From Georgia to North Carolina, now is the time to take advantage of crisp apples right from the tree.
by Sarah Matalone Celebrating summer's most coveted fruit, the Attack of the Killer Tomato Festival returns to Atlanta on July 17 for the third year in a row. Since its inception, the festival has drawn a variety of the Southeast's best chefs, farmers and mixologists. JCT. Kitchen & Bar, an Atlanta-based restaurant whose specialty is what Chef/Owner Ford Fry calls "Southern farmstead cooking" - think buttermilk-brined fried chicken, fried apple pie, chopped salad and a citified version of chicken and dumplings - plays host for the tomatoey shindig. When I talked with Chef Fry, he explained what led to the creation of such a killer event. "Georgia has amazing tomatoes in the summertime, from heirlooms to little cherries and sungolds," he says. "Typically in late July, our local farmers have tons of tomatoes and need to sell them. And, I've always wanted to hold a crazy fun food event at JCT. and our surrounding property." In addition to showcasing the state's bounty of tomatoes, the festival pits chef against chef, mixologist against mixologist, in a competition for the best recipe. Chefs pair up with local farmers to create unique, tomato-based dishes for festival goers to sample, while mixologists fashion some accompanying tomato-based cocktails. After the slicing,
By Amanda Burleigh This past year my husband and I thought we would try our hands at a garden for the first time. We had a nice sized section of yard and filled it with a variety of veggies, including tomatoes, eggplants, cucumbers and chili peppers. As the months went by and our schedules got busier, the garden received less and less attention. Some plants held on longer than others, but unfortunately most of them died. However, one group managed to thrive, and that was the chili peppers. Now I am faced with dozens of peppers and no clue what to do with all of them. My first attempt to use the peppers was in homemade salsa. Not realizing how spicy these peppers actually are, I made a small batch and used my poor family as guinea pigs. The salsa was downright inedible. I tried desperately to tame the fiery dish by stretching it with anything and everything I could find. My once small batch of salsa suddenly filled my largest gumbo pot, and was still too hot to eat. Sadly, I had to throw it down the drain. Back in the kitchen a second time, I'd learned from my previous mistakes and
by Dana Newsome Strawberries the sweetest this side of heaven, as the locals claim, will be the highlight of the weekend April 17-18 in the small town of Starke, Florida. Located in the northeast corner of the state, Starke hosts the 12th Annual Bradford County Strawberry Festival each year. With a standing population of 5,700, the area Chamber of Commerce expects the rural community to welcome more than 10,000 weekend guests this year. Strawberries were first grown in Bradford County in the late 1800s and flourished, while orange groves perished in the "Big Freeze" of 1895 and the cotton industry was destroyed by the boll weevil 20 years later. Crops of the berry have slowly diminished over the years due to the rise of cheaper, imported produce, but several families continue to grow strawberries in Bradford County and showcase them each year in April. The Strawberry Festival hosts local artists, craftsmen and vendors along historic Main Street in downtown Starke. Visitors and locals can visit booths for shopping, enjoy family activities, listen to live music and, of course, partake in the local strawberries. Covered in chocolate, included in shortcake and fresh from the fields, the county's sweet strawberries are the main attraction. Local