Mandy and Steve O’Shea’s farm in Comer takes sustainability to a new level, running on 100% solar energy, with equipment powered by recycled cooking oil. The O’Sheas grow organic fruits and flowers and sell them at the Athens Farmers Market. They sell their frozen-fruit Honeypops year-round.
How has Athens changed since you entered the farmer’s market scene?
Athens itself has blown up with student housing and in my perception, an expansion of chain restaurants and stores. There’s a tug of war between the underlying beautiful soul of this town and the sway and allure of big businesses. The foodies, growers and Athens chefs are doing an amazing job at pouring their hearts into the integrity of our local food systems.
Where do you like to eat in Athens?
We don’t get off the farm much, but we tend to go to places where we know the chefs and know they are using local and organic ingredients. Some of our favorites are Donna Chang’s, home.made, Heirloom, The National, 5&10, White Tiger and Polleria Pablo.
What’s a non-food place you recommend?
The State Botanical Garden of Georgia is incredible. We also encourage people to step out a little bit — to head out to Watson Mill State Park and Neat Pieces Antiques in Carlton.
What stands do you visit at farmers markets?
Every single one! While at the market, we fill our bellies with delicious baked goods from Comerian Bakery and savory biscuit sandwiches from Farm Cart. We’ll cool off with a yummy green juice from Journey Juice. We get our soaps from Farmington Herbals and are enamored with the work of Women Who Weave.
What fruits/other foods are you currently selling at the markets? (Or do you just sell flowers at the farmer’s markets?)
We sell our fruit all year in the form of Honeypops. They are frozen juice pops made with just organic fruit and herbs that we grow on the farm, mixed with a bit of local honey. They are ridiculously good. The kids keep us busy handing them out on warm days. We also turn our shiitake mushrooms into a couple of wonderful savory seasonings and we make an incredible blend of chai that we sell by the bag. Both Buvez and 1000 Faces serve it by the cup. The lion’s share of what we sell at market though is our beautiful flowers. They certainly bring smiles to customers and passersby … and to us.