Jarhead Farm owner Cliff Porter uses a mulch of rotted hay to bring beneficial microbes to the soil and discourage weeds. Porter’s one of more than a dozen local vendors who participate in the Clarkesville Farmer’s Market. The market is open Saturdays through October from 9 a.m.- 12 noon at 683 Grant Street next to Old Clarkesville Mill.
Jarhead Farm has entered its second year of farming as a Certified Naturally Grown farm, a certification that helps build the organic movement by including small farms. Jarhead Farm is one of 4 in Stevens County with this designation.
Farm Manager Cliff Porter sought out this national certification to highlight his commitment to promoting clean soil, clean water, and clean food, and to associate with a certification that stays true to the core values of organic farming. He’s been sustainably gardening for more than 50 years without chemical herbicides, pesticides or fertilizers–the same principles maintained by the Certified Naturally Grown (CNG) organization of like-minded farmers.
Certified Naturally Grown (CNG) is a certification program for direct market farms using natural practices, and selling in their local communities. The CNG program is the grassroots alternative to certified organic with site visits and inspections by peer farmers.
“I have not used a plow or tiller in the gardens for years,” says Porter. Instead, he uses a heavy mulch to fertilize the soil and to build the organic content. “A healthy soil promotes healthy plants, resistant to insects and disease, and it grows the best tasting produce,” he explains. “Yes, a tomato actually tastes like a tomato from your grandparent’s farm!”
You can purchase Jarhead Farm produce at the farm, on weekdays after 5pm, and on weekend afternoons, at 70 Stonewood Court in Toccoa. You can also find them at the Clarkesville Farmers Market at the Old Clarkesville Mill every Saturday morning until noon from May-October.
Jarhead Farm is also a member of Northeast Georgia Locally Grown (NGLG), an online chemical-free market that gathers and distributes the freshest local vegetables through centers in Gainesville, Clarkesville, and Tiger, Georgia. If you’re interested in participating, visit northeastgeorgia.locallygrown.net.
“Being an original Hippie, it was my generation that coined the word ‘organic’…though we may not be wearing beards, puka beads or bandanas anymore, we never lost sight of our organic objectives.”