The One-Block Feast Travels East…

July 15, 2011 | By | Comments (4)



…Specifically, to this wonderful party:


By Margo True, Sunset Food Editor

If there’s such a thing as backyard-farm heaven, we were there this past Saturday. Our new book, The One-Block Feast, was the guest of honor (and the inspiration for) the first annual Smallholding Festival, held at a lusciously green garden center in Ottsville, Pennsylvania.


One of the gardens at Linden Hill, owned and beautified by landscape designer Jerry Fritz.
He restored the stone barn when he bought the place.

Presented by my friends Christopher Hirsheimer and Melissa Hamilton, the creators of Canal House Cooking, the festival was all about the kinds of food crafts we’ve written about on this blog. Beekeepers, cheesemakers, breadbakers, brewers, and at least a dozen other local artisans and farmers came out to show what it’s possible to do in your backyard.



Baking Signsmaller BreadBaking
ChickensChicksbetter2 Goats3
Pizza oven PizzaOvenSign EarthOvenDemo2

Anyone who wanted to could smush up mud for bricks (right), which were formed and used to build an actual oven (the beginnings of it are on the table behind the mud patch). A finished oven (left) turned out pizza.


There was even the world’s most patient cow, milked hourly by excited guests.



Most of the artisans handed out samples. But there was plenty of other food, too—like insanely delicious ice cream from The Bent Spoon (scooped from the modified sidecar of a green Vespa; see the photo below), grass-fed brisket, Applegate hot dogs, large crackly-skinned hams dripping into an enormous paella pan of potatoes, and minty lemonade sold by kids.


 After the festival’s closing bell rang at 3, about 70 invited guests sat down to a fried-chicken feast in the barn to celebrate the day. Christopher and Melissa—with the help of another ex-Saveur friend, Julia Lee, and lots of volunteers—orchestrated it all. They even made the napkins.



Guests begin to filter into the barn for lunch.


We sipped creamy, tangy avocado soup, crunched on smoked-salmon toasts, and got to know (or catch up with) one another, cooled by the breeze blowing through the big barn doors. Platters of golden fried chicken came around, along with potato salad spiked with preserved lemon, tomato salad, dill and watermelon pickles, and a juicy apricot cobbler.


  Longbarntablewarmer Friedchicken


And we sold lots of books.

3 of us with books


If the sound and look of this whets your appetite, then come on out next year! Christopher and Melissa will be glad to see you.


  1. Living Simply

    Envious. That’s all I have to say 😉

    August 9, 2011 at 5:16 am
  2. Myra Kohn

    Good morning Margot and Jenny!

    Jenny, come over to the house. Margo will be here at 10 a.m. to chat about The One-Block Feast with a group of food writing and food loving friends. Please join us!

    Warm regards,


    July 23, 2011 at 1:19 pm
  3. Margo

    Hi, Jenny! Yes, I’ll be there on the 22nd and am really looking forward to it. Sorry you won’t be there, but I hope to see you soon. Thank you for the very kind words about the one-block project–it’s taking on a life of its own with the contest we have going now (check out all the finalists listed to the right of this page)! And congratulations on finishing your renovation. That is huge.

    July 16, 2011 at 2:51 am
  4. Jenny

    Hi Margot!
    I met you last year at BlogHer Food, and I hear you’re going to be in Seattle next week (at the Corson Building). Wish I could be there to say hello and congratulate you on the book, but I have other plans that evening. In any event, the one-block feast program is completely inspiring, and now that our renovation is done, we’re getting our little yard ready for big plans (as are our neighbors). Great, great work!! So impressed, really!

    July 15, 2011 at 6:36 pm

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