I got the first three stamps in my Georgia Farm Bureau Farm Passport on Saturday with stops at Jaemor Farms at Banks Crossing, Jaemor Farms in Alto and Moon Farms Country Market at Colbert in Madison County. I bought strawberries, strawberry jam, salsa, pound cake and lots of vegetables.

This is my third year participating in the Farm Bureau's Passport Program. It's a lot of fun going to some of my favorite farms, like Osage Farm Market in Rabun Gap and Mercier Orchards in Blue Ridge and all of the apple orchards in Ellijay.

I have also discovered some new farms that I love that I would not have known about had I not discovered the Georgia Farm Bureau's Farm Passport Program. This includes Lane Southern Orchards in Fort Valley and Southern Belle Farm in McDonough.

You can pick one of the passports up at any Farm Bureau office or any of the participating farms. You win prizes for visiting the farms. And you support Georgia farmers!

At each stop, you get a stamp in your Farm Passport. At the end of the year, you mail it in and you receive prizes. Our goal is always to go to 20 farms so that we get all of the prizes — a T-shirt, ticket for a Farm Dinner at one of the farm, pecans or honey from one of the farms and other prizes. The prizes are different each year. One year I got a really nice charcuterie board.

When I went out this past Saturday on my first outing for the year, I wore the Farm Bureau T-shirt and sunglasses I won last year as prizes. I saw six more people with the same T-shirt on at Jaemor Farms in Alto. It's great to see others visiting farms in our area.

Two other local farms are listed on the Farm Passport this year, O5 Farms in Jefferson, where you can get blueberries, blackberries, peaches, raspberries, tomatoes, eggs and flowers. A photo from this farm is featured on the cover of this year's Farm Passport. I visited last year and it's a great farm with really friendly owners.

The other local farm listed in the Farm Passport is Chisholm Hill Farm (Midway Farm Supply) on Hwy. 98 in Commerce. This is the first time this stop has been on the Farm Passport and I'm looking forward to visiting.

It's great that we live so near Ellijay because there are at least 10 farms in that general area on the Farm Passport. We usually visit that area of the state at least two times in the year. It is possible to get them all in one day, as we did the first year, but you have to really hustle and you are exhausted at the end of the day. At least we were!

Last year, we went to Fort Valley and found five or six farms in that area that I had never been to. It was a fun day trip and we enjoyed visiting with the farms in that area of the state and buying some of their produce and other items.

If you don't have a Farm Passport, pick one up and head at to farms across the state. You will have a great time, you will get some of the freshest fruit and vegetables and you will meet some of the nicest folks who are farming for a living.

Angela Gary is editor of The Banks County News. She can be reached at angela@mainstreetnews.com.

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