Grokfeast in Maryland

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.

I was SO excited when I heard about your contest! I love grassfed beef and US Wellness. I’ve actually tasted their pemmican and have a nearly empty tub of tallow in the fridge.

My schedule is really full at this time of year, so the only time I had open was the afternoon and evening of Sunday, September 19. With just a week to plan the event, I had to work fast. I didn’t have too many friends familiar with the term “Grokfeast,” but many were interested in a “Primal Picnic.”

First, we found the perfect spot to hold the event. Our friend Guy has a couple of acres with woods, a pond, free-range chickens, a lovely two-seat outhouse, and most importantly, a fire pit.

We began the festivities with a walk in the woods. The funniest part was when Paul found a rubber chicken toy along the trail, probably an old dog toy for Scooby, Guy’s dog. We foraged for wild edibles and found excellent sticks for our games. After the walk, Dan demonstrated several different primitive fire starting techniques, and we had a ceremony to light the fire. It was really awesome when he held the tinder up to his mouth and blew on it until it smoked and glowed. We then played some primal games with sticks, including an oversized version of pick-up sticks (with real sticks from the woods!) and a log toss.

Not everyone was brave enough to experience face painting, but some of us had fantastic fun decorating each other! Some made a moon out of mud and others drew charcoal stripes.

Guy: “There’s some dirt on your face.”
Amy: “I know. Where’s yours?”

I wanted the feast to focus on foods that are local (or at least could be grown locally) and in season. I decided that the menu would include a wild edibles salad, kabobs, and omelets so that people could have fun playing with their food and putting ingredients together.

The ingredients included marinated venison, fish, peppers, mushrooms, onions, carrots, squash, garlic cloves, fresh herbs, and pineapple. Ok, so pineapple isn’t local, but it was a special occasion, right? If we’d have had the feast 2 weeks earlier, we could’ve had some wild forest pawpaw fruit. Cooking over the open fire was an adventure because most of us had very little experience with that.

Pat, Sandra, and I (Amy) also volunteered to make other delicious dishes such as squash and beet appetizers, baked apples, and raw milk custard. We tried to vote on a favorite dish, but they were all delicious.

We had a splendid time, with a fest fit for a king or tribal celebration. It definitely was fun, and we also had a lot of fun chasing the chickens away from the food!

The Feast

  • Homebrewed mint tea made from fresh chocolate mint, lemon thyme, and lavender
  • Homebrewed ginger and fennel digestive tea
  • Beet appetizers served on zucchini, butternut squash, and cucumbers
  • Salad dressing made from vinegar, olive oil, and fresh oregano
  • Wild edibles salad containing violet leaves, plantain, dandelion, red clover, elderberries, and other foraged plants
  • Roasted garlic cloves
  • Venison burgers with a cilantro, lemon, and lime marinade
  • Homemade tomato sauce seasoned with fresh basil
  • Fish, stuffed with fresh herbs and cooked over the fire with peppers and mushrooms
  • Kabobs: squash, pineapple, mushrooms, carrots, peppers
  • Omelets made to order with any of the available ingredients, including fresh eggs found in the henhouse
  • Kiwi fruit
  • Baked apples
  • Raw milk custard

Recipe: Baked Apples

Preheat the oven to 325? F.

Start with 1 apple per person. Show off your knife skills and remove the core. Place the apples in a large pan, standing upright. Drop about 20 raisins into each one. Sprinkle with a little ginger and a little cinnamon, heavier on the cinnamon. No need to measure; just give a shake or two over each apple.

Place a thin slice of butter or coconut oil on top of the raisin core for each apple. This keeps them from drying out. Also pour water into the bottom of the pan until the apples are standing in about 2 inches. Put that ruler away – no measuring! Just eyeball it.

Bake for 1 hour, no lid. This is the only measurement you should really stick to. If you leave them in longer, they’ll become very mushy, but at 325? F for 1 hour they were still solid enough to pick up and eat by hand. Perfect for a primal picnic!

The Tribe

Amy Conaway, Brenda Conaway, Dan DeVries, Guy Neal, John Sullivan, Pat Toolan, Paul Conaway, Sandra Nicht


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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27 thoughts on “Grokfeast in Maryland”

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  1. Yay – foraging for the feast! And you made games out of stuff you gathered! AND old-school fire-starting. Very nice. fresh eggs *jealous*

  2. Glad to see some more “seasoned” primal enthusiasts! A lot of parents and grandparents (mine included) proclaim that they are too set in their ways to see themselves adopting a primal lifestyle, but it’s clear that it’s never to late to improve the quality of your life! This looks like it was a lot of fun!

  3. Love that y’all were taught how to make fire! That’s a skill I look forward to learning.

  4. Oh, wow! Definitely looked like the perfect location for a grokfeast! 😀

  5. I like that you included the fire starting activity. Also like the home brew of digestive tea.

  6. I’m going to have to try that baked apple recipes….with the addition of a little bacon of course 😉

  7. Totally awesome feast and looks like a beautiful day for it too! Great job.

  8. Enjoyed the website and presentation. Great job starting the fire. Hope you credited your Nebraska upbringing for that skill!

  9. Love the idea of foraging for your salad greens — how did it taste? And thanks for providing the baked apples recipe. I want to go apple picking, but wasn’t sure what to make from all those apples — now I do 🙂

    1. *Too modern.

      Also, this reminds me of the time I went rock climbing in Joshua Tree and we planned a meal of hobo stew for everyone. We bought beef at the local store and root veggies. Then we chopped it all up and put it in tinfoil bowls. We sealed the bowls and put them over the fire until they started to steam or smoke. Yum!!

  10. The photo of the picnic on the checkered cloth looked to be right out of Martha Stewart’s living magazine. Beautiful.