Early bird gets the ‘maters’ at Jasper Farmers Market
By Xaviere Chatagnier
Tomato season is officially here or as they say in the south “maters”! Just about every farmer had tomatoes this week but they mostly ran out by 9 a.m. As the vines start producing heavily, we will see tomatoes till late morning but right now the early bird gets the “mater.” Donny Hunter (Hill Valley Farm) has planted 1500 tomato plants and they will probably all come in at the same time. John Culbertson (5 Sons Farm) has almost a 100 heirloom tomato plants. He grows Cherokee Purple, Striped German and Brandywine tomatoes. Zach Henson grows several different heirlooms including Cherokee purple, black prince, hillbilly striped, Mr. Stripey, Rutgers, red beef steak and several cherry types. These farmers do not use pesticides on their vegetables.
Zach Henson had tons of produce this week and sold out Saturday by 11a.m. He has my favorite potato of all, Peruvian purple. This potato is deep purple all the way thru and tastes like a dream. Zach is also swimming in cucumbers, squash, potatoes, tomatoes, zucchini and several varieties of beans. Cole Johnson has new potatoes, beans, squash, and tomatoes. I bought the last of Joel Edwards tomatoes for some friends. Kenneth Kirk has been selling honey and blueberries. Floyd Reed—he builds bluebird houses too—had tomatoes and beans. Heck, just about every farmer had tomatoes, beans and squash this week.
Rumor has it that the Johnsons might have corn next week as well. Don’t forget to buy your fresh coffee beans at the market as well. Jackie Carlisle, think super healthy bread, will be back at the market this Saturday, July 13. She makes a wonderful Ezekiel bread, English muffins, granola and more.
The Wednesday Jasper Farmers Market is open from 2-5:30 p.m., however, they do start selling as they get set up so the earlier you get there the better. Zach Henson always has a line for his great selection of produce. Donny Hunter (Hill Valley Farm) might be at this Wednesday Market with beans, cucumbers and squash. Later, when his 1500 tomato plants come in, he will definitely be at our Wednesday market. Chef Tony Pisconeri is at both markets with his wonderful breads and focaccia. He will take orders and have them ready for you. His website is bakewurx.com and his number is 404-525-4829. Jenny Fellenbaum has blackberries, beans and maybe okra if we are lucky.
The 5 Sons Farm most likely will not be at either market as their berries are slowing down, however, the u-pick is still open. They currently have smaller berries that are great for jams and baking though they taste great to me. These smaller berries remind me of the Maine wild blueberries. There are still plump berries to pick but it currently takes a bit longer to get a gallon. Call John Culbertson before you go 404-202-4709. They do sell their heirloom tomatoes at the farm. John grows his tomatoes organically just like his blueberries. The 5 Sons Farm is located at 639 Hamrick Rd, eight miles west of 515.
Ellijay Saturday market
Donny Hunter (Hill Valley Farm) will be at the Saturday Ellijay market with beans, cucumbers, squash, tomatoes and maybe corn. The Ellijay farmers market is a sweet little market that is just about 20 minutes from the Jasper Farmers Market. We make the rounds and get peaches to freeze. R&A Orchard has some killer peaches this year. This heat seems to have made everything pop out early. They are located at 5505 Ga-52, Ellijay. I usually buy a bushel for $30 which is a heck of a deal.
John Lupi (Home Restaurant) has been buying blackberries from Jenny Fellenbaum; blueberries and heirloom tomatoes from John Culbertson; tomatoes, beans and squash from Donny Hunter; beans and microgreens from Stacey Arnold; assorted vegetables from Chad McKinney; plus, beans, cherry tomatoes and basil from yours truly! Clearly, we are all local but more importantly we all grow our vegetables organically! John has been offering a “Farmers Plate” at the restaurant with an assorted selection of fresh, local vegetables. It is so massively cool that John buys all this local organically grown produce. And I have to say, it isn’t cheap to buy local heirloom tomatoes and produce. He could so easily buy commercial produce for half the price but it is half the quality! Yes, you do get what you pay for. Heirloom tomatoes go for about $4-$5 a pound but they are worth every penny.
Eat Local and buy Local,