4 Locally-Made Georgia Food Products to Try Today

Georgia Grinders

Photo courtesy of Georgia Grinders

Georgia is known for many things—the world’s largest aquarium, America’s favorite soda, sweet and juicy peaches and a burgeoning film scene, to name a few. Add to the list: artisanal, craft food products made from locally-sourced ingredients sure to please any palette. Take a look at four of our favorites:

Bamboo Juices

Bamboo Juices

1. Bamboo Juices: The juice craze is here to stay, but rather than shell out top dollar for juices made in a far-off factory, why not spend your pennies right here in town and pick up a bottle of delicious cold-pressed juice from Bamboo Juice? Based in Serenbe, Bamboo’s organic juices—they also make insanely delicious almond milks (go for the mushroom coffee!) and elixir shots—are made from raw, organic produce primarily grown right on Serenbe Farms soil. Can’t get more local than that!

2. Georgia Grinders Nut Butters: Georgia may be the peanut capital of the world, but shockingly, there are very few Georgia-based craft peanut butters. Atlanta resident, Jaime Foster, changed that when she launched her hand-crafted, small batch peanut butter, Georgia Grinders, earlier this year. Foster’s premium peanut butter contains just two ingredients—non-GMO peanuts from South Georgia and sea salt—and is produced in small batches, only when orders come in. The Georgia Grinders brand also includes other nut butters, like NaturAlmond, an all-natural almond butter, cashew butter and forthcoming pecan and sunflower seed butters.

Little Barn Apothecary3. Little Barn Apothecary: Though not technically edible, this Stone Mountain-based plant-based company, run by self-taught herbalists Joshua Morgan and Brad Scoggins, makes luxurious apothecary goods from wild-harvested, certified organic ingredients that are good enough to eat, from bath soaks and body washes to oils, balms, salves and naturally-scented air waters (we’re partial to the the lemongrass-basil spray, peppermint-eucalyptus soak, and avocado and coconut oil lip balm).

Pop Stars

Pop Stars

4. Pop Stars Popsicles: Finally a dessert that tastes as great as it makes you feel—Pop Stars, an Atlanta-based all-natural popsicle brand made with all-natural, often organic ingredients, is sweetened with cane sugar and made creamy with the addition of rice and coconut milk. They’re vegan, gluten-free, dairy-free and insanely flavorful, especially if you opt for delicious flavors like Chocolate Salted Coconut, Peanut Butter & Jelly and Strawberry Milkshake.

 

 

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

Summer Reading Takes a Field Trip

Make Summer Reading Fun: Bring it to Life!
Getting lost in a good book is wonderful, but sometimes, you don’t want to just read about it, you want to experience the amazing places, and have adventures of your own. You don’t have to travel far to experience your favorite book. In fact, you can do it pretty close to home with pretty much any book.  Below are three ways we’ve experienced the young adult series about Percy Jackson by Rick Riordon.

Once you see how we did it, think about your favorite book. Where do the characters go? Is there someplace near you that looks or feels similar? What do they eat? Can you have a meal or a snack similar to the characters? What adventures do they have? You may not be able to swing through an Amazon jungle, but you could swing through the trees on a local zip line.

Dualing Zipline North Georgia

Dualing Zipline North Georgia

Come face-to-face with Gaea: In the Heroes of Olympus series by Rick Riordon, the Goddess of the Earth Gaea is causing havoc in the world and confusing the gods. Come face-to-face with Gaea at the Atlanta Botanical Gardens where she is immortalized in a giant topiary statue that looks as if at any moment she will raise her eyes and ask in a dreamy voice “what is it you wish from the Goddess of the Earth?” While there, check out the Children’s Garden. Bring a bathing suit and towel during the summer months for young kids to splash in the ‘flower shower’ as my children always called it.

Find Saltwater: In Mark of Athena, Percy and his friends arrive in Atlanta in search of salt water. Not an easy task in a landlocked city. However, their quest finally brings them to the Georgia Aquarium where they get a backstage tour from a strange creature. A behind the scenes tour of the Georgia Aquarium doesn’t showcase mythical creatures, but it does give you a better idea of how the Aquarium works and what it takes to keep such a large operation going. If visiting Atlanta isn’t on your itinerary, you can also visit the Flint RiverQuarium in Albany, or the UGA Marine Education Center and Aquarium in Savannah.

Under the Sea (Georgia Aquarium)

Under the Sea (Georgia Aquarium)

Captain Your Ship: Also in Mark of Athena, Leo captains the Argo II using a Wii remote. You probably have a Wii remote at home, or you can visit a local arcade like we did. Across the street from the Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta is a restaurant arcade called Game X. You won’t find Wii’s, but you will find a pirate ship to captain, as well as pop-a-shots, a giant Connect Four game and multi-puck air hockey to name just a few games. Games X has a kid-friendly menu and a full bar for the adults.

How do you bring summer reading to life? I’d love to hear your stories via Field Trips with Sue on Facebook. Your kids can also earn prizes for summer reading through numerous summer reading incentive programs.

 

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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5 Ways to Celebrate Great Outdoors Month

Great Outdoors Month

Sweetwater Creek State Park

June is Great Outdoors Month and Georgia is celebrating with fun activities all over the state. It’s the best time to explore Georgia’s natural beauty, learn new outdoor skills, and roast marshmallows by the campfire.

Georgia’s Free Fishing Day
National Boating & Fishing Week begins June 6th and continues through the week. Georgia goes fishing all month long with special events at State Parks and Public Fishing Areas. Visit the Go Fish Education Center for some fishing tips, and head out on June 6 & 13 to give it a try. These are Georgia’s “Free Fishing Days,” when fishing licenses aren’t required.

Stone Mountain Camp

Stone Mountain Camp

National Trails Day
June 6th marks National Trails Day! Georgia celebrates our state’s beautiful trail systems with group hikes, guided nature walks, canoe trips, and volunteer trail cleanups. Discover a new trail on this list of events.

Get Outdoors Day
Visit Smithgall Woods State Park, in Helen, for a family-friendly Get Outdoors Day. Visitors will try outdoor sports, meet live animals, and learn about Georgia’s environment in the gorgeous Northeast Georgia Mountains.

Father’s Day
Beat the heat and take Dad on an exciting adventure in Columbus, Georgia! There’s no better way to thrill Dad than riding the rapids or ziplining with Whitewater Express. After the excitement, enjoy a relaxing stroll on the Chattahoochee Riverwalk.

Whitewater Kayaker in Columbus

Whitewater Kayaker in Columbus

Great American Backyard Campout
This super fun annual campout invites families to give camping a chance. Experienced campers can find their perfect backcountry campsite at Chattahoochee Bend or Providence Canyon. First Time Campers can reserve spots at Red Top Mountain and Skidaway Island State Parks. These two parks are part of the First Time Camper program that lends a tent and camping gear. Stone Mountain Park also offers a first-time camping experience, “Ready, Set, Camp,” offering gear and help to set up camp.

 

candycookCandy is Georgia’s official Outdoor Explorer and the author of the blog “Happy Trails Wild Tales.” Click here for more Outdoor content from Candy.

5 Easy Waterfall Hikes for Georgia Families

Fall Branch Falls

Fall Branch Falls

Summer is a time for exploring in nature. Add these five easy waterfall hikes to your adventure bucket list.

Anna Ruby Falls. Two falls are visible from the observation deck, merging into a beautiful creek. The paved walk (stroller-friendly) is lined with boulders and flowering shrubs. Bring change for the fish feeder just outside the visitor center; my kids could not get enough of the jumping trout. You’re adjacent to Unicoi park, offering hikes, a beach and canoe rental.

Amicalola Falls. Little legs will likely not enjoy a climb from bottom to top, but don’t let that stop you from visiting. Drive to the middle of the falls and take a short walk to the bridge overlooking the falls. My son was about 4 years old before we decided to climb the stairs from middle of the falls to the bottom, and then back up.  I carried the baby in a sling. Advanced hikers can also climb up from the middle falls.

Helton Creek

Helton Creek

Fall Branch Falls. This gem is tucked away in Blue Ridge, Ga. The walk is wonderful, with towering trees and beautiful large stones greeting you. You’ll follow the creek all the way to the falls. There are an upper falls and lower falls here. Don’t miss the upper falls like I did. We visited the lower falls and played in the water, but didn’t learn about the upper falls until we were back home.

Helton Creek Falls. From the parking lot you are only about 1/3 mile from the lower falls. Wear your suite, there is a great water play area here. It is one of our favorite summer spots; we bring a picnic, books and shovels for a day of fun. Don’t miss a climb to the upper falls, also. I don’t recommend taking the kids out to the water in this area, but it is fun to view from the deck.

High Shoals Falls. There is a High Shoals Falls near Helen, Ga that is lovely, but this waterfall selection is in Dallas, Ga. Your GPS will take you to the parking lot of an old graveyard. Have no fear, just follow the trail about .25 miles to the falls. Have a picnic, play in the water and have a grand time. You can even climb to the top of the falls like we did!

 

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.

Fan Photo Friday

Submit your Georgia photos for the chance to be featured:

Helen, Georgia by Audie Craig. Submitted via Facebook.

Helen, Georgia by Audie Craig. Submitted via Facebook.

Forsyth Park in Savannah, Georgia by @micpcarlisle. Submtited via Instagram.

Forsyth Park in Savannah, Georgia by @micpcarlisle. Submtited via Instagram.

Gator in the Okeefenokee Swamp by William Merce Photography. Submitted via Flickr.

Gator in the Okeefenokee Swamp by William Merce Photography. Submitted via Flickr.