PLANET GARDEN: Eco-Friendly Resource Guide

Planet Garden Encourages Georgia Grown Farmers Markets

Posted in Sustainable Column by planetgarden on February 12, 2010


Bring Georgia Home is the name of the State of Georgia Department of Agriculture initiative to encourage Georgia residents to buy local. According to our commissioner, Tommy Irvin,  “Pride and integrity run deep in Georgia. Our fruit, vegetable and nut growers strive to bring you the very best – the best in quality, variety, dependability and value. Agriculture is strong in our state, and thanks to you our future looks bright. We appreciate your business and look forward to producing more for you in the seasons ahead.”
 
Last summer Bluebird Market applied with the State of Georgia and we just received notice this week that we have been approved as a Georgia Grown Farmers Market. This is well deserved because we strive to encourage local Georgia growers to bring their Georgia Grown produce to market. There are loyal patrons who show they value having farmers in Upson County by shopping at our Georgia Grown farmers market.  We also encourage farm fresh fans locally to enjoy this goodness of locally grown produce by becoming a CSA member.
Some of the Middle Georgia Farmers who have offered their products at Bluebird Market and CSA include James Family Farm, Holland Apple Farm, Newman Farms, Russell Farms, Elliott Farms, Dickey Farms, D & A Farms, Little Red Hen Farm, Busy Bee Honey Farm and many more.
Look for the rising sunshine logo and Georgia Grown products at Bluebird Market. We are so appreciative of the efforts of our Georgia growers. It is a benefit to us in Thomaston to have farmers that are right around the corner from our hometown.
Arty’s Garden from the Georgia Department of Ag, encourages us to enjoy the beauty of winter flower gardens and I am especially enjoying the beautiful Camellias blooming right now in our hometown. We are looking forward to a beautiful spring as an official Georgia Grown farmers market for Thomaston and surrounding neighbors.  Open year round on Saturdays at the Historic Downtown Train Depot from 8 am until noon, we invite you to support your local Georgia Grown farmers.  Participate in the Bluebird CSA program with weekly share boxes of all the best farm fresh veggies from Middle Georgia farms.
Your neighborhood farmers market and CSA program will continue to serve the interest of our Georgia farmers and are honored to be notified by the State of Georgia that we are now registered. Look for the Georgia Grown logo when you shop.
Enrich your life on Saturdays from 8 am until noon at Bluebird Market at 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 www.bluebirdmarket.com
and http://www.planetgarden.wordpress.com. Email rural CSA questions to:
bluebirdcsa@gmail.com.

Planet Garden Shares a Cup of Tea with Local Artisans

Posted in Sustainable Column by planetgarden on February 12, 2010

Truly sharing a cup of tea led to a small group of lovely local artisans making plans to go out and tell their friends at other Middle Georgia arts events how delightful it is to live, work, play and create arts in Thomaston Georgia. Ladies love unwrapping presents – and Bluebird Arties were delighted to find at their plate Valentine Gifts – including a red drawstring mini-purse filled with Mary Kay lipsticks, lip liners, a Giftcard for a Free Pampering Session, a Complimentary Facial, Satin Hands and Lips Treatment, Color Makeover and a $10.00 Gift Certificate!
While sharing a cup of hot tea at the home of Diane Dunn, Bluebird Artisan Guild members discussed how spring will bring fun opportunities in Thomaston for Middle Georgia artists.  Plans were made to invite local artists into the Guild and embrace our local arts culture as a united group of self taught artisans working together.   Online networking ideas and reading news stories about upcoming trade shows made the tea party an informative as well as a fun social arts gathering. 
One local artisan shared the idea for Bluebird Arties to each have a Bluebird display logo for their booth when traveling to neighboring events in Middle Georgia.  The aim of these ambassadors for the arts is to encourage tourism and network with friends of the arts about fun upcoming festivals in Thomaston. 
Tasty Salmon Pate’ was served at the Guild Valentine Tea and luncheon.  Heart shaped teacups and saucers in bright lime, pink and purple were filled from pink teapots of Lemon, Royal Raspberry and Green herbal teas.  Local bakers prepared Cottage Industry baked goods that were served on a lovely 3 tier serving piece along with valentine candies and mints.

We also took notes in a daytimer book and pen gift set and enjoyed a fun assortment of Valentine Party favors including a lovely heart fan, a Guide to the Art of Victorian Fan Language, fun temporary Princess tattoos, red and pink tiaras and lip whistles.  The Bluebird Artisan Guild Valentine Tea Party illustrated that sharing tea can lead to serving together to support our local arts community.
Middle Georgia Artisans interested in becoming involved with Forward Bluebird Arts are invited to email:  bluebirdarts@gmail.com and visit http://www.bluebirdmarket.com

Planet Garden Perpetual Growing Season Courtesy of USDA

Posted in Sustainable Column by planetgarden on February 2, 2010

Courtesy of the USDA Every Georgia Farmer Will Receive 1 High Tunnel for a Perpetual Growing Season.   Here is the news release from USDA announced this month.
THE USDA-NATURAL RESOURCES CONSERVATION SERVICE (NRCS) HAS LAUNCHED A HIGH TUNNEL PILOT STUDY TO INCREASE AVAILABILITY OF LOCALLY GROWN FOODS IN GEORGIA.
In Athens, Georgia, James E. Tillman, Sr., State Conservationist for the USDA-Natural
Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in Georgia announced on January 7, 2010 that Georgia is one of 38 states selected to participate in a project to evaluate effectiveness of high tunnels in natural resource conservation.”
Bluebird CSA share holders experienced first hand that high tunnels work. This week share boxes included artisan lettuces that are certified organic and survived the hard freeze in January 2010 safe in the high tunnel at D & A Farm.
“Part of the “Know Your Farmer; Know Your Food” initiative, the high tunnel project will establish high tunnels to increase the availability of locally grown produce in a conservation-friendly way.
The 3-year study will verify if high tunnels – also known as hoop houses – are effective in
reducing pesticide use, keeping vital nutrients in the soil, extending the growing season,
increasing yields, and providing other benefits to growers. “I am excited that Georgia was
selected to participate in this study,” James Tillman said.
Dave Bentoski of D & A Farm in Zebulon” and one of the participating Multiple Farms in the Bluebird CSA program “is a firm believer in high tunnels. “There’s no doubt
it’s a good production technique. For professional growers, they’re incredible,” he said. He has one high tunnel that is 3 years old and has recently constructed two new ones. “We use them for season extension. “We grew tomatoes in there that we planted at the end of July; in 2,000 ft of growing space, we harvested 1,500 lbs. of tomatoes. We had tomatoes in the market well after our peers,” he said.
Made of ribs of plastic or metal pipe covered with a layer of plastic sheeting, high tunnels are
easy to build, maintain and move. High tunnels are used year-round in warmer parts of the country, providing steady incomes to farmers – a significant advantage to owners of small farms, limited-resource farmers and organic producers.
USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) will provide financial assistance for the project through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), the EQIP Organic Initiative, and the Agricultural Management Assistance program.
NRCS will fund one high tunnel per farm. High tunnels in the study can cover as much as 5 percent of 1 acre.
Participating states and territories are Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, California, Connecticut,
Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Pacific Islands, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Vermont, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.”
To sign up or learn more about the project, contact your local NRCS office. Or email: mary.mcquinn@ga.usda.gov or bluebirdmarket@gmail.com for more information. Find out more about the project or sign up for a Bluebird CSA share box at http://bluebirdmarket.com. Every family needs a farmer. Do you know yours?

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Planet Garden Assures All the Best

Posted in Sustainable Column by planetgarden on February 2, 2010

Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) programs are growing all over the country with some programs serving over 400 members with 100 on a waiting list.
When you can pick up an affordable box each week here in Thomaston for your family that is filled with an assortment of farm fresh local foods, it is a practical and prudent manner of directing your food dollar.  CSA shares are a local solution to rising costs of transportation that increase food miles while decreasing nutrients of fresh foods.  You connect directly to the source of those growing and providing your family with farm fresh veggies. 
Last week the winter $15.00 sampler box of CSA harvest shares picked up at Bluebird Market included bountiful amounts of turnips, collards, apples, pecans (shelled and unshelled), rosemary, spices, garlic, onions and more.  Recipes are included for fun fresh food ideas to insure you enjoy cooking delicious and nutritious meals for your family.
Variety is going to continue to build each week as we move into early spring and then the harvest of summer. Farm fresh veggies will be shared for everyone who signs up with this affordable program at Bluebird Market.
This week the shares will also include an assortment of lettuces like butter crunch, Romaine, Red Leaf and Green Leaf. It’s amazing to know that our local Middle Georgia growers are producing such a wonderful array of farm fresh organic produce.
James Family Farm is certified organic and will offer us shelled pecans again this week along with other veggies. They are also now offering a Farmhouse baked goods bonus box for only $12.50/week. In this box you will receive 2 family size loaves of healthy wheat bread made with local honey or honey oatmeal bread or honey nut oatmeal raisin bread along with the jelly of the week such as local honey, pepper jelly, Blue-Ribbon Winning Apple Butter and many more.
This program is a community service and the prices are so affordable for your family. The single share boxes can be added to if your family has a need for more fresh veggies. My advice is sign up this Saturday at the market so you will be assured of all the best.  Spring is on the way and we will build into a spring and summer of bountiful peaches, plums, blackberries, strawberries, blueberries, squash, watermelons, tomatoes (numerous varieties) peppers, peas, beans, onions, okra, zucchini, eggplant, radishes, broccoli, cauliflower, Brussel sprouts, spinach, Swiss Chard and so much more. You may also sign up for Georgia roasted bulk coffee that comes in a refillable tin. Little Red Hen offers bulk local farm fresh eggs as a part of the Bluebird CSA and farm fresh chicken.
You will be assured of all the best when you subscribe to the Middle Georgia multiple farm Bluebird CSA program that aims to serve our local community above all.
Enrich your life on Saturdays from 8 am until noon at Bluebird Market at 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 www.bluebirdmarket.com
and http://www.planetgarden.wordpress.com. Email rural CSA questions to:
bluebirdcsa@gmail.com.

Planet Garden Grows When Markets Are Up

Posted in Sustainable Column by planetgarden on February 2, 2010

Farmers markets are good for everyone. The 2007 Census of Agriculture reported a remarkable $1.2 billion in food sold directly from farmers to consumers. This is a 17% increase over the previous five years. The conclusion? More farmers are making more products directly available to more Americans in more ways. One of those ways is farmers markets.
Each year, more Americans in more communities get more of their food from farmers markets. In August, 2008, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) reported 4,685 farmers markets operating in the United States. This was a 170% increase over the last ten years.
Like Thomaston’s Bluebird Market, fifteen percent of these markets operate in winter months, extending their seasons to generate more reliable income for small-scale family farmers and build sustainable local economies.
More farmers markets mean more opportunities to:
• support healthy lifestyles
• make fresh, nutritious food available to more people
• support small family farms and preserve America’s rural landscapes
• strengthen communities and stimulate local economies
What is a farmers market?
Farmers markets vary from hundreds of food producers across a regional food system to just a few farmers collecting on a town square. Each market is a unique representation of its community, with a wide variety of products available for sale. Most farmers markets showcase local food, local producers, and local esteem.
Farmers markets…
Support healthy lifestyles
• Offer unique varieties of fresh, nutritious food at the peak of flavor, directly from the grower
Encourage walking & bicycling
Develop vibrant community networks and gathering places
Provide opportunities for fresh air, social interaction, and learning about healthy cooking and regional products
Farmers markets…
Make fresh nutritious food available to more people
They also support small family farms and preserve America’s rural landscapes. Farmers Markets help keep farmers farming. Thirty five percent of farms near Ithaca, NY believe they would simply not exist if it was not for farmers market and direct sales in and around the city.
Farmers markets…
Strengthen communities and stimulate local economies as they
Grow jobs and strengthen local economies. Reduce the distance food travelsRevitalize downtowns. Make local food affordable. Attract new small businesses. Support your farmers market and support our community.
Farmers markets are good for everyone.
Join us to make them even better.
Enrich your life on Saturdays from 8 am until noon at Bluebird Market at 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 www.bluebirdmarket.com
and http://www.planetgarden.wordpress.com. Email rural CSA questions to:
bluebirdcsa@gmail.com.

 
Farmers markets have attracted new small businesses to downtown Oswego and Rochester, New York.
Produce at Seattle farmers markets was up to 20 cents per pound less than at nearby food retailers.
In 2003, 24% of shoppers at Portland, Oregon’s midweek market came downtown specifically to attend the market, then continued to shop downtown.
. In 2008, more than 85% of farmers at Portland Farmers Market traveled 50 miles or fewer to get there, a fraction of the distance traveled by most food in the U.S.
In 2004, Iowa farmers markets generated 20.8 million in economic activity, directly creating 324 jobs. Oklahoma farmers markets generated 7.8 million in statewide economic activity.

Planet Garden Proposes Keep a Green Tree in Your Heart and Perhaps the Singing Bird Will Come

Posted in Sustainable Column by planetgarden on February 2, 2010

One fun way I know to establish a backyard wildlife habitat for our precious feathered friends is to put up a bluebird house. This morning I was in the country off Jeff Davis Road and saw a beautiful bluebird flying in the sunshine. On Christmas morning we woke up and watched a flock of Cardinal Redbirds eating the red berries on a dogwood tree. I like the way birds bring beauty, song and peace into our lives every day if we pause a moment to enjoy this good earth we all share. Bird watching is a gentle reminder that during winter it’s a caring act to give them a boost so in spring our bird population will grow. This spring we are mapping a Bluebird Trail through Middle Georgia. If you would like to add a Bluebird House in your yard in time for spring nesting, you may find them this Saturday at Bluebird Market. These houses are affordably handcrafted by local woodworkers and easy to place in your yard to encourage spring nesting of bluebirds.  Bluebirds are our friends and especially a friend to farmers because they feed on the insects that would otherwise damage our gardens.
I invite you to also officially dedicate your backyard, schoolyard or farmland as a certified National Wildlife Federation Backyard Habitat. It’s a simple dedication to protect wildlife and I was fortunate to have facilitated a schoolyard habitat and received the NWF certificate. It’s so easy and begins by following the simple steps found online at http://wp.me/pvF76-14.
When we care about wildlife–like bluebirds and redbirds– and take action to attract them into our lives, often they will come and enrich us with their beauty and songs.

3 Simple Ways to Enrich our Lives with Songbirds
1- Place a bluebird house in your yard for spring nesting
2- Feed the birds by hanging edible ornaments like a peanut butter pinecone or apple rolled in birdseed
3- Provide a bird bath for a water source
Celebrate the beauty of nature on this good earth we all share. It might be nice to have a spring fling Bluebird Festival with fresh market foods, artisans and all the best of middle Georgia flowers, herbs and organic products to celebrate the natural beauty and abundance all around us right here in Middle Georgia. Share with us your ideas for keeping a green tree in our hearts, and perhaps the singing bird will come.
Enrich your life on Saturdays from 8 am until noon at Bluebird Market at 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 www.bluebirdmarket.com
and http://www.planetgarden.wordpress.com. Email rural CSA veggie box questions to:
bluebirdcsa@gmail.com.

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Planet Garden Agrees Every Family Needs a Farmer

Posted in Sustainable Column by planetgarden on February 2, 2010

According to the USDA, every family needs a farmer. Do you know yours?  Every family deserves a family farmer who is working hard to provide fresh grown foods for them. It’s so nice to have a personal grower who is outside in the sunshine every day on the farm working hard and growing the best of Middle Georgia veggies, fruits, melons, herbs and berries for our family. Every family deserves a family farmer who wants them to be satisfied. It’s valuable to know our personal farmer because he cares enough about our family to use healthy organic practices. He is growing for the community and for people he sees around town not just a random customer. There is a healthy accountability factor growing for neighbors and friends. Neighbors are the people who smile at their local farmer when they get a box of fresh veggies knowing he is doing his very best to provide fresh foods for his friends and neighbors. Every family deserves a family farmer bringing them foods straight off the farm…so the family’s foods are fresher, taste better and have more nutrients. Rather than choosing foods grown by strangers in far off places, shipped in big trucks across regions and stored in warehouses, my advice is buy fresh and local.
When you get involved with your local farming community you have fresh and local veggies for your family each week. This is such a benefit to our community. If everyone would connect locally with our terrific local growers, it would provide us with an abundance of fresh and locally grown veggies. If the demand is higher for fresh and local, then more people will try to make a living as a farm producer and that will be very beneficial for our town.
Every family deserves to have the best locally grown fresh foods that our local farmers can provide. Buying from local growers is not difficult or costly. Share boxes of fresh multiple farm Middle Georgia veggies begin at only $15.00 for a single person. This is adequate for one person for a full week providing seasonal nutrients that keep our bodies strong and healthy.
Every family needs a farmer and when you connect and get to know who is growing your foods you are assured of all the best that local grower can bring to his friends and neighbors.
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 www.bluebirdmarket.com
 and http://www.planetgarden.wordpress.com. Email rural CSA questions to: bluebirdcsa@gmail.com.
 
 

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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.

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 ‘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.

Planet Garden ‘That’s a Strudel!’

Posted in Sustainable Column by planetgarden on December 17, 2009

If you have never seen a little ball of dough stretched to the size of the kitchen table, you can watch Cathy, from Bread of Life Cooking School, make a Christmas Apple Strudel online by visiting: http://bit.ly/thatsastrudel
 
Raisins, apples, butter and cinnamon make this a tried and true recipe that is simple to make for a delightful holiday favorite. Our Kitchen Show audience loved this demonstration given by Bread of Life Cooking School Artisan, Cathy Kreismanis. Traditional Christmas Apple Strudel makes a Cottage Baked Goods alternative to apple pies using farm fresh apples from Bluebird Market.
Cathy showed me pictures of her with a former President’s wife as a catering expert using all of her cooking skills to serve delicious and lovely foods at functions given by our former First Lady. It was an honor and delight for Cathy to share her skills and knowledge with us at Bluebird Market and we were thrilled with the gorgeous Christmas Apple Strudel that tasted flaky and delicious because of the homemade layer of crust that Cathy prepared. Enjoy baking for your family using secrets that helped serve our former First Family.
Cathy’s Christmas Apple Strudel 
Ingredients

  ~ Dough:
  2 cups flour
  ½ t. salt
  1 egg
  2 Tbsp. oil
  ½ cup warm water
  ~ Butter
  ~ Apple Filling:
  1 cup toasted breadcrumbs
  5 to 6 apples, sliced thin
  ¼ cup raisins
  ½ cup nuts
  ½ cup sugar
  1 t. cinnamon
  ~ powdered sugar, apple, cranberries, evergreens for garnish

Steps


Dough:
Mix all together and knead well for several minutes. Let rest covered for 1 hour! Roll out thin on floured cloth. Brush with melted butter.
Sprinkle bread crumbs on top of pastry. Place apple filling at end and roll up using floured cloth to help roll.
Form roll into a horseshoe and bake for 45 minutes in a 350 degree oven.
Garnish with dusted powdered sugar, an apple and evergreens. Serve with Sharp Cheddar Cheese.

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.yougottabekidding.org and www.bluebirdmarket.com. Email EE questions to: planetgarden@live.com.