Know the Source of Your Food aka Support Your Local Farmer – Marcella The Cheesemonger International Guilde des Fromagers
Read My Latest Blog Entry

Know the Source of Your Food aka Support Your Local Farmer

Beets at Jan and Zen’s Garden

I’m was kinda late coming to this party; but I guess it’s better late than not showing up at all, right?

Only nine years ago, I fell into the cheese biz while working part-time in the deli department of Kroger’s Fred Meyer in the Pacific Northwest. While, I had been cooking most of my life… in fact, The Man says he fell in love with me the first time I cooked for him: Baby Back Ribs with Spinach Salad. But I had never given much thought to where my food came from or who produced it. As I studied cheese, I began to realize that who is making our food is as important as the product… know what you are putting in your mouth…how it was made and where its ingredients come from… sometimes not as easy as it sounds…

Inside one of her four tunnels

Since moving to Northeast Georgia, I have become more determined to know the source of my food. Supporting local cheesemakers has always been at the top of my website “agenda” and The Man and I were members of a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) while in Vancouver. Here is Georgia, we joined another CSA in late 2015 and now we go to the farm to “fetch” our produce and farm fresh eggs… once you’ve had farm fresh eggs, there’s no going back to those pale ones you buy at the store… they don’t even resemble each other…

I am eliminating more and more processed food items; buying more organic products, especially beef and chicken; growing more of our food and being an active member of Jan and Zen’s Garden, a local CSA. I’m also getting rid of ingredients I can’t pronounce and have no clue what they are… I figure they are designed to extend the shelf life of the product… sometimes I wonder if those ingredients are pickling my insides… I also suspect they are contributing to new childhood allergies and syndromes that didn’t exist fifty years ago.

Seedlings getting ready to go out-of-doors

Yesterday, as I do most weeks, I had the joy of visiting with Farmer Jan Taylor, a retired High school Physical Education Coach, who incidentally weighs the same today as she did the day she graduated from college. After touring her twenty-five acre farm, which she primarily works alone, it’s easy to see why she still has her svelte, healthy figure. Jan has farmed all her life and when she retired fifteen years ago, she decided to become a farming hobbyist… as with many hobbies, it became a mania. You can find Jan at the Lavonia Farmers’ Market on Wednesdays and often at the Hartwell Farmers’ Market. She is a member of the Lavonia Garden Club plus the Hartwell Botanical Group… not sure how she finds the time for all of this, but somehow she does.

Jan has a 6000 gallon rainwater harvesting system and makes her own compost. Sadly, the

The rain-catching system – holds 6000 gallons.

water system didn’t get as much use with the drought plaguing us this year. Because of the short water supply, at our house, we are feeding a family of deer, sometimes as many as eleven show up at dusk, along with raccoons, opossums, squirrels, chipmunks, birds and the occasional red-tailed fox. The number of visitors has increased as the water supply has decreased, making their food sources dry up.

One of her more fascinating gardens is her mushroom garden. She drills holes in logs, plants the fungus in the hole and seals the holes. The fungus eats the insides of the logs and creates shiitake mushrooms.


We’ve had a mild winter here and Jan has sprouted many of her seeds and the plants are outside “hardening off” before she transplants them into the soil. She has four “tunnel” greenhouses filled with produce at various stages of growth with planting going on most everyday. She’s nothing short of amazing… she works from “can’t see to can’t see” and loves it. Just walking her farm and seeing the “fruits of her labor” wears me out… I am planting and planning my garden now, but it’s nothing compared with Jan’s…

Shiitake mushrooms

Her farm is organic; organic pesticides, compost, dirt and active work to keep everything growing and healthy. Due to the severe drought, she did cancel the weekly deliveries during the past few months but is about ready to go back on-line… and we are thrilled… her spinach is the best; her strawberries are the best; her lettuce is the best… let’s face it, everything she grows and harvests is the best… if you have the opportunity to join a CSA, you should and if not, be sure you buy as much as you can at your local Farmer’s Markets… it just beats the hell out of what you can buy at the average grocery store… Whole Foods Markets come close… but not quite close enough…

Farm fresh eggs

We also get our eggs from Jan; they come from a local farmer who lets the chickens roam free… the way God meant for the chickens to live. But beware…once you start eating farm eggs, you’ll never buy another grocery store egg… there’s no going back…

If you live in the Lavonia area and want to visit Jan and buy produce and eggs from her, her farm is located at 77 Grady School Road at the corner of the road between Lavonia and Royston. Call first at 706 356 0238. Leave a message and she’ll call you back when she comes in from the fields.

%d bloggers like this: