Quarter-acre Feast in The Unity Garden

By Jon Copsey   When food is fresh-picked, it just tastes better, doesn’t it? Those tomatoes from the backyard or local farmers market have that warm flavor found nowhere else. Some studies have shown produce can lose as much as 30 percent of its nutrients within three days of picking, and we all know what it does to the taste. We are blessed in the north Atlanta area to have plenty of farm-to-table restaurant chefs who use local ingredients to make amazingly flavorful food.

For one afternoon, many of these restaurants will converge in Roswell to share their best meals. Twenty-two farm-to-table restaurants, along with eight local breweries, will be at the annual Harvest on the Hooch food festival Oct. 14. The all-you-can-eat event takes over the Unity Garden at Roswell’s Chattahoochee Nature Center (CNC).

Harvest on the Hooch celebrates the vital connection between the garden and the plate while raising funds for the Unity Garden and its educational programming. This quarter-acre urban farm has grown over 62,000 pounds (that’s over 31 tons!) of produce since 2010, with everything going to the North Fulton Community Charities food pantry, feeding hungry families. Sometimes these families have the freshest food possible, having come straight from the garden only hours before.

This all feeds back to the mission of the Unity Garden, to educate the community about food. Many schoolchildren and many adults, as well, don’t know where their food is grown or what it looks like in the ground. The Unity Garden experience teaches them.

“Harvest on the Hooch offers the perfect way for the community to explore and learn where their food comes from and, more importantly, how it tastes,” said DeAnn Fordham, development director of the CNC. “We have some of the best chefs around doing what they do best—cook using local ingredients.”

The local restaurants will give out samples of their food—plenty to eat for even the most eager of gourmands. Local breweries will also give out samples, with some beer even made using ingredients from the Unity Garden itself. A special mixed drink will also be available.

Here is a sneak peek at just a few of the items on the menu: Sweet Potato Puree with Sweet Potato Chips and Parsley from Century House Tavern; Low Country Catering’s sustainable version of the shrimp shooter, a wild shrimp presented on a petite compostable bamboo dish, draped with fresh cocktail sauce and topped with fresh micro greens and lemon zest. Mitch’s Meats & Fish will present Grilled Black Angus “Teres Major,” (part of the shoulder muscle that falls down on the job and is therefore quite tender!) Also: Black Truffle Glace de Viande. Table & Main will be serving up Big Green Egg Pork Shoulder, Shredded Squash and Onions Tossed in Salsa Macha, with Queso Fresco in a Chive Crepe. Tantalized? You can read the full menu (at least, those restaurants that have figured it out) at harvestonthehooch.org.

With a VIP ticket, ($100) you’ll have a glass of champagne at Ben Brady Pavilion while watching an up-close cooking demonstration by local celebrity chef Daniel Porubiansky of Century House Tavern. (Read his bio in the sidebar at right.) After the demo, enjoy a tasting of the prepared dish and personal interaction with the Chef, then head on over to the main event for more delicious food, wine, and beer tastings.

Harvest on the Hooch is Oct. 14 from 1-4 p.m. Adult tickets are $45 and kids under 10 get in free. For more information, visit
Harvest on the Hooch. ❍

RESTAURANTS

1920 Tavern
Avalon Catering
Avenue Catering Concepts
Century House Tavern
Chef Cary’s Cuisine
Foundation Social Eatery
G. C. BBQ
Low Country Catering
The Mill Kitchen & Bar
Mitch’s Meats & Fish
Parsley’s Custom Catering
Paula’s ZZERTS
Peach and the Porkchop
Prissy’s Cakes
Red Sky
Salata
Sam’s BBQ1
Seed Kitchen & Bar
Sourwood
Table & Main
Talk of the Town Catering
The Whiskey Project

BREWERIES

Creature Comforts
From the Earth
Orpheus
Pontoon Brewing
Sweetwater
Variant
The Viking Alchemist Meadery
Wild Heaven