PLANET GARDEN: Eco-Friendly Resource Guide

Planet Garden ‘Ark of Taste’ Christmas Wish List

Posted in Sustainable Column by planetgarden on December 17, 2009

Ark of Taste Christmas Wish List
Last Christmas, the Versemann family was making a Christmas Wish List of Seeds…and Jolly St. Nick filled stockings with Parat Giant Radish seeds and more.  This gardening family planted the seeds, shared the bountiful harvest at Bluebird Market, and shared plants and seeds for the community garden which we are still harvesting now!  What an investment they made and produced and it all began with a Christmas Wish List of seeds.  We just enjoyed the Versemann Parat Giant Radishes last week roasted on a veggie pizza prepared by Dr. Rick Clayton and they were delicious.
For fabulous taste experiences that are in danger of disappearing from our planet, Slow Foods USA has catalogued over 200 delicious but dormant foods. At Bluebird Market, those who bought the Cherokee Purple Heirloom Tomatoes from James Family Farm, were promoting and enjoying an Ark product in addition to helping to ensure it remains in production and available to us. The Cherokee Purple tomato was rediscovered after years of complete dormancy by a tomato grower who reported that this tomato originated with the Cherokee people over 100 years ago. The flavor is extremely sweet with a rich and smoky earthy taste and is thin skinned. This is also a nice variety to plant because it grows well in our region.
In the next several days, I invite you to browse the seed catalogs online and ask Jolly St. Nick for heirloom seeds and Ark of Taste product seeds for your spring garden. We are working now with ‘one man and his tractor’ to assist local churches in planting gardens for their congregations. Don’t wait if your church would like a garden this spring and summer, get a head start and email Our aim and hope is for local people to reap a bountiful harvest and now is the time to order seeds and arrange to layout the garden plot that can be established and ready to plant on Good Friday, April 2, 2010. 
If you love the local flavors, take a look at the Ark of Taste seeds for forgotten flavors that are now on a list of agricultural conservation products. Since 1996, more than 800 products from over 50 countries have been recognized on the International Ark of Taste list. We want to celebrate our unique culture in Georgia and keep our products that are delicious but perhaps not being used by super growers or super markets and abandoned to go dormant and disappear.
This Christmas order from seed catalogs or online and choose, when available, Ark of Taste products from our region that are in danger of disappearing so they will be planted and thriving again. Last summer Mr. Taylor, Taylor Organics CSA, gave us a Brandywine Heirloom tomato plant for the community garden and it was a delicious and nutritious heirloom variety that grew well.
If you know of a veggie, fruit, berry, nut, cereal, cheese, fish, game, livestock, poultry, beverage, honey, spice, syrup, vinegar or other product from our region that might need support from Ark of Taste you may download the form at and send the nomination in to add this product to the list.
Local Harvest has a directory of growers, seed sources and nurseries who carry Ark of Taste products like the seasonal Ark products at Bluebird Market.
To see the complete list of Ark of Taste products online visit:

 Or to download the list of US Ark Foods by Region which shows what foods in Georgia are in danger of disappearing visit:
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 Girl Scout Granola

Posted in Sustainable Column by planetgarden on October 28, 2009

102409 bluebird pics girlscouts 297The Girls Scout in Middle Georgia had a fun learning experience on “Growing Up Green” at The Rock Ranch last Saturday.  Local Scouts stopped in Bluebird Market for an earlybird breakfast and to learn how to make healthy, warm breakfast cereals at the Bluebird Market Kitchen Show. Girl Scouts also learned how buying locally grown produce is part of Growing Up Green as they shopped at the Bluebird Farmer’s Market.
The Kitchen Show was a lesson especially chosen for Girl Scouts about quick and easy preparation for a delicious and nutritious breakfast cereal.  Scout Leader, Cindy Friar, stated Girl Scout Granola would also be great as a trail mix on their hikes.
Alice Verseman was delighted to be chosen by popular audience response as one of the Bluebird Market Kitchen Show Hosts. Auditions continue this week with Bess Mayo sharing her W. African Pumpkin Soup and Bob James will teach us about Winter Squashes, including acorn, butternut and yellow squash. Judi Waterman will also be available for questions on how to cook a pumpkin. Be sure to email if you have a recipe you would like to audition with for the Kitchen Show.
Alice Versemann hosted the informative cooking lesson on easy preparation of healthy and warm homemade breakfast cereals. Here is the recipe for Girl Scout Granola using fresh and local produce in season like Georgia pecans, pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds.
Find all the Bluebird Kitchen Show recipes online at
Girl Scout Granola
4 cups old fashioned Quaker Oats
1/2 cup craisins
1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
1/2 cut sunflower seeds
1/2 cup Georgia pecans
1 t. cinnamon
1/2 cup local honey
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup light brown sugar or turbinado sugar(optional)
1/2 cup pure maple syrup
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Mix oats, fruits, seeds, nuts and cinnamon in large bowl.
Combine honey, syrup, brown sugar and oil in a glass bowl and heat together in microwave. Pour over oat mixture tossing with a spoon. Spread evenly on cookie sheet and bake, stirring occasionally, for about 25 minutes or until toasted. Cool completely and break into chunks.
Store in airtight glass jar for up to one month.

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: