Farm in the Spotlight. What's at the Market?
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Saturdays to September 28 | 8 am to Noon
Beargrass Christian Church, 4100 Shelbyville Road

Farm in the Spotlight 
Harmony Fields Farm

Harmony Fields Farms is our Spotlight Farm this week.  Located in Shelbyville, KY, this 34 acre farm owned by Larry and Beth Brandenburg is in tune with nature.  The whole family is musical and the name celebrates that fact as well as the natural harmony between our Creator and creation.  A certified organic farm, Harmony Fields, is one of only about 100 certified farms in Kentucky.
The bio diverse soil of an organic farm is what drives the engine. Organic farmers manage their crops by following specific practices in order to be certified by the US Department of Agriculture National Organic Program which regulates farming in the U.S.  Cultivating the soil involves preparing to prevent disease and pests through building soil fertility and microorganisms.  Organic farmers use many different cover crops to cultivate.  There is a lot of transparency in organic farming with detailed record keeping and yearly audits.  Most organic farmers, like the Brandenbergs, are drawn to this transparency.  In addition to the yearly inspections, there are surprise visits and soil testing and buffers to make certain there isn't any spray drifts from neighboring farms pesticides.
Larry jokes that he became an organic farmer at the age of 13 while working tobacco on his grandparents farm.  He quickly realized the spray they used for controlling "suckers" (Removing the tops of tobacco plants removes the dominant influence of the terminal shoot over the lateral shoot, or the sucker.  If left unchecked, the suckers can reduce yield and quality of tobacco.  Most farmers treat the suckers with chemical sprays to control sucker growth on tobacco plants) was making him sick.  When Larry and Beth bought their first farm a dozen years ago, they knew they wanted to be organic.  Larry was passionate enough about it to help found the Organic Association of Kentucky (OAK) in the 1990s and was Chairman for 5 years.  Both Beth and Larry grew up farming and it was only natural for them to come back to their rural roots after Larry spent 15 years as a college professor.
The Brandenbergs believe that certified organic farming is the most sustainable of all systems, including benefits for health, the environment, and even economic stability.  When sustainability is built in it's unnecessary to rely on external inputs such as pesticides and other chemical enhancers.  Larry quips, "Being in tune with nature is the best way to be. Since we are all musical, it also fits."  The Brandenbergs' two children are also musicians and they all work the farm.
Larry describes it as wanting to "do something" for issues of food justice and for the earth, farming fits in with their belief system.  They raise flowers, vegetables and herbs of all types, many are heirloom. On a recent Saturday morning they were selling culinary herbs in a cutting garden planter made from 140 year old poplar wood sourced from Beth's grandparents' farm in Breckenridge County.  Everything about it was sustainable and recycled.

What's at the Market this week?

Last week, Chris Coulter, of Coulter's Good Earth Farm, introduced us to North America's super food, the Aronia berry. Find out more about Aronia in the recipe below. Photo by Dan Dry

Delicious eggplant are plentiful now. Late August finds green beans, cantaloupe, watermelon, and other fruits. Tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, and hot and sweet peppers, beets, and winter squash abound. Cut flowers, muffins, bread, salsa, cheese spreads, rolls, croissants, nut and seed butters, soaps and lotions. Healthy dog treats. Corn will be in until mid-September. Beef, honey, eggs, peaches, peppers, kale, cabbage, potatoes. We are seeing a few early pumpkins.

Our musical guest is Down to Earth. Alternate vendors are: Daily Cake, Kandies of Kentucky, Horseshoe Bend, and Beaded Treasures..

Featured Recipe
Smoothies with Aronia Berries

North America's super food, the Aronia berry, is an astringent berry with incredible restorative properties, and commonly called the chokeberry. You can use them in smoothies or the Coulter's make and sell both a syrup and a jelly blended with Aronia. 

The deep purple color of Aronia melanocarpa (see What's at the Market photograph above) has attracted a lot of scientific attention. Purple fruits by virtue of their color are rich in the category of antioxidants known as anthocyanins. These pigments demonstrate potent cell-protective properties, and are also anti-inflammatory, helping to reduce systemic inflammation – a key factor in the development of chronic diseases.
But this is just the start of the benefits offered by aronia. Digging more into the compounds found in this native berry, scientists have found a number of more specific agents.Combined, these specific agents in aronia are anti-bacterial, anti-viral, and anti-diabetic. They fight the formation of arterial plaque and lower serum cholesterol, and they protect the liver against a host of insults and toxins.  In our ever-increasingly diabetic society, aronia’s compounds help to lower blood sugar and improve the body’s own natural production of insulin.

You can think of aronia as the King Kong of antioxidant berries. Add some to your smoothie today, following this great advice from the Washington Post about how to layer ingredients in your smoothie.

Layer 1-2-3
Pour liquids in first for efficient blending; then add powders such as protein mixes and dried greens.
Add soft and hard produce, and fibrous foods such as nuts and dried fruits, then frozen fruits.
Ice goes in last to help pull all the other ingredients down into the blades for even mixing.

For personal blenders in which you invert the cup onto the blade assembly, reverse this process.

Grower in the Spotlight
Pure Pollen Flowers

Pure Pollen Flowers is a full-scale flower business featuring locally-grown and native flora. They do custom arrangements for events, weddings, and holidays and design bouquets featuring local flowers grown at Foxhollow Farms in Crestwood, Kentucky.  Christy O' Donnell is the smiling face behind the brand and you can find her flowers in a booth just off Shelbyville Road. She started Pure Pollen in March of 2013 with a little startup money and the desire to join the St. Mathews Farmers Market when it opened in May. 

A previous flower vendor was leaving town so with four years’ experience at a flower shop, Christy began growing flowers on Les Snyder’s Family Farm in LaGrange. She says, “Les is an amazing farmer with loads of experience. He taught me so much.” When asked why “Pure Pollen,” Christy says she wants everyone to know bees are very welcome to the safe, pure, pollen from her flowers which are never sprayed with pesticides.

From mid-May to late October, you can find Pure Pollen grown flowers at the Phoenix Hill Farmers Market at Fresh Start Growers Supply from 3pm-7pm pm every Tuesday, the Schnitzelberg Farmer's Market from 9am-1pm every Saturday, and the St. Matthew's Farmer's Market. They also offer wholesale flowers sold in bulk to other florists and event vendors. Visit their website at or email

Maker in the Spotlight

Garey Farms Breakfast
Garey Farms is an original farm celebrating all 13 seasons at the Market. This is their fifth-year cooking breakfast for the Market’s more than 2,000 guests a weekend.  Garey Farms breakfast offers freshly made yeast rolls from Triple J Farm or sourdough bread from Wildflour Bakehouse, with eggs from Jackson's Produce, bacon, and sausage from Garey's own farm, or country ham.  They also do a breakfast scramble with cheese. Fresh sliced tomatoes are available upon request.

Dave Garey mentioned to Market Committee Chair, Dale Mercker, that he would like to cook at the market, in hopes it would help in marketing Garey Farm’s pork and eggs. When a vacancy opened in the cooking area, a partnership between Dale and Dave was created. Dave says, “It has been a great partnership and friendship.”

Friendships among farmers and customers are what the Market is all about. Dale says, ““We look forward every week to seeing our friends, both farmer, vendor and customers. Interacting with them while we make a delicious breakfast for everyone is the highlight of our day.”

Great tasting food starts with great ingredients. The bacon comes from the hogs the Gareys’ raise and is cured and smoked by Boones Butcher Shop in Bardstown.  Dave wanted condiments to serve with breakfast, so, just like everything else he does, he started from scratch, making his own mustard and hot sauce. It is delicious and you can take some home for your table. Bacon and sausage are for sale by the pound as is the sauce.

Dave Garey sums it up best, “I love talking with the other vendors weekly and talking with all the customers every Saturday. I have gained a lot of friendships at the market; it's just a joy to be at the Market every week.”
Honey Tasting is coming September 7. Many of our farms cultivate honey and tyou will have the opportunity to taste the flavor varieties inherent in honey production.  September is National Beekeeping Month and much has been reported in the news about the decrease in the number of honeybees in America and the world.  Bees are responsible for pollinating 80% of our flowering crops which constitute 1/3 of everything we eat.  Losing them could affect not only dietary staples such as apples, broccoli, strawberries, nuts, asparagus, blueberries and cucumbers, but may threaten our beef and dairy industries if alfalfa is not available for feed. 
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