another day in our precious community. As you write your page in our hometown storybook, be sure to get out and tell people about it! Don’t keep your role a secret…come over to Bluebird Market, build a birdhouse, paint a wagon, share your artistic loves with us on Saturdays as we write our little story about folk artists that make time to create.
Find their fasinating little stories and artworks at the TUAC gallery for Christmas shopping. When you give a gift this Christmas, make certain it tells the story of your hometown people.
At the recycle hub grand opening in Griffin, I was especially delighted when a recycling award was given by the Mayor of Griffin. It was a Bluebird House which he created, painted and numbered. Everyone has something to bring as a folk art piece so why not find a way to express yourself. I encourage you to come out and see what local people are doing and saying through their artworks. You will love reading our little hometown storybook every day more and more!
Enrich your life on Saturday at the Bluebird Market. Explore with us each week to discover simple ways we can affordably contribute to sustainable and renewable eco-friendly living. Find resources online at and Email EE questions to:

Planet Garden Champagne Toasts for Griffin Recycle Hub Team

Posted in Greensun Mission Statement, Sustainable Column by planetgarden on November 18, 2009

Fortunately, for Thomaston Upson, we are included in the Griffin Grant-Winning Recycle Hub’s operational region. On Monday, November 16th the Grand Opening was held and the hub is now running with Pratt Recycling’s equipment in place and functional. This is a private-public partnership for curbside recycling efforts that Griffin Mayor, Dick Morrow, proclaimed as a win for everyone involved including our communities and the planet.
Kevin Barkley, Thomaston resident, and Phill Francis, Director of the project, and the entire Griffin team made the courageous decision to mandate recycling in Griffin, the first such program in the state. From that decision forward, they have won and been applauded time and again for the City of Griffin, now considered a leader in the State of Georgia recycling efforts. The State and National recycling awards are too numerous to count for Kevin and Phill with the new recycling hub facility being paid for by a coveted State Grant to the City of Griffin because of it’s strong commitment to recycling.
The Recycle Hub Grand Opening event was one of the most meaningful days in my lifetime for me and my son. Seeing this vision become reality will be counted among our many blessings this Thanksgiving. We are true believers in doing what is best for the higher good and we have seen first hand how curbside recycling efforts benefit us all.
The steadfast daily work of these dedicated men is also beneficial for our hometown. Now that the hub is open for business, the over 100 people who signed a petition to bring curbside recycling to Thomaston, are just a step away from that prudent and wise choice coming about. Dependable Waste Services is certainly the local company we believe most qualified to bring recycling to Thomaston in the coming year, as they have done for Barnesville and other neighboring communities already participating with the Griffin Recycle Hub Program.
Last March at the groundbreaking of the hub, it was stated by officials that curbside recycling is a must for progressive communities that aim to attract new business. These men have worked devotedly to build an effective and efficient streamlined system to insure Thomaston and surrounding communities have the very best state-of-the-art program in the recycling industry.
Republican Sonny Perdue brought Thomaston the opportunity to participate in the Griffin Recycle Hub program and I am personally very impressed with the State of Georgia’s winning direction forward in the green industry of recycling.
We are so fortunate to have this opportunity in our hometown for curbside recycling in 2010. It is an honor to be working in an industry that moves forward to insure our planet and local communities are a better place to live, work and play–not only for our families now–but for future generations also. A toast to healthy happiness for RecycleMan and the Griffin Recycle Hub team!

Mayor Dick Morrow presented his handmade bluebird house as recycling award.

Enrich your life on Saturday at the Bluebird Market. Explore with us each week to discover simple ways we can affordably contribute to sustainable and renewable eco-friendly living. Find resources online at and Email EE questions to:

Planet Garden Hoorah for the Pumpkin Pie!

Posted in Sustainable Column by planetgarden on November 10, 2009

Hoorah for the Pumpkin Pie!
Bluebird Market is a local venue to encourage you to start your own business. Have you ever heard the story of Sister Schubert? In 1989, Patricia Barnes, called Sister as a child, baked 20 pans of rolls for a fundraiser in Troy, Al. Using her grandmother’s recipe she dipped a Parker House syle yeast roll in butter and sold out. Two years later she turned one of the Sunday School rooms into a dough rising proof with a space heater and by 1993 she was using her father’s furniture warehouse for a cottage bakery. She is quoted saying, “I tried to be a Truett Cathy kind of employer” and has written a book entitled “Cast Your Bread Upon the Waters.” Eleven years after she started selling yeast rolls at the local Episcopal Church, she sold her busines to T. Marzetti for more than $40 million dollars.
If you would like to earn extra holiday dollars, please consider joining us as a Cottage Industry Baker. Bring your baked goods and your friends for the Cottage Baked Goods Holiday Sale at Bluebird Market.
We are so fortunate to have over 50 local vendors having participated at our neighborhood Farmer’s Market and many of them are Cottage Bakers like Sabrina Hay, Constance Potts, Donna James, Frieda Litchfield, Bess Mayo, Cathy Pollard, Lisa Fox, Margie Adams, Rose Clift, and many more. Their Cottage Kitchens are filled with the aromas of baking Cinnamon Buns, Carrot Cake, Butter Pecan Banana Nut Bread, Fried Apple Pies, Georgia Pecan Pralines, Lemon Cookies, Pumpkin Pies and so much more.
With Thanksgiving just two weeks away, I invite you to think about your favorite baked goods. Saturday, Nov. 21st, from 8 am until noon…just in time for your Thanksgiving and to place Christmas orders… there will be a Cottage Baked Goods Holiday Sale at Bluebird Market. Hoorah for the Pumpkin Pie!…and Pecan Pie, Orchard Apple Pie, Wheat Bread with Local Honey, cookies, cakes, fried pies, artisan breads and all of those homebaked goods you will want to serve to your guests over the holidays.
You will find all of your favorites and while you are at the market, I encourage you to also invest in a Bluebird Directory for only five dollars. In it you will find the contact info for top area local Cottage Bakers and other local growers and artisans. When you need a pie or Birthday Cake, or just want a delicious loaf of Whole Wheat Bread with local honey you can special order from these talented local bakers by giving them a call.
There will be a fun Cake Walk you may participate in for only one dollar to take a chance at winning some delicious cottage baked goods for your Thanksgiving family and friends.
Pie Baskets will be available for holiday local delivery orders or take along for Thanksgiving.  Hoorah for the Pumpkin Pie!
Enrich your life on Saturday at Bluebird Market, 215 Barnesville St., Thomaston. Explore with us each week to discover simple ways we can affordably contribute to sustainable and renewable eco-friendly living. Find resources online at Email EE questions to:

Planet Garden Heirloom Apple Farm

Posted in Sustainable Column by planetgarden on November 10, 2009

Heirloom Apple Farm
A friend came into the Bluebird Farmers Market last Saturday morning and said it smelled so good. We were baking apples in a crisp for the free farmers market lunch after the Kitchen Show. She peaked in the oven and said that is exactly what she had served last night except she added cranberries. I told her these came from a local apple farm and we both laughed when we realized it was her favorite heirloom variety of apple too– with a taste that is exquisite. This apple has a cherry cinnamon sweetness that is unique and it is said that the ones with the darkest red skin have the most cherry-like flavor. Called Arkansas Black, these heirloom apples have a not-so-attractive dark red to almost black color skin but are considered one of the crispiest with the very best flavor when cooked. The grower of these delicious, nutritious apples is local farmer, Mr. Holland, owner of Holland’s Apple Farm.
Visit this local apple orchard on Jeff Davis Road for there are over 200 apple trees filled with fruit. Mr. Holland raises several varieties including Fuji, another one of my favorite apples. There are many heirloom apple trees in this Johnny Appleseed’s orchard and an abundance of these late ripening fruits through December. Molly’s Delicious Apples grown on this Apple Farm reportedly have the highest sugar content of any apple in the United States. Mr. Holland also grows juicy Yates apples which are a smaller size but packed with flavor for baking and nutrients. Apples have a low GI (Glycaemic Index) to make a perfect sustaining mid-meal snack and are packed with antioxidants and Vitamin C with 2/3 of the dietary fiber of apples found in the skin.
I have invited Mr. Holland to appear on the Farmers Market Kitchen Show and tell us about his Apple Farm and show us how to make some Apple Farm recipes. We all are hoping this local Upson farmer can find time during the busy season to take a break and come out to share with us. We enjoyed our visit to Holland’s Apple Farm and Mr. Holland was very kind to give us apple samples and his recipe for a favorite Thanksgiving Dish– Apple Salad.
Holland’s Apple Farm Salad
6 Arkansas Black Heirloom Apples
1 cup raisins
1 cup regular Mayonnaise
1 cup Georgia pecans, toasted
1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, grated (optional)
Peel and cube the apples. Place in a mixing bowl and toss with 1 cup regular mayonnaise. Add 1 cup of raisins and 1 cup of toasted Georgia pecans. Toss well. Optional: Add 1 cup of grated sharp cheddar cheese.
These apples will be abundant at Mr. Holland’s farm on Jeff Davis Road along with his Leyland Cypress Christmas Trees and hay through December.
My advice is to serve Upson grown apples to your family and friends on your Thanksgiving and Christmas table from Holland’s Apple Farm. Considered a fruit of antiquity, these local apples are delicious and nutritious and your entire house will have a holiday aroma with you bake them in your oven with cinnamon and cranberries.
Enrich your life on Saturday at the Bluebird Market. Explore with us each week to discover simple ways we can affordably contribute to sustainable and renewable eco-friendly living. Find resources online at

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Planet Garden Living Christmas Trees

Posted in Sustainable Column by planetgarden on November 10, 2009

Out on Vineyard Road in Thomaston there is a long line of very healthy and tall cypress trees that are absolutely gorgeous and green. After learning the story about how these came to be planted, I am now a fan of living Christmas Trees. Each Christmas the family vineyard owners would go to a local tree farm, dig up a 5 foot Leyland Cypress, ball it in burlap, and put it in a washtub for their Christmas Tree. Then, after the holiday, it went into the ground next to the previous year’s tree. Now there is a long row of evergreens growing tall and beautiful, a living testament to one local family’s everkind way of celebrating the season of Christmas.

I have been so amazed at these beautiful trees that I decided to investigate where to find them. Out on Jeff Davis Road there are 2 Christmas Tree Farms and both of the farmers said they would be happy to work with anyone who wants a living Christmas Tree. Hopefully, the tree for our downtown courthouse will be a locally grown Christmas Tree, and even better, a living tree to be planted in our community. Mr. Holland has an assortment of Leyland Cypress trees on his farm on Jeff Davis Road. He also grows the Carolina Sapphire and the Old Fashioned Cedar. These trees are healthy and green and growing strong, ready now to choose.

Another local Christmas Tree grower is just off Jeff Davis and, when we drove up to ask him about his trees, this dedicated caregiver, was actually in the field working on them. They are beautiful. Such a variety growing of all sizes, shades and fragrance. Mr. Newman explained, “Leyland Cypress are allergy- friendly.” They have no aroma. However, his Carolina Cypress trees do have a Christmas aroma that will fill your home with an evergreen fragrance. Mr. Newman also has Silver Dust Cypress with a white variegated tip and Silver Smoke.

My advice is to visit these 2 local farmers out on Jeff Davis Road and get inspired by their beautiful fresh evergreens. They would be delighted to work with you to find the perfect locally grown Christmas Tree for your upcoming holiday celebrations. One idea is to try a small living Christmas Tree this year in any way that is best for you and your family possibly outside on a porch, in an office, or in a bedroom window. A living tree represents hope of a long and bright future. People who plant trees are ultimate optimists. Celebrate this season with a living Christmas Tree. Be a believer in promoting life and wellness.

Enrich your life on Saturday at the Bluebird Market. Explore with us each week to discover simple ways we can affordably contribute to sustainable and renewable eco-friendly living. Find resources online at Email EE questions to:

Planet Garden Ag Lifestyle

Posted in Sustainable Column by planetgarden on November 10, 2009
Bob James shows us how to make pumpkin, acorn, butternut and yellow squash dishes fresh for our families at Bluebird Market

Farmer Bob James shows us how to make pumpkin, acorn, butternut and yellow squash dishes fresh for our families at Bluebird Market

Farmers are my some of my favorite people. We are so fortunate to offer a neighborhood local and organic Farmers’ Market as a venue for our farmers to bring us their harvest. If you have ever spent time on a working farm you know the lifestyle is grounded and real. There is always something to do and it can bring us a healthy lifestyle.
Although farming is now reportedly overwhelmingly in vogue, many of our local farmers are struggling to operate in the black and seek day employment and creative means to continue to grow. When we buy at our farmers’ market we insure that the farming lifestyle in Middle Georgia is strong and growing and has a bright future. I am totally supportive of the ag programs in Upson like 4-H and FFA and more. Bluebird Market is also a strong advocate for Farm-to-School. We want fresh and local apples and veggies served daily to our local children. We are working now to continue to boost local farmers each and every day.
There are several ways you can get involved in the farm lifestyle. Adopt-a-Row in the community garden. There is no charge and it is planted now with leeks, brussel sprouts, sweet edible peapods, purple top turnips, collards and much more for fall. Another way you can get into farming is online. There is a game that over 60 million people are  playing called FarmVille.   It’s  the fastest growing social game of all time and the most popular game on Facebook. When you play, you can get an idea of what farmers are doing every day when they buy seeds, cultivate and harvest crops, tend farm animals and win ribbons for helping out neighboring farmers.
My advice is get into the ag lifestyle in whatever way is best for you.  My choice is to open the Bluebird farmers market each and every week and say to our local farmers..Welcome! We are here to serve and assist your efforts.  We encourage our local people to come out and taste your harvest. Our Thanksgiving Day will be abundant with Georgia grown organic and local fruits and veggies!
Find a way to benefit from a lifestyle of sunshine and live green foods. Get to know your local farmers. You are invited to join the audience on Saturday mornings at Bluebird Market Kitchen Show. Farmer Bob James is a delightful cook who shares his farm fresh ingredients and how to prepare them. The show is $3. for Adults and after the show there is a free Farmers Market lunch. Saturdays 11 am at Bluebird Market, 215 Barnesville Street, Thomaston.  If everyone playing FarmVille planted a garden or shopped at their local farmers market what an amazing boost (over 60 million people) it would be to the Ag Lifestyle and our bright futures.
Enrich your life on Saturdays at the Bluebird Market. Explore with us each week to discover simple ways we can affordably contribute to sustainable and renewable eco-friendly living. Find resources online at Email EE questions to:

Planet Garden Local Bluebird Market Holiday Calendar

Posted in Sustainable Column by planetgarden on November 9, 2009

Bluebird Christmas Market …Local Calendar of Events (clip & save)

Thank you to everyone who buys locally on Saturdays 8 am until noon from hometown people bringing arts and harvest. Indoor/Outdoor Venue. 215 Barnesville St. in Thomaston. FREE Earlybird Community Breakfast 8-9 am.  Vendors welcome. 11 am Kitchen Show (Adults $3) with a FREE Farmers Market Lunch after the show.


At your neighborhood farmers market, receive joyful breaths of frosty air with the aromas of soft gingerbread, living Christmas trees, fresh oranges, cottage baked cakes and cookies, homemade Christmas fudges, fruitcakes with Georgia pecans, and mulled cider. 


November 14th….Holiday Gift Basket Day


You get first choice on Holiday Gift Basket Day of all the best of Bluebird! Bluebird Market Baskets…a delicious way of saying hello…are a diverse selection chosen from over 50 local growers, artisans and bakers who have come together bringing you their Blue-Ribbon winning and local products.  Choose your favorites like the Bluebird Coffee & Desserts Basket FREE delivery locally for Thanksgiving or Christmas as a delightful family gift.  (Last day to order for FREE local delivery is Nov.14th.)

November 21st…Hurrah for the Pumpkin Pie!  Cottage-Industry Holiday Baked Goods Day 

Order a Bluebird Easy-as-Pie Basket for Thanksgiving deliveries locally.  Enter the Thanksgiving Cake Walk and win Thanksgiving pies, cakes and more.  Cottage Industry Holiday Baked Goods Day at Bluebird Market will have the finest baked goods from local bakers and artisans. All local cottage bakers are welcome as vendors! Also find local farmers’ and their harvests along with firewood, living Christmas trees, fresh apples and more for an All-American harvest Thanksgiving celebration.

November 28th…Ambrosia Day

Want Ambrosia-Worthy Oranges?  Fresh picked from the Orange Groves find the finest, Ambrosia-Worthy-Oranges of the holiday season. Choose Bluebird Fresh-Fruit Baskets as lovely gifts for friends and family.  Learn how to prepare refreshingly delicious Ambrosia for a delicious and nutritious season of wellness and taste second to none. Ambrosia is one of Paula Dean’s Top 5 Holiday Dishes.  Attend the Ambrosia Cooking Lesson at the Kitchen Show (Adult tickets $3.) and stay for the FREE Farmers Market lunch after the show.  Everyone welcome!

December 5th…Handmade Holiday Arts Market

Everyone is excited about seeing local creativity at its peak…the very best Etsy, Indie and Folk artisan works for a patchwork of handmade meaningful holiday giving.  Shop the First Annual Bluebird Holiday Arts Market for a handmade Christmas of pottery, Art Photography, Restoration Jewels, needlework, quilting, handsewn baby clothes, handmade purses, jewelry, toys, clocks, furnishings, decorations, soaps, milk baths, fleece footies and hats, artworks from our local Bluebird Arties! This is a Forward Bluebird Arts event.

December 12th…A Christmas Story…gingerbread cottages, local storytelling and Noahs Ark animals

Hosted as an Open House by MOMS Club of Griffin Thomaston Area from 10-2, this will be a local Christmas highlight for all ages.  Bring your children for the wonderland of stories told in a theatrical fun day of our favorite local talent.  Make a stuffed animal with MOMS Club.  Delight in the Kitchen Show at 11:00, when you will make your very own Gingerbread Cottage!  RSVP required for these custom made cottages as they are prebaked just for you!  Cost of the Kitchen Show is $3.00 with a FREE Farmers Market Lunch after the show. Be sure to take home a  Bluebird Story Time Basket.

December 19th–Breakfast with St. Nicholas Day & his bag of Handmade Toys  

You will want to see what’s in St. Nick’s bag on Bluebird Breakfast with St. Nicholas Day.  Local Toy Town workshops will bring us their most creative heirloom toys like handpegged rocking horses, doll babybeds, red wagons and much more!  This delightful Toy Town Breakfast with St. Nick arrives at Bluebird Market just in time for a fun morning that promises to be your child’s most favorite new Christmas tradition.  Breakfast is at 9 am. Christmas Stories at 10. Meet Father Christmas with a selection of old-fashioned hand crafted Toy Town toys available at the North Pole and Bluebird Market!  Receive a free portrait sitting with your child.  Enjoy this special heartwarming moment in time to cherish the spirit of Christmas in our hometown. Reserve Breakfast with St. Nicholas seats (Adults $5., 12 and under FREE) at

December 26th–Spa Day at Bluebird Market

After the holidays come and relax with handmade soaps and scrubs.  Enjoy soothing teas and a lemongrass hand treatment.  Add Bluebird handmade soaps and teas to your Christmas list for a Bluebird Ultimate Spa Basket. You deserve a rejuvenating experience to ring in the new.  Find your favorite fresh farmers market products for a New Year dedicated to your health and happiness!


Need extra holiday funds?  Bring your Georgia made Georgia grown products and tell your friends to shop with you at Bluebird Market.  There is no cost to set up!  AFTER you sell $20.00, there is only a $5.00 fee for the entire morning.


Choose from diverse farmers market gift baskets, handmade toys, Blue-Ribbon winning preserves and jellies, Indie arts, folk arts, locally illustrated children’s books and Art Photography.


Fun family-friendly events including Breakfast with Santa, Holiday Arts Market,  gingerbread cottage workshop and more. 


Everyone is Welcome.  Saturdays 8 am until noon, 215 Barnesville St. on the corner of Cotton Ave., Thomaston. RSVP for Breakfast with Santa 9 am. and Gingerbread Cottages 11 am. Email:, Learn more at


Planet Garden Divinely Sweet Ambrosia

Posted in Sustainable Column by planetgarden on November 5, 2009

 My good friend and Bluebird Market vendor, Bob Baskin, was just in and we are so excited about his fresh-from-the-field oranges that will be at Bluebird Market the week before Thanksgiving through the holiday season. Paula Dean lists Ambrosia as a Top 5 Christmas Dish along with Japanese Fruitcake, Standing Rib Roast and Coconut Cake. Oranges and orange blossoms are the symbol of love and in the spring the aroma of the orange blossoms is in the air from the groves of orange trees. This fall these oranges are being harvested from the groves and brought fresh by Mr. Baskin to your neighborhood farmers market. How fortunate to be able to offer these and more fall items here locally in Thomaston at Bluebird Market open for the holiday season. They are healthy and a delightful gift for friends, seniors and employees and the Bluebird Market Baskets of fruit will also include Orchard Georgia apples and Georgia pecans. These oranges make a delicious holiday southern favorite that is very healthy and divinely flavored– Ambrosia. The name originates as a food in ancient Greek mythology along with the drink nectar. Because the juice is so delicious and sweet it is often confused as nectar and Greek legends tell stories about ambrosia being brought in by doves. Both nectar and ambrosia are fragrant, amber colored and delicious. Ambrosia is spoken of in many Greek writings like the Odyssey. I have invited Mr. Baskin to teach us how he makes Ambrosia on the Bluebird Market Kitchen Show and to serve Ambrosia at the Farmers Market lunch after the show. Bob states he uses only his farm fresh sweet oranges, the juice of the oranges, cherries, cherry juice and frozen coconut. We have several variations and more delicious and nutritious recipes for these sweet oranges at These farm fresh oranges available at Bluebird Market are filled with potassium, Vitamin C, fiber, beta carotene, calcium, B6, and magnesium. It would be difficult to list all of the healing properties of the flavonoids and nutrients but oranges are reported to give our complexion a healthy glow and slow the aging process. Rich in pectin, oranges also assist in weight reduction and proper eyesight. The benefits to us are many, so serve this delicious and nutritious holiday Ambrosia often to bring vitality, strength and endurance to your family and friends. Divinely Sweet Ambrosia 10 fresh oranges with juice 2 bags frozen coconut 1 4 oz jar of maraschino cherries with juice Defrost the coconut and peel the oranges. Section the oranges and remove any membrane. Place oranges in a large glass serving bowl and gently fold in the coconut, cherries and juices. Chill for 1 hour prior to serving. Optional variations: Toasted sliced almonds, pecans or walnuts Crystallized ginger Enrich your life on Saturday at the Bluebird Market. Explore with us each week to discover simple ways we can affordably contribute to sustainable and renewable eco-friendly living. Find resources online at and Email

Planet Garden Working Together for Garden and Arts Gift Baskets

Posted in Sustainable Column by planetgarden on November 3, 2009

When I owned and operated an Atlanta Wine and Cheese shop our number one best seller over the holidays was our Georgia Gift Baskets. Each one was filled with everyone’s favorite Vidalia Onion Relish, peach preserves and much more. Area business leaders and realtors would bring in their list for gratitude gifts during the holidays and we would make up the baskets according to their budget and deliver them over the holiday season. Other favorites were the coffee basket, the cookie basket and the children’s basket.
Because we have all of those great products locally at the Bluebird Market, this was a great way to offer local products to those in Thomaston who believe in our community and our local people. I am so impressed at the cooperative spirit of these people to come together and bring us their best products for the holiday season. Over 50 growers, bakers and artisans were invited to participate and have brought a delicious and beautiful assortment of fresh pies, breads, preserves, relishes, handmade soaps, Georgia Roasted coffee, handmade jewelry and Framable Art cards. Together they make up what I believe is the most delightful Christmas gift of the season. Nothing store bought compares to the arts and harvest of our local people! Handmade and farm grown items from people right here in our area are my favorite holiday gifts.
If you own or operate a local business and want to thank your customers for a year of patronage, email or come by your local Bluebird Farmers’ Market on Saturdays from 8 am until noon. Meet the people that are bringing you produce directly from their farm or local garden. We are so fortunate to have these beautiful people each week and now that it is the holiday season, it is my aim to boost their efforts for another year here in Thomaston by encouraging everyone to buy local.
It is vital, I believe, to our health and wellness as a community to support our local people above all. If you do the math, you will see the value of buying local for our community. Locally owned and operated businesses would be thriving if everyone would simple redirect a small portion of their buying power to keep community money where it belongs… in our community.
We have about 10,000 households and if everyone redirected a small portion of their holiday dollars to our local people, we would not need soup kitchens and stimulus packages. We have bountiful means to provide for our hometown and community but it takes cooperation and a Do-It-Yourself way of thinking. We are half way there because these people have the products. Now it is up to our hometown to make a difference that counts locally by supporting their efforts! While we all love the efficiency and selections of the chain stores, it is vital for our hometown to remember our local business owners who provide wonderful products at affordable prices.
The best way I know to insure your local growers and ag people are receiving the dollars is to forget telling them to apply for government loans and funds. Although grants and loans are tremendous boosts, the best way I have learned is Do-It-Yourself and for local people to put the dollars directly into the hands of those local people who are doing the work all year, growing the products, bringing them to market for us on a weekly basis.
Please email to direct your dollars back into our area growers, bakers and artisans who are striving to be self reliant and small business entrepreneurs. Thank your patrons this week by ordering a holiday gift basket filled with local Blue Ribbon award winning products that are delightful for anyone to receive and a wonderful experience overall. Working together can make a hometown thrive during the holiday season. Give an affordable basket assortment of garden and arts products from our community to keep your holiday dollars rebuilding our community.
Enrich your life on Saturday at the Bluebird Market. Explore with us each week to discover simple ways we can affordably contribute to sustainable and renewable eco-friendly living. Find resources online at and

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Planet Garden Farmers Market Lunch

Posted in Sustainable Column by planetgarden on November 3, 2009

Bess Mayo prepared her native Dakar W. African Pumpkin Soup at the Bluebird Market Kitchen ShowAfter the Bluebird Market Kitchen Show each week, we have been enjoying delicious and nutritious farm fresh fruits and veggies. Everyone enjoyed James Family Farm sandwiches of “Kicked Up Pimento Cheese” using locally grown Georgia pimentos on farmhouse baked Whole Wheat Bread made with local honey. Also we enjoyed how to make and then tasting a bowl of steaming yellow squash fresh from the garden with Vidalia onions and garden potatoes. Another Farmers Market Kitchen Show and dish was a bowl of W. African Pumpkin Soup prepared by Bess Mayo in the manner of her native people. This soup had large chunks of tender pumpkin, farm fresh tomatoes, carrots, celery and was hot and warming last Saturday morning. Everyone loved Pumpkin Soup and the recipe is online at On Girl Scout day, Alice Versemann showed us how to make Muesli and homemade Girl Scout Granola. After the Kitchen Show, I took this healthy dish out to The Rock Ranch for Growing Up Green and our volunteers from MOMS Club enjoyed the pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, craisins, Georgia pecans, local honey, and apples in the Muesli.
Because these wonderful meals after the show have been just the right lunch on a Saturday morning for people who love organic veggies and fruits, you are now invited to the Kitchen Show and Farmers Market Lunch after the show. This lunch will be in the manner we are accustomed to of a Wednesday night supper so reservations are asked for and there will be a $3.00 charge to attend the Kitchen Show. The Farmers Market Lunch is free after the show.
I have mentioned how much we loved the Atlanta Farmers Market and several people have not been there so if you haven’t been it is worth the trip especially for Thanksgiving, located just south of Atlanta. When we would visit Atlanta with my grandparents, on the way home, because the Farmers Market was located just south of town, it was an ideal location to stop and have a farm fresh lunch of fresh veggies, salads and a slice of Georgia watermelon. Frank Mason and I were there visiting SP Recycling one week last summer and stopped in the Atlanta Farmers Market for lunch. We had a salad and the lettuces and veggies were very delicious. We always were happy to enjoy Farmers Market Georgia harvested veggies for Thanksgiving and this year we are fortunate to have them right here in Thomaston at Bluebird Market.
When we had a fall garden on our farm, our favorite Thanksgiving dish was fresh garden collard greens. Now we have them growing in the organic community garden along with organic purple top turnips, kale, Giant parat German radishes, basil, stevia, lemongrass, sweet and edible peapods, brussel sprouts, cauliflower, and more. We are so appreciative of all of the assistance in the community garden by local people like C. W. Enterprises and B & B Feed and Seed. Both of these top locally owned farm suppliers have provided seeds that produce bountifully and we are especially pleased with having assistance from people who are knowledgable about Georgia growing conditions. Everyone is welcome at no charge to Adopt-a-Row in the community garden and we will be working over the winter learning more about greenhouse gardening. MOMS Club has a long row of kale planted now in the fall garden to better feed their families here in Thomaston. Moms in Thomaston are invited to join the new MOMS Club–to read more online visit
If you would like to audition for the Bluebird Market Kitchen Show, please email It’s fun and easy and we are so happy to offer this venue so people can come out and share their favorite delicious and nutritious recipes. Now after the show the audience can enjoy a light and healthy Farmers Market Lunch on Saturdays. Children are welcome and can play and read in the reading room during the show and then join you for a Saturday morning lunch of fresh and local healthy Farmers Market fruits and veggies…the finest foods in Thomaston! The Bluebird Market Kitchen Show begins Saturday mornings at 11:00 am so please let us know to reserve seats for you and your friends and family at, Tickets to the Kitchen Show are $3.00 and you will want to stay for the best part after the show—the free Farmers Market Lunch. Bluebird Market is located in Thomaston at 215 Barnesville Street on the corner of Cotton Avenue in the former RC Cola Building.
Enrich your life on Saturdays at the Bluebird Market. Explore with us each week to discover simple ways we can affordably contribute to sustainable and renewable eco-friendly living. Find resources online at and Email EE questions to:

Planet Garden Hot Pepper Jelly

Posted in Sustainable Column by planetgarden on November 2, 2009

103109 bluebird 292This is a story of one local farming family with an entrepreneurial spirit that I adore and believe you will too. Bob James with James Family Farm has been dependable as rain this summer coming out every Saturday in Thomaston for our local people. He brings his beautiful farm fresh produce each week to us priced affordably. Now that it is the fall season, he has grown acres of greens that he is already bringing to market and they are absolutely delicious and nutritious cooked in rice, soups or traditionally. Of all the things I like about James Family Farm, what I like most is their entrepreneurial spirit. This week we were fortunate that Donna James, Bob’s Mother, visited us at Bluebird Market. She has been busy all summer at the Griffin Farmer’s Market, but now that the Griffin market is coming to a close she had a moment to share with us.
Donna James made the simple gesture to bring some Philly cream cheese and crackers and sampled their new product line of Hot Pepper Jellies from their certified kitchen. I have tried their delicious Blue Ribbon winning Apple Butter but their new Hot Pepper Jellies are, I believe, even better! We had so much fun when Donna brought in 4 jars of Hot Pepper Jellies that were bright colors of clear golden, red and green with pretty flecks of red and green peppers in the jellies. She opened them up and placed them on the counter at Bluebird Market on Saturday. Shoppers immediately stated they could smell the delicious aromas. The flavors of these Hot Pepper Jellies are Red Bell Pepper, Jalapeno, Habanero and Cayenne. All are balanced and not too hot and Bob James stated the secret is a little bouquet garni of pepper seeds. He places pepper seeds in a little teabag and dips them to extract only the amount of hotness that is pleasant for a delicious flavor.
The reason these Hot Pepper Jellies are so impressive to me is that James Family Farm has an over abundance of flourishing pepper plants that are still producing. They had so many peppers Bob stated they were throwing them away after making jars of pepper sauce. Then Bob James had the idea to investigate Hot Pepper Jelly. In their certified kitchen, Bob stated he tested cooking the Habanero peppers and nobody could come in the room because even breathing the steam was too hot from the peppers cooking. It was a great adventure to get just the right recipe for a delicious and balanced flavor Hot Pepper Jelly. From a local Georgia product that was being thrown away because of over-abundance this entrepreneurial-spirited family now has developed a fantastic upcycled Hot Pepper Jelly Product Line.
This I like! This is the spirit of Do-It-Yourself (DIY) that Bluebird Market is striving for. Soup kitchens are not good enough for our local people. We all deserve better! Bluebird Market is the venue to encourage our people to find a way to make things better. This family is one example of how it can be done. I urge you to buy a set of Hot Pepper Jelly for all of your friends and pass along the story as an inspirational and priceless gift from you. Tell your friends the story of how we can all get better if we just re-focus on the potential value of what we have right before us at the moment.
Don’t throw away peppers…recycle like James Family Farm and find new purpose and value for unwanted items!
More than a flavorful culinary herb, peppers have valuable health benefits. Peppers get their heat (Scoville Heat Unit-SHU) from phytochemicals that produce Capsaicin (cap-SAY-sin). They are an excellent source of vitamin C. Red peppers have 357% more Vitamin C than oranges–so more than 3 times the vitamin C as citrus fruit! Peppers also have folate, B6 and vitamin A. Hot chili peppers may have some beneficial properties as an anticoagulant which may prevent heart attack or stroke. Cayenne Pepper is thought to be excellent for circulation. Peppers also have properties believed to clear congestion. They are naturally very high in potassium, magnesium and iron. These are just some of the numerous beneficial healing properties believed present in the pepper family.
We had a popular Wine and Cheese Shop in Atlanta and we studied many products over Georgia and at nationwide trade shows for top-of-the-line gourmet holiday baskets. My new favorite product line for this season is James Family Farm Hot Pepper Jelly. One idea is to serve these fine local jellies to your holiday guests on Carr’s Tablewaters with Goat Cheese. Each jelly has a terrific flavor — however, my particular favorite of the 4 is the Jalapeno. Local Hot Pepper Jelly is available at Bluebird Market in a Gift Box Set of 4 jars for $16.95. You may place your order now by emailing: