This week, Georgia Organics, Community Farmers Markets, the Atlanta Community Food Bank and Wholesome Wave Georgia are joining forces to present Atlanta with a challenge: to exclusively eat foodstuffs that are grown, caught or raised within 200 miles of Atlanta for seven days straight. (Which is pretty much our favorite thing to do anyway.) Yup, it’s #EatLocalATL week. Our chance to put our mission to where our mouth is, and commit to eating not only healthily but also locally. And guess what? We get to avoid the stressful hustle and bustle of the crowded produce aisle in the process. Because, you know what's better than a plastic grocery bag of pitiful, wilted spinach straight from the back of a Kroger transport truck? A box of fresh, verdant spinach plucked days before and delivered to your neighborhood straight from a local farm. (Yeah, the Kroger Plus Card has nothing on our friendly neighborhood farmers.)
But eating local is so haaard, you might say. Most farmers markets are outside and it's so hot! Can’t we just stay inside with the AC and order a pizza? (Pizzas are vegetables, right?) Quit yer cryin! Atlanta offers plenty of ways for even the laziest of couch potatoes to get their hands on some fresh veggies, farm-to-table style. Below, a few of our favorites.
Farm Mobile – Farmers markets may come and go with the seasons, but the unstoppable Farm Mobile brings their farm-fresh goodness to Atlanta's doorstep all year-round. The farmers market on wheels putters around the city with a truck full of local produce (plus goods from other purveyors and artisans), making stops everywhere from Decatur to Norcross. Essentially, 'til we have drones delivering our heirloom tomatoes to our front door, this is about as easy as it gets for keeping your crisper full of local goodness.
Community Supported Agriculture – This organization is a pretty awesome way to cut the many, many middlemen out of the whole "farm to table" equation, giving carrot-lovers like you and me a way to get our fruits and veggies fresh, local and from a farmer you can actually meet and talk to. A CSA box can also be a little like a grab-bag of healthy surprises, because it only features what's freshest on the farm. (Kind of the way we were supposed to eat all along, right?) Best of all, lazybones: they deliver to plenty of neighborhoods around Atlanta. Check out the Local Harvest website to find the one closest to you.
The Vegetable Husband– Also known as Margie, this local effort makes weekly trips to community farms and stocks up on fresh, seasonal produce for her endeavor. Sounds a little like a CSA box, but a CSA that delivers itself right to your door, includes recipes for how to work with the ingredients and even takes emergency kitchen calls on the weekends from bewildered home chefs wondering how on earth they're supposed to peel a rutabaga.
Your Local Farmers Market If you get the urge to get out of the house but want to avoid those dreaded weekly drives during rush hour to a crowded grocery store and haling home a trunk full of nearly expired canned “goods” only to have them rip through your plastic grocery bag when you try to make it to the front door from your car in one trip (because two trips are for wimps), why not take a sweet summer stroll through the city to the variety of farmers markets that set up shop right in the back yard of your neighborhood?
One might think, “But I wouldn’t even know where to start, where the heck will I find farmer’s markets amongst all these buildings and pavement?” Not to worry, here’s a handy, dandy list to help guide us all to home-grown happiness. Or, for when our extra sluggish, sloth-y tendencies kick in, we use this tool from Georgia Organics to find a farmer’s market closest by. It doesn’t get much easier than that.
There’s a bevy of Atlanta neighborhood markets that provide fresh produce within the perimeter that are only a hop, skip or a bike ride away, literally. These neighborhood markets exist to bring a vibrant and colorful array for fresh food options to already vibrant and colorful neighborhoods. Not only do they introduce us to a diverse variety of local products, but they also introduce us to a diverse variety of local characters, too. From the Freedom Park Farmer’s Market at The Carter Center, to the East Atlanta Village Farmer’s Market and The Grant Park Farmer’s Market – it's clear that there are a slew of backyard markets that neighbors gather from all over the city to pick up fresh produce, baked goods, cheese and dairy, farm fresh eggs, hand-made preserves and honey, fresh coffee and more. Now, we understand such a variety of ingredients can be overwhelming to the average lazy lump who’s accustomed to simply popping frozen meals in the microwave – but not to worry, there are readily prepared meals available to take home as well. You won’t need to search faulty packaging for a “guaranteed fresh” sticker here, all of these products are abso-fruit-ly, positively fresh as the dew of a dandelion at dawn.
So, there you have it: all the resources you need to bring the farm-to-table movement into your own kitchen. You officially have no excuse not to #EatLocalATL, lazybones.