The Athens harvest season has arrived in full force this October. This month is packed with opportunities to celebrate the bounty of our local resources and to raise money for some of our favorite charitable causes.
On Sunday, Oct. 5 at 4 p.m., the annual Autumn Harvest Feast will take place at The Hill. The dinner benefits Wholesome Wave, the organization behind the Double Value Coupon Program. The program doubles the value of low-income consumers’ federal nutrition benefits when spent on local produce at farmers markets. One hundred percent of the proceeds from the $75 dinner go to Wholesome Wave, and they will be earmarked to return specifically to the Athens Farmers Market.
Jan Kozak, manager of the Athens Farmers Market, made a pledge to Wholesome Wave that Athens would ultimately be able to fully fund its own recipients of the Double Value Coupon Program, and he’s almost there. Between the feast and the Good Food Good Beer Block Party that was held in the spring, Kozak anticipates that the events will provide for about 70 percent of the need. “We have a high percentage of people that care here in Athens, which is really cool,” Kozak says,.
This year, Michel Nischan, the founder of Wholesome Wave, will be speaking at the feast. Also featured are more chefs and bakers than ever before, including Mimi Maumus of home.made, Patrick Stubbers of Seabear Oyster Bar and Aaron Philips of The Last Resort. Tickets cost $75 and can be purchased online.
The Hop Harvest Festival will take place at Terrapin Brewery on Saturday, Oct, 11. A quarter of the proceeds from the $20 pint glass sales will go to the Dogwood Alliance campaign to stop the harvesting of old-growth forests in the South.
At the festival, Terrapin will premiere this year’s version of So Fresh & So Green, Green, brewed with fresh Simcoe hops (unlike most IPA’s, which are brewed using dry hops). There will also be eight single-hopped casks to try—each of which is also made with an experimental variety of hops—as well as barrel-aged beers.
The festival will also feature an artisan market, highlighting local makers like Double Dutch Press, Phickles Pickles and handmade soap maker Camille Staley.
“We like this event to be educational and fun, but a chance for people to learn what makes beer special,” says Julia Weckback, Terrapin’s marketing director.
The Harvest Moon dinner benefitting the Athens Land Trust also takes place on Saturday, Oct. 11 at 6 p.m. The $150 dinner, cooked by The National and Seabear Oyster Bar’s Peter Dale, is at the Williams Farm only 1.5 miles from downtown.
“This year’s Harvest Moon dinner is particularly special, because it will celebrate the protection of the Williams Farm, a 100-year-old farm right in the heart of Athens,” says Nathan Shannon, the director of operations at the land trust.
The Williams Farm, off Ruth Street in East Athens, is 5.5 acres of prime soil ideal for growing food. It’s currently open to the public and will soon boast trails connecting to the five-acre Woods Park, which is another property protected through the work of the ALT.
Sunday, Oct.12, A Hunter’s Moon farm dinner will take place at Woodland Gardens, benefitting Georgia Organics. The dinner features some of the best chefs in Georgia, with big names like Billy Allin of Cakes & Ale, Carla Tomasko of Bacchanalia and Kyle Jacovino of The Florence (formerly head chef at Five & Ten) coming from Atlanta and Savannah. Local heroes like Peter Dale, Jason Zygmont and Mike Sutton will represent Athens, alongside Whitney Otawka of Cinco y Diez, who put the event together.
Inspired by farm dinners that she used to attend while working as a line cook at Five & Ten, Otawka knew it was time to bring some of the culinary heavyweights of Georgia to one of the most progressive organic farms in the Southeast. “I’m excited about having such an amazing, talented group of chefs working together here in Athens and bringing that energy and momentum to our town,” she says.
Tickets for A Hunter’s Moon are a steep $200, but that’s a tiny fraction of what would be the combined cost of eating and drinking at each of the establishments represented. Plus, the chefs are donating their time and energy so that all of the proceeds go straight to Georgia Organics, which will use the funds to promote sustainable foods and local farms in Georgia.
Between the many options for celebratory and philanthropic eating, October looks like a busy month for local chefs and eaters alike.
Jodi Cash blogs about food at The Seed and Plate.
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