Grokfeast in Burnsville, North Carolina

On September 8th I asked my readers to host picnics and to send me the results. The following is one of 27 amazing submissions, the best of which will win an entire cow, courtesy of US Wellness. Vote for your favorite on October 8.

The Arthur Morgan School Grokfeast was held at 5:00pm on September, 2010. We are a boarding and day school for 7-9th graders in the mountains of western North Carolina. Our program is based on the philosophies of Johann Pestalozzi, N.S.F. Grundtvig, Mahatma Gandhi, Maria Montessori, John Dewey, and Arthur Morgan as well as the Quaker values of simple living, consensus decision-making, and non-violent problem solving. Our experiential program includes a variety of camping trips, field trips, and hands-on work on our small farm which includes caring for sheep, goats, chickens, and turkeys. The quality of the food we eat at the school is important to us, so we try to grow and preserve as much as we can from our own garden while including the students in this as part of their education. We order our bulk foods from the most sustainable and organic sources we can afford. Each year we raise and slaughter chickens and turkeys for eggs and meat. The students participate in the entire process if they wish.

The students and staff were very excited to have a Grokfeast and really got into dressing for the party. They even decorated the school’s Zoogle stick with burlap and fur. Zoogle is the game we officially decided to play at our Grokfeast, although other games such as apple & stick baseball, and a boulder toss sprang up on their own. Zoogle is played with everyone standing in a circle. The stick, which is weighted on each end with an additional sliding weight in the middle, is tossed randomly across and around the circle. The person throwing it must give it a good throw, and the person catching it must catch it between two designated markers with one hand and throw it again in the same way they caught it or they lose the ability to use an arm. The second time it is missed or thrown poorly, the person who made the mistake loses a leg (meaning they must stand on one leg), the next time both legs (bringing them to their knees). If it is missed again, the person is out of the game. The last player who remains after all others have “lost” all their limbs wins the game.

Following the game of Zoogle we circled up for a moment of silence as is the tradition here at AMS. Each person who brought food described what they brought and where the ingredients came from. In the end approximately 95% of the food served was raised, grown, gathered, and prepared within 1/2 a mile of the feast (this includes the meat), meaning that the whole feast cost approximately $12 for food that was not grown by the people who brought it. Most people walked to the feast, meaning only two cars were used to transport people to and from the feast.

We all very much enjoyed an excuse to hang out, dress up (or down, really), and eat food from our gardens.

The Feast

(About 95% of the food/ingredients were grown and raised within 1/2 a mile of where we ate it)

  • Roasted potatoes with green peppers – ingredients from Camp Celo Garden and home garden
  • Spicey Green Salad with plum tomatoes – ingredients from above gardens
  • Pesto and Ricotta sauce – ingredients from same gardens as above (including the goat milk used to make the ricotta)
  • Butternut Squash – from family garden
  • Fresh homemade bread
  • Apple Tart – Apples from tree outside Falcon House (AMS boarding house)
  • Beef Stew – meat from Camp Celo, veggies from AMS garden
  • Mashed Potatoes – AMS potatoes and garlic
  • Roasted Corn – AMS garden
  • Roasted potatoes with herbs – ingredients from AMS garden
  • Chicken and vegetable soup – local chickens (one raised and processed at AMS), veggies from AMS garden, chicken stock made from AMS chicken bones including AMS turkey feet.
  • Broiled skin from above mentioned chickens
  • Savory Corn Pudding – corn from AMS garden, milk from Camp Celo cow.
  • Couscous with local veggies
  • Peaches- from the Galton’s tree
  • Apples – all over the ground and trees

Recipe: Chicken Soup

I did not follow a specific recipe, so I do not have exact measurements, but that seemed pretty Paleo to me. So here is my estimated recipe.

  • Meat from 3 Chickens (all local, one raised and slaughtered here at AMS)
  • 1.5 gallons of chicken broth (made from local chicken bones and turkey feet that I processed myself)
  • 6 onions (from AMS garden), chopped and sauteed in 1/3 cup butter
  • 5 cups of sliced carrots from the AMS garden
  • 5 cups of diced potatoes from the AMS garden
  • 2 cups of diced winter squash from the AMS garden
  • 1 head of garlic (from AMS garden), minced
  • 1 Tbsp rosemary (from AMS garden)
  • 3 tsp sea salt
  • 3 tsp pepper
  • 2 tsp sage

I sauteed the onions in the butter and then added the broth, vegetables, garlic, and seasonings. This was cooked over the open fire (as seen in the pictures) until veggies were soft and yummy. It had a really neat deep smokey flavor, and was a big hit. Good thing there was lots! Two pots full!

The Tribe

Ronna, Nick, Silas, Cortez, Jason, Krista, Sadie, Gavin, Tal, Micah, Isaac, Bogy, Irene, Bethany, Tree, Ethan, Iris, Lily, Paige, Pete, Lauren, Molly, Gressa, Sue, Wren, Leif, Rick, Sam, Zack, Elena, Anjali, Langston (aka The Bear-Goat), Mitchell, Liarucha, Peter A., Daniel, Tessa, Ariel, Anna, Keely, Emma, Tevis, Reginn, Isaac A., Aristide

About the Author

Mark Sisson is the founder of Mark’s Daily Apple, godfather to the Primal food and lifestyle movement, and the New York Times bestselling author of The Keto Reset Diet. His latest book is Keto for Life, where he discusses how he combines the keto diet with a Primal lifestyle for optimal health and longevity. Mark is the author of numerous other books as well, including The Primal Blueprint, which was credited with turbocharging the growth of the primal/paleo movement back in 2009. After spending three decades researching and educating folks on why food is the key component to achieving and maintaining optimal wellness, Mark launched Primal Kitchen, a real-food company that creates Primal/paleo, keto, and Whole30-friendly kitchen staples.

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