Field of Greens 2012: My Favorite Farm Field Trip So Far This Year

Two of the SuperPals were kind enough to invite me to tag along with them to the Field of Greens Festival yesterday, and I’m so glad I could go.

Field of Greens power, activate!

Now in its 6th or 7th year, the festival featured 30 of Atlanta and Athens’ best farm to table chefs, as well as activities for kids, live music, and a variety of food and craft vendors.

The festival was hosted by Whippoorwill Hollow Farm, a 74-acre certified organic farm that sells at farmers markets in Atlanta. So in addition to the delicious food and fun activities, we were able to get up close and personal with a few farm animals, walk the trails, and see what was (or had been) growing in the fields.

A pen of goats (and one dirty sheep) just inside the gate was a good way to start. Most of the goats were busy nibbling kibble and were unswayed by my begging to please show us their freaky rectangular pupils.

I did not enter this raffle. As cheap as I am, I’m an even worse gardener and would have felt either sad (for wasting the winnings) or creepy (for trying to give them away).


There were several kinds of chickens on display in a variety chicken incarceration cages, but no signs of what kind they might be, what their names were, or how long they had been POWs.

After a loop around the trails to see the vendors, we headed for the Chef’s Tent. Along with half the residents of the city, who had the exact same idea.

The tent was so big they had to stake it with the biggest tent pegs ever. It felt like a scene from Dumbo come to life.

Because of the jostling crowds and the need to hold food in one hand while grabbing more with the other, I didn’t take ANY pictures of the food. Sad for you, because most of it was plated surprisingly well for what was essentially a mass catered free-for-all. Dabs of sauce, croutons, microgreens, toasted coconut — these chefs did not hold back.

I did, however, eat a lot of the food. And it was nearly all REALLY good. I was proud of myself for eating things I’ve never enjoyed or even tasted before, like beets, lamb, headcheese, kimchi, pig ear, rabbit, and chicken livers. After all those others, I didn’t have enough power left to try the braised beef tongue with green chili sauce. Even in bite-sized chunks, it looks like a tongue.

I did have to snap a photo of a pile of the cranberry-walnut baguettes they were slicing to serve the chopped chicken liver on. I abstained from the bread with a pang of glutenated sadness, but not before they reminded me of the lovely cranberry-pecan bread I used to make so often. (Do the dough in the bread machine, but pull it out and bake in a regular pan for best shape and crust.)

And I got to meet another EJ! E.J. Hodgkinson is the alarmingly handsome chef de cuisine at the Woodfire Grill. KK and I got to eat there a couple of years ago after she received a gift certificate to cover most of the cost. It was amazing, and now I can’t wait to go back.

Other assorted sightings included…

A pomegranate tree! I always imagined they’d have bigger leaves.

The biggest bullfrog I’ve ever seen. This was taken after he swallowed the bull, I presume.

An inexplicably droopy gourd, inexplicably sitting in a chair. And not just for a second — it was there for at least an hour — but why?!

No photo, but while we were relaxing on a grassy bank, waiting for the youngest member of the party to have her face painted, a guy walked by with a friendly medium-sized dog. I petted the dog on his crest, withers, and brisket, and then the man and his dog continued on their way. La la la. Until I went to adjust my glasses using the hand I had petted the dog with, and EWW! SO stinky!

It’s not like I see a strange dog outdoors and say, “Hey, can I fondle your frito feet?” or “What’s that spot under your tail for?” My dog is really only stinky when it rains, and I forget that other people’s dogs (especially big ones) don’t get bathed as often. Or maybe they’re allowed to roll in stuff they find on the farm?

A couple of dairy goats chillin in a pen, most unstinkily. They were offering milking demonstrations, but I never caught one while it was happening.

If you couldn’t guess, the men’s room was on the left, the ladies’ on the right. So much lines.

Look closely — do you see the mini tennis balls stuck on these two goats’ horns? The goatlings were (understandably) getting testy/butty about all the screechy/grabby toddlers visiting their petting zoo area.  Less understandably, a tennis ball application was the solution that the people in charge came up with. I know the people came up with it, because the goats would have thought of something better. I feel safer already!

On the way out, the nibbly goats had eaten their fill and sought shelter from the intermittent misting rain.

For the most part, the rain held off, which I was glad about, since the umbrella I was so proud to remember to bring was totally busted when a Pal tried to open it. Like, hanging-in-metallic-shards-inside busted. Is there a word for when patting-self-on-the-back pride turns into public shame and embarrassment?

The festival overall was lively, but not unpleasantly crowded, and the farm venue allowed enough room to spread out (aside from the Chef’s Tent) that the time we spent there felt restful and restorative.

Nearly all the food was fantastic, and I managed to eat so many tasty pork products that my pee smelled like bacon by the time I went to bed. (That would have been concerning, but it happens every time I judge a barbecue contest, too.) In the end, my favorite three foods were the headcheese, the beets, and whatever EJ Hodgkinson was handing out. (Did I mention he had a superbly firm handshake? And piercing blue eyes? And a gently commanding presence for one so young?)

Next year, we’ll bring a cooler and a blanket and make a day of it. Wanna come?

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