The Alabama Tomato Festival at Stone Hollow Farmstead

Over the weekend I went to the Alabama Tomato Festival at Stone Hollow Farmstead! I’ve been wanting to go to Stone Hollow for awhile, just because I’ve heard a lot of great things about it. The drive from Birmingham really isn’t that bad and it was a fun way to spend a Saturday afternoon!

The festival was hosted by Stone Hollow to celebrate the “buy local” movement, and a portion of the proceeds went towards the creation of a Farmers’ Fund, which will support our local farmers in times of hardship. So worth going just for that!

Despite it being a complete scorcher outside, the farm was really gorgeous. They were still setting up a little bit when we got there, so my friend and I walked around and took in the scenery. There was a little goat pen set up, and all the baby goats were hopping around and trying to eat stuff. There were also baby bunnies and chicks that we could hold and play with, so obviously we pretended to be children and held baby animals for awhile. There were also ducks, chickens, turkeys, and much bigger goats.

There were some great local vendors at the festival in addition to cuddly farm animals, like Revelator Coffee Company, Good People Brewing, Dayspring Dairy, and Morgan Creek Winery. We sampled some INCREDIBLE cheese from Dayspring Dairy, and I bought some of their bourbon caramel. Could have eaten that stuff with a spoon! 😉

Cookbook author and forager Chris Bennett was also there with his new book, Foraging the Southeast: 120 Wild and Flavorful Edibles from Angelica to Wild Plums. Bennett is an expert at foraging wild edibles, and even holds workshops on his family’s farm. He also works with Birmingham chefs and restaurants, providing them with seasonal and unique ingredients.

Once the tomatoes were brought out, we got to sampling. I had never seen so many varieties of tomatoes in my life! Each one was a different color and flavor. Some even had tropical and citrus flavors, like lemon, pineapple, orange, and peach.

Tom Wagner, who is a tomato breeder, was there to talk about the tomatoes, specifically his zebra tomatoes. Yes, gorgeously striped red and green tomatoes that he created. Just look at them!

In addition to tasting tomatoes, two local chefs , Maureen Holt and Angela Schmidt, were cooking up dishes for everyone to try. Maureen Holt, one of the owners of Little Savannah here in Birmingham, made ratatouille. I was really excited to see both of these women at the festival because just the other day there was a story on the local news that said a majority of the chefs in Birmingham are male, and only 10% are female. I could have gotten that number totally wrong, but it surprised me for some reason. So I was excited these ladies were representing at the festival.

I was really bummed we couldn’t make it to the dinner after the festival because it sounded spectacular! I know that Chef David Bandcroft of Acre in Auburn, Alabama probably created some incredible dishes, and I had some serious food envy after seeing pictures of the dinner on instagram. Next time, though!

I’d just like to thank Stone Hollow Farmstead for hosting this event! The local movement is so huge in Birmingham right now, and I just love it. It’s great to see people coming together to support local farmers and businesses, and to witness the fabulous things happening in this community. Not only is it important to know where you food comes from, it’s important to understand how much work goes into it and see the people who make it happen.

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