It's the first of September and I have officially lived in Georgia for a year! I survived the face melting heat with limited permanent damage. I have successfully picked up some useful Southern slang, such as "Y'all", "I'm fixin' to" and "Let's have a mess of greens!" I can't put a number on the amount of times those sayings have gotten me through the thick of it. I have met some amazing individuals who have already enriched my life so much and continue to inspire me everyday. I've adopted a strong passion for eating Okra and Field Peas, I have become more social (sort of?), I do not buy beer on Sundays, and I even find myself being overly polite to strangers (who knew!) I think I'm starting to fit in with the local crowd..
Let's not kid ourselves too much here. I'm still a cantankerous Yankee with a bad attitude and no amount of Southern Hospitality can fix what cold weather and broody intellectuals have instilled in me from birth. Let's just say the sunny, sweaty South has certainly taken the edge off! Besides, how could anyone disagree with the beautiful, everlasting fall that is about to be upon us? The 60 degree mornings mixed with the 70 to 80 degree, breezy afternoons are enough to make me fall in love all over again.
Fall finds the farm in a flurry of activity as we seed, transplant, and hoe our way into Autumn Crops. Our animals are starting to get itchy feet as the breeding season is soon approaching. Our youngest chickens are exploring their maternal selves and practicing nesting whilst our eldest chickens prepare for a good molt. The sunshine is still abundant and our Okra, Eggplants, Peppers, and a few other summer delights hang on for the long haul. Our root vegetables recently seeded are coming up furiously, so much so that we will likely have turnip greens at our Peachtree Road Farmers Market on Saturday morning! Fall brings a whole different life to the Southern Landscape. The world seems to go from being tall, colorful, and exotic back to green, lush, and dense. While I will miss Tomatoes, Peppers and Beans, I have to say it feels good to see carrot tops and beet leaves back in the garden. It also feels good to have a boatload of dried chilies from the garden to decorate our up and coming collard greens.
I encourage everyone to continue their gardening and farmers market shopping through the Autumn as the Georgia climate provides happily for a Fall Harvest. I cannot stress enough the importance of eating a local, organic, "whole food" diet. I am not speaking about the grocery store here, I'm talking raw fruits, vegetables and herbs that you cook up fresh, just harvested and full of nutrients. Elliot and I have been attempting to eat less meat, but with the availability of good, local meat to us, it is very difficult. Meat is an excellent source of protein and fat soluble vitamins, but too much is no good for your belly and no good for the planet. I've been hearing a lot of people expressing concern of the fat and cholesterol content of meat and eggs and want to remind y'all that there are good and bad kinds of fat. Generally the fat from an animal that has been corn fed and purposely, quickly fattened or forced into unhealthy egg production contains the bad cholesterol that can make you unhealthy. Animals that have had access to pastures or other natural forages and live a more natural, happy life have fat that contains good cholesterol, and all the fat soluble nutrients they ate from the fresh greens and browse. It is all very simple if you consider it. If something is unhealthy, and you eat it, you will get limited benefit from it. We're finding more and more that it can even make you sick.
Want to be safe from unhealthy, industrial foods? Good meat and eggs from pastured animals in moderation, fresh whole foods everyday, and some physical activity will change your life. There are so many different diets out there that are supposed to cure all ailments and so many new "must have" super foods that trying to be healthy can be somewhat confusing. Anything that advertises the added health benefits on its box is generally compensating for something. Plus, it's in a box! This fall I challenge all of you to stomp over to a Farmers Market and pick up something you don't know how to cook. Flutter through a cookbook and choose your own adventure! Give your kids the best back to school present you can muster, Mustards! Or Kale! Nothing helps a growing mind and spirit like a home cooked meal, tasting of love and earth.