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
and Email rural CSA questions to:


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: and visit

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 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’ Happy Christmas

Posted in Sustainable Column by planetgarden on December 9, 2009

When we walk around our hometown square during Christmas season, we become part of the illustrations and text in a Storybook American town. There are friendly people who live and work and play in a genteel and gracious way that sometimes seems like a moment floating from another time.
It’s always nice to come home to Thomaston because we see from expressions and friendliness that it is a happy little community filled with many real benefits. Some of those local benefits are coming Saturday to Bluebird Market sharing homemade gingerbread cottages and cups of hot cocoa with local gingerbread artisan and author, Linda Hayward. Everyone is so excited because of the fun we had last Saturday when Cathy Kreismanis taught us the secrets of authentic Holiday Apple Strudel. You will want to drop by 215 Barnesville St. in Thomaston for MOMS Club holiday open house this Saturday with MOMS Club President and Founder Phyllis Bryan at the market. There will be music and stories, friends and fun in another chapter of what makes each fascinating day of American living better than ever.
The best way I connect with our Storybook town lifestyle is through the arts and local artisan culture reflecting our way of life. Thomaston Upson Arts Council is warm and inviting and I always enjoy taking a walk through the gallery wonderland to see our town from the perspectives and impressions of those in touch with the art of life.
Especially now, during the holiday season we hope to encapsulate expressing genuine kindness to friends and family with handmade keepsakes.  That is why the TUAC gift gallery is a very favorite place of mine to choose affordable Christmas artworks. I’m especially delighted that along with the Sleighbell Arts Market, the Bluebird Artisan Guild was invited to place holiday artworks in the gallery at TUAC.
Once I was given for Christmas a handmade coffee mug from a local potter with a Bible verse and I still cherish the lovely handmade cup, it’s maker and the giver. Do you remember any special handmade gifts from local artists? Gifts from the soul are always the most treasured to me so the gift gallery is an ideal place to take a look for creative expressions. Choose beadwork, custom jewelry, pottery, paintings, ceramics, mosaics, photography, hand stitched quilts, handmade soaps and salts, woodworks, and so many more lovely artworks as memorable and meaningful holiday gifts for those you love.
We are blessed to be sharing our life experiences and artistic expressions in a Storybook American Town together. It’s nice to be right here over Christmas…living in our ever-unfolding American story we are writing and illustrating together ‘like a picture print by Currier and Ives.’
Enrich your life on Saturday at 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 Happy Feeling Nothing in the World Can Buy

Posted in Sustainable Column by planetgarden on December 1, 2009

You will find a wintry fairy land at the Sleighbell Arts Market this Saturday over at our little neighborhood Bluebird Market on Barnesville St. in Thomaston. It’s lovely weather for an arts sleigh ride together with you…
There will be handmade gifts galore by local artisans that are so unique and precious but more important is the spirit they are created in. These wonderful things are the things we remember all through our lives…handmade mosaics, stained glass works and ornaments, footies, handmade soaps, art photography, beadwork, paintings, handmade wooden doll furniture, custom designed jewelry, beads for life, recycle art, purses, storybooks, hair bows, baby clothes and so much more! We are so blessed to be hosting this event for local artisans. Join us in shopping the Sleighbell Arts Market and Thomaston Upson Arts Council Gift Gallery. Talented local people bring us the way to say no to the madness of the malls and yes to great holiday gifts for everyone on our list.
Building our hometown by working together gives us that storybook happy feeling nothing in the world can buy! When we focus on our family, friends and blessings in our community, the price tag just can’t be bought. What we have is priceless when we work together for a better day for our family and friends. This is a lovely season to seek peace and joy within that passes all understanding and to sing the songs we love to sing without a single stop!
We also want our artisans to put a little green in their pockets this holiday season.  Why should we be certain they gain the encouragement to continue their ventures? Of all the reasons, one vital reason is because local businesses strengthen our hometown in sustainable living and bring us all a stronger local ecomony. Their little businesses are valuable to one and all. Honestly, it is what our country was founded on and what will keep it strong! Our local community has been my focus and this is the season to speak up for our local artisans. Their works are lovely and amazing, their prices are sound and affordable and the love that goes around when we buy from a local artisan is priceless…rebuilding our community brings that happy feeling nothing in the world can buy!
Come and take a sleigh ride this Saturday at Bluebird Market. Have fun learning to make crispy holiday apple strudel, sip some sugar cookie sleigh ride tea and check out all of the art work that has been lovingly created over the previous year by our local people.
There’s a happy feeling nothing in the world can buy when we strengthen our local economy and turn the pages of our ‘storybook American town’ to a brighter day for our hometown people.
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 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

Email EE questions to:


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: