While the summer is entering its third act and we start to think about what the fall will look like, the gardens in Elkton are just starting to pick up, which is getting everyone excited about the beauty of local, natural food.

My name is Taylor Griggs and I am serving as the Elkton Community Education Center’s Volunteer & Healthy Food Advocate through the AmeriCorps program this summer.

One reason I was intrigued by working as an Americorps member at ECEC was because of the work this organization does to increase environmental education and promote local food producers. I am passionate about expanding access to nutritious, locally-grown food, which is vital for our health and the environment. A community that has ample access to local food resources will also be able to sustain itself better during, say, an unforeseen global pandemic when it’s not safe to travel.

There are many local producers in and around Elkton working hard to create sustainable food for the communities. One example is the Big K Guest Ranch, located just outside of Elkton, which offers natural beef, pork and poultry products. Find out more information at www.big-k.com.

For delicious blueberries, you can head over to Estill Farms, which has locations in Elkton and Drain. The blueberry season should only last a couple more weeks, so if you’re hankering for a blueberry pie, don’t delay! Check out www.estillfarms.com for details and directions.

Elkton’s Turksnmor Poultry Farm produces a variety of fresh eggs, which are produced with environmental conscientiousness in mind. Email turksnmor@peak.org to find out what kind of eggs are available.

We are now cultivating quite a bit of fresh produce from our garden at ECEC too, which you can purchase here Tuesdays through Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Local residents can sign up for our weekly veggie box program and safely receive a regular potpourri of fruits and veggies. As we enter the harvest season, more produce in the boxes is coming straight from our garden. We’ll also have a fresh roadside vegetable stand open on Fridays and Saturdays soon. Call us at 541-584-2692 or email info@elktonbutterflies.com for more info.

Elkton’s summer is usually full of events, so this year we’ve had to be creative with finding safe ways for our community to come together. Local restaurants and wineries have moved some seating outdoors, and here at ECEC, we’ve had success with our socially distanced, virtual community dinners, where we provide meals to pick up on site. We hope to have more of them in the fall.

This is the time of year our town is usually busy preparing for Fort Umpqua Days. That event has been cancelled, but there will be historic demonstrations at Fort Umpqua on Saturday, September 5th. ECEC’s Butterfly Pavilion will also be open and our Café will have window service. We’re developing fun ways to enjoy our vendors and pageant virtually; details will be available at www.elktonbutterflies.com/events-calendar. ECEC is closed Sundays and Mondays this summer, but other local businesses will be maintaining their regular hours that weekend. Hope to see you soon.

Taylor Griggs is the Elkton Community Education Center’s Volunteer & Healthy Food Advocate through the AmeriCorps program this summer.

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