Osage Farms, located on Hwy 441 North in Rabun Gap, is just one of a handful of local farms that call Rabun County home. While I haven’t visited any one of those other spots, I imagine that Osage is one of the better options for fresh produce in the entire state of GA, let alone Rabun Gap.
Roughly a month ago, the AJC asked everyone to identify the best place to get produce in and around Atlanta. The resulting lists contained all of the usual suspects. The DeKalb Farmers’ Market and the Peachtree Road Farmers’ Market showed up on both top 5s, while the Morningside Farmers’ Market showed up on the staff section. Meanwhile, two or three people chimed in regarding this highway side farm some two-hours drive from the heart of Atlanta.
To be honest, I didn’t spend any time reading those comments during my initial perusal of the lists. Only when I started my internet search for supplemental information on Osage did I take notice of those brief moments of zealous admiration. After my pit stop at Osage Farms early this week, I must agree with the gentleman who identified himself as Cliff Walker, this place rocks it like a hurricane!
Open 7-days a week, you can shop at Osage From May 1st through Halloween. If you’re around during December, word around the campfire is that they host a “choose and cut” Christmas tree service. The stand itself is a large, open-aired, shotgun building. There are a couple of cash registers (credit card is accepted), and the rest of the space is dedicated to the plethora of produce options. Meanwhile, a little hut sits off to the side – but more on that in a bit. The parking area is pretty large, but even at 5pm, we found the place bustling with customers. I would not be surprised if space here was at a premium during peak hours.
Inside, there are a bevy of options, depending on what is fresh and available. We saw piles of potatoes, beans, peas, ears of corn, peaches, and tomatoes. To my dismay (but not to my surprise), the table of Heirloom tomatoes was sparsely populated by the time we got there. We still managed to grab a few. Closer inspection of each item produced a bouquet of freshness. Over by the cabbage cart, I found one of the pickers enjoying some down time. Though my Spanish was a bit dusty, we had a nice little chat. He had been there for sometime and was glad to be at Osage. He was very supportive of the operation, the hours, and the working conditions. With all the bad out there on the current state of our food system, Osage is a distinct light at the end of the tunnel.
My biggest disappointment was my inability to grab at least a little bit of everything. As I was headed out of town the next morning, I had to rely on Papa Buddha for reports on the quality. My one saving grace was the peach I snacked on after our Lobster Thermidor dinner. I must say, the peaches were straight out of hell! They were so damn juicy that I’m nearly certain someone sold their soul just to create something so delish. In fact, had I thought about it, I’d have heisted my father’s haul … but alas, I was unable to fit any more food in my belly for desert.
Against the far wall, there were shelves of fresh honey, jams, jellies, pickled items, and barbecue sauces. The jams and such were labeled “Jodie’s Jams and Jellies.” I snagged quite a few and sampled some of the Red Raspberry before I jumped out of town. Awesomeness abounds with this stuff. Sweet and thick, the jam seemed sweetened only with the flavor of the fruit. Though I’m no expert on the process of making a jam or jelly, I’m always partial to things that taste naturally sweet.
Last but not least, I grabbed a bottle of Tomlin’s BBQ sauce. Tomlin’s Barbeque is a free standing hut that shares space with Osage. From May until October, you can grab some Tomlin’s on the weekends. However, they are available year round for catering. I cracked my bottle of the vinegar based sauce as soon as I got home. It was balanced, tangy, and seemed to be well suited for any task.
Rational thought tells me that I’m unlikely to get back soon, it’s just the way I am. While the aforementioned Farmers’ Markets are more than sufficient, if you are one of those ardent produce lovers who will gladly drive any distance to get top notch goods – Osage is certainly worth it. For anyone making the trip up to Highlands, NC, consider Osage Farms a required stop.
Osage Farms Address & Information
5030 Highway 441 North Rabun Gap, GA 30568 // 706.746.6952
Tomlin’s Barbeque Restaurant Address & Information
5030 Highway 441 North Rabun Gap, GA 30568 // 706.746.2690 // Tomlin’s BBQ Website // Tomlin’s BBQ Mail Order
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