Atlanta History Center's 6th Annual Back On The Farm


Friday, September 14, 2018 at 6PM, one of my all time favorite philanthropic-foodie events took place, The 6th Annual Back on the Farm! My first time covering this event was a few years ago where I was welcomed by Katherine Hoogerwerf (Atlanta History Center’s Director of Development Events) and key members of her staff. Every year, this team so brilliantly brings such an amazing event to life! This year, Executive Chef Kevin Gillespie along with a host of chefs, worked in harmonious collaboration to facilitate an unforgettable meal for it’s guests following the outdoor cocktail reception. The purpose, to “provide support for Smith Family Farm and its unique educational programming that tens of thousands of school children experience each year.” The outdoor reception prior to dinner provided delectable farm-style appetizers by Kevin Gillespie himself, Seni Alabi-Isama of SmoQue Pit BBQ; and Suzanne Vizethann of Buttermilk Kitchen.


Year to Year, participants of Back on the Farm gather on the farm in high anticipation of the evening lighting the farm grounds with smiles and good ole’ fellowship. This is one of those events where you everyone feels like family and you leave feel accomplished and with a full stomach! Most importantly, the event raises significant funds to keep the Smith Family Farm vibrant, take care of the farm animals and continue to provide memorable educational impartation to those who visit. Big thanks to Presenting Sponsor Harry Norman, Realtors for their generous supportThis year’s chairmen were Juliet Asher, Michael Golden, Bianca and Mark Bell.

*Photos Courtesy of Kim Link

Recap from the 4th Annual Back on the Farm

Friday evening, September 30, 2016, guests and supporters of Atlanta History Center’s Back on the Farm joined up on the campus of the historic Smith Family Farm for an unforgettable farm to table dinner. From the entrance of the pathway leading into the farm to the Grand Overlook, absolutely everything about this event was exquisite! Back on the Farm is an annual charity dinner that raises funds in support of the farm animals and the overall property upkeep where these beloved animals live. Each year, a team of celebrity chefs (this year, under the direction of Executive Chef Todd Richards), all gather to prepare a grand meal inspired by historic farm foods. And let me tell ya’, as soon as I bent the corner coming up on the farm, I was greeted by the farm dinner servers decked in all black serving us delectable items such as braised short ribs with mashed Kabocha with brown rice, seared scallops over yellow corn grits and lemon chervil salad or my absolute fav, the smoked chicken deviled eggs!

In fact, there were 7 different hors d’oeuvres stations laid out around the farm that everyone was able to stop by and enjoy. The attire for the evening was blue jean chic and everyone looked their absolute best. In conjunction with all of the guests present, I thought it was really cool how several of the women who work for the Atlanta History Center were dressed in traditional garbs from the time period and helped serve, interpret stories from that era and help facilitate the LIVE auction in the Grand Overlook. And let us not forget all of the animals who were right there with us on the farm that night! There was Tallulah (the turkey), the hens, the pairs of goats and sheep, and of course, the celebrity farm cat, Dodger who was laid out across one of the beds in the historic homes with no worries at all. The time slated for cocktail/ hors d’oeuvres was for 6PM and was followed by the highly anticipated dinner in the Grand Overlook at 8PM.

All of a sudden, in the midst of the great networking taking place during the cocktail mixer, we hear the sound of the farm bell resounding to get everyone to move toward the dinner hall. As the crowd makes their way up away from the farm, and up the stairway into the Atlanta History Center main entrance, we enter the dining hall beautifully set up with long family style tables styled by The Spin Style Agency. The menu that night included heirloom tomatoes and roasted beets with feta cheese and Georgia organic olive oil, buttermilk biscuits and cornbread, ginger glazed carrots, marinated Edamame, mac-n-cheese, Springer Mountain Farms Southern Fried Chicken, roasted pork loin and finally, some very yummy banana pudding! Not only were we stuffed from all of this goodness, but all the food was impeccable from start to finish. The evening included a silent auction followed by a LIVE auction indoors where the crowd very generously bided on several items including a Large Big Green Egg, a Hearth-cooked Dinner for 12 at Smith Family Farm, Cocktails for 50 on the farm and more.

There was just so much to say about how elegant and comfortable the atmosphere about this whole event was. Kudos to Katherine Hoogerwerf (Director of Development Events) and all the key staff members for pulling off such an outstanding event. And big thanks to all the supporters, donors and especially to all the chefs that made this menu great!

Angie Mosier, Chair

Todd Richards, Executive Chef of White Oak Kitchen & Chef/Owner of Richards' Southern Fried, Event Executive Chef

Erika Council

of Southern Soufflé

Julio Delgado

of JP Atlanta

Seth Freedman

of PeachDish

Jared Hall

of One Flew South

Mihoko Obuani

of Nexto

Matthew Raiford

of The Farmer and The Larder,

Brunswick, GA

Guy Wong

of Ton Ton, Le Fat and Miso Izakaya


Tiffanie Barriere

of Southern National, Mobile, AL

Miles MacQuarrie

of Kimball House

Jerry Slater

of Flying Pig Hospitality

Krista Lark Slater

of Flying Pig Hospitality


The Spin Style Agency

For more information about happenings such as these at the Atlanta History Center, please visit

The Smith Family Farm: Up Close and Personal


With just two weeks away until the 4th Annual Back on the Farm event at the Atlanta History Center, I thought it would be a great idea to meet up with my contact beforehand to see the animals and the farm in living color! Katherine Hoogerwerf, Director of Development Events, has been very accommodating from the beginning in regards to the upcoming event. My photographer Lindsay and I got a chance to meet up with Katherine to take a tour and to gain a bit of history behind the Smith Family Farm. Along with Katherine, we also met up with Brett Bannor (Manager of Animal Collections) and Kelly Bradley who is Director of 19th Century Historic Houses. 


I must say, to be an Atlanta native and walk in on the beautiful forest grounds of the Atlanta History Center for the very first time, I was really amazed at what all was out there! This farm is a special treasure strategically tucked in the back of the historic center and a definite must see! Katherine tells us that they have about 30,000 school children who visit the farm every year and that Back on the Farm helps to support the funds needed to take care of these farm animals. In fact, after meeting Brett, our first stop was to check out the 4 Sheep and 2 Goats, all mother to son pairs, who just happened to be grubbing at the time of our visit. Brett tells us that he has been a farmer there for nearly 4 years now. And it was pretty obvious from his interaction with the animals that he has a genuine love and admiration for them individually in their respective element. 



Along with the sheep and goats and a very cool, low-key farm cat by the name of "Dodger" we met, we also got an opportunity to see Brett interacting hands on with the chicken hens and a turkey they call "Tallulah"! Funny thing, as soon as Brett enters into their habitat, Tallulah is the first to run up and greet him.  Kelly Bradley shared with us that they don't eat the animals on the farm for Back on the Farm, but that the hens and turkey are very generous with providing eggs on a daily basis. Kelly also tells us that many of the farm houses had been there since the 1970s and several of which were transported from different places and reconstructed on the property to preserve their authenticity and historic value!

And then, on to the immense river of fresh garden vegetables lacing the Smith Family Farm... We seriously came across some stuff in the garden that even my "green thumb" north Georgian family members have never introduced me to! There was Seminole squash, African fish peppers, cayenne peppers, asparagus, cucumbers, corn, carrots, cotton plants and an array of herbs that I'm not sure that I could spell! Kelly tells us that the meals prepared for September 30th are actually inspired by many of these fresh garden vegetables. In addition to that, guests and patrons of the event can anticipate a LIVE auction that evening. In fact, this year, they will auction off tickets to Hamilton on Broadway!

The 4th Annual Back on the Farm Social will take place on Friday, September 30th beginning at 6PM with pre-dinner cocktails followed by a seated dinner at 8PM in the Grand Overlook.

For more information or to purchase tickets to Back on the Farm, please visit or contact Katherine Hoogerwerf at 404.814.4102 or for details.

See also my previous post including more details regarding the event by clicking on this link.


Images Courtesy of Lindsay Abarca Photography