Fresh is Best: At Harvest Habersham in Sautee Nacoochee, farm-to-table fare is a daily changing adventure

Written By: William Powell

There’s just something special about a spontaneous meal made with only the freshest possible ingredients—and that’s exactly what you’ll find at Harvest Habersham, the ultimate farm-to-table restaurant located in Sautee Nacoochee. Owners Chris Bolton and Laura Farrelly not only source what they serve from neighboring farms but grow some of it right there on the grounds of the restaurant itself as well as their own home. Dining where the food is produced is their underlying principle.

Originally located in a store-front restaurant in downtown Clarkesville, Harvest Habersham served the Clarkesville community for eight years before relocated to Highway 17 across from the Old Sautee Store in September 2022. Their current location offers a scenic rural setting with spacious grounds and garden. Offering a truly unique and intimate experience, the restaurant is open Wednesday through Saturday for dinner only, with reservations required and seating limited to forty. Groups are limited to six. Their experienced staff offers the personal attention that is standard for a fine dining experience.

Restaurant Roots

A Clarkesville native, Bolton learned to cook from his mother when he was a boy. His first restaurant job came at age 12. One day he needed to fill in as the bus boy at a local restaurant for his older brother who was not able to come in for his shift. The fortuitous experience proved to be the beginning of his culinary career; years later, Bolton became the chef of that same restaurant.

Farrelly, a native of Delaware, was in the international food business before meeting Bolton in 2008. When asked how they met, Farrelly answered with a laugh. “We were both in a place where we were not supposed to be, doing what we were not supposed to be doing!” The rest, she said, is history.

After they married, Bolton and Farrelly owned restaurants in Merritt Island, Florida, and Asheville, North Carolina, before deciding to move back to Bolton’s hometown. The farm-to-table concept was an important emphasis in all their restaurants, and Harvest Habersham simply followed suit, first in Clarkesville and now Sautee, which is perhaps the most ideal location for their culinary philosophy.

What’s For Dinner?

Dining at Harvest Habersham is a daily changing adventure. Beef, chicken, pork, lamb and seafood entrees make an appearance, along with southern vegetable sides and several desserts, and there are always a number of gluten-free options; however, the actual menu for each evening is built entirely around the availability of local, fresh produce, meat and seafood, and is not finalized until 3:30 p.m. each day.

Unique is an over-used word, but an apt description of Harvest Habersham. As Farrelly puts it, the restaurant offers a “leap of faith” dining experience with its nightly varying menu, but rest assured, each meal will be fun and delicious.

A recent menu featured red snapper, peanut-dusted scallops, beef strip steak, cornmeal-dusted trout, buttermilk roasted chicken breast, and smoked fish-stuffed rond de nice squash, a French heirloom variety on a standard vegetable. Sides included pastrami and green beans, squash and onions, daikon radish, and cucumber and tarragon slaw.

Small plates included the restaurant’s signature corn bread and baked oysters, along with several distinctive salads. Desserts that evening were Goat Tracks ice cream pie, key lime pie and buttermilk panna cotta.

Numerous local farms supply chicken, beef, pork, lamb, local fish, produce, cheese, greens, herbs, berries, corn meal, honey and even quail. Interesting and unusual foods such as masquerade potatoes and pineapple ground cherries are often included. Seafood comes from suppliers in neighboring states and the Gulf. Nothing pre-packaged nor frozen is ever served.

Farrelly enjoys picking up eclectic plates when she finds them, resulting in a fun mix of dishes on which to dine—just another small example of the uniqueness of Harvest Habersham.

Harvest Habersham has an extensive list of beer, wine and spirits, each selected to enhance the meal. If you’re unsure which beverage would be best with a particular dish, Farrelly can offer suggestions.

Diners have the choice of enjoying their meals outside on either the open or covered terrace, in the dining room or even at a bar in the kitchen where the “action” takes place. Relaxed dining is encouraged, and guests are never hurried. Just be sure to call well in advance for reservations, as seating generally books up early, especially on Friday and Saturday nights. For fresh local fine dining, Harvest Habersham can’t be beat!

Harvest Habersham
2220 Hwy 17
Sautee Nacoochee


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