Attack of the Killer Tomato Fest

Attack of the Killer Tomato Festival, 2014
1 – 5 p.m.
The Goat Farm
Atlanta, GA

This past Sunday, I attended my first ever Attack of the Killer Tomato Festival at Goat Farm and Art Center.

There were top-notch chefs and mixologists from all around Atlanta who turned out to show us their best tomato themed dishes and drinks. The event was held to support Georgia Organics and The Giving Kitchen.

This is will be a post of lessons. Yeah, we ate a lot of great food but I don’t know if I could even tell you about EVERYTHING that I ate! I’ll do my best…one thing I can do for sure though, is give you tips for next year.

Unfortunately, it was a bit rainy out that day…but I guess I would take that over 100* heat.

We showed up right at 1 p.m. when the event started and didn’t get through the gates until 1:38.

The AKTF volunteers were doing the best that they could to move everyone through as quickly as they could but they didn’t have a streamlined process to really make it efficient.

So here we go:

Lesson 1

If the event starts at 1, show up at 12.

This means you get to avoid parking two blocks away, you avoid ending up at the end of a three person wide line, and you get a chance to sample ALL the food you paid to sample.

You don’t want to rush, you want to enjoy every second of your four hours there.

Lesson 2

Don’t bring a large camera.

I mean, I know bloggers who did but I honestly don’t know how they managed to take pictures and eat, and wade through those crowds. Your iPhone will suffice.

If you’re not a food blogger, snap a couple of quintessential pictures and then put your phone away for the rest of the day. Trust me when I say you’re going to want 100% of your energy and focus on your food and not on your camera. There is just too much to try!

Lesson 3

Bring a friend.

You’re going to need someone to hold your bag, hold your beer, hold your plate, hold your spoon etc as you try to slurp down your tasty treat in the middle of a crowd of 50 people who have forgotten their manners.

Lesson 4

Remember your manners.

Thank the chefs who are making your food. Yeah, they’re doing this to help support a good cause and get their name out there…but they’re busting their asses in hot barns to feed our grubby selves. Just say thanks.

Speaking of “thank you” don’t forget your “excuse me’s.”

This place was crowded…hundreds of people were crammed into barns and alleyways to get a taste of what these chefs had to offer. There’s room for everyone though…and if someone is in your way and they don’t realize it? Just try “excuse me.”

Shout out to my horribly cliché foodie rockin’ the neon pink track jacket who thought it was appropriate to (literally) punch a food sample out of my hand after elbowing me into the table to get a bite.

Just because you paid $80 a ticket doesn’t mean you get to treat everyone around you like garbage. Get a grip on yourselves. You ALL will get to try the food! And that $80 went to charity so just stop.

Oh and I almost forgot: once you have your food, move on. Don’t stand in front of the table eating. Shimmy to the right so everyone else can grab and go too!

Awareness of oneself is the key to not being the token d-bag. Sigh.

Lesson 5

Don’t let Lesson 4 scare you.

99% of everyone there was delightful and polite. There’s just always that person who ruins your life for a good 5 minutes. All Lesson 4 is doing is trying to stop you from being that person.

Lesson 6

Create a strategic plan of attack.

The volunteers handed me a program when I walked in. I took a quick glance at it and promptly shoved it in my purse and shouted “WE NEED TO FIND BEER.”

Bad idea.

That program had a list of all the chefs, mixologists and their dishes. It didn’t tell you where everything was located but it was easy enough to put it together once you were in a room/barn. I would have been way better off reading through the list and checking off plates I wanted to try. I also would have been way better off taking a look at that list after I thought I was done trying things. I was So. Not. Done.

We left around 4 p.m. once the sky opened up. I was stuffed and didn’t want to end up soaking wet, which was a good call. That was a shower that just didn’t stop for the rest of the evening.

Lesson 7 (the most important one)

Try everything. 

Not sure if you like gazpacho? That one dish look a little funky to you? Can you not pronounce anything in the description except “tomato?”

Who cares. Eat it. Just eat and drink all the things. Yeah, you’ll find a dish or two that isn’t quite up your alley but more often than not you will be PLEASANTLY surprised. So don’t be shy and try ONE of everything! You might surprise yourself.

All in all, crowds aside, I had a blast at AKTF and I can’t wait for next year!

My pictures can be found on my Facebook page, but don’t be fooled: I ate and drank a lot more than pictured.

To learn more about The Giving Kitchen click here.

To learn more about Georgia Organics, click here.

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