August 2014
The Magic of Gardening

Farm Y’all: Farm to Fork Festival

  Trent Boyd and family with the new Alabama largest pumpkin record at 903 pounds.

The first Farm Y’all – Farm to Fork Festival was held last August at the Festhalle Market Platz – Farmer’s Market in the warehouse district of downtown Cullman. The highlight of the day’s event was a new Alabama giant pumpkin record weighing in at 903 pounds grown by Trent Boyd of Cullman County. Competitors came from several southeastern states to enter the Giant Pumpkin and Melon Contest. This year’s event will be on August 23 and we are expecting a bigger event with even more entries. The festival will begin at 8 a.m. and last until 3 p.m. If you have a giant pumpkin or watermelon to enter, plan to arrive between 7-7:45 a.m. to get them unloaded. The prizes are $1,000, $500 and $250 for pumpkins and $500, $250 and $100 for watermelons. We have also added a Youth Gourd Contest for the greatest circumference, longest and most unusual gourds. There will be $50, $25 and $10 prizes for 1st, 2nd and 3rd place in each youth gourd category.

This free event will have all kinds of games and activities for kids, and local bands will provide musical entertainment for everyone. Last year, the mechanical bull ride was a big hit and it will be there again this year. The bull ride, Watermelon Seed Spitting Contest, and all the other games and kids’ activities are free. Local farmers will be on hand with a good supply of fruits and vegetables for sale, and local food vendors will be selling their most popular foods. The Cullman 4-H clubs will be selling homemade ice cream made using a bicycle-powered, five-gallon freezer.

Several local, regional and nationally celebrated chefs will be preparing dishes featuring local foods for people to sample. Frank Stitt of Highlands Bar and Grill is a world-renowned chef who has roots in Cullman County and he will be honored at this event for his contribution and support of our farmers and local foods movement. Chefs who will be demonstrating and serving samples that day include Cliff Holt of Little Savanna, Dyron Powelll of Dyron’s Low Country and Mauricio Pappapietro of Brick and Tin restaurant. In addition to these headliners, several local chefs will be preparing dishes featuring local foods for folks to sample.

Frank Mudd with a new Kentucky State Record and our largest watermelon entered at 276 pounds.  

The adjoining Depot Park will be home to several sponsors that will be exhibiting their products. Our title sponsor Tri-Green Equipment will be displaying a good assortment of Gators and other John Deere equipment.

At the end of the day’s festivities, a giant pumpkin will be dropped from a large crane. This activity was a big hit last year (pun intended) when an 850-pound pumpkin exploded making a cannon-like sound as it broke into a thousand pieces. Giant-pumpkin-grower wannabes scrambled to get a few seeds to try their own hand at growing one of these monsters. We are hopeful some of the seed collected last year will come back as entries in the giant pumpkin youth division this year.

There will be an all-local meal prepared by Chef Pappapietro the Saturday prior to the festival at Wallace State Community College in Hanceville. For dinner reservations and a full lineup of all the day’s activities including a timeline of the chefs’ demonstrations and many other events taking place throughout the day, visit the website or email me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Tony A. Glover is a County Extension Coordinator in Cullman County.