Field of Greens Festival set for Sunday in Walnut Grove

COVINGTON -- There will be feasting Sunday at Whippoorwill Hollow Farm in Walnut Grove and everybody is invited to the table. The Field of Greens Festival will be held from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and will feature mouth-watering cooking from some of the area's top chefs.

"It's like a 34-course meal. Come very hungry and come early," said organic farmer and owner of Whippoorwill Hollow Farm Andy Byrd.

The event will draw more than 1,500 guests and will feature 34 top chefs from the best restaurants in Atlanta and Athens who will be cooking and offering samples. The food will be prepared from fresh organic fruits and vegetables and Byrd promises the taste will tell the tale of why it's important to use the freshest and best ingredients. Admission is $25 per person and children 12 and under will be admitted free.

"It's like a farm table ... people can come and be able to talk to the chefs and get to experience the food," Byrd said.

The day at the 74-acre organic farm will also include live music, some 35 vendors who will have such things as fresh cheese and homemade sausage, crafters, kids activities, a tour of the farm and more.

Beginning at 11 a.m. there will be a demonstration by Atlanta's Cordon Bleu Cooking School called "From Farmer to Chef;" at 12:30 p.m. the big chef's tent will open and be available until 5 p.m.; and at 3 p.m. a cook-off between three of the chefs is planned.

Byrd said Whippoorwill Hollow Farm will show off some of its peas and sweet potatoes, but the food would come from organic farms from all over Georgia.

"What we're trying to get across is support your local farmer. Buy from them. And we want to get more restaurants in this area to support their farmers by buying local from them," Byrd said, adding that he hoped restaurant owners throughout the area will attend the event and experience the difference fresh food can make in taste.

"It's all made from fresh vegetables and the taste is so, so much better. People know who have their own gardens if they go out and pick something and bring it in and cook it that it tastes so much better," he said.

This is the fifth Field of Greens event Byrd has hosted, growing from 35 attendees to 1,500 at last year's event. Southern Living magazine will do an article on Sunday's event.

"This is nothing new. It's just coming back," Byrd said of the growing popularity of organic products.

Byrd uses the Field of Greens event to benefit Slow Foods of Atlanta, an organization devoted to helping and educating farmers, while urging people to forego fast food and prepare fresh food for their families.

"They're trying to tell people to slow down and enjoy their food," he said. "There's farms all over and we want people to support them. You can go to your local farms and buy your food and it's almost like having your own backyard garden."

Whippoorwill Hollow Farms offers Community Supported Agriculture where the customer can pay for a month of food ($20 per week) and get a box of fresh, seasonal fruits and vegetables each week. The farm produces a variety of fruits and vegetables throughout the year including apples, pears, muscadines, blackberries, blueberries, squash, green beans, peas, cabbage, collards, broccoli, carrots and more.

The farm is located 1.2 miles north of Walnut Grove on Ga. Highway 138 on the left.