Hello Friends and Family,

Link to this year's index by clicking here.

Georgia On My Mind Again, Part 9

Back to the Farmer's Market and I'm floored with a blast from the past — honey with the honeycomb in the jar! I have vivid memories of eating this treat at my grandmother's house — it was a staple. Most honey I see in the supermarket now is just that — honey. But in our sanitized modern world, we sometimes forget where our food comes from.

I did a bit of research and here is what was published online by HoneyBeeSuite.com, "According to The ABC & XYZ of Bee Culture, the comb honey era lasted from 1880 to 1915, and was a time when most beekeepers in America produced comb honey. Before the enactment of the pure food and drug laws, liquid honey was frequently “extended” with corn syrup, so consumers preferred honey that came straight from the bees with no human interference. When they ate a chunk of comb honey they knew it was pure, just as the bees had intended.

As time went on, several things happened. Laws came into being that assured better food handling and labeling, honey extraction equipment improved, and beeswax by itself became popular for industrial uses. Beekeepers could make more money by selling the honey and the wax separately. In addition, if a beekeeper re-used his wax combs year after year, he could get bigger crops of honey. It takes a lot of bee-power to make the comb, so providing ready-made comb allows the bees to store more honey."

Another vendor had an array of honeys of different varieties, all lined up like little soldiers.

Now here is something I have never seen at a farmers' market — loofah! Also spelled "luffa", it is the fibrous remains of a ripe and dried vegetable gourd. After drying, the residual flesh can be shaken out and the remains can be used as a scrubbing sponge.

When you look at one, it looks like it was manufactured in some way — not so — it is natural. In fact, when the gourd is small, it can be eaten and is popular in southern and eastern Asia.

They posted a photo of the farmer holding a large gourd before fully ripened and dried.

Ah, my favorite vegetable, corn on the cob. When I was young, like many kids then and now, I was very picky about food. Corn (on or off the cob) was one vegetable that I would happily eat. And even today, if I am lucky enough to get corn just at its mid-summer peak, I am in heaven!

Eggplant, on the other hand was not something my mother forced on us. As an adult, I have learned to eat many vegetables, including eggplant. However, I contend that eggplant does not have much taste and requires a crust and/or coating and/or sauce to make it interesting. Then it can be quite good.

Yellow bell peppers! Bell peppers have a mild, sweet flavor and crisp juicy flesh. When young, most bell peppers are a rich, bright green, but there are also yellow, orange, purple, red and brown bell peppers.

Red peppers pack the most nutrition, because they've been on the vine longest. Green peppers are harvested earlier, before they have a chance to turn yellow, orange, and then red. Compared to green bell peppers, the red ones have almost 11 times more beta-carotene and 1.5 times more vitamin C.

Another batch of hot peppers — but it is the photographic beauty that overwhelms me at this point.

I love this color combination — red (baby tomatoes), white (plastic bags) and blue (berries) with a little bit of green beneath the plastic. Oh, and love the tomatoes and blueberries for eating as well.

The Blairsville Farmers' Market stands on land that was once a homestead. Still standing is this old barn and corral. Life was so different then because the settlers had to do everything themselves — they did not just take the car to Safeway to buy a gallon of milk. They had the cow that needed grass (or hay) and had to be milked twice a day. It also had to be protected from wolves and other predators.

Just below the barn is their vegetable patch. It looked pretty sparse in September, but it is the end of the growing season.

Here is a new addition to the pioneer homestead, a cabin, which we believe was moved to this spot from a nearby abandoned pioneer farm. Work was still going on to reconstruct it as it looked at its heyday. It is hard for me to imagine living in such a small cabin with a family and a couple of dogs — trying to keep warm in the winter and cool in the summer. Life was tough in those days.

To be continued...

Life is good.

B. David

P. S., All photos and text © B. David Cathell Photography, Inc. — www.bdavidcathell.com