i was in attendance at the second alabama supper this past weekend. the event, held just outside tuscaloosa at the remnants of a hunting lodge f.scott fitzgerald frequented, is a combined effort by couples, andy and rashmi grace and joe and sarah brown, to educate, inform, and motivate alabamians, well, really everyone, about where our food comes from, the process it takes to get to our mouths, and how eating locally effects our health, environment, economy, and conscience. the couples have been eating food exclusively grown within the state for about a year now. through their blog, eating alabama, they've explored alabama's farming infrastructure, profiling our state's farms and their services, narrowing down a reasonable means to eating locally. it's a fascinating read and chocked full of recipes, gardening tips, and info for those wishing to become a participant in buying locally.
this past saturday's event is the second gathering orchestrated by the couples to gather hordes of folks together to share one big alabama meal. this year's menu was fantastic and consisted of the following:
1) Okra, watermelon, green bean, cucumber and other pickles in all shapes and stripes grown and made by Sue Lewis, Libby Turner and Hudson Farms in Tuscaloosa County.
2) Cajun boiled peanuts from Burris Farm Market in Loxley.
3) The last of the season's watermelon from a variety of sources in Tuscaloosa and Pickens County.
4) Baguettes made from Elmore County flour ground by Oakview Farms Granary in Wetumpka and baked by Continental Bakery in Birmingham.
5) Grilled ratatouille made from a medley of late season vegetables from Snows Bend, Birdsong Farm, Fig Leaf Farm, and Parker Farm.
6) The ratatouille will be served on a bed of Goat Cheese Grits with grits from McEwen and Sons in Coosa Valley, and goat cheese from Belle Chevre in Elkmont.
7) Finish up this meal with a delicious pear crumble, with pears from Jimmy McAteer's in Buhl.
8) Of course there'll be beer from our friends at Good People Brewing.
9) Alabama wine from a variety of Alabama vineyards.
10) tentative - Bayou La Batre oysters, prepared low-country style.
enjoyed while listening to red ruckus and the tag-a-longs (who performed as hill country hemhaw last year)
my favorite thing to occur during this event is the meeting of bayou oysters and good people brown ale. in fact, i drank far too much good people, that or i was drunk on belle chevre cheese grits. around ten, when the event was winding down, i took off in a car (not driving) with my friends, paul and bryant, headed south for greensboro to party with rural studio and pie lab kids. it was a good time, but i got home close to 5am.
the graces and browns announced on saturday that they are going to turn the eating alabama project into a non-profit. andy, who is a filmmaker and director of the alabama craft film i shot, has been documenting their efforts on video and, in coordination with my department at alabama public television, will hopefully create a film. i highly recommend reading their blog. i also highly recommend supporting your local farmer's markets, csa's and co-op's!