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They’re not standing around the watercooler, but Cheryl Sadler, Mark Meszoros, Mark Podolski and Nicole Franz are talking about what they’ve been watching, listening to and playing during their free time.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Zac Brown Band's link to an Ashtabula County farm

I got this note in my email the other day and had to share it. Pretty cool that the Zac Brown Band supports eating locally while on tour— and takes that opportunity to meet fans.

Mike and Diane Hiener, owners of Peters Creek Farm, Ltd. in Dorset, Ashtabula County OH, will have a special customer on Saturday, September 29, 2012.  They will provide vegetables used by Chef Rusty Hamlin of the Zac Brown Band during their stop at Blossom Music Center in Cuyahoga Falls.  Chef Rusty cooks for the band while they are on tour. Chef Rusty and the band believe in supporting local farms while on tour and will purchase much of their food from them directly and at farmers markets. The band also provides a unique fan experience called an Eat and Greet.  Many artists will arrange to meet with their fans while on tour.  The Zac Brown Band takes it one step further.  At most stops, they provide a full course gourmet meal for about 120 lucky people.  The food is masterfully prepared by Chef Rusty and his crew and the menu includes creations from both Chef Rusty and Zac Brown who was a chef before the band became his full time occupation.  At the Eat and Greets, the band mingles and eats dinner with their fans.

While the menu has not been set, the Hieners grow a wide variety of vegetables, everything from asparagus to zucchini, for their CSA, farmers markets, restaurants and other customers. Chef Rusty is expected to be at the Countryside Conservancy Farmers Market at Howe Meadow where the Hieners sell their produce, 4040 Riverview Road in Peninsula the morning of the 29th to pick up his order and shop from the other vendors.

The Zac Brown Band performed in and around their home base of Atlanta, Georgia for many years, but came onto the national country music scene in 2008 with the release of their major label debut album The Foundation which included “Chicken Fried” their first of many number one country music singles.  The band won the 2009 Grammy for Best New Artist.  Their current and third studio album Uncaged was released in July 2012 and debuted at No.1 on the Billboard album chart.  The Zac Brown Band has made their success by building a fan base from the ground up through intimate fan contact such as their Eat and Greets and their support of local businesses.  Band members include Zac Brown (lead vocal, guitar), Jimmy DeMartini (violin, vocals), John Driskell Hopkins (bass, vocals), Coy Bowles (guitar, organ), Chris Fryar (drums), Daniel de los Reyes (percussionist), and Clay Cook (guitar, keyboard, mandolin, pedal steel, vocals).
Peters Creek Farm, Ltd. from Ashtabula County is a local grower of high quality produce that can be found at farmers markets in Peninsula, Shaker Heights, Jefferson and Ashtabula and through their Community Supported Agriculture program with its sister farm from Jefferson; Covered Bridge Gardens. The Hieners can be reached at 3451 South Denmark Road, Dorset, OH 44032. (440) 858-9741.  Their farm blog can be found at and Peters CreekFarm can also be found on Facebook.

Preview the Zac Brown Band's show this weekend with this story by John Benson on Blackberry Smoke.

— Cheryl Sadler | | @nhcheryl 



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