Georgia Farms and Their Star Products

Sure, Georgia may be famous for sweet peaches, but the state also lays claim to dozens of incredible farmers, growing everything from pasture-raised meats to succulent strawberries and blueberries. Take a look at some of the star products from Georgia farms.

Jaemor Farms strawberries

Jaemor Farms’ Strawberries

No trip to Georgia is complete without a stop at Jaemor Farms, one of the largest roadside markets across the country. Though this family-owned farm offers more than 50 varieties of produce, its strawberries are perhaps most prized. No surprise, considering more than 12 acres on the farm are devoted to growing 150,000 delicious strawberry plants. Don’t miss their annual strawberry festival, where you can pick your own berries straight from the plant, taste test tons of samples in the market and participate in a strawberry cook-off.

Pearson Farm peaches

Pearson Farm’s Peaches

It would be impossible to talk about Georgia produce without mentioning the iconic peaches; likewise, conversations around Georgia peaches almost always lead back to Pearson Farm, a family-owned farm growing three types of juicy peaches: Clingstone, Semi-Clingstone and Freestone Peaches. You can’t throw a stone without finding these peaches on the menus of some of the best restaurants in town, from Miller Union to BoccaLupo.

White Oak Pastures meat

White Oak Pastures’ Meat

Peruse nearly any local grocery store’s meat case and you’re likely to find grass-fed beef and pasture-raised chicken from White Oak Pastures, a 145-year-old, 1,000-acre farm in South Georgia acclaimed for its sustainable, humane practices. In fact, the multigenerational family farm raises and hand-butchers 10 varieties of meat (cows, hogs, sheep, goats, rabbits, chickens, turkeys, guineas, ducks and geese), not to mention pastured eggs and certified organic vegetables. You can even visit the farm to see for yourself just how special it truly is. There’s even a restaurant and lodging cabins on-site.

Mountain Fresh Creamery milk

Mountain Fresh Creamery’s Dairy

Scott Glover, a fourth generation dairy farmer in North Georgia, has what feels like a stronghold on local dairy products in the state. Not only are his all-natural (read no hormones or antibiotics), non-homogenized milks and ice creams seemingly everywhere, but ask any other local farmer whose milk they drink and you’ll likely hear Mountain Fresh Creamery. Be sure to try their chocolate milk — it’s velvety smooth, and like their whole milk, bursting with delicious creamy flavor.

KateKate is Georgia’s official Culinary Explorer and a freelance food and travel writer for more than 100 publications. Click here to read more culinary content from Kate

Events Commemorating Memorial Day in Georgia

Memorial Day in Woodstock, Georgia

Photo courtesy of Woodstock, Georgia

Start summer 2015 at some of the many weekend events occurring this Memorial Day in Georgia:

May 22-24: Memorial Day Night Paddle at Hard Labor Creek State Park in Rutledge

May 22-24: Memorial Day Mayhem at Little Ocmulgee State Park and Lodge in Helena

May 22-25: Memorial Day Celebration at LanierWorld in Buford

May 22-25: Memorial Day Weekend at North GA Zoo in Cleveland

May 23: Memorial Day Weekend Celebration at Florence Marina State Park in Omaha

May 23: Old-Fashioned Memorial Day at Fort McAllister State Park in Richmond Hill

May 23: Memorial Day Miniature Golf Tournament at Indian Springs State Park in Flovilla

May 23: Volunteer Day – Memorial Day Face Painting at Fort Mountain State Park in Chatsworth

May 23-25: Memorial Day Observance at Andersonville National Historic Site in Andersonville

May 23-25: Memorial Day Weekend – Salute the Troops at Stone Mountain Park

May 23-25: Memorial Day Commemoration at Fort King George Historic Site in Darien

May 24: Memorial Day Celebration at Hightower Creek Vineyards in Hiawassee

May 25: Memorial Day Ceremony at The Park at City Center in Woodstock

May 25: Roswell Memorial Day Ceremony at City Hall in Roswell

May 25: Memorial Day at Fort Mountain State Park in Chatsworth

May 25: Jackson County Memorial Day Parade in Jefferson

May 25: Memorial Day Celebration in Historic Downtown in Senoia

May 25: Memorial Day Commemoration at Fort Morris Historic Site in Midway

Three Must-Try Georgia Farmer’s Markets

By Kate Parham Kordsmeier

We are so lucky to have a state so rife with humane farms and sustainable growers—and, of course, with that comes incredible farmer’s markets in nearly every neighborhood in Georgia. Here are three of our favorites we recommend hitting this season:

Photo courtesy of Community Farmers Markets

Photo courtesy of Community Farmers Markets

Name of the Market: Community Farmers Markets (Decatur Farmers Markets, Grant Park Farmers Market and East Atlanta Village Farmers Market)

City: Atlanta

Dates Open: April through December (check each market’s website for more details)

What to Look For: This non-profit organization has four farmer’s markets, all of which provide fresh, nutritious food options, like organic, free-range, non-GMO products naturally grown within 10 miles of the city, alongside homemade desserts, bath and pet products.

Fun Fact: All four markets also participate in the “Double Your Dollars” Program in partnership with Wholesome Wave Georgia, which doubles food stamp values at the market, and the “My Market Club” program with Georgia Organics, which gives new customers incentives to come back, like $5 spending certificates.

Photo courtesy of Athens Farmers Market

Photo courtesy of Athens Farmers Market

Name of the Market: Athens Farmers Market

City: Athens

Dates Open: Saturdays at Bishop Park from April through December, and Wednesdays at Creature Comforts Brewing Co. from April through November

What to Look For: This warm and welcoming farmer’s market offers a festive mix of growers bringing in-season produce (all of which is either Certified Organic or Certified Naturally Grown) alongside unique prepared foods, local artisans, live music, coffee from local roaster 1000 Faces.

Fun Fact: The famous Farm Cart food truck has been revived and sets up shop at this market, serving their legendary Southern buttermilk biscuits made with organic flour and local meats.

Photo courtesy of Valdosta Main Street

Photo courtesy of Valdosta Main Street

Name of the Market: Downtown Valdosta Farm Days

City: Valdosta

Dates Open: The first and third Saturdays from May through October, and every Saturday in June

What to Look For: This producers-only farmer’s market sets itself apart by mandating that all vendors must grow or hand-make anything they sell (read: there’s no marked-up resale items). Expect a bounty of locally-sourced produce, prepared food items and arts and crafts.

Fun Fact: In an effort to educate the community on healthy eating, fun cooking demos and info-packed takeaways are available on-site.

KateKate is Georgia’s official Culinary Explorer and a freelance food and travel writer for more than 100 publications. Click here to read more culinary content from Kate

A Bargain Beach Trip to Cumberland Island

Cumberland Island National Seashore - Cumberland Island National Seashore

Photo courtesy of Cumberland Island National Seashore

There is a place along the Georgia coast to truly get away from it all, without spending a fortune. Cumberland Island, situated on the Georgia coast is one of the largest undeveloped barrier islands along the Atlantic Ocean.  It has almost 10,000 acres protected by the National Park Service and as you can imagine, that means lots of unspoiled beach, including an eerily beautiful coastal bone yard of graying windswept trees on the south end of the island.

How to Experience Cumberland Island

There are two ways to experience Cumberland Island inexpensively.  Visitors can come for the day, or camp overnight. Day visitors and campers reach the island via the Cumberland Island Ferry from the Cumberland Island Visitors Center in St. Mary’s Georgia and are brought to the Sea Camp Dock. Ferry times are limited and vary depending on the time of year, so be sure to check times before you go so you don’t miss the last boat back to the mainland.

Know Before You Go

A visit to Cumberland Island takes some preparation as visitors are limited and there are no concessions on the island. Start planning and make reservations through the Cumberland Island National Seashore website. This site offers lots of tips for a great visit and information on seasonal tours and activities, so spend some time exploring online before heading out.  There is a lot of walking, and the island is not stroller friendly, so pack the little ones, leave them home, or wait a few years until they can get around on their own. That said, the Junior Ranger program is a wonderful way for kids 5-12 (and kids at heart) to learn about the island, and it’s free. Guests can also collect free trading cards from the Sea Camp Ranger Station. These cards tell a little of the history of the island and are a great, and inexpensive keepsake for kids and adults.

Photo courtesy of @partlyclouded9 via Instagram.

Photo courtesy of @partlyclouded9 via Instagram.

Biking to Dungeness
To truly explore the island, you need a bike and a good pair of walking shoes. Bikes are available for rent at the Sea Camp Dock from the deck hands on a first-come, first-served basis.

Our favorite destination on Cumberland Island is the Dungeness Ruins, the remains of Lucy Carnegie’s island mansion. Lucy, whose husband Thomas was the brother and business partner of steel magnate Andrew Carnegie, once owned 90 percent of Cumberland Island and built grand homes for her children, including Greyfield, which is now an Inn.

The main home at Dungeness was burned in a fire the island’s feral horses still like to munch the grass on the front lawn. Be sure to check out the out buildings as well. I found the laundry fascinating, not only because of the cleaning machines on display, but the innovations in cooling. It must have been sweltering hot to wash clothes in the heat of a Georgia summer. However, the air in Dungeness’ laundry was probably (relatively) cool because of the height of the ceiling and fans that pulled the hot air out of the building.

SueSue Rodman is Georgia’s official Smart Travel Explorer and the editor and publisher of the award-winning family travel blog Field Trips with Sue. Click here for more Smart Travel content from Sue.

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Tent Camping in North Georgia

tent camping north ga

We’re gearing up for our first camping trip of the season. Our family heads into the North Georgia mountains, where the temps are still cool and the bugs have yet to show themselves. When we pick a family campsite, we require three things: Water in which to play; toilets, no matter how primitive; and drinking water.  With that in mind, here are five North Georgia campgrounds that work well for families.

Enota Mountain Retreat in Hiawassee. Trout fishing, waterfall hikes and seasonal activities such as animal feedings, hayrides and organic garden tours ensure the family is never bored. Tent sites are available along the stream, with a fire ring, water and electricity. A playground, trampoline and bathhouse with hot water and laundry facilities are close by. Primitive sites, RV sites and cabins are also options for the family here. Click here to see more photos of our Enota adventure: 365atlantafamily.com/enota

Lake Conasauga in Chatsworth. Camp near this beautiful spring-fed lake, the highest in Georgia. The area is remote, and campers enjoy fishing, swimming and hiking. Flush toilets are centrally located, and drinking water hydrants are situated around the grounds.

Doll Mountain in Ellijay. Hailed by amateur astronomers as a dark-sky observation point, you’re sure to love the immense night sky here. This full service campground includes electrical hookups, restrooms, showers, vending machines and a playground. Enjoy boating, stargazing, relaxing at camp, hiking or mountain biking at the nearby Rec Area.

enota1

Allatoona Landing Marine & Resort in Cartersville. Here you will find perfect beginners-camping for water sports lovers.  Playgrounds, a pool and fishing keep the kids busy.  Enjoy a bathhouse with showers, boat launch, a laundry room and free Wi-Fi. Each site includes electricity and water. Camper sites, RV hook up, and cabins are available too.

Long Ridge Campground in Hiawassee. Pick tent camping or full service hookups at this campground on almost 10 beautiful wooded acres with two lovely creeks. There is also a bath house with hot showers and flush toilets, a catch and release pond on site, a camp store and free Wi-Fi. 24-hour on site managers help you feel at ease.

Looking for additional camping options? I teamed up with the Georgia Outdoor Explorer and created a list of 52 Campgrounds in the North Georgia Mountains.

LesliLesli is the Georgia’s official Family Explorer and the owner of 365AtlantaFamily, which offers a daily dose of inspiration for metro-area families. Click here for more Family content from Lesli.