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Decatur is greater! We spent the past two weekends in Decatur, GA and had such a fun time spreading our mountain grown goodness to the Atlanta area.

The AJC Decatur Book Festival is a two day event on the historic downtown square in Decatur, GA.  Celebrating its 11th year, this is the largest independent book festival in the United States.  The festival is family friendly, diverse and well organized, with authors from around the world.

 

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Our booth was part of the Georgia Grown pavilion and we enjoyed catching up with AmericasMart alums from Oliver Farm and Pecan Ridge Plantation, as well as Natalie from Chinese Southern Belle and Georgia Grown Executive Chef Holly Chute.

 

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Rusty Bowers from Pine Street Market was nearby under the Big Green Egg tent with several Eggs fired up and was assisted by friends from the Big Green Egg Culinary Center.

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They kept the Eggs going all weekend with Springer Mountain Farms Chicken, Pine Street Market Bacon, okra, peaches and some other things that smelled heavenly. The Culinary Stage hosted a few of my favorite cookbook authors but spread duty called so I missed Marissa McClellan but caught a few minutes of Peter ReinhartEarth Fare from Emory Point was there with a delicious assortment of cheese as well.

We stayed busy fixing samples and talking with people, so I don’t have many pictures to share with you, nor do I have a report on the other authors and events that were there. I would definitely recommend you attend next year based on our experience there though.

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Photo by Shay’s Food Journey

The weekend following the Book Festival, we participated in the Locals Pop Up Market in The Cook’s Warehouse in Decatur. This foodie paradise has every kitchen item you could ever want, and we joked with each other that it was important not to spend more then we sold that day.  If you’ve never shopped The Cook’s Warehouse, put them on your To Do List, and  your Santa List! With three locations and cooking classes, its a culinary destination.

Decatur, we love you and thank you for a great couple of weekends. We look forward to coming back soon and sharing more of our mountain goodness with you.

 

AmericasMart is one of the largest permanent wholesale trade centers in the world. Located in downtown Atlanta, there are four skyscrapers, some connected to each other with tubes, elevators, escalators and over seven MILLON square feet of showroom space. Wrap your head around those numbers. Mind boggling, especially to a couple of mountain folks like us.

AmericasMart

Being members of Georgia Grown has opened many doors for us, and when they came knocking with the opportunity to be in their booth at AmericasMart, we saw it as a big opportunity. Exhibiting in the Georgia Grown booth, we were at a huge advantage because we didn’t have the expense of building out and transporting a booth set up, we were simply responsible for our table in the booth. Such a fantastic way to experience AmericasMart for the first time. Thank you Georgia Grown for providing great opportunities to your membership!

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Our products pair with cheese and entertaining, so we partnered with Georgia Crafted to showcase their Georgia made cheese boards and we had a delicious display.

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We met people from all over the state, drawn in by the Georgia Grown backdrop. But we also met people from as far away as Alaska, Russia, California, New York, North Dakota. We are still shipping orders to far away states and are tickled to have had such a warm welcome from buyers.

Everyone who is at AmericasMart is required to register, and wear an ID badge that shows their name, business, state and if they are an exhibitor or buyer. We met people there from both national and local media, buyers from large and small gift shops, gift companies, florists, designers, corporations looking for gifts.  If they buy wholesale, they come to AmericasMart! Our booth was in the gourmet food section of the temporary area (there are permanent showrooms there too) and everybody samples their products, so its quite the foodie destination.

There is an army of staff at AmericasMart and every single employee I encountered was both helpful and friendly. There was one day I went upstairs to buy lunch, and got lost trying to find my way back to our booth. Getting lost seems to be a pretty common occurrence, because I ran into Valerie who was there with her husband Clay from Oliver Farm and she was lost too! Luckily, we found a helpful employee who told us how to get back to the temporaries floor. Clark lost his car on the first day, so it wasn’t just me. Clark is the guy who can bushwhack up the side of Mount Yonah, remember every single detail about a mountain bike trail and is the finder of lost stuff, including an iPhone out in a field (don’t ask). All concrete parking structures look alike.

In the sea of people, there were also familiar faces that stopped by. The Pioneer Woman’s BFF, Hyacinth and her daughter Meg  came by, checking out merchandise for The Mercantile. Hy and Meg were quite gracious and humored me by posing for goofy photos.

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Local friends stopped by as did some of our great retail partners. Clark and I both have high school friends at AmericasMart, my friend Tammy was there as well as Clark’s friend Jimbo. We also had some of Clark’s cousins stop by.

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It was a big undertaking, a bit stressful at times, exhausting and rewarding. I can’t wait to go back again in January.

 

We love jamming in Asheville so when Ingles Markets invited us be part of their Taste of Local store event in Asheville, we immediately agreed.

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The Universe, still smiling at us, put one of our favorite west coast bands, The Brothers Comatose at The Grey Eagle that night.

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After a fun sampling event with other local vendors like Annie’s Bread and Roots Hummus in the Ingles deli, we checked into our hotel, and headed out for some more jamming. Clark and I love a walkable town, and were glad to park our car and enjoy some time exploring downtown.

Asheville is a big foodie town, with so many dinner choices! After checking Yelp reviews, we decided to eat at the venue, and the tacos did not disappoint.

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The Grey Eagle has a great sound system and the band really brought a high energy crowd out. Good times indeed.

The band has been out on the road for a while now. In Asheville, they were 3000 miles away from home, so we spread some Unicoi Preserves to them after the show. We’re gone from home a lot and understand a little bit about life on the road.

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#KindnessMatters.

 

 

 

Sunday is our day of rest, at least from selling jelly. We’ve been taking more time to play outside lately and while we were riding at Jackrabbit yesterday, it occurred to me that riding mountain bikes is a lot like selling jelly.

  1. It doesn’t matter how slow you’re going, just keep pedaling/peddling
  2. Keep your head up and look past the obstacles
  3. Look where you want to go and stay focused on looking ahead
  4. Stay balanced, stay centered
  5. Don’t be afraid to put your foot down  sabaselfie
  6. Relax your shoulders, smile and have fun
  7. Rest is as important as working
  8. Shifting gears is necessary
  9. Respect others on the trail and you’ll be respected as well.
  10. The best things in life aren’t easy

 

 

Unicoi Preserves is now two years old!

We celebrated our second anniversary last Saturday at Habersham Winery’s 24th Annual WineFest. It’s a fun event and this year there were 20 different Georgia wineries pouring their wines, as well as live music, great food and vendors.

Reflecting back on the two years we’ve been spreading Unicoi Preserves, I can’t help but think of my friends who have talked about their children going through The Terrible Two’s.

A difficult time for parents, toddlers often become frustrated and have temper tantrums. Toddlers feel overwhelmed learning vocabulary and independence. However, The Two’s are also a fun time, with more interaction, activity and personalities developing. Things that may help the frustrated toddler include outside playtime, naps and snacks.

Good advice for toddlers and jelly makers alike.

Every day is a new adventure for us and we are excited to start our second year with a new website, blog and infinite possibilities.

 

 

Hello again!
We have been jamming and jelly-ing as fast as we can around here, but its time for me to stop, and type a little bit to get you up to speed.
Exciting news!
We are one of 10 amateur cooking teams selected to compete at the Jekyll Island Shrimp and Grits Festival. The event is the weekend of September 18 and we’ll be cooking on Saturday.
Cooking with local ingredients is important to us, so we have developed a delicious recipe that uses our award-winning Georgia Apple Cider Pepper Spread, as well as several other Georgia Grown foods.
Our friends at Nora Mill Granary are the official grits sponsor this year, and they are the only grits that I’ve cooked with for over 20 years, so I feel pretty confident with the grits portion of our dish.  Recipe development is fun, but finding local shrimp in our beautiful mountains is not possible, cause, you know, its the mountains, duh! We don’t buy pond raised shrimp from overseas, so locally, we haven’t had any luck buying shrimp for our recipe. Luckily, we are out and about pretty frequently to Atlanta, so I was able to buy wild caught Georgia shrimp at Buford Highway Farmers Market the last time we were there for product demo and they cooked up sweet and tender.
Closer to home, we can find wild caught gulf coast shrimp in Gainesville at the Atlanta Highway Seafood Market. In addition to the seafood market, they have a restaurant as well that serves some of the most well-prepared and delicious seafood I’ve had. You should definitely check them out next time you’re in the area, especially if you enjoy Cajun & Creole spice.
While we are no strangers to competition, this is our first live and timed cooking competition. It would be wonderful to see you on Jekyll Island and have you there to cheer us on. Let us know if you’re coming. If you can’t get away, you can follow along virtually through our hashtag for the event, #UnicoiPreservesGoodEnough. We’ll be posting to our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram feeds. Keep your fingers crossed that our recipe will be Good Enough to win!

Hi blog readers! We’ve had a hectic few weeks here at Unicoi Preserves Spread Headquarters. Let me get you up to speed!

Back at the beginning of June, we attended the Macon Georgia Grown Farmers Showcase. It was the first time we had been to an event that far south. We got to visit with a lot of the Georgia Grown companies that we’ve gotten to know since the Flavor of Georgia competition and meet a lot of nice people.

As the day grew to a close at the Farmers Market, our smokin’ hot friend Abby J of Abby J’s Blackhawk Salsa, came by with a case of Lane Southern Orchard Ruby Prince peaches and suggested I go buy some as well. Clark tried to say we didn’t have room in the car because he knew how many peaches he’d have to help peel and process but I went ahead and got them anyway. I just couldn’t leave peach country without them, they were fragrant, delicious and perfect for jam.

Unicoi Preserves’ founding principals are based on our belief of  supporting local – farmers and business,  and cooking and eating foods that are in season. As we worked together through that half bushel of peaches, we cooked multiple batches of jam and tweaked our recipe to dial in the ingredients that would allow those sweet Georgia peaches be the number one ingredient, not sugar.

We were able to stay in line with that goal and are proud to introduce Salted Caramel Peach Spread. Weighing in at a mere 20 calories a tablespoon, we are a low sugar product with no artificial ingredients — sweet Georgia peaches lead our ingredients, not sugar. The FDA regulates the name of our products based on the sugar level, so we cannot call it Jam on the label, but you can, I won’t tell!

 

Clark and I had the honor and privilege of being the first overnight guests at the new tree house located at ZipNTime in Helen, Georgia. Camping is one thing, but staying in a treehouse, its even better and is the perfect way to rough it.

We had talked about taking our camp stove and different things we could cook but when we got to Ingle’s and started discussing what to make, we noticed they had fried chicken on sale. Nothing says “Buy Me” on a Friday afternoon after a busy work week like crispy fried chicken and King’s Hawaiian Rolls. We picked up a few other camping necessities like Terrapin Recreation Ale and Jiffy Pop and headed back to the tree house.

Terrapin Recreation Ale for Clark, Habersham Winery Signet for me

There’s a campfire ring by the cabin, so Clark staged our fire, we ate dinner and decided to go exploring on the dirt roads and trails that are throughout the property. There’s a beautiful little creek just steps down from the cabin and the mountain laurel and honeysuckle were blooming beautifully.

After our hike, we came back and lit the fire and enjoyed some beverages, listening to the sounds of the forest. The whippoorwills were calling to each other and I learned that was one of Clark’s Granny’s favorite birds. He said she loved whippoorwills and owls, which are my favorite. We stayed up pretty late talking, reconnecting and watching the flames of the fire dance. There were so many stars and the moon was beautiful.

There is no electricity in the treehouse but there are beds. Wonderful, squishy, memory foam beds. They suggested we bring sleeping bags, but I went full on Martha Stewart and brought pillows,

sheets, a fluffy blanket and quilt. Our bed looked and felt quite cozy. I am a light sleeper but it was so dark, quiet and peaceful that I actually slept through the night.

If you haven’t been up to ZipNTime lately, you may not know about all the enhancements they are working to make your stay so much more fun.

Would you like to stay in the treehouse? They are running a contest until June 8th on Facebook and Instagram. Go on and enter, follow the directions and use #znttreehouse.

I can’t wait to hear about your adventure!

 

Cooking is challenging when your stove is on the fritz but its not impossible.
I made this tasty, spicy & sweet slaw using our award winning Georgia Apple Cider Pepper Spread to accompany The Pioneer Woman’s Spicy Dr. Pepper Pork that I cooked in our crockpot.
 Clark got this crockpot when he went away to college in 1986 – 29 years ago! It still works perfectly, unlike our fancy Electrolux stove that we bought in 2011!
Here’s what you need

Unicoi Preserves Apple Cider Pepper Spread + Duke’s Mayo + Georgia Grown Vidalia Onions = Yumm-O!

2 Granny Smith apples, 1 grated, 1 chopped (1 apple was late to the party & missed the photo shoot)
1/2 Vidalia onion, grated
Finely diced jalapeno, optional *
Salt & pepper to taste
Mix the ingredients in a large bowl & refrigerate for flavors to blend.
*I omitted the jalapeno this time because the pork was spicy enough for our taste. The sweetness of our Unicoi Preserves Georgia Apple Cider Pepper Spread and the tartness of the Granny Smith apple combined with The Pioneer Woman’s recipe is the perfect trifecta for dinner on Taco Tuesday.

We live and work in a vacation destination but often lose sight of that and sometimes work more then we play.

Last week, we changed that and kicked off the start of a fun weekend by going zip lining at ZipNTime with our friends from Habersham Winery.

I was apprehensive about going at first and didn’t mention being invited to Clark right away because I knew he would want to go. The more I thought about it, though, the more I knew it was silly to be afraid. It’s healthy to have respect for dangerous things but ZipNTime is a professionally built and maintained venue, not some third world set up built in banana trees.

We had a little liquid courage in the ZipNTime event center and as part of Nacoochee Village, they serve Habersham Wine, beer and Ivy Mountain Moonshine.

Afterwards, we headed outside to get geared up with harnesses and safety equipment.

The staff was very friendly and helpful explaining things  and helping us get into our harnesses.

After some laughs and lots of pictures, we loaded up into the military transport vehicle and headed out on to the course.

Along the way, we stopped at a treehouse they have built on the property that will be on a nightly rental program soon. Can you imagine sleeping outside in a treehouse in the forest, listening to the whippoorwills around a campfire, hiking private trails and enjoying solitude so close to town, yet so far?

It’s quite lovely, I must say! Look for a blog post about our stay in the treehouse soon.

We piled back into the transport and headed up to the start of the zip adventure. I was very nervous but I wasn’t the only one who was worried.

As we prepared to zip, I thought, don’t live in fear, go for it! Taking the step off the platform was not easy and as I was zooming through the sky to the next platform, there might have been some screaming heard throughout the Sautee Valley.

As we went from platform to platform, I found myself really enjoying it and looking forward to my next turn and the next platform. The forest is so alive and vibrant now.

Mountain laurel are in full bloom, the ferns have come in thickly and the trees have shed their winter drab brown clothes for fresh, lush green ones.

The very last zip line of the day is the longest dual zip line in Georgia. Clark and I got to race on that and I won.  It didn’t hurt that I had a head start and jumped off before him. Ha!
When we got to the last platform, the sun was setting and there were deer on the ground looking up at us. A truly magical scene on a fun Thursday evening!
Thank you Emily for including us and to Danny and the staff at ZipNTime for hosting us. We had a fantastic adventure and you have a first class staff and operation. I will not be fearful the next time we come a zippin’!