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Harris Blackwood: Farm fresh food arriving to store shelves soon
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The very best of Georgia is about to arrive at a grocery store or farmer’s market near you.

In just a few days, Georgia watermelons and cantaloupes will be ready for us to enjoy. It has been a good spring in Georgia with the right combination of rain and sun to give us a good harvest.

Vidalia onions, which went on sale in April, are in good supply, as are sweet corn, peas and all sorts of peppers.

Also coming in fresh are red ripe Georgia tomatoes. The tomatoes we get from elsewhere are picked when they are green and are ripened with chemicals. But we have the kind of beautiful ripe tomatoes that belong between two slices of fresh bread and complimented by mayonnaise, salt and pepper.

My work neighbor, Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black, and his marketing staff have done a marvelous job of making the “Georgia Grown” brand synonymous with wholesome goodness and high quality. You’ll see it in some supermarkets that feature our homegrown products. Other items such as sauces, jams and jellies have been selected to wear the “Georgia Grown” brand.

The Subway sandwich chain recently featured Georgia Grown products on their TV commercials along with real Georgia farmers who grew them. It was a point of pride for our state.

Also arriving on the scene are Georgia peaches. We are called the Peach State, not because we grow the most peaches, but rather the best peaches.

We had relatives recently visit from Alaska and I churned some fresh peach ice cream. They have a lot of things in Alaska, but not fresh peach ice cream.

A number of local farmers markets feature products grown here. Places such as the Jaemor Farms market let you get peaches, strawberries and other fresh items right from the factory. Of course, the factory is a peach tree that requires the right amount of sun, rain and prayers that a late season frost won’t damage the fruit.

The area around Cordele off Interstate 75 is considered to be the Watermelon Capital of the World. To the best of my knowledge, the little rover that explored Mars did not find any evidence of watermelons. Therefore, Cordele may very well be the Watermelon Capital of the Universe.

If you’d like to see watermelons in their native territory, head to Cordele in a week or so. It’s about a three-hour drive and would make a nice day trip. You’ll also find plenty of other fresh vegetables grown nearby. Your kids might like the whole notion of seeing where fresh Georgia grown food comes from.

I’m a tad partial to our state’s products. Agriculture is our state’s No. 1 industry with our poultry accounting for a large portion of that. But the work of our row crop farmers is now on display with others, such as peanuts, appearing on the scene later this year.

We are blessed by the hard work of those who plow the land, take the risk and grow our food. What we have right now is the purest food straight from the farm to the table.

Enjoy it while you can.

Harris Blackwood is a Gainesville resident whose columns appear on the Sunday Life page and on www.gainesvilletimes.com.