Eat the rainbow at Jasper Farmers Market
By Xaviere Chatagnier
The Jasper Farmers Market was fantastic on Saturday, July 14. There were three trucks with delicious corn and tables mounded with tomatoes, squash, cucumbers, zucchini and beans. Zach Henson had his usual line of people coveting his heirloom tomatoes, squash, purple potatoes, cucumbers, beans and figs! He says that he will have some eggplant as well next week. The Johnsons had corn, potatoes and squash. Big Ridge Beef came to the market and will be back July 27. They have grass-fed beef and pastured pork plus gorgeous heirloom vegetables. Floyd (bluebird houses) is selling eggs, cucumbers and tomatoes. Several other farmers had purple hull peas, eggplant, basil, and heirloom beans. It was a killer market and I expect it to be the same for the next few weeks.
The prize of the market was the Red Apple Barn. They sell their homegrown peaches in the summer and they are delicious. Yes, I bought Mr. Pritchett’s peaches and then went to Ellijay to R &A Orchard. I can’t help it, I love peaches! This small family orchard is what “local” is really about. Red Apple Barn started in 1927 and has been handed down thru the generations. You can’t beat their peaches and apples in the fall.
Blueberry picking is still open at 5 Sons Farm. They will probably be open for a few more weeks? Definitely call ahead to John Culbertson 404-202-4709. He can give you the latest scoop on the blueberries. He also grows amazing heirloom tomatoes and sells them directly to the farm. Keep in mind that they are organically grown, just like his berries. What’s not to love about this farm and John.
After another fantastic breakfast at 61 Main, we went up the road to Ellijay to see Donny and Carolyn Hunter (Hill Valley Farm) at the Ellijay Farmers Market. This is a sweet little market in downtown Ellijay. Donny had a table mounded with big beef tomatoes, buckets of cucumbers (I like his long Asian style cukes), corn and Zephyr squash. A photo of Donny’s table is shown with this article. This didn’t include trays and trays of his tomatoes (1500 plants) in his truck. We then went on to R&A to get more peaches because I am bringing Georgia peaches to Maine. They might have the best lobster around but you can’t beat a Georgia peach. And yes, I can make quick work of a two-pound lobster!
Hans Rueffert, from Woodbridge Inn, has been selling super tasty meals and desserts to help fund his upcoming surgery. Hans is one heck of a chef and I love that he is doing this instead of a go fund me page. You get to mingle with Hans and his family while he cooks up bananas fosters or other treats. Best five bucks that I spent all day. I am not sure if he will be at the future market but set aside a few dollars to buy his spices, food or chutney in case he is there.
Jackie Carlisle was at the market today and plans on being there next Saturday. Jackie sells awesome healthy breads, granola and English muffins. We always buy extra to share or freeze. Tony Pisconeri sells Italian style breads, focaccia and mini pizzettes. He will be at the Wednesday Farmers market as well as Saturday. The Red Bean Coffee tent was full of fresh roasted coffee beans and fresh coffee.
The Wednesday Farmers Market is open from 2-5:30 p.m. They do set up early so get there early to get the pick of the crop. Zach Henson is at both the Wednesday and Saturday markets. Donny Hunter will be at the Wednesday market as long as he is swimming in tomatoes. Ask Donny about his “canners” and pickling cucumbers. Tony, the Johnsons and Jenny Fellenbaum are all at the Wednesday market. I was really surprised as I rolled up last week at 1:45 p.m. and just about everyone in town beat me there!
The Saturday market is open from 7:30 a.m. until noon. Both markets are located in the Park and Ride lot across from the old middle school on Highway 53 west bound. It is about one half mile from downtown Jasper.
Breakfast at 61 Main Saturday was spectacular. Most of us had quiche with heirloom tomatoes or a farmer’s veggie omelet. Jenna buys local produce from the same farmers you do.
John Lupi, Home Restaurant, has been buying heirloom tomatoes from 5 Sons Farm, big beef tomatoes, squash and cucumbers from Donny, microgreens and beans from Stacey and Spanish pole beans, basil and cherry tomatoes from me! John is now offering a farmer’s plate with the freshest local vegetables. What is cool is that we all grow our produce organically. Both of these restaurants go out of their way to support our farmers.
The Jasper Farmers Market is the ONLY farmers market around that is 100 percent local. Other farmers markets often have resellers that buy their produce at the state farmers market. I like to look at my plate and know the farmers names that grew my food. We are so fortunate to have such a bounty of farmers and bakers at our 100 percent local Jasper Farmers Market.
Eat Local and Shop Local,