Dahlonega = Gold
(in case you didn't know.)
|Did you know... the gold topped dome of the Georgia State Capital is from Dahlonega Gold?|
Home of the first major gold rush in the United States, Dahlonega is nestled in the Georgia foothills of the Blue Ridge mountains.
As a child breezing through the countryside on family excursions - familiar sights tracked past the car window at 50 mph - chicken houses, truck farms, cattle and cornfields all tucked away neatly in every little holler and hillock. Even though growing up in Marietta was far from urban sprawl, it was refreshing and peaceful to ride through the country, wondering what was going on down that little valley, or imagining life among the stacks of out-building and chicken houses that dotted the rolling hills around Dahlonega.
That child's eye view of my now home has always influenced what my adult eye should be seeing. I guess I expected it to always remain the same.
Unfortunately, as with so many rural areas, the small farms are disappearing. Where I once remembered neat rows of cabbages and corn, the farmland has been grassed over and shiny coated horses now feed on the highly fertilized garden plats. The pig farm that hung precariously on the side of a hill has been replaced by a company selling - not fresh meats, but "vinyl signs... available in a day!"
All of this is, in a way, to explain the frustration of my much anticipated relocation to these glorious mountains of my youth. I didn't get rural splendor, I got a kind of augmented suburbia where city people play at being country folk. It's like finding out the prize in a box of Cracker Jacks is just a cheap piece of plastic. Which is why I've been jaded about the Dahlonega Farmers Market. I . expected . better.
I promised I'd make another trip to follow up on my last visit. I did that today.
and, I kind of need to eat my words... a little.
Today, we have no less than 20 booths. The bounty of the farms is incredible. And... And AND we have Stancil Organic Farm here. My jaw actually dropped. Among the booths - The Winpy's were back with great offerings - including some jewel eggplants, figs and squash. There is a booth selling heirloom tomatoes; one with the first of the Silver Queen corn; plenty of pole and half runner beans to go around; a selection of shellies, cranberry beans, jams and jellies; as well as fresh herbs, local plants and the unavoidable knick-knacks. All in all, a very pleasant misty mountain morning.
The purveyors are getting better and the selections are more varied - just get here early, because the shopping is fast and furious around 8 am.
This week's haul cost just over $20, and I got:
5 pounds of pole beans (eh, I'm Southern.. I can't pass up fresh green beans)
4 Red Cored Chantenays (carrot)
1 Honkin' Big Patty Pan Squash
1 Pomegranate (really.. he grew them here!)
6 Yellow Heirloom Tomatoes
1 Quart Brown Turkey Figs
The carrots and figs will get used tonight. I'll be roasting the chantenays in butter then giving them a glaze after they've soaked up as much butter as they can. And the figs will make an appearance in a rework of Dura's Damson Plum Pie... but, you know... with figs.
Look for these recipes and the Roast Chicken I'll be doing tomorrow!
Have a great Saturday everyone!
Get out there and support your local farmers!