Grokfeast in Ontario, Canada

On September 13th I asked Mark’s Daily apple readers to host a Grokfeast (a picnic/party celebrating the Primal lifestyle) and to send me the results. The following is one of 13 amazing submissions, the best of which will win an entire cow courtesy of US Wellness.

Sault Ste. Marie (or as we refer to it…the Soo) is a small town in size but we definitely have a mighty spirit! What we also have, is a large community of crossfitters and with it comes a lot of paleo and primal eaters. When the Mark’s Daily Apple blog issued the 30 day primal challenge in early September, our friend Joe quickly facebooked everyone to see if any would commit. With the enthusiastic response he received, he started a facebook group where we could all share our daily experiences. Then came the Grokfeast contest. This was something that I just had to try. You see, I was doing pretty well at the primal challenge with the eating, sleeping and exercise bit, but I always seem to falter with the “having fun” part. I’m a very organized, regimented “book worm” type of person who doesn’t let her hair down and get silly. So I went out of my comfort zone and posted to the group to see if anyone was crazy enough to go out in public and give Grokfeast a try. To my amazement, a few of my crossfit friends answered my call.

After a bit of brainstorming, we had our activities decided (a 2km run and a game of “Angry Birds” caveman style) as well as our menu planned out. It would be an all day affair and on October 1st, we were blessed with a beautiful, crisp, sunny autumn day in Canada to go out and just have fun!

The first job would be to get the food going before the festivities started. Our main entree would be fire- roasted pork that would be cooked in the fire’s coals. After securing a permit from the local fire department, we dug a hole about 3 feet wide by 1 ½ feet deep and started the fire. Five hours later, it was time to prep the meat. I laid two 6-lb pork roasts into an aluminum pan. I seasoned them and then using the Primal Blueprint Cookbook recipe on page 39, I made the BBQ sauce which I poured over the meat. The next step was to wrap it up in numerous layers of tin foil. I used up the whole roll. Outside my husband removed the fire and coals and slowly lowered the packaged meat into the pit. We then covered up the pit with the coals and rebuilt a fire again. At about 20 minutes per pound, we figured that at 4:00 pm, it would be a good time to “dig up supper”.  So dinner was on, now time for fun.

Once appropriately dressed for the occasion, we set off to meet our fellow cave-people at a local park/conservation area at 2:30 for the caveman 2km run.

The event actually turned into the “1st of Groktober Bearhunt” when we gave Katie, our “bear” a two minute headstart before we would hunt her down. I can’t accurately express in words how much fun we had. We received smiles as well as stares from passer-by’s. Little children ran up and wanted to pet the “bear”. Between the laughing and actually running the course, it was a pretty good little workout!

Following the run, we all met up at our home to check on the food as well as set up for event 2 a game of ”Angry Birds”. The day before, my son filled about 100 biodegradable water balloons.  Using a 3-man slingshot, everyone would get a chance to shoot at the “pig’s” barricade to try and knock it down. Again, more smiles and laughter ensued. It was a big hit with not only the youngster’s but the “big” kids as well!

Dinner Time! There was a moment of apprehension at one point when we dug up the meat from the pit… but no worries, it was well worth all the work because the pork was delicious. The table resembled a Thanksgiving feast and along with the wine and great company, we sat and reminisced about the day’s events. The meal was great but the desserts were amazing! After dinner we kept the fire going in the pit and the party moved outside into the early evening. The kids collected rotten apples from the trees and used the slingshot again to torment the ducks swimming by in the St. Mary’s river. Talk about your “Angry Birds”!

As we sat there around the fire, a bug-free cold Canadian autumn night, the laughter and stories continued. It was a perfect end to a day that will not soon be forgotten.


A big thank-you to my kids; Joshua for taking a lot of time to put together the video, and Katrina for “babysitting” the fire and basting Turkey while we were out having fun all afternoon. Thank you also Mark Sisson for such a great idea. Normally this would have been any other hum drum Saturday doing laundry, groceries and getting caught up on household chores. Instead, I had an opportunity to get “silly” as well as share a meal with a group of people many of which, that up until then I had never really spent time with outside of the gym. Happy Grokfeast! Until next year!!!

The Feast

Turkey on the Rotisserie, Pork Roast (Fire Pit Roasted), Mixed Root Vegetables, Harvest Squash, Brussel Sprouts with Bacon, Roasted Beets, Beef Rolls (stuffed with avocado and apple), Butternut Squash Soup with Scallops, Primal Apple Crisp, Lemon Squares, Cut up fruit with a dark chocolate Fondue

Pork Roast (Fire Pit Roasted) – see above

Roasted Root Vegetables (Marnie’s magical creation)

  • Vegetables included: Sweet Onions, Red Cabbage, Mushrooms, Sweet Potatoes
  • White Potatoes (sparingly), Celery,
  • add Crushed Black Pepper, Sea Salt, Fresh Oregano & Olive Oil

Butternut Squash Soup with Scallops (Thanks Philsy)

  • One Butternut Squash (Cooked and cut into cubes)
  • 4-5 Garlic Gloves
  • 1 Onion Chopped
  • 4 Large Mushrooms
  • 1 Pkg of Scallops
  • 1 Can coconut milk
  • 1Tablespoon chilli Paste
  • 1 Stalk of Lemongrass grated
  • Water (optional-about 2 cups)

Over medium heat, sauté your garlic, onions, mushrooms and scallops. Be sure not to overcook.

Place the cut up squash into a pot and add coconut milk. Stir on medium heat as well and when warm, add the sautéed scallop mixture. Stir in chilli paste, and lemongrass.  When cooked and warmed through. Blend the soup and return to pot. Note that water may be added to adjust for desired soup consistency.

Primal Apple Crisp (Carolle’s Creation)

  • 3 lbs of apples peeled and sliced
  • 1 Tablespoon Arrowroot Powder
  • 1 Tablespoon Pumpkin Pie Spice
  • 1/8th Teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
  • Dash of sea Salt
  • 1 Tablespoon of Maple Syrup
  • 1 Tablespoon Lemon Juice (optional)
  • 1/3 Cup Water

Blend arrowroot with spices and toss with apples. Blend the water and maple syrup and pour overtop.

Then add crisp topping:

  • ½ – ¾ Cup of Butter
  • 2 Cups Almond meal
  • ¾ Cups coarsely chopped Walnuts
  • 1 Tablespoon of Maple Syrup
  • 1 Teaspoon Cinnamon
  • Dash Salt

Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 45-50 minutes. Best served with warm coconut milk blended with cinnamon OR yoghurt OR real whipped cream.

Lemon Squares

(From the new book Paleo Comfort Foods by Julie & Charles Mayfield) – Page 320

The Tribe

Anna & Ed Cappelli (kids Joshua and Katrina), Joe & Marnie Scott (kids Keira and Maija), Phil Strickler, Carolle Robinson, Troy Woods (daughter Katie), Chris Cooper & Robin Rowlinson (kids Orrin & Avery)

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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