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.
Sara Kate is a faithful follower of Mark’s Daily Apple, and she encouraged many of us on Facebook to take on the September 30-Day Challenge. Jessica, one of her friends that decided to take on the challenge, also decided it would be fun to organize a picnic and win a cow. It wasn’t hard to get JP on board: he is usually up for anything. The three of us go to the track on Sundays for what we call “Sunday rundays,” which just sounds better then “weekly sprint drills.” So, after our Sunday 100m sprints a few weeks ago, we headed to a local spot for some coffee and lunch to brainstorm and plan our picnic.
We decided it would be fun to make our primal fun activity a corn maze, which ultimately lead us to choosing the Hickory Nut Gap Farm as our location. It’s a 4th generation farm in the Asheville area and is very well known in our community for their sustainable farming practices, local meats, poultry and organic apples. It is currently apple season, and we wanted to use fresh, local, and seasonal ingredients for our picnic as much as possible. We bought our meats for the potluck picnic as well as some apples a few days before the picnic directly from The Hickory Nut Gap Farm. There is something very satisfying about being on the farm where the pig was raised and knowing that it was treated and slaughtered humanely. We also knew that the kids, both big and small, would enjoy petting the farm animals (pigs, roosters, hens, and baby chicks). They even have a bee hive – which is not advisable for petting.
The three of our families, friends and girlfriends would have made the required 8 participants, but we wanted to share the experience with our fellow members at our local gym, Crossfit Asheville. They are an amazingly fun bunch of people and know how to put out a spread. The Crossfitters did not disappoint! We had another 25 or so people come and join us and they brought some amazing food. We feasted on everything from fruit tossed with a coconut milk dressing, roasted brussel sprouts with carrots, roasted butternut squash, pork bar-b-que, crustless quiche, chimichurri, iron steak with green beans, raw zucchini in a walnut-pesto dressing, deviled eggs, pork chops and apple sauce, bratwurst, sauerkraut and more. The winning recipe was a hearty creamed bratwurst with cabbage. It was so good that I’ve made it twice since the picnic!
Although we may have envisioned a more organized picnic with multiple contests and events, we lived in the moment and allowed the day to unfold naturally. Nobody needed to direct the kids to the creek – they just found it. While we ate and chatted, the kids (and some adults) splashed in the creek and visited with the animals. It became a fun and relaxing Sunday afternoon together, friends together as a family. We did some foraging and someone actually found fresh watercress and ate it, of course. So very primal! The one contest that went as planned was the guess the number of almonds in a quart size mason jar. Carly won with a guess of 528. She missed by only five almonds and won the whole jar of nuts. “I’ll be keeping this at my desk at work!”
After eating, we ventured off in smaller groups to the main activity, the corn maze. It was surprisingly long but definitely fun. The farm had placed various questions about local agriculture and the area to be used as clues to find our way through the maze. Each question had two answers to choose from. Depending on how you answered the question you would go either right or left. If you were correct, it lead you in the right direction. If you guessed the wrong answer, you eventually came to a dead end.
We were lucky to have beautiful weather. It was the most perfect crisp clear, fall day. We love that we live in a community that values local farms and local produce and deeply believes in supporting our area businesses. It makes being a primal eater fun and easy. Thank you for your commitment to your blog and for the challenge. We were so glad we took on the challenge and had such a great time at the picnic. We had so much fun that if we win the cow, we’re donating it for a big Bar-B-Que for the whole gym to enjoy.
fruit tossed with a coconut milk dressing
roasted brussel sprouts with carrots
roasted butternut squash
iron steak with green beans
raw zucchini in a walnut-pesto dressing
pork chops and apple sauce
bratwurst in sauerkraut
Recipe: Creamed Bratwurst
6 fully cooked bratwurst links
2 tbsp. cooking oil
1 c. chopped onion
1 tsp. dry mustard
1 tbsp. all-purpose flour (not primal, but even MDA says some flour for thickening is hardly avoidable for some recipes)
1/2 tsp. salt
3/4 c. chicken broth
3/4 c. heavy cream
1 med. green pepper, seeded and sliced in rings
In large skillet, brown bratwurst in hot oil, about 5 minutes; remove from pan and set aside. To drippings in skillet, add onion and dry mustard. Cook and stir until onion is tender but not brown, about 5 minutes; stir in flour and salt.
Add chicken broth and milk all at once; cook and stir until thickened and bubbly. Add bratwurst and green pepper to sauce. Cover and cook 5 minutes more. Makes 6 servings.
Sara Kate Eubanks, Heather Anderson, Jon-Paul Brown, Jessica Tonner-Mintier, Brian Mintier, Michael Tonner-Mintier, Patricia Tonner-Mintier, Meghan Tonner-Mintier, Carly Albee, Eric Albee, Katie Neary, Mike Neary, Olivia Neary, Natalie Neary, Christine Levick, Mark Levick, Izzy Levick, Tucker Levick, Mary Lynn English, George Osmun, Randy Kite, Emily Kite, James Kite, Jacob Kite, Amy Hurleston, Jamie Hurleston, Matt Baldwin, Yael Baldwin, Lena Baldwin, JZ Baldwin, Aidan Hoyal, Rex Fesperman, Ethan Fesperman
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.