Mill Gap Farm is in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains of Rabun County. Farm stewards Amy and Chuck Mashburn are dedicated to producing healthy food for others and themselves. As Farmers of the Month for May at Wilbanks Middle School in Habersham County, they fulfill that dedication.
May was the Mill Gap Farmer’s second time that they participate in a taste test at Wilbanks Middle School. There they met with the students, serve their delicious sweet Hakurie turnips and share their agriculture experiences. Taste tests encourage students to use all of their senses to explore fruits, vegetables, and other farm related foods.
Chuck and Amy were one of the first farms to step forward to support the Northeast Georgia Farm to School program. “The implementation of the Farm to School program at Wilbanks Middle School is one of the most exciting and important developments in the local food scene. What a great opportunity for students to learn about and enjoy fresh local food!” exclaims Chuck. Mill Gap Farm is very pleased to have the opportunity participate in this program. “The vision and hard work by the school nutritional director, cafeteria staff, and all involved has been a step beyond the call of duty and is truly inspirational for us” says Chuck.
Presently the farmers utilize about an acre of land to grow a diverse selection of vegetables and fruit. These include old standbys such as potatoes, corn, beans, squash, tomatoes, herbs, alliums, and greens along with the local weeds lambs quarters and amaranth. They also grow Asian specialties such as Hakurie turnips, Buthi gourd, and the under appreciated bitter melon. An additional acre of chemical free hay provides feed for their goats and material for mulch and compost.
Every day on the farm begins with tending to the goats, dog, and chickens. The chicken tractors, movable chicken coops lacking floors, are moved morning and afternoon to provide adequate fresh pasture for grazing. “Harvesting, prepping, and marketing produce takes the lion’s share of time on the farm, and there never seems to be enough time left for the nostalgic old favorite farm chores of planting, cultivating, and especially weeding,” reflects Chuck.
Mill Gap Farm products are available at the Simply Homegrown farmers market at the City Hall complex in Clayton on Saturday mornings. Their products can also be purchased through two online farmers markets, AthensLocallyGrown.net and NortheastGeorgia.Locallygrown.net. “Often our produce is on the menu along with that of other area farms at the Lake Rabun Hotel and Restaurant where it reaches its pinnacle of culinary perfection in the hands of Chef Allred and his staff,” says Amy.