Georgia on my mind
August 20, 2015
And on my stove. And in my oven. And my laundry room. And my carport.
Enough Georgia, in fact, that I will be working myself pretty steadily for two or three days (counting today) until I put up all the marvelous produce I brought back from the southern tip of the Appalachian Mountains.
If any of y’all ever have a chance to go to Rabun County, GA (google it), I urge you do so. It’s a lovely spot. Good restaurants. Good shopping, both there and in the region. Cool touristy stuff. Cool places to sit on the porch and look at nature. Golf and hiking and stuff.
And produce. Dear Sweet Baby Jesus, they have produce.
I’ve been thinking all summer about this trip to Rabun County, where I’m fortunate enough to attend the Janus Forum every year and learn all kinds of good things about my profession, and generally recharge my batteries. Part of the attraction, along with the learning, good friends, and great food (more on that later), is the wonderful bounty I can bring back.
For Rabun County is the home of the Osage Farms Produce Market. And about a dozen other produce markets, at least five of which I stopped at.
I brought home: One 25-pound box of Roma tomatoes, $10. One box of “regular” tomatoes, another 25 pounds, $10. One bag of Silver Queen (!) corn, which purports to be a bushel, but if it is, it’s the biggest damn bushel I ever saw, $18. I’m just about dreading attacking it. A couple of pounds of pole beans. A half a peck of peaches, because, Georgia peaches, even though these allege to be from South Carolina.
I am a happy woman. Albeit a tired one.
We hit the road a little before noon yesterday, after having stopped at Osage and some other produce market where I’d scoped out the Romas the day before. We stopped twice in 504 miles. Two women. Two middle-aged women, at that. We were homeward bound, with produce. You gonna travel with us, you got to hold it.
By 8:30 p.m., I was home, mostly unloaded, and looking to drop anywhere that did not involve pressure on my backside.
Today, I’ve been up to my eyeballs in tomatoes all day. Tomorrow, I will be up to my eyeballs in corn. And maybe more tomatoes, depending on how quickly the corn works up, and I have a notion I know the answer to that. I need to bake some bread, and I need to snap those beans, and I ought to work up some of those marvelous peaches. I also need to do some work type work. We shall see.
You will get details of tomatoes and other stuff later. For now, I’ll entertain you with the culinary details of the conference. Which are always pretty freakin’ awesome.
Sunday night was h’ors d’ouevres with wine and beer on our hosts’ “porch,”, a two-level balcony that wraps around their house on two sides and looks out over Lake Rabun, perhaps one of the most beautiful views in all of Georgia. That was followed by an Italian themed dinner that included lasagna (marvelous!) and chicken parmesan (didn’t try it), with caprese salads. A big ol’ platter of capreses. Guess what I loaded up on.
There were other things. They were good. I don’t recall what they were.
Breakfasts were generally continental type stuff — one morning featured some awesome peach muffins. Another dinner involved fried fish of some description (I think it was trout, maybe), which was OK, and creamed Silver Queen, which was absolutely heavenly, because Silver Queen is heavenly. I had seconds. I may have had thirds, but I will not admit to it. And there was a peach cobbler that was just To Die For.
And one day for lunch, there was fried chicken, chicken breasts from chickens that had been bred to have Raquel Welch/Dolly Parton-esque breasts. With more corn. I’m OK on fried chicken. Give me a choice, I’m likely to choose something else, but I’m OK on it, and this was excellent fried chicken. There was plenty of Silver Queen, which was more important.
My favorite, though, is always the final night dinner, which is a cocktail buffet. All evening long, a continuous stream of these great little bites keep flowing out of the kitchen. Like:
- Tiny little “pizzas,” a crostini with a tomato, some pepperoni and some cheese.
- Tiny little biscuits with a tomato, something green, and some bacon.
- Cocktail rye slices with kraut and corned beef.
- Puff pastry with mushrooms.
- Puff pastry in a cinnamon roll shape with I’m-not-sure-what inside, but it was savory-sweet, and it was good.
- Crostini with shrimp and other stuff (I was full by the time it came around)
- Little toast rounds with salmon mousse
- My personal favorite, crostini with applewood smoked bacon, a peach slice, and feta cheese. I may have eaten more than six of these. We will not discuss how many more than six.
There were more, but that was past two glasses of wine, and I don’t necessarily recall them. But they were all good.
On the way home, we stopped somewhere in the far southeastern regions of Tennessee and I had manicotti, which was the special of the day, for lunch. It was pretty decent. Then I had Twix and Gummy Savers and peanut brittle and potato chips for dinner. And a Diet Cherry Limeade from Sonic. Nutrition R Us.
Anyway. It was a fine trip, and a very excellent trip to the produce markets, and I will enjoy Rabun County all winter long. You ‘n y’mama ‘n ’em should try it. I can promise you will eat well.