Saturday, February 14, 2015

Georgia Mountains Farmers Network UPDATE - February 14th, 2015

Georgia Mountains Farmers Network UPDATE 
February 14th, 2015

Happy Valentine's Day!



1) GMFN Annual Meeting – Monday, March 16th – Harvest Habersham
2) Northeast Georgia Locally Grown - UPDATES 
a) NGLG January 24th meeting RECAP
b) Sign up to be a FEATURED FARMER for Northeast Georgia Locally Grown's 2015 season
c) Survey to NGLG customers starting this week
d) Help Promote GAINESVILLE market with a few SILENT AUCTION GIFTS
3) Georgia Mountains Farm Tour –  IT"S ON  June 27-28, 2015 –get on the tour! 



1) GMFN Annual Meeting (aka FARMER FEAST) – Monday, March 16th – Harvest Habersham
Hey North Georgia FARMERS!

Long-time no see. Believe it or not, it has been almost a year since we had our last GMFN formal meeting (at Mill Gap and FORTIFY). Well it's about time that we did that again. And considering the popularity of last year's FARMER FEAST where we all gathered and let one of the best chefs in the area cook us a lip smacking good meal using your own fresh foods, we've decided to do it again! (*good ideas donated by O'hana Farms)

This year's FARMER FEAST is gonna be at Harvest Habersham in Clarkesville. Chris and Laura have created another incredible Farm-to-Table restaurant here in the mountains and if you haven't had a meal there yet (and I know that many of you who sell to Harvest Habersham have yet to eat there) here is your chance. It'll be FAMILY STYLE which means you'll get a taste of a lot of different things, and a great chance to socialize with other farmers.


This year's GMFN Farmer Feast will be at Harvest Habersham in Clarkesville 
at 6pm – Monday, March 16th

DINNER STARTS at 6PM
Each full-time farmer and farm that has attended a GMFN meeting (this is our 11th meeting) will get priority reservations.
Just like last year, the first 25 farms to RSVP will get one GRATIS dinner (I think that means FREE). If you'd like to bring a spouse or other farm hand (often same thing) then you can purchase a second dinner for $20. Worked so well last year why not do it again. Georgia Mountains Farmers Network is gonna use some of the funds we've collected from the annual FARM TOUR (see below) to help pay for dinner. 

PRE-DINNER TOUR or TALK (5:ish)
We've yet to identify a nearby farm for our usual FARM TOUR, followed by a MEAL, followed by a business MEETing format.  If, you have any ideas on an advance tour let us know. If we opt not to do a TOUR we may invite STEVE WHITEMAN of Trillium Farms to give a talk before dinner on "How to earn a Living Wage as a Small Scale Farmer". That title sure catches your attention doesn't it.

Send Reservations for dinner SOON! We may have to cap it at 50 people. Space is limited
E-mail me if you plan to come, and the names of anyone you'd like to bring (need a headcount).
soque@windstream.net  RSVP by March 2nd, latest and sooner is better.

As we always do, after dinner we'll have a GMFN BUSINESS MEETING. We'll talk about:
  • Locally Grown Expansion / Marketing Plans
  • Upcoming GMFN Farm Tour – June 27-28 
  • Food Hub / Extension Business Training Courses
  • Other announcements (if you have something you'd like us to discuss let us know)

2) Northeast Georgia Locally Grown - UPDATES 



















2a) NGLG January 24th meeting RECAP
We had an excellent annual Northeast Georgia Locally Grown meeting and potluck several weeks ago. We talked about everything from our rate of growth from our inception in 2010 until now (annual sales of $25k to $78k), our large and growing volunteer crew, our marketing grant, ways to make the market more efficient, and our need for more products and growers to meet demand in 2015. We're expecting gross sales of $100k, and shooting for $120k in 2015. That's pretty significant growth, and we're adding infrastructure and volunteers to accommodate this growth.

You can get a summary of the meeting by looking at the power point here. 

There is some useful CUSTOMER SURVEY DATA from 2013 in this slideshow you may want to check out. 

If you really want the FULL DETAILS of what happened at the meeting you can listen to this MP3 recording


Also if you never quite got around to taking the NGLG FARMER SURVEY it's not too late and will help us incorporate your ideas into our 2015 season. Go for it!


Thanks to all who attended and shared a great meal with great company. It was a good way to prepare for what's gonna be our biggest year ever!



2b) Sign up to be a FEATURED FARMER for Northeast Georgia Locally Grown's 2015 season
One of the biggest features of our 2015 marketing push in Gainesville will be our FEATURED FARMERS and VENDORS every month. The plan is to have TWO farmers and ONE non-farm vendor featured each month. We're pretty excited about this. The farms will get quite a bit of coverage, including photos of your farms, bios, and your favorite recipes. Should boost sales considerably. To sign you farm up check out the openings below and send ANDREW an e-mail Andrew.NGLG@gmail.com.

Month Gainesville Site Clarkesville Site Tiger Site Still needed
FARMER or Vendor FARMER or Vendor FARMER or Vendor
March OPEN   OPEN    OPEN WIDE OPEN 
April April 8 - O'hana April 8 - Melon Head April 22 - Hollman Hollow Farms FULL
May May 6 - Leah Lake OPEN May 6-  Melon Head FARM & VENDOR
June  June 3- Mountain Earth June 3- Leah Lake OPEN FARM & VENDOR
July July 8- MIll Gap July 15- KP farms OPEN VENDOR
August August 5 - Melon Head August 5 -Leslie's Garden Dream August 12- Leslie's Garden Dream* OPEN FARM
September OPEN OPEN OPEN WIDE OPEN
October OPEN October 7- Mnt Sweet Honey OPEN
November November 11 - Sylvan Falls Mill November - November - 2 FARMS
December December-  December - December - WIDE OPEN
January 6, 2016- Sylvan Falls Mill
Each month will feature 2 farms and one non-farm vendor
Bolded means FEATURED - need 3 each month
You can pick any Wednesday in the month you are featured


c) Survey to NGLG customers starting this week
Review and give us ideas of how to SURVEY NGLG customers. This SURVEY will go to over 800 NGLG account holders. Help us ask the questions you want to know. We'll share the results with ALL!
NGLG CUSTOMER SURVEY 2015
Check it out! You can take it too!

Questions include: Which fruits and vegetables would you like to see in 2014? And More….
Results of this survey from 2 years ago can be found in our powerpoint from the meeting.


d) Help Promote GAINESVILLE market with a few SILENT AUCTION GIFTS
1,000s of good folks in Hall County will be attending several fundraisers this early spring AND… A lot of people who support non-profits are also people who eat LOCAL FOOD too. SO, we've come up with the idea that 4-5 nice looking baskets with shelf safe products from NGLG farms and vendors (and our new brochures and cards) would make great promotion tools as SILENT AUCTION GIFTS. If you'd be willing to donate (or sell to us for costs) a few items to help promote your goods and the whole market please let us know. Could be a very powerful way to make an impression on people. 

We hope to find some VOLUNTEERS who might help make the baskets look real nice!  
Let us know if you have suggestions for Volunteers of all kinds.



3) Georgia Mountains Farm Tour –  IT"S ON  June 27-28, 2015 –get on the tour! 


Planning for the 4th Annual Georgia Mountains Farm Tour is underway. The date is set (June 27 and 28)! Five farms are signed up already! This is the big event for our network and has helped promote our region as having a helluva cool LOCAL FOOD thang going on.


Andrew Linker (the guy who shot the AMAZING videos of the tour the last two years) is our FARM TOUR ORGANIZER for 2015. Let him know if you want to be on the tour! Send him an e-mail at Andrew.NGLG@gmail.com. Or call him at 503.758.8488. Please let us know by the first week of March so we can start organizing the brochure!

Check out last year's tour page as a reminder of how it works.


We also invested in a new website domain to make it easier to find tour information.  eatwellbuylocal.org
Right now it just links to our blog but tour info should be posted by mid March.



Thanks to you all for growing LOCAL FOOD! Hope to see everyone at Harvest Habersham in March!




Justin Ellis
Organizer for 
Georgia Mountains Farmers Network









Monday, June 30, 2014

2014 FARM TOUR - Survey, Video and Photos

THANKS to all those who attended the 2014 FARM TOUR! It was a terrific weekend despite a little bit of rain.

Here's 3 ways we'd  love you to extend your experience!

WATCH THE VIDEO

Andrew Linker has made another incredible video to memorialize the experience of the tour. We know you will enjoy it and you might even see yourself. Please forward this to everyone who attended the tour with you (as we only have e-mails for those who purchased the brochure), or forward to other friends who might enjoy the tour next year as this will likely inspire them.



TAKE OUR SURVEY

Your feedback is very important and useful to us. Please take just a moment (about 1 min) to tell us what you thought of the tour and how we can improve it. Past year's suggestions have helped us tweek the event to what it is today!


SUBMIT YOUR PHOTOS




This is the first year that we're asking all FARM TOUR attendees to submit their favorite photos from the tour. We hope to make this event more and more interactive each year, and capturing the unique perspectives of each attendee is a great way for you to share your experience. You can either post or share directly to our farmer network FACEBOOK page (link above) or send photos via e-mail to soque@windstream.net and we'll post them for you. Include a caption or comment if you like. We love getting your insights on what was beautiful to you!

If you're a FACEBOOK USER you can also watch the VIDEO of the TOUR there as well (same one as above but easier to share). If you get a chance click LIKE on our FB page. And Submit your photos there too! https://www.facebook.com/GeorgiaMountainsFarmersNetwork




Thanks again,

the Georgia Mountains Farmers Network

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

GEORGIA MOUNTAINS FARM TOUR 2014

GEORGIA MOUNTAINS FARM TOUR 2014
Saturday and Sunday June 28-29th




Attend North Georgia's premiere tour of local food farms featuring small scale, sustainable and diverse farms throughout the North Georgia Mountains and neighboring states.

Here's how the TOUR works..... Choose from 14 farms in Habersham, Rabun, White Counties and beyond, visit community gardens, and eat local foods prepared by local chefs. It's the food and farm event of the summer and helps to raise funds for the Georgia Mountains Farmers Network. Tour hours are from 1-6pm each day. Different farms are featured each day.
Featured FARMS

Saturday June 28th
LoganBerry Heritage Farm
Nacoochee Valley Farm
Indian Ridge Farm
Mtn Honey
Melon Head Farm
Liberty Farm
CopperPot Gardens


Sunday June 29th
Jan and Zen's Garden
Taylor Creek Farm
Shade Creek Farm
Chattooga Belle Farm
Mill Gap Farm
Old School Garden
Fortify Kitchen & Bar
Sylvan Falls Mill B&B
Leah Lake Farm

Map of FARM LOCATIONS


How to Attend 

Online sales of passes has ended. You can still attend the tour by purchasing a pass from any farm on the tour. See details below.  

In-Person sales of passes will occur at any farm on the tour ($35 cash or check to GMFN). However, only two farms each day will have the brochure guides to the tour so you may want to start at one these farms, or print out a copy of the brochure in advance (above) and the helpful detailed maps to farms (below). You can begin the tour and buy a pass at any farm, and you will be provided a receipt that you can then redeem for a brochure at the locations below.

Farm Locations with brochures the day of the event 
($35 CASH or CHECK to GMFN)

SATURDAY 

  • LoganBerry Heritage Farm - 2660 Adair Mill Road, Cleveland, GA 30528
  • Mtn Honey - 349 Gastley Road, Clarkesville, GA 30523
SUNDAY 

  • Taylor Creek Farm - 2204 Sunshine Road, Toccoa, GA 30577
  • Mill Gap Farm - 63 Mill Gap Lane, Tiger, GA 30576


If you'd like to pickup a brochure in person in advance they are available at 1387 Washington Street (the Soque River Watershed Association offices) in downtown Clarkesville through Thursday, June 26th. Call 706-754-9382 to make sure the offices are open before arrival. Brochures are also available at the Habersham Chamber of Commerce office in Cornelia through Friday.




When you purchase a WEEKEND PASS you will receive an EAT WELL, BUY LOCAL bumper sticker with your brochure that serves as your weekend pass. Place the sticker (unpeeled of course) on your front dashboard to gain access to all farms on the day of the tour.


EXTRA MAPS
To make finding the farm locations even easier this year we've made two additional maps that should help you navigate. After you've purchased a brochure we encourage you to print and carry these maps with you.




SPONSORS
This event would not be possible without the generous support of our sponsors. HUGE THANKS to them. 



Be sure and visit their websites:
Habersham Chamber of Commerce
Georgia Organics
HEMC
North Georgia Turf
Simply Homegrown
Ingles

VOLUNTEER
Want to get involved with the TOUR as more than just a spectator? Each year we depend on about 20-30 volunteers to represent the Georgia Mountains Farmers Network by helping each farm to  direct traffic, check for passes, welcome attendees, and sometimes sell produce, or orient attendees before each tour begins. The REWARD for putting in one day of service is you get to attend the TOUR for FREE on the other day of the event and receive a free FARM TOUR t-shirt.



If you'd like to see if we still need volunteers please send Maggie an e-mail to gmfnfarmtour@gmail.com.

Can't volunteer but would still like a T-SHIRT? You can purchase a shirt for just $15. Just add it to your ONLINE order. Shirts are heather blue, soft cotton/poly blend, very lightweight and cool shirt in sizes S-XL.


WHAT TO EXPECT ?
Want to get a feel for what to expect on this year's tour? Watch our VIDEO made by Food and Faces - Andrew Linker made during last year's 2013 tour.


NE Georgia Farm Tour from :a.d.linker on Vimeo.

Video by Food and Faces

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Compost Tea Workshop - April 27

Hey North Georgia Farmers,

Here's another great program coming up soon. Call Chuck to RSVP or for more information.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Local Opps for commercial agriculture workshop - April 24th

Hey Folks,
This should be a very interesting program. And the price is right. We encourage you to attend! 

It's coming up soon (in about two weeks) on April 24th. Locally Grown will be part of the discussion.


For more info e-mail
stevep@uga.edu


Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Photos from Mill Gap Farm Tour

We had a great GMFN meeting on Monday, March 31st at Mill Gap Farm in Tiger, GA. Chuck and Amy Mashburn were our hosts for the Farm Tour portion of the evening. Then Jamie Allred and Jack Nolan, owners of the new FORTIFY restaurant in Clayton hosted our dinner. Georgia Organics was the sponsor for our meeting.


Monday, March 24, 2014

Monday March 31st, 2014 - GMFN farm tour and dinner

Hey GMFN Farmers,

This month's GMFN meeting requires an RSVP since we'll be eating dinner at Fortify after. There's still space so send an e-mail to soque@windstream.net if you'd like to attend. Dinner is a $20 pre-fixe dinner featuring food from all of our farms, reduced price for full-time farms and those who've attended a GMFN meeting before. If you have products you'd like to sell for the dinner please contact Jamie Allred (e-mail below). Plans are similar to most get-togethers with a few changes.

First we'll meet up at this Parking Lot in Clayton (check out the Google Map below - parking lot is marked PURPLE). We'll meet up for the carpool at exactly 3:45pm rather than at Mill Gap Farm (since parking is limited). We'll try and all pile in 5-6 vehicles for the <5 minute drive to Chuck and Amy Mashburn's farm (GREEN) which is right down the road.

Mill Gap Farm Tour will be from 4:00 to 5:30.
Then we'll hop back in our cars and head back to the parking lot (STILL PURPLE).
From there it's a short walk to FORTIFY RESTAURANT (RED).
Dinner will be begin around 6PM.
We'll have an hour long business meeting at 7PM. Here's the agenda.

  • Georgia Organics welcome
  • Northeast Georgia Food Bank on-going projects
  • GMFN is getting organized –update on board, bylaws
  • Locally Grown expanding to Gainesville in May - applied for USDA Grant 
  • Georgia Mountains Farm TOUR - tentatively set June 28-29


View Clayton Carpool to Mill Gap to Fortify in a larger map


CARPOOL

We'll have another carpool leaving from Clarkesville at exactly 3:15pm if anyone would like to cut 30 minutes out of their drive. We'll meet at the dirt parking lot directly across the street from the Clarkesville Library located at 178 East Green Street, Clarkesville, GA 30523.

Other details that might be helpful:
Mill Gap Farm address is: 63 Mill Gap Lane, Tiger, GA
FORTIFY address is: 69 North Main Street, Clayton, GA

DINNER
If you have produce, meats, etc. that you'd like to sell to Jamie for the dinner please send him a list of your available items and prices as soon as possible to spreadhead1975@panicstream.net

That way you can show off your stuff to the best chef around, and maybe help pay for your dinner!

If you have any other items you'd like for us to discuss at this or future GMFN meetings please let us know at soque@windstream.net.

Thanks and look forward to seeing you next week.


Justin Ellis
Organizer for 
Georgia Mountains Farmers Network