Saturday, May 27, 2017

Columbus GA: Fountain City Coffee

I stopped by Fountain City Coffee to relax with an espresso. The establishment's name refers to the fact that Columbus is the birthplace of Coca-Cola; they naturally pay homage with Coca-Cola umbrellas outside.

Inside, the atmosphere is quiet, calm, artistic, and slightly eccentric. The back wall is adorned with a giant portrait of Klaus Kinski as Aguirre.

These folks roast their own beans. My double espresso was very smooth and refreshing.

The street outside the coffee house is nice, low-key fun. The historic opera house and part of Columbus State University are in the neighborhood. Columbus seems to have always exhibited the pleasant eccentricities of small towns, ones that are all too often steamrollered out by modernization. This fountain is known as the "Man and Beast fountain." The bottom bowl is for dogs, the middle bowl for horses, and the top bowl for people. Those were easier days when such different creatures could co-exist peacefully...

Friday, May 26, 2017

Columbus GA: Minnie's Uptown Restaurant

Today was a beautiful day, perfect for a drive to Columbus. And it was a perfect day for a very nice lunch at Minnie's Uptown Restaurant, paradoxically located south of downtown in the residential historic district. Its beautiful tree-lined streets convey peace and contentment.

Saturday is fried catfish day, so of course that is what I ordered. The catfish was excellent. The meat was tender, moist, and sweet with not a hint of fishiness. The crust was light and crispy, giving a good texture contrast. The greens were very good, the black eyed peas were excellent. That is a corncake on the plate, a traditional Southern variation on cornbread. It was delicious and delightfully salty.

I apologize for the partial portrait, but this is what was left of my fried peach pie when I remembered to take a photo. The fried pie is well-known from the golden arches but its roots are in the South. This one was pretty good but I think that it could have stood a minute or two more in the fryer to crisp up the crust. But overall, this was an excellent, enjoyable, and relaxing meal with extremely gracious service.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Prepping Peaches

Now that I have bought all those peaches, I need to prep them for canning.

I put the peaches into hot water for a few minutes until their skins are loose. The water is steaming but not boiling. About five minutes is usually enough.

Once I pull them out, I take off the skins quickly to help them cool more quickly. After a few minutes, when they are cool enough to handle, I pit them and cut the flesh into pieces.

I then put them into a plastic bag along with a little sugar to absorb the peaches' water. I can freeze the bag until I have a little more time to cook and can the preserves.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Lane Southern Orchards

My quest for peaches took me to Lane Southern Orchards. I visited them last year so I knew that I had to sample their peach cobbler once again. The smell hooks you as soon as you walk in the door.

They do also have peaches so I picked up a box, equal to a half bushel. They were still firm so I let them sit for a couple of days before prepping them for preserves.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Thomaston GA: Slices

Fruit shopping expeditions require fuel. I refueled with a very nice lunch at Slices in Thomaston, across the street from the county courthouse. This is a family-run place with very gracious service. The owner also told me that her husband made sure that the restaurant was easy to navigate for people in wheelchairs.

These fried green tomatoes were great. They had been thinly sliced, lightly breaded, and kissed with just a little bit of gorgonzola or similar cheese. The cheese provided the perfect bite to set off the tomatoes.

This is a mostly veggie pizza with some chicken for variety. the pizza was a little light on sauce, leaning toward a white pizza, but very good. The vegetables were plentiful; I particularly liked the twang of the green olives.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Fitzgerald Fruit Farms

The primary goal of my farm tour was to look for peaches. That's why I went to Fitzgerald, whose signature crop is peaches. This year's peach crop was badly damaged by frost earlier this year, but Fitzgerald did have some in stock. Their farm is at the end of the road. A beautiful cabana sits in the middle of their fields. Several people sat in the shade and chatted. They have a small kitchen, but they were out of strawberry shortcake for my visit.

I bought this half box of small peaches, which equals a quarter bushel. A taste after I made it home showed them to be very flavorful. Since they are destined for preserves, the cosmetics don't matter.

I also scored a bargain on this half gallon bucket of strawberries. The staff told me that I should do something with them right away, so I topped and froze them as soon as I got home. They will also make great preserves.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Moreland GA: Eight Oaks Farm

As part of my effort to better appreciate Georgia agriculture, I took a road trip through middle Georgia. My first stop was Eight Oaks Farm in Moreland. After driving down a pretty side road for a mile or two, guided by signs with strawberries on them, I found the farm with the stand right at its edge. The owner explained that they have pick-your-own strawberries as well as fresh-picked strawberries and other vegetables. I bought a box of strawberries that will reside on top of my pancakes in the morning. I also bought some nice looking zucchini that will grace some future lasagna.