PLANET GARDEN: Eco-Friendly Resource Guide

Planet Garden Supports Profound Impact of CSA Programs

Posted in Sustainable Column by planetgarden on January 8, 2010

Local Harvest has approved our rural Georgia Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program and states the CSA nationwide effort is “a simple enough idea, but it’s impact has been profound.” Because of globalization, rarely do local and regional small farmers’ bring their produce to an infrastructure system of super markets. As a result, CSA cooperatives are growing at a tremendous clip across the country. They offer an effective solution for us to again directly reconnect with our local rural growers. Why should I become a member of a rural Georgia CSA co-op? Americans are signing up for CSA programs because farm fresh produce in their weekly share boxes tastes better and is more nourishing. Grocery chains and superstores would like very much to ‘cash in’ on the better tasting and more nourishing local food demands of customers but the very nature of their structure prevents it. Super store operations are set up so they can place a few gigantic orders with a few gigantic distributors or with distribution divisions. They are not set up to deal with individual rural area growers and small farmers growing seasonal crops and it would be prohibitive for them to attempt. Who profits from a CSA cooperative program? Community supported agriculture is structured to profit our rural farmers directly in return for dedicated community service to provide us with all the best of their harvest. They become our personal growers and aim to directly serve us with all the best tasting and healthy produce. Are farmers markets growing during a tough economy? The nationwide demand for better tasting and healthier local produce is one reason farmers markets have nearly doubled in our country over the last decade. Where do the super store veggies actually come from and who is growing that food? It is vital for prosperity that ‘old things become new’ and we once again know our growers and invest with them. This is one prudent reason people are signing up across our country for Community Supported Agriculture programs. Many super store foods are imported and warehoused by ‘industrial’ growers and far off gigantic food corporations. My advice is prepare now to plant a small spring veggie garden and sign up today with Bluebird CSA for all the best tasting and nourishing local produce. Know who is growing your food and if they care enough about your family to use organic practices. Who can participate in a CSA program? The Bluebird CSA program is a cooperative partnership between our local rural farmers market community, local farmers and community members of the CSA. Members may purchase subscription shares of farm produce in return for a weekly box of fresh farm veggies. Also affordable are boxes of seasonal and local fruits, eggs, flowers, and top Cottage Industry certified baked goods. Growers insure CSA shareholders get all the best of their seasonal produce. Who are the local growers? Bluebird CSA is your opportunity to support and share the harvest of James Family Farm, and other dedicated rural farmers actually growing much of Middle Georgia’s finest Award Winning vegetables. We have been enjoying and sharing the turnips, collards and lettuces from James Family Farm which are delicious and nourishing. We also are highly pleased with apples and pecans from Mr. Holland’s Apple Farm. Partnered for the Multiple Farm Bluebird CSA are certified organic farms like James Family Farm and organic practices farms like SunRay Farms in Barnesville with organic blueberries. If you would like to be a CSA grower or want to sign up for a weekly box of fresh veggies, contact bluebirdcsa@gmail.com. Small gardeners might want to order seeds now to plant herbs like fresh basil and Stevia, or heirloom produce which is in high demand. What comes in a CSA share box? The CSA program is available now with winter greens, lettuces, turnips, local pecans, apples and more winter season produce. In 12 short weeks, seeds and plants will begin producing an array of spring and summer strawberries, blueberries, figs, peaches, blackberries, melons, heirloom and ‘Ark of Taste’ tomatoes, squash, fresh herbs, cucumbers, eggplant, onions, peppers and much more from all the best area growers. You may also want to choose affordable bonus boxes filled with farm-fresh certified eggs, local honey, oatmeal and stone ground wheat breads from Certified Farm Kitchens, homemade healthy salad dressings, fruit and sweet potato pies, Blue-Ribbon winning jellies, pepper sauces, sweet onion relish and all the best local flavors. What size share boxes are available? Shares come in boxes to meet individual needs like a full box share subscription for a family of 4 people, a half share suitable for 2 people or a quarter share box for 1 person. For convenience and Seniors, prepared foods are available like flavorful soups and casseroles using local organic farm fresh products. Affordable prepared dishes and baked goods are offered by professional culinary experts such as ‘Bread of Life’. What are the benefits of a CSA? Participating with your rural CSA cooperative program provides delicious farm fresh produce that is actually grown in our area rather than purchased from other regions and warehoused. Our rural Georgia CSA preserves our local family farms and rural Georgia economy with a sustainable local food system. It helps keep our local money in our community where it belongs. Your food travels less food miles and is therefore more fresh and more nutrient-rich. And our rural CSA reconnects you and your family with your source of food rather than with corporate warehouses and cross country trucking systems. Thank you to everyone who asked for this CSA program last summer and waited patiently for it to be successfully developed and available now. When can I sign up for a box of veggies? You are invited to sign up now for a box of winter veggies with Bluebird CSA to get on the ‘right track’ with 12 weeks of farm fresh vegetable shares. You will get all of the fun ideas on how to prepare this nutritious and bountiful local harvest. You will reap a bounty of heart-healthy nourishing veggies and, as Local Harvest states, it is “a simple enough idea, but it’s impact has been profound.” Enrich your life on Saturdays at Bluebird Market in the historic downtown train depot located at 218 N. Center Street, 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 http://www.bluebirdmarket.com and http://www.planetgarden.wordpress.com. Email rural CSA questions to: bluebirdcsa@gmail.com.

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Planet Garden Fun Place for Fresh Food Ideas at Bluebird Market

Posted in Sustainable Column by planetgarden on January 1, 2010

We are so fortunate to be in the growing Farmers Market Industry. In the last decade, Farmers Markets have almost doubled in number in our country according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The impact local farmers markets are making is stunning with numbers that show the potential of authentic fresh food local markets. Downtown districts and historic places are seeking farmers markets to bring vibrancy and fresh foods to people each week at local venues.
One best practices market has over 70 vendors that bring an array of fresh flowers, herbs, fruits, and veggies each week to local people. These markets are thriving and enrich communities and are in top demand across our country. It is an exciting time if you are an authentic grower or farmer with fresh produce. When supermarkets are not structured to deal with local farmers by their very nature, farmers markets offer shoppers all of the finest foods that are grown locally and fresh picked.
If you have a plot of land, I encourage you to put it to its highest and best use. 
Here are 3 fun ideas to become a fresh foods vendor at Bluebird Market. 1-Grow Flowers…Plant flower seeds and sell zinnias, sunflowers and more this summer at the market. 2-Grow Herbs…. Plant fresh mint, Stevia, or fresh basil and develop a client base for fresh herbs that bring us such delicious flavors.  3- Grow Heirloom Vegetable Varieties…Investigate Ark of Taste products like Cherokee PurpleTomatoes and Heirloom products to determine if you might like to grow these varieties and offer them to others in our local market.
Bluebird Market is a fresh foods market! Last summer through the fall and ongoing now we have organic and fresh herbs, flowers, veggies and fruits. We are heading into a new decade aftr having a bountiful first year with many terrific demonstrations on healthy ways to prepare fresh foods. It is so much fun to come out each week and see the Kitchen Show! I am totally amazed at our local culinary experts who are bringing all of the unique, delicious and simple ways to prepare fresh and local foods for our families.
For those who want a fun place with fresh food ideas, Bluebird Market has a new centrally located marketplace in the historic downtown train depot. The Ponderosa is open and now operates on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights. Thanks to the vision of Andy York, owner of the Ponderosa establishment, Bluebird Market is bringing it’s thriving community of fresh and local food items to this centrally located downtown venue at 218 E. Center Street. If you know of people that are local growers…like a friend who has pecan trees or apple trees and would like to market their produce, please encourage them to come by the train depot on Saturday mornings from 8 am until noon.
Bluebird Market is such a fun place for fresh food ideas. We are thrilled as this new decade begins to now be in this historic downtown venue that is centrally located. Visit Bluebird Market in the historic train depot for a fun place to find fresh food ideas and all the best in local flavors.
 
Enrich your life Saturdays, 8 am until noon, at Bluebird Market, a fun place to find fresh food ideas, 218 N. Center Street. Explore with us each week to discover simple ways we can affordably contribute to sustainable and renewable eco-friendly living.

Planet Garden…Historic Downtown Train Depot Location for Bluebird Market

Posted in Sustainable Column by planetgarden on January 1, 2010

Because of the hard work of Andy York to renovate Thomaston’s historic train depot into the Ponderosa Steakhouse, our town is fortunate to have a lovely part of local culture in good hands.  The Ponderosa continues to be open on Thurs, Fri., and Saturday nights.
 
Train fans and farmers market fans are invited to get on board with Bluebird Market at the historic downtown train depot this Saturday, January 2nd, 2010 from 8 am until noon for an arts and harvest New Year’s celebration. We will have fun with local artisans, bakers, growers and those who enjoy fresh and local produce at Bluebird Market.
It is such an honor and delight to offer this great downtown business location for the community of farmers market shoppers that come out weekly to buy local and home grown produce. This neighborhood is part of the downtown business district and many people shopped with local growers in the parking lot of United Bank in previous years.
For those of you who have not yet visited Bluebird Market, we invite you to stop by the historic train depot at 218 N. Center Street and meet and greet the vendors as they continue to bring Georgia Made Georgia Grown arts and harvest to us weekly. We opened on June 6, 2009 and have been serving Thomaston continuously every Saturday rain or shine with organic and fresh and local produce.
We have much to celebrate this coming year with a fun spring coming just around the corner. If you are a historic train lover like me and are happy that our train depot has been cared for over the years, I invite you to stop in Cook’s Market location..buy some of their delicious famous sausage, second to none, and tell Mr. York thank you for dedicating his time and talent into a historic part of our local culture.
It’s going to be so much fun and we hope you will start 2010 with Bluebird Market at the very beginning…a very good place to start!
Enrich your life on Saturdays at Bluebird Market. Explore with us each week to discover simple ways we can affordably contribute to sustainable and renewable eco-friendly living.

Planet Garden ‘Storybook American Town’ Market Sparkles and Grows

Posted in Sustainable Column by planetgarden on January 1, 2010

Turning the pages in our ‘Storybook American Town’ in 2009, we found the coolest small town people glowing with local talent. It is because of local people that our neighborhood market experienced phenomenal growth in 2009. We are totally intrigued and wondering, “What will happen next?” What is our 2010 destination? http://eepurl.com/gd52 Farmers Markets across our country are growing and Bluebird Market is growing too by taking a step in the right direction. You are invited to be a part as a fascinating story is unfolding for our local efforts. Recapping 2009, we celebrate that over 50 local vendors and hundreds of patrons brought us ‘All the Best’ genuine charm to our neighborhood open air Bluebird Market. Do you know the jewel in the crown of local communities across our country? Farmers Markets have nearly doubled during this decade! Local food systems continue growing as our country rebuilds on local foundations. Market squares in American villages are filled weekly as social gatherings for local fun, friends and foods. Across our country and especially in our hometown, we are re-establishing the value of what makes our nation strong around our market squares. In a hurried world, we are choosing ‘Slow Foods.’ Residents cherish the value of local people, local farmers, and local landscapes. Our hometown is being polished into a picture-perfect Currier and Ives lifestyle. In Thomaston, people continue to come out and show how the pages in a cheerful fairy tale story should read! Our family loved Beatrix Potter garden stories of Peter Rabbit and friends. Thus our effort in 2009, was to plant a vegetable garden. What fun it is to bring charming stories to life. Writing their fascinating pages in our local market story in 2009 were artisans, cottage bakers, growers, patrons, business leaders, chefs and more bringing artisan breads, herbs, veggies, flowers, and Georgia made artworks. The community garden brought a local harvest to over 40 families that signed up at Taste of Thomaston for free organic vegetables. This garden was made possible by generous donations of seeds, soil and plants by C W Enterprises, B & B Feed & Seed, Georgia Greenhouses and more. Among the hundreds of faithful patrons that came out weekly for farm fresh local veggies and artworks were the Clayton Family and the Versemann Family. Alice Versemann made canning cool again and showed us all the tips she has learned from generations of canners. Carla Clayton encouraged us to connect online with social networks like Twitter with a live demonstration on the big screen. BluebirdMarket.com now has nearly 10,000 online readers and over 1,800 Twitter followers. Click bluebirdmarket.com Live Traffic Feed to see where people live around the world who visit us online. There were numerous cooking shows in 2009 from talented local caterers and chefs like how to make a Crisp Apple Strudel by Cathy Kreismanis and the Art of Gingerbread Cottages by Linda Hayward. We were taught how to make a delicious garden soup by Bess Mayo. Bob James’ revealed his secret to a great pot of chili, and how to bake on a pizza stone to make garden focaccia. Bob Baskin not only gave us his recipe for Divinely Sweet Ambrosia, but also was the source of grove fresh oranges through the holiday season. Mr. Holland brought us apples from his Apple Farm along with his recipe for Apple Salad. Each week has been a learning experience with the spotlight on abundant undiscovered talents of our local growers, artisans, cooks and bakers. Seeking a healthy lifestyle of organic and green living has been the focus of our eco-friendliest market with produce brought by family farmers, like James Family Farm. You may tour this working farm like we did on Christmas Eve and sign up for fresh boxes of CSA produce harvested weekly. During the 2009 holidays, the cozy Christmas Market thrived each Saturday morning as friends gathered for sounds of music, and tastes of steaming hot cocoa, mulled cider, teas and soft warm gingerbread at the Sleighbell Arts Market. TUAC embraced the self-taught Bluebird Artisan Guild and featured Bluebird artist works in the TUAC Mistletoe Gallery Gift Shop. Artwork found for sale now at TUAC includes jewelry, beadwork, warm woolen mittens, stained glass, paintings, a local children’s storybook, handmade soaps, handstitched quilts, pure spa salts, and much more from Middle Georgia countryside artisan studios. Step into a real ‘Storybook American Town’ market. The focus at Bluebird Market is local arts, baking, gardening, botany, a Children’s Bookshop with local authors and over 20,000 titles through Usborne Books. We are so appreciative for the Story Time that sweet spirited, Miss Honey, Kara Beth Huddleston gave children for a love of reading experience with a Dino Dig, walks through the community garden, pet day and weekly themes just for little BEE-a-Readers. It’s been a good year in 2009 because of beautiful people bringing arts and harvest to enrich our collective local experience at Bluebird Garden and Market. So, after a year of fabulous fun and growth in 2009, what is our 2010 destination? Let’s start at the very beginning this Saturday, January 2nd….read more on http://www.bluebirdmarket.com. Explore with us each week to discover simple ways we can affordably contribute to sustainable and renewable eco-friendly living.