Atlanta: Changing the Farm-to-Table Narrative
The concept of farm-to-table is not new in Atlanta, but the character of our farms has evolved.
For years, Atlantans arrived early at farmers markets to snatch up the harvest of family-owned farms located on the outskirts of the city. Chefs made connections with farmers to provide their restaurants with the same fruits, vegetables, meats and dairy products.
Today, Atlanta’s produce still comes from these family farms and also is found in reclaimed spaces between apartments and in urban gardens. Several nonprofit groups have collaborated to bring gardens closer to city residents, giving them a way to grow food to serve on their own tables.
Farming is a part of Atlanta’s culinary culture, evidenced through the 8Arm restaurant team creating jam from the bounty of Pinewood Springs Farm and through chef Steven Satterfield of Miller Union fashioning seasonal masterpieces from the yields of small farms.
Here are a few of the places where Atlanta residents and chefs turn for locally grown food.
Rodgers Greens and Roots Farm
Located in Douglasville, Ga., with 64 acres bordering the Chattahoochee River, the Rodgers Greens and Roots Farm takes advantage of rich river soil. The farm grows arugula, winter squash, turmeric, watermelon radishes and dozens more certified organic varieties. Sample the harvest at restaurants such as Miller Union, C. Ellet’s steak house, Longleaf Restaurant and JCT. Kitchen or hit the Peachtree Road Farmers Market.
Northwest Atlanta is home to this family-operated farm where organic veggies are hand-picked and brought to market. Both the Grove Park Market and Grant Park Farmers Market have hosted Filomena Andrade, originally from Cape Verde in West Africa, selling sweet potatoes, cut flower bouquets, squash and sweet carrots.
EliYahu Ysrael of Atlanta Harvest aims to connect growers with consumers. The family grows its own produce as well as crops from other farmers. In the on-site nursery, fruit and vegetable plants are started so that individuals can plant home gardens. Atlanta Harvest has booths at Avondale Estates Farmers Market and Decatur Farmers Market, and its food also turns up at restaurants such as Rathbun’s, Arnette’s Chop Shop, Miller Union, Haven Restaurant & Bar, and No. 246. The recent move to Ellenwood, Ga., gives Atlanta Harvest an opportunity to expand and help even more farmers thrive.
Grant Park Farmers Market
Atlantans plan their meals around the products provided by a rotating cast of vendors. Visit Local Lands and Snapfinger Farm to find freshly baked bread from Just Bakery of Atlanta and jams from Squirrel Brand Goods. Currently, the market is located at The Beacon Atlanta with an added bonus: Eventide Brewery is in the same center, perfect for a post-shopping cold one.
Peachtree Road Farmers Market
The Cathedral of St. Philip in Buckhead hosts this market, one of the largest producer-only farmers markets in Georgia. More than 50 weekly vendors include Georgia Grinders nut butters, Appalachia Mushrooms, Banner Butter and Green Ola Acres. Activities include chef demonstrations and pop-ups, live music and tastings from local breweries.
Stroll around the Summerhill neighborhood barely south of Downtown, and you’ll find one of three farm sites devoted to Freewheel’s mission. This urban farm uses different sites to bring more than 50 types of vegetables, mushrooms, herbs and specialty cut flowers to the Grant Park Farmers Market and select Atlanta restaurants. A partnership with 2wholesomewavega assures that no one is turned away from good food for lack of funds.
Freedom Farmers Market
Rain, snow or even the summer heat doesn’t deter this year-round market. Located in the parking lot of The Carter Center, the market offers flavored iced teas, fresh eggs, bourbon bacon pecans from Grown Wild, and purslane greens and fresh zinnias from Little Fox Farm.
Greenleaf Community Farms
Three-foot sidewalk paths, small tracts of land between buildings and on the sides of hills are viable options for farming, thanks to Greenleaf and its mission to grow healthy food for communities. Check out Greenleaf’s work at the East Side Crossing Farm in the Edgewood neighborhood (veggies and fresh eggs) and Fairway on the Westside with four fields, fruit trees and a kids’ farm.
The community of Serenbe, located south of the city, is the brainchild of Steve and Marie Lupo Nygren, both heavily connected with the Atlanta food scene. This idyllic, sustainable community includes a 25-acre organic farm, a farmers market, three restaurants, stores and homes. Serenbe Farms provides more than 300 kinds of veggies and fruits to each restaurant-Blue Eyed Daisy Bakeshop, The Farmhouse and The Hill-and the farmers market pushes these gems out to individuals and families.
Pinewood Springs Farm
Located in Stockbridge, Ga., Pinewood Springs yields apples and pears from 150-year-old trees, mixed mustard greens, eggplant and okra and many more vegetables found at several farmers markets around Atlanta. Pinewood nourishes the soil with enriching cover crops like buckwheat, rye, peas and wheat grass. The farm partners with chefs and restaurants to process its farm-harvested goodies into salsas and jams.
Fairywood Thicket Farm
This family-run farm started as a school science experiment involving elderberry bushes on the farm property, which ultimately created the award-winning jams and jellies that are found throughout the city. Restaurant clients include Souper Jenny and The Whitley, as well as the Monastery of the Holy Spirit in Conyers.
In Chattahoochee Hills, Woodsong offers pasture-raised eggs, meats and rich, creamy milk from happy cows. The farm stand is open every Thursday on the property, where owners invite the public to see farm life firsthand. If you can’t get there Thursday, many markets around Atlanta host the Woodsong family.
Food Well Alliance
Food Well combined resources to build community gardens and urban farms around Atlanta. The goal? To equip individuals and local governments with the resources they need to build healthier communities. The alliance gives advice on farming tools, composting, supplies and even financing.
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