Herb Festival at this week’s Homegrown Alabama Farmers Market

The Homegrown Alabama Farmers Market invites you to its first annual Herb Festival this Thursday, August 4th, from 3-6 pm. An herb demonstration from Josalyn Randall, a local herbologist, will feature basil as the “herb of summer.”

Randall will prepare two salads with basil and other fresh produce from the market, provide take-home recipe sheets, and have information on how herbs affect the body and their various nutrition and health benefits. Randall will also have herbal iced teas, lotions, medicines and other products available for sale.

Emily Conner, of Jean and Carol’s farm, will host a pepper roasting demonstration at this week’s market, and a new poster by Lindsey Reynolds will be on sale at the Homegrown information tent.

In addition to the children’s crafts offered at every weekly market, kids at the Herb Festival will have the opportunity to plant seeds and take them home to grow their own fresh herbs.

The farmers market is held on the Canterbury Episcopal Chapel lawn, 812 5th Avenue in Tuscaloosa on the University of Alabama campus, every Thursday from 3-6 pm, May through October.

Approximately 18 vendors attend the market throughout the season to sell fruits, vegetables, baked goods, beef, cut flowers, coffee and tea, eggs, homemade herbal teas, soap, pralines, canned goods, hot foods, and arts and crafts.

Other highlights of the 2011 market season include the availability of designated parking for all market customers, craft vendors every 3rd Thursday, locally grown, all natural grass feed beef, and the acceptance of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits, formerly known as Food Stamps.

A Tuscaloosa One Place representative will be at the market on August 4th to sign-up area residents for SNAP benefits. An Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) machine will continue to be available for market customers to transfer SNAP funds into $1 and $3 tokens with the Homegrown Alabama label.

Homegrown Alabama has matched $10 spent using SNAP with an additional $5 in tokens as part of an ongoing incentive program. SNAP has been so successful at the market in its first year that the funds for the matching program are running out. If you would like to take advantage of the incentive program while it is still available, head to this week’s market.

For more information on the EBT incentive program and how to donate, call (205) 210-9621 or visit www.homegrownalabama.org/support

Vendors at this year’s market include:

Produce Vendors
Snow’s Bend Farm
Burnett Farms
Miss Emily’s Tomatoes
B & S Farms
Druid City Garden Project
Mockingbird Farm
Todd’s Produce
La-Ren’s Farm
AA Farm Creamery
Bubbles Bailey Honey

Beef
Folsom Custom Cuts
Oak Hill Angus

Miscellaneous
Cheeky Maiden Soap Company
Johnson Greenhouses Webb Farm
Margaret’s Pralines
The Urban Herbwife

Prepared Foods
Snap Decisions
Chloe’s Cup

Homegrown Alabama is a non-profit, student-led group at the University of Alabama that seeks to educate students and community members about the value of local produce, as well as foster partnerships between local farmers, the University of Alabama, and the greater Tuscaloosa community.

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Farmers Market 7/14

Hey hey,

Today’s going to be a totally awesome, friends and fun farmers market! Join us on the lawn from 3-6 p.m. for veggies and the rest, plus music from the Underhill Family Orchestra. This band is from Mobile and is one of my favorites. (You should even take a quick gander if you’ve got time today at theunderhillfamilyorchestra.com.)
We still have some money stashed away in our EBT matching program, so don’t forget to bring those cards and keep spreading the word.
Y’all are awesome.
For the love of veggies,
Andrea
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Bama Loves Tomatoes Festival today!

Hey y’all,

Today’s the big day! Join us for the third annual Bama Loves Tomatoes Festival from 3-6 on the Canterbury Episcopal lawn. The highlight of the day will be our salsa contest! All entries must be received by Homegrown staff between 2 and 3:30 this afternoon. See the details here. A public judging (and tasting, of course!) will commence at 4:30. We will also host a panel of judges who will assess the salsas before the public tasting. If you’re interested in being on the panel of judges today, just reply to this email and I’ll let you know the details. We still have a few spots available.
Tres Jackson of Epiphany will be presenting a chef demo today starting at 3:15.
The kids craft today will be tie dye! (Of course, big kids are welcome to tie dye as well.) Homegrown has a number of bandanas and t-shirts on hand, but we’re encouraging y’all to bring your own shirts, etc, if you have one.
The Tiny Lions, a Tuscaloosa folk/rock band will be playing their awesome music for us today. Look them up on Facebook, they’re sure to be a crowd pleaser.
Stop by Lar-Ren’s Farm table today to pick up information about canning and preserving vegetables.
See ya!
Andrea
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Market Update 6/30

Hey y’all,

Today’s that day again! Come stock up on peaches, berries, veggies, beef, cheese, honey, flowers, baked goods and soap (to wash up after you finish swimming) for the Fourth of July weekend. We’ve got it all at the Homegrown Alabama Farmers Market, every Thursday from 3-6 p.m. on the lawn of Canterbury Episcopal.

Next week’s market will be the third annual Bama Loves Tomatoes festival, and this year we’ve added a salsa competition! Read more about it on our blog @ http://wp.me/pMYiK-1c , and buy your ingredients today at the Homegrown market or at the Tuscaloosa Farmers Market on Saturday or Tuesday. Prizes will be awarded both by a panel of judges and by a the public. (This means free salsa for everyone while it lasts!!) Homegrown will provide the chips.

Today after the market, consider attending the Tuscaloosa Forward public workshop at the Bryant Conference Center from 6-8:30 p.m. From the website: “Citizens are encouraged to attend this workshop to share their ideas on how to rebuild tornado-impacted areas, and help establish a long-term vision for the future of Tuscaloosa.” Read more @ http://t.co/m07RH1k.

See y’all!

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Homegrown Alabama Salsa Contest: July 7, 2011

The Homegrown Alabama Farmers Market is spicing it up this July with a homemade salsa competition at the third annual Bama Loves Tomatoes festival.

A panel of local judges will sample the salsa and grade each on taste, freshness, texture, and consistency. Prizes will be awarded for winners as determined by a panel of judges and by the public. Judging by the panel will commence at 3:45.

Free salsa tasting and public judging will begin at 4:30 while supplies last! Chips provided by the market. The public will be invited to vote for their favorite salsa. Winners will be announced at 5:30 p.m.

To participate in the salsa contest, bring one quart of homemade salsa labeled mild, medium or hot, to the Homegrown Alabama info tent between 2 and 3:30 p.m. on Thursday, July 7. Late entries cannot be accepted.

A written recipe must be included with every entry; including your name, e-mail address, phone number, the name of the recipe, and complete instructions.

Salsas do not have to be tomato-based but must be made from scratch. Participants are encouraged to purchase ingredients ahead of time from the Homegrown Alabama or Tuscaloosa farmers markets.

There is no entry fee. The winners will receive a Homegrown Alabama t-shirt, a BLT poster and other fabulous Homegrown prizes.

All contest participants’ recipes may be used in future Homegrown Alabama publications.

Email homegrownalabama@gmail.com with questions.

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Market update 6/23

Hey y’all,

If the weather today follows suit with the last few days, it looks like we’ll have a pleasantly cool (if muggy) afternoon in store. The vendors will stick around even if it happens to rain, so don’t let the ominous clouds deter you, unless it’s lightning. (Just think of the rain as a momentary cool-off!) So stop by Canterbury Episcopal between 3 and 6 p.m. to load up on groceries and hear some homegrown live music.
It’s that time of year again – time to check out where our vendors do their magic! RSVP for these farm visits and join us to check out your favorite Homegrown Alabama growers and producers. We will have between 4-8 spots per trip so email homegrownalabama@gmail.com to hold your spot! Homegrown officers will provide transportation; all you have to do is show up and enjoy your morning or afternoon.
The first three visits of the season will be:
1. Saturday 6/25 (Montgomery)
AA Creamery, Bubbles Bailey
2. Sunday 6/26 (Brent)
B&S, Lar-Ren’s
3. Monday 6/27 (Tuscaloosa)
DCGP, Urban Herbwife, Snap Decisions
We hope to see you there with us!
Last year’s vendor and local business, Mary’s Bakery, located in Northport, needs your help! Go to www.maryscakesandpastries.com, click on the link and help them win a mixer worth $30,000 by voting Mary’s as the best scratch-baked bakery. For daily email reminders to vote, email mary0230@bellsouth.netVote once a day until August 21st to help our local store. 

See ya!

Andrea
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6/16 — Craft Day!

Well hello hello,

It’s craft day at the market, and this week we’ll have handmade crafts and artwork by Paige Renka, Rebecca Royen, Bonnie Applebeet, and Lindsey Mullen. We will also have plenty of honey today! Bubbles Bailey returns for the day, and Melissa Brinyark will have honey in addition to blueberries and blackberries. Laur-Ren’s Farm and Folsom Custom Cuts will be at the market too–these two vendors attend every other week. Today will be a full house!

If y’all have wanted to purchase a t-shirt in the past few weeks but we have not had your size, stop by the Homegrown tent today because we just got more in. These are American Apparel, so soft, and can be yours for $12.

The Crimson White featured the Homegrown market this week, you can read about it here. However, the end of the article is a bit confusing:: when you use EBT at the market, we will give you $15 in tokens for every $10 you spend off your card. That’s 5 extra dollars!

See y’all!
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Featured Recipe: Baird Family Squash Casserole

1 1/2 lbs Squash

1 onion

3-5oz desired cheese (cheddar, parmesan etc)

2-3T butter

1 egg

Cornflake crumbs (or bread crumbs if not available)

1. Cook ¼ inch  squash slices along with sliced onion in a little water until it’s still al dente.

2. Drain immediately and while it’s still hot stir in grated cheese and some butter, salt and pepper.  When this mixture is cool, stir in one beaten egg (for a casserole to serve two).  Do not add egg until it’s cool or the egg will cook in the heat.

3. Pour into a baking dish.

4. Top with seasoned bread crumbs or—better—crushed cornflake crumbs dotted with more cheese.

5. Bake at 350 20-30 minutes to meld flavors and thicken the squash mixture.

(Thanks to Lindsey Turner for this family recipe!)

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Homegrown Alabama Vendors Provide Fresh Products to Tuscaloosa Families

The Soul Food Brigade serves participants and volunteers at Relief Portraits at American Christian Academy on Saturday afternoon.

Starting last year, Homegrown Alabama began asking our vendors to donate leftover fresh produce to Canterbury Episcopal Chapel’s food pantry, Deacon’s Deli. We realized that although Deacon’s Deli supplies much-needed sustenance to families every week, that food is necessarily boxed, canned and bagged. Canterbury and Homegrown forged a partnership that would allow Deacon’s Deli recipients to choose fresh food to fill their grocery bags with. Canterbury has also given us funding to distribute vouchers to those recipients for market tokens.

After the recent tornado, which hit the week before the market began this year, Homegrown has asked our vendors to contribute to the efforts of an offshoot of the Druid City Garden Project, the Soul Food Brigade. In addition to being a vendor at the market, DCGP is a community-based non-profit organization in Tuscaloosa working to increase access to fresh, locally grown produce and educate the community about sustainability and healthy eating. Their flagship project, a community garden plot at University Place School, was destroyed by the tornado, so they created the Soul Food Brigade. They have been working for the past few weeks to distribute home-cooked meals to displaced people and volunteers in the community. The Homegrown farmers have contributed an incredible amount of the fresh fruits, vegetables, beef, and cheese for this project, week after week.

If you would like to make a contribution to either of these projects, simply bring a bag of produce or a cash donation to the Homegrown Alabama tent. To make a cash donation to the Druid City Garden Project, visit druidcitygardenproject.org.

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Squash the Heat with us today, 6/2!

Hi everyone!

I am excited to tell you–if you haven’t already heard–that we have dubbed today the day to “Squash the Heat” at the farmers market. There will be squash everywhere!! Special squash-themed children’s activities will include a squash-stomping bucket, squash-stamping cards, make-your-own squash friend, and squash necklaces. Grace Aberdean Habitat Alchemy will sponsor a chef demo booth each week this month, including today.

Stop by the Homegrown info tent to pick up a copy of the first edition of our newsletter. This month’s edition includes some terrific squash recipes, updates about the market, and a list of vendors and their products. We’ll begin publishing these each month and will print a limited number to distribute. The info will also be posted on our blog (but not till later). We also have some beautiful hand-printed Squash the Heat posters that we’ll sell for $2.

Grace Aberdean’s First Friday event tomorrow night (search “Grace Aberdean Habitat Alchemy” on facebook) will feature hors d’oeuvres provided by Homegrown Alabama. Stop by 2124 9th Street between 7 and 9 p.m. for food, drinks, plenty of artwork by locals, and music by Brice Miller and the Mahogany Brass Band.

See y’all, and don’t let the heat scare you away! We’ve got plenty of shade to go around.

Andrea

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