Usher in spring with vegetables from Florida
by Bill Grant
April 25, 2013 12:00 AM | 1379 views | 0 0 comments | 28 28 recommendations | email to a friend | print

Vidalia onions, new potatoes, zucchini, yellow squash and cherry tomatoes from Florida. <br>Special to the Cherokee Tribune
Vidalia onions, new potatoes, zucchini, yellow squash and cherry tomatoes from Florida.
Special to the Cherokee Tribune
Bill Grant
Bill Grant
It has been a beautiful spring weekend in Canton. We spent Saturday in the picturesque foothills of North Georgia, beginning with lunch at Two Brothers BBQ in Ball Ground. It was delicious as usual, and afterward, we stopped in Jasper for the ArtFest celebration.

We strolled Main Street looking at all the art and walked over to the Woodbridge Inn for a craft beer. Hans Rueffert was out front grilling us some mouth watering food, and the grounds were dazzling.

While there, we ran into our friends, Arthur and Amelia McIntyre, and it is always great to see them. Amelia actually started the ArtFest a few years ago with her outstanding work with the Sharptop Arts Association. It’s nice to see this juried show growing stronger every year, and it got me thinking about the upcoming Canton Festival of the Arts. Mark your calendars for May 18-19, and don’t miss this annual event in Brown Park.

From what I hear, the Artist’s Market is totally filled, and there will be a Literary Celebration, Serenity Gardens, Interactive Children’s Experience, and a Beer and Wine Garden.

After we left Jasper, the day was too perfect, so we had to do some more exploring of the back roads. We happened upon a new vintage and antique shop in Talking Rock, and I found some great albums plus a promotional 45 single of Olivia Newton-John’s “Something Better to Do” from 1975.

Needless to say, I was ecstatic with this find, and it took me right back to my early teenage years. Emboldened by my treasure, we decided we were too close to Ellijay not to stop by Cartecay Vineyards. After catching up with our hilarious friend who works there, DeAnna Bagwell, we purchased a nice bottle of 2009 Merlot and enjoyed it on their outdoor patio while listening to acoustic music.

This little vineyard is an unexpected joy, and it’s close enough for a short road trip. Check it out, and tell DeAnna that Bill Grant sent you to listen to some of her outrageous stories.

On our way home, the day just kept getting better when we stumbled upon a quaint little farm stand that featured the season’s first homegrown vegetables from Florida. Apparently, the guy goes down to Florida every week until the produce starts coming in on his own farm in North Georgia.

I bought some beautiful cherry tomatoes, new potatoes, yellow squash, zucchini and some of the season’s first Vidalia onions.

This week‘s Sunday Supper featured all of these vegetables, and I was fortunate to have a Georgia Heritage pork loin in the freezer from Mountain Valley Farm. After doing some gardening this morning, I really worked up an appetite.

Hope everyone’s weekend was equally serendipitous and that you all found “something better to do” than yard work.

The Menu:

* Mountain Valley Heritage pork loin with garlic and rosemary

* Baked bacon-wrapped Vidalia onions

* Baby new potatoes in rock salt water

* Roasted cherry tomatoes

* Parmesan baked squash and zucchini

* Cheddar, sour cream and chive corn muffins

Bacon-Wrapped Vidalia Onions

Ingredients: Vidalia onions Thin-sliced bacon Butter, salt and pepper

DIRECTIONS: Trim the tops and bottom off of the onions. Peel, wash and cut a small well into the center of each onion. Wrap each onion with one to two strips of thin sliced bacon and secure with a toothpick. Add one tablespoon of butter to each well. Salt and pepper, and then wrap each onion in aluminum foil, leaving a small vent at the top for steam to escape. Add to a grill or bake in a 350 degree oven for around 55 minutes. Allow to cool a few minutes before serving.

Bill Grant writes on billssunday
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