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cultivating the capital foodshed

june/july 2010 flavormags.com

c’est chèvre

our d secon ary ers Anniv e! issu

Slow Money, Fast Minds Inside Sustainable Financing

What’s the Buzz? Virginia Honey Wine

Get on the Bus! Farmers Market on Wheels


Historic Old Town

Culpeper,Virginia

St i l l Ma k i n g Sm a l l To w n C ha r m Fountain Hall Bed & Breakfast Culpeper, Virginia

Celebrating 25 Years!

RESTAURANT RESTAURANT A Name to Remember... A Name to Remember.... Meal You’llNever NeverForget. Forget. AA Meal You’ll

Stay at Fountain Hall and explore historic Culpeper. Walk to superb restaurants and shops. Enjoy golf, cultural sites, wineries, cycling and more.

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EARTH FRIENDLY GIFTS

800-29-VISIT visit@fountainhall.com

Corner of Main & Davis Streets Downtown Culpeper, VA (540) 829-NEST (enter through Pepperberries)

www.GreenNestVA.com OPEN 7 DAYS A WEEK!

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• june/july 2010

- TomSietsema, Sietsema, -Tom The Washington Post The Washington Post

219 E Davis St 219 E Davis Culpeper, VASt Culpeper, VA www.fotisrestaurant.com www.fotisrestaurant.com (540) 829-8400 (540) 829-8400


Every year, 104,000 acres of Virginia farmland disappear forever. The result is a loss of locally grown food that supports our community and keeps us independent of foreign sources. But you can stop this alarming trend by joining Save Our Food, a campaign of the nonprofit Virginia Farm Bureau. It only takes a minute. And for less than $4 a month, your annual membership will ensure that safe, fresh, locally grown foods remain accessible to your family for years to come.

Save 104,000 Acres of Virginia Farmland in 60 Seconds

.org

Š2010 Virginia Farm Bureau

Job #:

10VFB0835

Pub:

Flavor


right at your doorstep Our Capital foodshed is growing every day.

And is proud to say we’re growing too. Many local distributors tell us they can barely get new copies of on their shelves before hungry readers snatch them all up. By subscribing to , you’ll get the freshest stories about our region’s growers, chefs, winemakers, and trends delivered right to your door — rich, flavorful and, dare we even say it, raw. New subscribers are entered into a bimonthly drawing, where they can win prizes like artisanal foods, a tour of Polyface Farms, or a seat at a farm-to-table dinner.

Subscribe to

Cultivating the Capital Foodshed

6 issues a year for just $32 Subscribe online at flavormags.com Or send payment to Flavor Magazine P.O. Box 100 Sperryville,Virginia 22740

ns to tulatio s a r g n o C r bscribe new su en Lorence & Kar Rodney ampton, VA om of H offee fr c f o s d n n 2 pou sters who wo ral Coffee Roa A Cent ryville,V of Sper


52

42

38

features

columns

42

Coming Home to the Farm

32

A tale of two men who returned to the family farm: One wanted to carry on the family tradition but didn’t see how he could give up his day job. The other didn’t like farming as a boy but fell in love with it as an adult. Both farms are thriving.

Rebel with a Cause Foodie Elitism

We’re often criticized for spending more on high-quality, locally produced food. Are we prepared to answer our critics?

52

Using Our Common Cents

Slow Money founder Woody Tasch aims to play matchmaker between entrepreneurs in regional food systems and patient investors who share the vision of slow, small, and local.

zora margolis

jennifer conrad seidel

38

joel salatin

Tales from the Field It Takes a Village (of Farmers)

Farming is best learned hands-on during the growing season, but how can busy farmers find time to train others?

61

pablo elliott

Seasonal Table Cooling Off

In these hot months, cook with seasonal ingredients that cool your body down.

suzanne simon & bettina stern

in every issue Terroir, our drink section, starts on page 81.

10 From the Publisher & the Editor 11 Letters from Readers & Eaters 69 The Guest List 104 Advertiser Directory & Recipe Index

www.flavormags.com

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Satisfy Your Curiosity in Clarke County... W here Local Food, Art, Histor y & Conser vation Create Community

HISTORY? CULTURE? FUN?

Over 200 Years

WE’VE GOT IT!

Battletown Inn Fine Virginia Food and Lodging

Catering Gray Ghost Tavern Locally raised produce Patio Seating Sunday brunch Live local music Updated overnight rooms 102 West Main Street, Berryville, VA 22611

www.TheBattletownInn.com 8

540-955-4100

• june/july 2010

The Lost Dog Bed and Breakfast 211 South Church Street Berryville Virginia 22611

540-955-1181 www.TheLostDog.com info@thelostdog.com “You Don’t Have To Go Far.... To Get Away From It All.”

Pet Friendly!

The CLARKE COUNTY HISTORICAL ASSOCIATION

invites you to share our treasures.

Burwell-Morgan Mill

Weekends, May-November Grinding corn & wheat every Saturday!

”Our Land Is Our Legacy”

new multi-media museum exhibit

HarvFest, local FOOD & FARMING festival September 19— www.harvfest.org

www.clarkehistory.org

Mill: 15 Tannery Lane, Millwood Museum: 32 E. Main Street, Berryville

540.955.2600


departments 13

Local Grazings Happenings on the Foodie Front

From raw food to restaurant openings, from butcher shops to bakeries, we’ve got news for you. And Green Grazings, too, because it’s not just about food.

23 57

In the Food Desert Catching the Bus

If Richmonders can’t find a nearby farmers market, Farm to Family will bring a farmers market (disguised as an old school bus) to them.

26

At this new gastropub in downtown D.C., chef Wes Morton brings some bayou flavor to a British menu.

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26

laura kitchin greenleaf

Flavor Café Againn

35

amber davis

walter nicholls

In the Garden Rain, Rain, Go This Way

Why pay to use fresh, treated water to irrigate your garden and lawn when you can catch rain instead?

35

katie mccaskey

Artisans & Entrepreneurs Cheese Greater

They planned to just make cheese during weekends in the country, but what they created at FireFly Farms was too good to keep to themselves.

49

marian burros

Groundbreakers The Local Pet Food Movement

You’re vigilant about what you and your loved ones eat. So what was that you just put in your pet’s bowl?

57

michael clune

Flavor Café Ashby Inn

The Ashby Inn’s new chef, Tarver King, champions progressive cuisine inspired by local ingredients.

shannon sollinger

Cover photo of FireFly Farms’ Black & Blue goat cheese taken by Molly McDonald Peterson on location at Mount Vernon Farm in Sperryville, Virginia. www.flavormags.com

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from the publisher & the editor It has been two years since we printed the first issue of Flavor, years in which we’ve all witnessed exciting growth in the awareness and availability of local food in the Capital Foodshed. Stores are adding to their inventory of local food and wine—a change that has been enthusiastically received by customers and patrons. Producers like The Farm at Sunnyside and Polyface Farms continue to draw national attention. Local winemakers are garnering more national and international awards and praise. Chefs committed to sourcing locally stand out among their peers. Farmers markets are packed with shoppers, leading organizers to go year-round or open new markets in other neighborhoods. When we started the magazine, we took our cues from the farmers around us who keep a sustainable pace of growth. And at increments, we’ve grown from a 40-page quarterly distributed in nine counties to a 100-plus-page bimonthly distributed throughout D.C. and much of Virginia and Maryland. We’ve attracted respected contributors such as Joel Salatin, Marian Burros, Walter Nicholls, and Bill Plante. This issue includes a feature on winemaker Michael Shaps by Washington Post wine columnist Dave McIntyre (page 88) and the second installation of winemaker Jim Law’s new column, Growing Wines (page 86). As we enter our third year, we will be doing some more growing still. Flavor, which has been distributed for free, will soon be for sale at many of the businesses that already carry it as well at new locations, such as bookstores. This means that finding a copy of Flavor will be easier, because we’ll be better able to meet the demand for more copies in more locations. We sincerely believe that increasing Flavor’s circulation will inspire more people to spend their food and entertainment dollars in ways that benefit our foodshed. In turn, our region’s farms, wineries, and businesses will thrive and be able to continue providing us with delicious, healthful, sustainably raised food. Many of you have told us how indispensable Flavor has become. We ask now for your financial support. Subscribe. Give a subscription as a gift. Ask your favorite stores to carry the magazine. And patronize our advertisers!

Melissa J. Harris publisher

Jennifer Conrad Seidel editor

a slice of humble pie

In our April/May 2010 issue, we included a photo of a Horizon milk product in the feature “One of Us?” to illustrate the label used by the USDA Organic Program, which Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan helped launch. We were not aware that this company has at various times been under investigation by the USDA for allegedly failing to follow organic standards. We should have chosen a more appropriate product to photograph. We also regretfully misspelled Carole Keathley’s name in the article “Unleashing Your Inner Winemaker.” PUBLISHER 

Melissa J. Harris advertising director

Erica Gentile-Hussar account executives

ISSUE NO. 11

Kathy Blum, Wendy Gray, Molly P. Hannon, Lea Vittitow, Stephanie Williams, Heidi Wulf-Ruiz

EDITOR 

Jennifer Conrad Seidel ART DIRECTOR 

graphic designers  Annie Arnest, Anna Curtis

Nora Monroe photographer  Molly McDonald Peterson editorial assistant 

Amber Davis

circulation & distribution

Alex Harris, Christopher Harris, Jeff Hazel, Woody Hazel special events assistants

copyeditor  Laura Merricks

Laura Booth, Celeste Wagner

ADVISORY BOARD 

Matt Benson, Marian Burros, Sherri Fickel, Stephanie Giles, Michel Heitstuman, Kevin Kraditor, Jim Law, Bernie Prince, Maggie Rogers, John Fox Sullivan, Chad Zakaib

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• june/july 2010

Join us on Facebook! Find a link at flavormags.com

SUBSCRIPTIONS & ADVERTISING

A one-year, six-issue subscription is $32. Send subscription and advertising inquiries to Flavor Magazine, Inc. P.O. Box 100 Sperryville, VA 22740 voice (540) 987-9299 fax (540) 518-9190 info@flavormags.com www.flavormags.com Copyright ©2010 by Flavor Magazine, Inc. All rights reserved. Reproduction without permission of the publisher is prohibited. Flavor is not responsible for unsolicited manuscripts and photographs. Flavor is an independent, bimonthly publication created in VIRGINIA and is not affiliated with any nationally franchised publications.


letters from readers & eaters In our Dec./Jan. 2010 issue, Zora Margolis introduced readers to the tenacious Tanikka Cunningham, who has been working through her company, Healthy Solutions, to bring healthful, locally grown foods to areas of D.C. where full-service grocery stores are scarce. In February, Zora passed on the news that someone at the Office of Intergovernmental Affairs in the Department of Health and Human Services had picked up a copy of  Flavor at Busboys and Poets, read the article, and then sought out Tanikka, hoping to find a way for her company to set up markets at every public housing location in D.C. While that hasn’t happened yet, but much else has. i would like to thank flavor and writer zora

Margolis for being willing to speak about issues that some shy away from: food access, food deserts, and small organizations. I had the honor of being the subject of your article “In the Food Desert: Making It Happen.” The article that you all ran on Healthy Solutions was the first time we had someone recognize the work we do, and I am truly grateful. As soon as the article was released, many things and opportunities opened up for Healthy Solutions, as people learned who we are. Your readers are a great group of people who work in many capacities, from food advocates to government officials and stay-at-home moms who are looking to do something for change. Before I explain some of the great things that this article and Zora have brought to us, I would like to thank Zora personally for being willing to speak of the story of Healthy Solutions and myself. Zora is not the first person in media we have told our story to, but she is the only one who was willing to talk of notso-comfortable dinner topics, and she is truly a great and brave woman. Through Zora we met great food advocates and foodies such as Don Rockwell. When the story came out, Don Rockwell hosted Healthy Solutions on a two-week blog, talking about who we are and what issues we

face regarding food east of the Anacostia River. For him to change the dynamics of his website (donrockwell.com) and talk about food access and the importance of healthy and affordable food for all people—it makes me glad to have the honor to call him a new Healthy Solutions friend. He is a great man. Since the article appeared in Flavor, Healthy Solutions has been invited to and has spoken at several events to bring awareness to food access issues—not just east of the river in Washington, D.C., but in low-income and African American communities. Our latest visit was to the United Nations in New York to talk about the global impacts of food security and agriculture in the African American community. We had the opportunity to speak to a full room, and we were invited to come back in the future to work on creating solutions. This last month, Healthy Solutions had the honor of hosting members of the Obama administration, the USDA, and Health and Human Services who came to see our programs in action. After their visit, Healthy Solutions was featured on the USDA blog, the first lady’s Let’s Move blog, and the White House blog, under the Office of Neighborhood and Faith-Based Partnerships. For all of those and many more great—sometimes unbelievable—things that have happened for Healthy Solutions since the article was published, I would like to personally say thank you! Keep up the great work! Tanikka Cunningham Executive Director, Healthy Solutions Washington, D.C.

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We love to hear from you! Send letters, suggestions, and questions to editor@flavormags.com Leave comments at flavormags.com And become a fan on Facebook

Washington, Virginia

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Kaye & Rick Kohler Jan Hackley Makela www.flavormags.com

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local grazings

Happenings on the Foodie Front Amber Davis

On the Farm and Dreaming When local legend and international rock star Dave Matthews and his wife, Ashley Harper, decided to cease growing operations at their 70-acre Maple Hill Farm outside of Scottsville, Virginia—once the home of the now-defunct Best of What’s Around CSA—they approached the area’s Local Food Hub about using the land. A wholesale buyer and distributor of local farm products, the hub reestablished the land as a community-supported nonprofit farm to educate and prepare a future generation of farmers. The Educational Farm at Maple Hill hosts regular volunteer days on Wednesdays and every first and third Saturday of the month. Three full-time farm apprentices currently live and work on the farm as well. The farm also hosts regular community service projects and educational workshops for area producers. From the crops growing on six acres this year, 25 percent will go to area food banks, charities, and soup kitchens; the rest will be used to supplement the food collected from surrounding area farms, which is sold to many large community businesses and local schools. Local Food Hub (434) 286-2176, www.localfoodhub.org

From Mobile to Market Three years ago, Libby Rector Snipe’s and Sara and Chris Guerre’s passion for local foods led them to launch On the Gourmet, a full-service, mobile food marketplace housed in a retrofitted 26-foot plumber’s truck. The trio would drive their mobile market throughout Northern Virginia to sell and deliver fresh, regional foods. After a successful two years in business, the Guerres decided to add a permanent physical location to their operations, opening Maple Avenue Market in downtown Vienna last September. Ninetyfive percent of the store’s products are sourced locally from area farms and small producers, and some produce is grown by

the Guerres themselves on their small farm in northern Fairfax County. The store offers its own CSA program and also distributes CSA shares for two other small farms in the area. The couple still drives the On the Gourmet truck to the Great Falls and West End Alexandria farmers markets each weekend. This year, the Guerres’s small farm operation became the first to sell fresh produce directly to Arlington County Public Schools. They have also partnered with the Discovery Woods School in Great Falls to grow and source ingredients for its students. Maple Avenue Market  (703) 957-9348, www.mapleavenuemarket.com

Get a Byte to Eat Tired of waiting in line to order food from your favorite local establishment? Then try OrderTopia, the new way to order food without ever entering a restaurant. Created in Charlottesville, Virginia, by local residents Dan Epstein (the co-owner of Eppie’s), Brian Williford, and John McAllister, OrderTopia allows customers to place online and mobile orders, pay, and choose a pick-up time anywhere there’s an Internet connection—be it via iPhone or computer. OrderTopia is also building in social network features for restaurants and users to tie in to their accounts on Facebook and Twitter. Charlottesville restaurants Eppie’s and local food superstar Revolutionary Soup are already using the service, as is Elevation Burger, a national grass-fed hamburger chain. OrderTopia has already built an iPhone app for Elevation Burger, with apps on the way for Revolutionary Soup, Eppie’s, and other Charlottesville restaurants. Next up for OrderTopia are online stores and apps for local restaurants Rise Pizzaworks, Sticks Kebab Shop, Boylan Heights, and Mellow Mushroom. Online ordering for customers is free, as are the iPhone ordering applications. Ordertopia  (434) 293-8857, www.ordertopia.com www.flavormags.com

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local grazings

Supply, I’d Like You to Meet Demand In 2005, Dennis and Joy Evans began selling produce from their small farm in Brownsburg, Virginia, at local markets. Eventually, they moved on to manage the farmers market at Orchardside Farm in Raphine. Through their varied market experiences, they realized that many small farmers put their products before the same group of consumers every week. Eager to find new customers for these farmers, they decided this spring to start Shenandoah Food to help sell products outside of the Shenandoah Valley. On the website, customers can visit each farm’s virtual store and place an order online. The couple then uses their refrigerated truck to deliver the orders. They credit Flavor contributor Michael Clune with inspiring this new venture, which is already delivering to Sweetgreen in D.C., various Whole Foods locations, and other businesses in Richmond, Blacksburg, and Charlottesville. Shenandoah Food  (540) 460-9245, www.shenandoahfood.com

p  Since 2005, the Virginia Green Grocer has supplied farm-fresh produce and organic products to families and friends throughout Northern Virginia. Located in Warrenton, Virginia, the farm is certified organic by the USDA and Oregon Tilth and focuses on producing items that are native to Virginia, as well as rare and heirloom varietals. The business also holds high standards for its operations. Farm vehicles run on biodiesel produced by organic soybeans, the greenhouse is heated using scrap wood, and the farm maintains a comprehensive water recycling system. In 2008, the farm began offering its own 20-week CSA program, the Virginia Organic Cooperative, which features dairy, eggs, and meat products and serves shareholders at the farm store and at multiple locations in Northern Virginia. In 2010, the farm hopes to become the only certified organic dairy in the state with on-site organic processing. Virginia Green Grocer  (540) 347-4740, virginiagreengrocer.com

You won’t find many local CSAs or buyers clubs that regularly carry products like wild chicory coffee, dandelion soda, and even live Chesapeake crabs, but the unique products offered by the buyers club and delivery service Arganica aren’t the only things that set this business apart. The Kostelac family opened Arganica last October to introduce urban customers to its “order what you want when you want” online buying system, which is more flexible than seasonal CSAs, although it still requires a paid membership. Arganica now carries over 500 items sourced from local farms such as Gryffon’s Aerie and Polyface Farms as well as all-natural regional items such as Amish yogurt from Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Through the company’s reuse and composting program, wooden boxes, milk bottles, vintage seltzer bottles, and even food scraps are picked up and reused, recycled, or composted each week. Although Arganica primarily serves the urban population of Northern Virginia and D.C., deliveries will soon begin in Charlottesville and other regions of Virginia. Arganica  (434) 979-0480, arganica.com 14

• june/july 2010


RedTruckBakeryFlavorJuly10_NewRedTruckFlavorHoliday09 5/25/10 7:49 AM Page 1

local grazings

HON E ST FR E SH & LO CA L

T

ake a short drive in the Piedmont and find out why The New York Times, Garden & Gun Magazine and other publications are swooning over the Red Truck Bakery. We use the freshest LO CA L and seasonal ingredients in our breads, pies, pastries, soups, sandwiches and other items. We’re locally owned, classically trained and not a franchise. Come taste for yourself — we’re just down the road. Open Monday—Friday 6:30 am until 5 pm; Saturdays 7:30 am until 4 pm. Closed Sundays.

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22 Waterloo Street at Courthouse Square in Old Town Warrenton, Virginia 540- 3 47-2 2 24 Ship nationwide at RedTruckBakery.com

Select goods are also available at area stores — see our website

¸… Lemaire has put Richmond on the map …¹Richmond Times Dispatch ¸… simple and decadent …¹ Richmond Magazine

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¸… dining experience has gone hip …¹Style Weekly

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local grazings

Goings On Where You’re Going to Eat y  In an attempt to educate patrons on the value and benefits of cooking with fresh, seasonal ingredients, Zola Wine & Kitchen partnered with FreshFarm Markets to launch the Farmers in Residence program in April. The 30-minute seminars, held on select Thursdays, allow individuals to learn cooking techniques from the Stir Food Group’s executive chef Byran Moscatello and several guest farmers. On June 17, the restaurant will welcome Charlene Dilworth from Sand Hill Farm; on July 8, the guest will be Holly Foster from Chapel’s Country Creamery. After each session, Moscatello leads participants through the Penn Quarter FreshFarm Market to discuss purchasing and incorporating seasonal items into everyday meals and to introduce farmers and producers. The program runs through October. Zola Wine & Kitchen  (202) 639-9463, zolawinekitchen.com

“Like our best friends'  home if our best friends  were amazing chefs and  knew exactly what we 

In an effort to revive support for local area businesses that may be struggling during these tough times, The 3/50 Project has launched a new campaign called Eat Down the Street. The group encourages diners to eat at least once a week at a local, independent restaurant that they would hate to see go out of business. With a mission to “save the brick and mortar stores that our nation is built on,” the newest venture is similar to the group’s first project, which encouraged community members to spend $50 at three independent or small businesses once a month to help them thrive (see the write-up in our Aug./Sep. 2009 issue). It’s a win-win for both your community and your tastebuds. The 3/50 Project  www.the350project.net

wanted before we asked"   TripAdvisor, May 2010

www.hopkinsordinary.com 540-987-3383

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• june/july 2010

Ris  (202) 730-2500, www.risdc.com

laura padgett

Sperryville, Virginia

y  After enjoying chef Ris Lacoste’s food for over two decades in the dining room of 1789 Restaurant and other upscale metro restaurants, fans can now partake of her celebrated cuisine in an establishment of her own, Ris, which opened at the end of last year in Washington’s West End. Lacoste frequents the region’s numerous farmers markets for the freshest assortment of local products and regional seafood from vendors such as Next Step Produce, Toigo Orchards, Gardener’s Gourmet, Anchor Nursery, and The Farm at Sunnyside. The regular menu at Ris, which is also available to go, is accompanied by a 120-bottle wine list. The restaurant is also offering Rush Hour specials on Monday through Friday from 4 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., where small plates, daily specials, and signature drinks cost anywhere from $4.00 to $6.30. Ris is currently open for lunch and dinner every day and for brunch on weekends.


local grazings

As the number of restaurants and wineries in Loudoun County continues to grow, interest in forming a cohesive restaurant association has also increased. In an attempt to jumpstart creative collaboration between local businesses and to showcase local fare, five of Loudoun’s top chefs and five local wineries hosted a five-course dinner event at the Restaurant at Patowmack Farm this past January. On July 25, Vintage 50 will host the next event in the series—a cocktail reception and tasting featuring several area chefs, brewers, and wineries. Each business will have its own station, offering small plates, locally brewed beer, or award-winning wines. Several area farmers will also be on hand to discuss the story behind the ingredients, which will be sourced primarily from surrounding farms. Proceeds from the event will support Loudoun Therapeutic Riding. Vintage 50  (703) 777-2169, www.vintage50.com

molly mcdonald peterson

t  Equinox is once again accepting dining reservations after being closed for almost six months due to a fire that destroyed the restaurant’s kitchen and dining area. Despite the setback, owners Todd and Ellen Gray took the opportunity to make some exciting new renovations to the space. The main dining room and bar area have been rearranged to create a more open floor plan, offering expansive views of the restaurant from all angles. The newly updated kitchen and workspace have inspired a slight change in dining options, including the addition of à la carte menu items and side choices. Other features include new lighting fixtures, a wood-encased wine display housing over 500 bottles, and a glass-back bar with translucent shelving. The restaurant is open for lunch, dinner, and Sunday brunch. Equinox  (202) 331-8118, www.equinoxrestaurant.com

D.C. restaurateurs now have access to the freshest farm foods without stepping outside of their establishments thanks to the efforts of the growing Farm-to-Table DC Program, which began as the Farm-to-Chef Program, organized by the Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington (RAMW) and the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS). The program has grown into a full-blown buyers club for several district restaurants. Through the service, chefs can decide what and how much they would like to order from an extensive list of local producers and farms, and the program does the rest—from sending the animals to processing facilities, to transporting the products to the restaurant, and even handling any inventory management, planning, or marketing the establishment may need. The program currently works with eight D.C. restaurants, including Mie N Yu and Portenza. Farm-to-Table DC  www.farm-table.com

The local food movement is growing by leaps and bounds! Find a list of new farmers markets

throughout the Capital Foodshed

ENHANCED

Traditional Spanish Food Open Monday - Saturday

5:30pm-2:00am www.mastapas.com 434-979-0990 501 Monticello Road Charlottesville, VA

at flavormags.com.

www.flavormags.com

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local grazings

Some Like It Hot, Some Like It Raw, Some Like It Fermented When Robert Farr’s hobby of making all-natural hot sauces from homegrown peppers began to take over both his life and his freezer, he knew it was time to switch careers and pursue his passion for food production. Moving out to Loudoun County with his wife in 1998, Farr established a gourmet pepper product business called The Chile Man. Using sustainable and organic farming methods, Farr maintains over two acres of an impressive assortment of peppers—more than 70 varieties—as well as over 260 other plants, fruits, and vegetables. The company now produces 16 all-natural products, including marinades, salsas, and sauces, which contain no artificial additives or preservatives and range from sweet and mild to hot and tangy.

q  Blue Mountain Organics of Floyd, Virginia, makes certified organic raw superfoods for consumers convinced that uncooked, unprocessed foods are the most healthful. (To qualify as raw, a food cannot be heated above 115 F.) Ingredients used to make the company’s wide assortment of products—from almond butter to dairy-free, agavesweetened desserts and ice creams—are sourced from local farms and community producers whenever possible. The company’s products have been picked up by Whole Foods Markets in five regions in addition to a growing number of other retail outlets, and they are also available online. Blue Mountain Organics  www.luemountainorganics.com

The Chile Man  (540) 668-7160, www. thechileman.com

Mountain Laurel

Montessori Farm School A dynamic land-based curriculum

Sacred Plant Traditions in Charlottesville, Virginia, offers a number of courses for both novices and experienced herbalists who want a better understanding of the medicinal uses of herbal treatments and homeopathic remedies. Classes range in length, from one-day courses to a unique three-year Community Herbalist Program. Upcoming one-day classes include medicinal garden design and the basics of permaculture on June 26, and “kitchen apothecary” on June 27, at which participants will learn how to make herbal oils, salves, tinctures, and a basic home medicine chest. On September 25, there will be a class on fermented foods and beverages, including kombucha, honey wine, and soda fermentation. Other weekend workshops will take place this summer. Sacred Plant Traditions  (434) 295-3820, www.sacredplanttraditions.com

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• june/july 2010

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local grazings

Heads Up, Carnivores

paul rosenthal

u  Residents of Arlington now have a new shopping source for fresh, humanely raised meats. The new Butcher Shop at Westover Market is part of EcoFriendly Foods, a business that sells natural and humanely raised meat sourced from around 40 farms in Virginia and North Carolina. Operating out of an existing butcher shop that the company is helping to revive under the direction of EcoFriendly Foods partner Bruce Saunders, the market will offer an assortment of quality meats— including pasture-raised pork, Grass-Kickin’ Chicken, and grass-fed and -finished dry-aged beef, lamb, and goat—and a line of ready-tocook, ready-to-eat convenience foods based on EcoFriendly’s clean-meat products. All animals sold at the market must meet the business’s strict guidelines. The Butcher Shop at Westover Market  www.westovermarket.com

Grace Brock of Vienna, Virginia, is bringing a bit of Old World style back through the traditional and heirloom pork and beef products she makes at Ole Pioneer’s Kitchen, launched in 2005. Brock uses recipes passed down from her Argentinean grandfather, such as chorizo and salchicha, to produce a wide assortment of preservative-free specialty meats sourced from local Virginia farmers, such as Flatrock Farm in Orlean, Piney Meadow Farm in Sommerville, and Sherbeyn’s Longhorn Beef in Bealeton. All products are produced in small batches of 50 pounds or less to ensure freshness and sold at area farmers markets in Northern Virginia and Maryland and on two online markets. Brock is also collaborating with a chef in Richmond to create a line of fresh, homemade pastas. OPK Foods  (703) 938-0505, www.opkfoods.com

Cookie Master The Best Cookie in Charles Town, WV, makes quite the statement in its name. Yet as many of its repeat customers can attest, the cookies have lived up to their lofty title. Marcia Flanigan, the mastermind behind the oven, opened the bakery in 2000 and has since received a wide amount of coverage for her incomparable delicacies, including an appearance on the Food Network. From creative scones, to the popular sammies (two cookies held together with ganache or jam), to her nine varieties of cookies, Flanigan uses the best organic ingredients. Customers can even choose to join the cookie or scone of the month club, where the bakery will send monthly shipments of seasonal sweets. The Best Cookie Company  (800) 278-8960, www.thebestcookie.com

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green

grazings

Green Discoveries Lovely Lavender June and July are prime picking time for much of the region’s fruits and vegetables. On Seven Oaks Lavender Farm in Catlett, Virginia, it’s also the time when the lavender is in full bloom. The farm was founded in 2002 by Edith Williamson and her two daughters, Deborah Williamson and Dianne Bignoli. Over the years, the trio has cultivated over 500 lavender plants on their 16-acre farm. Most of their lavender field contains French varieties, whose aromatic qualities and higher oil concentration lend themselves to soap, lotion, potpourri products, and other homemade creations that can be purchased at the farm store and online. Pickyour-own lavender season lasts from June 4 through July 4. Seven Oaks Lavender Farm  (540) 272-7839, www. sevenoakslavenderfarm.com

The Virginia Discovery Museum is helping families in and around Charlottesville, Virginia, explore ways to help the environment through its newest interactive, child-oriented exhibit, “It’s Easy Being Green.” According to board member Katie Barr, children can learn the benefits of composting, recycling, purchasing local produce, using solar power, and enjoying nature through playful stations and engaging activities offered in the museum’s back gallery. In one station, children learn about the effects that worms have on soil and plant life; in another, they participate in a simulation of the Charlottesville City Market, where they can pretend to purchase and sell local products. To kick off the new exhibit, the museum hosted a reception for the community on May 20, complete with a wide assortment of local food and wine donated by area businesses. The Virginia Discovery Museum  (434) 977-1025, www.vadm.org

Community Currency In an attempt to revive interest in local shopping in Berryville, Virginia, Sherry Craig of Sweet Pea’s Children’s Shop came up with a novel idea to encourage the community to patronize area businesses: Starting June 1, shoppers can visit 22 local Berryville shops and enter a twice-annual drawing for the chance to win both cash and Berryville Bucks—gift certificates redeemable at one of the stores involved with the program. No purchase is necessary to enter the contest, in which particpants can win up to $500 ($250 in cash and $250 in Berryville Bucks). Winners will be announced on July 16, and a new contest will start again at the end of the year. The Shops at Berryville Main Street  (540) 955-4001, www.berryvillemainstreet.org

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local green grazings

Eco-log-ical For many large logging companies, the fate of the uprooted trees and debris left after clearing a lot is an afterthought; for Paul Peery, it’s a business opportunity. Peery launched Cloud Nine Timber Solutions three years ago to offer an alternative to large and disinterested logging services, which focus more on the process than the end result. Peery runs every part of the business himself— from cutting the lot to removing the chopped trees and wood from the site when he’s through. But the job isn’t finished just because the work is done: Peery takes the wood he’s chopped and repurposes it for use as firewood and smoker wood for barbeques and grills. He stores and processes his firewood on his 450-acre farm, which has been in his family since 1923, and personally delivers and stacks firewood that his customers and friends order.

A New Way to Save the Bay How we choose to care for the fragile ecosystem and environment surrounding the Chesapeake Bay today will have a direct impact on the watershed’s sustainability and vitality in the future. The U.Va. Bay Game, developed at the University of Virginia, is the first simulation of its kind—giving students the opportunity to adopt the roles of farmers, watermen, developers, and policymakers who make their living on or around the bay’s seven watershed regions. Like those individuals, players make decisions that will impact the health of the waterway, whether by developing land, cultivating farms, or fishing the waters. They witness a first-hand simulation of the consequences of their actions and observe how each decision will affect the watershed over a 20-year period. The game has the potential to help with the development of entrepreneurial solutions, novel policies, and coordinated bay-wide approaches that balance the environmental and economic sustainability of the watershed. The game is being adapted for use in grades K–12. The U.Va. Bay Game  www.virginia.edu/vpr/sustain/baygame

Cloud Nine Timber Solutions  (434) 973-2480, ecologging.com

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• june/july 2010


in the food desert

Catching the Bus Laura Kitchin Greenleaf

Photos by Laura Merricks

Farm to Family boldly goes where no farmers market has gone before.

T

his isn’t your grandfather’s milk truck. Unless your grandfather was a Merry Prankster. Bearing deer antlers, lanterns, American flags, and slogans for every taste, the tricked-out Farm to Family school bus is the scene stealer of Richmond’s local food movement. Anchoring a street full of vendors at the city’s recent Earth Day celebration, the bus offered customers a different kind of produce aisle with apples, potatoes, sweet potatoes, squash, greens, bread, maple syrup, and dairy products displayed on built-in shelves constructed from reclaimed barn wood or stashed in coolers by the emergency exit door. “Everybody relates to a school bus,” laughs “F2F” founder Mark Lilly, who explains that he chose one for his mobile market because it’s “the most utilitarian space.” The bus is equal parts general store, huckster’s wagon,

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and 1960s throwback. Embodying both tradition and revolution, it is setting a new standard for making fresh, locally sourced food accessible throughout communities, even those as stratified as Richmond. Think Global, Act Mobile Lilly knows that food insecurity threatens both rich and poor. While studying for a master’s degree in Disaster Science and Emergency Management at the University of Richmond, he focused on food-shortage projections in Western countries. Lilly was disgusted by a fossil-fuel dependent food system “set up for failure.” He points to California’s San Joaquin Valley, “the nation’s salad bowl,” where years of drought and decades of runaway growth have fomented a crisis of water shortages, plunging productivity, and rising unemployment. The more Lilly learned, the more restless he became with the status quo—worldwide and in Richmond. In February 2009, he and his wife bought an old school bus that they saw on Craigslist, with the glimmer of an idea of how to rebuild a local food economy. A few months later, Lilly was in the audience at a showing of the film Food, Inc., sponsored by Tricycle Gardens, a Richmond nonprofit that supports urban agriculture. During the panel discussion that followed the film, he heard a woman ask, “What am I supposed to do? I can’t get food like that.” Lilly had an answer. He had recently lost his job, but now he had found his cause. He gave up grad school, started F2F, and got behind the wheel of the old bus— because, as he says, “Change does not come from the top down. Change comes from the bottom up.” Direct Delivery In less than a year, Lilly has put more than one new twist on central Virginia’s food distribution system. F2F is a farmers market, but the only one on wheels. It’s a CSA (community supported agriculture), but the only one that provides home delivery. And 40 years after the near extinction of the milkman, F2F provides dairy and meat delivery directly to customers’ homes on a monthly payment basis. “Feeding the Community One Stop at a Time” isn’t just a motto. It’s a mission. Every week, Lilly loads up the bus at the Shenandoah Produce Auction in Dayton, near Harrisonburg, his one-stop veggie shop, and Polyface Farms in Swoope, outside Staunton, which provides him with meat, poultry, and eggs. To this bounty he adds milk, butter, cheese, and yogurt from Mountain View Farm in Fairfield, north of Lexington, and more produce from his parents’ farm in Louisa County, his and his wife’s own greenhouse and garden, and the gardens of friends. Loaves from Bread for the People, mixes from Wade’s Mill, and pastries baked by the Lillys’ foodie friends fill baskets and line shelves edged in chicken wire to keep them in place on their bumpy ride. No Boundaries F2F is able to reach customers wherever there’s enough parking space. Lilly establishes regular CSA pick-up locations, but he also spends his days “going here and there to see what works.” Blackberry in hand, he alerts F2F’s 2,500 Facebook friends and Twitter followers to his whereabouts. Sometimes, he says, he just “picks a spot to park and sees what happens,” with passersby becoming customers. Richmonders board the bus from Fulton Hill to the tony West End and everywhere in between. F2F has a reputation for targeting areas without grocery stores or farmers markets in a city with poverty levels more than double what they are statewide, yet critics have dinged F2F for being spotted in well-heeled neighborhoods. Lilly points out that without the support of his more affluent clientele, he wouldn’t Display shelves with local products run along the windows on either side of the bus (above left). On this late-spring day, Farm to Family founder Mark Lilly (opposite) parked the bus in Richmond’s Highland Park neighborhood and sold items such as locally grown apples, strawberries, and tomatoes to passersby (bottom left). F2F has some scheduled stops around the city, but Lilly also announces stops via Facebook and Twitter.


be in business at all. His egalitarian approach takes him to the Federal Reserve Building as well as the Neighborhood Resource Center, to high-end restaurants as well as housing projects. F2F’s pricing system, refined from Lilly’s 20 years in the restaurant industry, uses grocery stores and farmers markets as benchmarks. What is a steal to some is a shock to others. F2F accepts EBT cards (aka food stamps) and WIC vouchers (part of a federal food program for low-income women, infants, and children), and Lilly admits he has sometimes sold food at cost.

Lilly’s egalitarian approach takes him to the Federal Reserve Building as well as the Neighborhood Resource Center, to high-end restaurants as well as housing projects. Next Stop On Mechanicsville Turnpike just outside Richmond, the F2F bus is parked in front of what was formerly a florist’s shop. Out back are a greenhouse and a second bus, destined to become F2F’s traveling café—with a kitchen in the back and family-style seating up front. The flower shop will soon become a general store called All Things Local, sourcing its products from within a 150-mile radius of Richmond and offering classes in canning and preserving. The Lillys do it all without capital, investors, or marketing. Volunteers and interns help shoulder the burden. While the F2F style may seem haphazard, its whimsy conceals savvy and the very self-sufficiency Lilly is seeding in his community. To those who feel like they can’t possibly make such a difference, Lilly has one thing to say: Come aboard! Laura Kitchin Greenleaf is a native of Clarke and Fauquier counties. She is a former social worker and longtime conservation activist. She now lives in Richmond’s North Side with her husband and young son.

Farm to Family (540) 872-6528 www.farmtofamilyonline.com

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Againn Walter Nicholls Photos by Kate Haus

For chef  Wes Morton, quick pickles are part of a balancing act, both complementing his charcuterie and bringing together the best from regional farms.

P

reserving the summer’s bounty of vegetables does not require long hours, a canning kettle, and cases of mason jars. Louisiana native Wes Morton prefers the quick-pickle method in the kitchen of Againn (pronounced “ah-GWIN”), the contemporary, 140-seat, Britstyle bistro and bar that opened in downtown Washington, a few blocks from the White House, in October 2009. “The process couldn’t be easier, and they are ready to eat as soon as they cool,” says Morton as he swings a sealed five-gallon container from refrigerator to countertop, pops off the lid, and proudly fishes out a beautiful, pickled ramp, dangling it in mid-air. “When I was a kid, growing up in Lafayette, we always had a garden, and we always had something we would pickle.” But for this 32-year-old chef, it’s not all about ease. “There is more here than preserving that vegetable, that baby turnip or 26

• june/july 2010

shiitake, quickly. I can bring to the plate a vibrant, crisp, and sour flavor component of the season that brings equilibrium to smoky or fatty or salty meats and fish. I can do the same trick with sweet butter,” he says. “I’m using methods of balance I learned at the New England Culinary Institute. Pickling has helped me define who I am as a chef.” At any one time, his Againn menu features 10 or more pickles, cast in supporting roles, holding their own presence on the plate. Those pickled ramps come to the table alongside braised rabbit. Cured salmon arrives with a sidekick of pickled eggs, country-style pâté with a smidgen of pickled mustard seeds, rotisserie chicken with pickled pearl onions. It’s the perfect fare for a bright and spacious gastropub that combines a modern industrial look with gleaming walls of subway tile and dark wood booths. Bartenders pour not-too-


flavor café

It was time to take the wheel of his Kia Sorento and forge new relationships with family farmers who practice sustainable and humane methods in the Shenandoah Valley and southcentral Pennsylvania. He found plump, free-range poultry at Ayrshire Farm in Upperville, Virginia. From Blue Rooster Farm in East Waterford, Pennsylvania, comes pasture-raised Black Angus beef and North Country Cheriot lamb. Purebred Tamworth pigs come from nearby Garden Path Farm.

“I can bring to the plate a vibrant, crisp, and sour flavor component of the season that brings equilibrium to smoky or fatty or salty meats and fish.” — chef Wes Morton

sweet artisan cocktails to appreciative crowds every night. To further wet discerning whistles, the bar stocks 80 whiskeys. For customers who choose to bring their own, there are 130 illuminated Scotch lockers, which rent for an annual fee of $500 each.

Morton prefers Tamworths because they grow slowly and have plenty of back fat and marbling as well as rich, dark meat. In his kitchen, all parts of the pig, from nose to tail, come into play. “We don’t throw away a centimeter. We control every inch of the animal,” he explains. “We don’t just hack through bones. Every piece is cut with the art and craft of butchering, techniques taught long ago.” In addition to crispy roast pork, the

Reference Guides Along the Way Before taking the helm at Againn—which is owned by the Whisk Group, a new Washington-based restaurant management and operations company—Morton worked his trade successfully, with stellar reviews, as executive chef of 17, the restaurant in Houston’s Alden Hotel. In preparation for culinary school, he gained kitchen chops working at D.C. powerhouses Citronelle and CityZen and then headed west to California for stints at the top-rated French Laundry and The Ritz-Carlton in Half Moon Bay, just south of San Francisco. Along the way, he picked up new ideas and techniques. Arriving back in Washington last August, he set off to visit area farmers markets, where he networked with farmers to find high-quality meats. “When you start with a superior product, you’ve taken a great step toward keeping your cooking honest, straightforward, and simple,” Morton says. One gushing farm reference led to another—and another.

At Againn in downtown D.C., Scotch lovers keep their top-shelf favorites on hand in personalized lockers (above). www.flavormags.com

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flavor cafĂŠ

Pickled Vegetable Salad with Country Ham, Shaved Radishes & Watercress The following salad is built with small, quickly pickled vegetables. In almost every case, the longest part of the recipe is waiting for the pickled ingredients to reach room temperature. Stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator, they keep up to three months. This recipe makes about 10 salads.

For the pickled baby pink beets 2 cups champagne vinegar 2 cups water 1 cup sugar 3 ounces fresh ginger, peeled and smashed 2 tablespoons coriander seeds, toasted 10 sprigs tarragon 1 pound baby pink beets, unpeeled Clean beets by placing them under cold running water and wipe them down with a towel. In a saucepan, bring all ingredients except beets to a boil. Add beets and gently simmer for 20 to 30 minutes. Periodically check doneness of beets by piercing with a small knife. If the beet falls off of the knife with ease, they are ready. Transfer beets and liquid to a large, heatproof bowl. Cover tightly with plastic wrap to keep the heat inside the bowl. Allow to cool at room temperature.

For the pickled shiitake mushrooms 2 cups sherry vinegar 2 cups water 1 cup sugar 10 cloves garlic, peeled 10 thyme sprigs 1 pound shiitake mushrooms, rinsed and stems removed Cut mushroom caps into quarters. Place into a large, heatproof bowl. In a saucepan, bring all ingredients except mushrooms to a boil. Pour boiling liquid over mushrooms. Cover tightly with plastic wrap to keep the heat inside the bowl. Allow to cool at room temperature.

For the pickled haricots verts 2 cups white wine vinegar 2 cups water 1 cup sugar 1 pound haricots verts Place beans in a large, heatproof bowl. In a saucepan, bring all ingredients except beans to a boil. Pour boiling liquid over beans. Cover tightly with plastic wrap to keep the heat inside the bowl. Allow to cool at room temperature.

For the pickled baby carrots 2 cups white wine vinegar 2 cups water 1 cup sugar 2 tablespoons toasted coriander seeds 8 bay leaves 1 pound baby carrots

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In a saucepan, bring all ingredients except carrots to a boil. Add carrots and gently simmer for 3 minutes. Transfer carrots and liquid to a large, heatproof bowl. Cover tightly with plastic wrap to keep the heat inside the bowl. Allow to cool at room temperature.

For the pickled red pearl onions 2 cups red wine vinegar 2 cups water 1 cup sugar 10 thyme sprigs 1 pound red pearl onions, peeled In a saucepan, bring all ingredients except onions to a boil. Add onions and gently simmer for 5 minutes. Transfer onions and liquid to a large, heatproof bowl. Cover tightly with plastic wrap to keep the heat inside the bowl. Allow to cool at room temperature.

To assemble each salad 1 pickled baby pink beet, quartered 1 pickled shiitake mushroom, quartered 3 pickled haricots verts 3 pickled baby carrots 3 pickled red pearl onions Extra virgin olive oil Chopped chives 2 slices of shaved country ham 2 radishes, shaved Sprigs of watercress Combine pickled vegetables in small mixing bowl. Drain excess vinegar liquid. Toss with extra virgin olive oil and chives. Place ham slices on plate. Build the dressed pickles into a tower atop the ham along with some shaved radishes. Top with watercress and a little drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.


menu includes terrific potted pork, pig head roulade, and country sausages. Rendered fat goes into pie dough. There are many dishes ready for a pickle balance.

Perfect Pairings Morton stresses that when preparing quick pickles, singular additions work best. “Pick a flavor and focus on it, rather than throwing all the spices and herbs in the world into the batch. If you want the flavor of dill, just add dill.” Most firm-to-thetouch vegetables take pickling well. Tomatoes—not so much. The essentials are equal parts of water and vinegar (Champagne, white, red, sherry, or rice wine) for proper acidity and select vegetables picked at flavor’s peak. At Againn, a variety of such pickles, with different textures in a garden array of colors, are served atop folds of shaved country ham—a dish that Morton created with memories of early pickling with his family back in Louisiana. “I build a conical tower up and up. The pickles become toys like when I was a kid.” Walter Nicholls is a former staff reporter for The Washington Post. A native Washingtonian, he has written about farms, food markets, and restaurants for 21 years. He resides both in the Georgetown section of Washington and on an historic homestead in Rappahannock County, Virginia. Find him at walternicholls.com.

Againn 1099 New York Avenue, NW, Washington, DC (202) 639-9830 www.againndc.com

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in the garden

Rain, Rain, Go This Way Katie McCaskey

Rain barrels make perfect sense for so many reasons.

A 

rain barrel is one of those items that’s so convenient, and feels so right to use, you might wonder how you ever lived without one. Consider the convenience: Harvesting rainfall means you have plenty of water for the garden and lawn—even for washing your car in the dry, scorching heat of summer. The feel-good part? Choose from several: the fact that you’re saving money, reducing runoff water pollution, preventing watershed pollution, or conserving a precious resource. Better still? A rain barrel has many practical uses, whether you’re an urbanite, a serious gardener, or somewhere inbetween. A rain barrel can service a small, urban herb garden, for example, or, maintain stretches of suburban lawn. Gardeners in particular appreciate the water from rain barrels because harvested rainfall does not have the additives or chemicals some municipalities add to the water supply. Plants respond better to water that hasn’t been softened. Scope It Out Paige Mattson, co-owner of Blue Ridge Eco Shop in Charlottesville, sells two kinds of rain barrels made from recycled plastic. She says that recent interest in rain barrels has increased since Albemarle County introduced a rebate program for homeowners. The county gives homeowners a $30 rebate for each rain barrel purchased, up to $60. “My husband and I discovered the value of rain barrels while in the Peace Corps,” Mattson explains. “You can get considerable water pressure simply by raising barrels since the water is so heavy.” She notes that you can daisy chain multiple barrels together, too, to save greater amounts of water. “There are more uses than just water conservation. Besides watering the garden and lawn, some people even use the collected water to fill toilet tanks for fresh water conservation,” says Mattson. Grace Reynolds of Staunton sells rain barrels at her online store, Cleverbean. She emphasizes that planning your rain barrel’s site is important. “Keep the gutter layout, roof pitch, distance and slope to garden, and available space for the actual barrel in mind. There are formulas online that will tell you how much average rain will fall on your specific area and then tell you how much of it you could save based on the size of your roof.”

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Make Your Own People interested in building their own rain barrel should start that process online. Search for upcoming do-it-yourself classes in your area. Local governments and environmental groups are most likely to offer these DIY classes. Class fees typically include materials and instruction. “Workshops fill quickly but


dates are added throughout the year so please check back frequently,” reads the Falls Church city website. Other online resources include great downloadable instructions created by the Chesapeake Bay Foundation. Several instructional videos are available on YouTube, too.

Plants respond better to water

Edible Landscaping

Nursery

No Spray, Less Care Plants

that hasn’t been softened. Determined DIYers will find that building a rain barrel requires just a few items and tools. A simplified version uses a large, wheel-less plastic trash can with lid and an inexpensive vent tube, similar to those used to direct air from your clothes dryer outside. Holes are drilled in the trash can’s lid and on its side. Then a soaker hose is inserted into the hole in the side of the trash can and a vent tube is inserted into the lid. The vent tube is then connected to a gutter’s downspout to divert runoff into the trash can. More practical DIY barrels add a spigot for a hose attachment and require a few more parts and tools to build. Screen It In Are there any drawbacks? Well, there are a few things to remember if you choose to use a rain barrel. First, it is important to keep the container sealed to avoid insect infestation—especially mosquito larvae—in the water. Commercial rain barrels include mesh over all openings to prevent this contamination. Include a screen or sealant barrier to prevent mosquitoes if you choose to build your own. Second, it is important to securely attach a lid with a screen to prevent children, pets, and wildlife from accidentally falling inside. Most importantly, water in a rain barrel is great for the garden, but it is not recommended for drinking. You will find that your rain barrel will be useful for many years to come.

Join us on “All About Fruit” Day June 19, 9 AM–5 PM, Free Above: Making fruit ice cream in an All About Fruit Day Workshop Tours, workshops, music, family fun—bring your picnic and enjoy a day in our beautiful edible landscape!

www.ediblelandscaping.com • 434-361-9134 361 Spirit Ridge Lane, Afton, VA 22920

Expertly prepared hand drawn

Garden Plans

“Urban escapee” Katie McCaskey is a feature writer and co-owner of George Bowers Grocery in Staunton.

Blue Ridge Eco Shop 313 East Main St., Charlottesville, VA (434) 296-0042 www.blueridgeecoshop.com Cleverbean www.cleverbean.com Greater Goods’ Rain Barrel Calculator www.greatergoods.com/rainbarrelcalc.html

 designs ready for installation by client or contractor   fine country gardens   no garden too small   24 years experience 

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“a plants woman by nature with an artists eye”

Chesapeake Bay Foundation’s Rain Barrel DIY Instructions bit.ly/diyrainbarrelinstr Sample DIY Video bit.ly/diyrainbarrel

1-540-364-1155 www.flavormags.com

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rebel with a cause

Foodie Joel Salatin

How should we respond when we’re called elitists because we buy more expensive, local food?

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ecause high-quality local food often carries a higher price tag than food generated by the industrial system, the charge of elitism coming from industrial foodists is often vitriolic, and embarrassed foodies agonize over the label. For all their positive energy surrounding food, I’ve found latent guilt among this group—guilt for paying more for local food when others are starving, guilt for caring about taste when others would happily eat anything. Instead of cowering in self-guilt, let’s confront the issue of prices head on.

Why It’s Worth It First, it’s better food. It tastes better. It handles better. And it’s safer: Anyone buying chemicalized, drug-infused food is engaging in risky behavior. It’s also nutritionally superior. For those willing to see, scientific data shows fresh foods’ conjugated linoleic acid, vitamins, minerals, brix readings, omega 3–omega 6 ratios, and polyunsaturated fat profiles are empirically superior. Better stuff is worth more. Second, economies of scale will continue to progress as more people patronize local food, which will bring prices down. The collaborative aggregation and distribution networks that have been fine-tuned by mega-food companies can and will be duplicated locally as volume increases and regional food systems get more creative. Third, eating unprocessed foods is the best way to bring down your grocery bill, regardless of where the food originated. A 10-pound bag of potatoes costs the same as a 1-pound bag of potato chips. Cultivating domestic culinary arts and actually reinhabiting our kitchens—which we’ve remodeled and gadgetized at great cost—can wean all of us away from expensive processed food. A whole pound of our farm’s grass-finished ground beef, which can feed four adults, costs about the same as a Happy Meal. (And guess which one is more healthful?) Fourth, non-scalable government regulations—which are designed to protect eaters from the dangers inherent in the industrial food complex but are not relevant in a transparent, regional food system—inordinately discriminate against smaller processing businesses like abattoirs, kitchens, and canneries, because 32

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the costs of complying with the (inappropriate) paperwork and infrastructure requirements cannot be spread out over a large volume of product. These regulations lead to price prejudice at the community-based scale: Small processors are at a disadvantage because they must pass those costs on to consumers, making their products more expensive than the mass-produced ones. These burdensome regulations also discourage entrepreneurs from entering local food commerce. Fifth, unlike huge, single-crop or single-animal farms, diversified farms like ours do not receive government subsidies. Nor do the production, processing, and marketing of our food create collateral damage like that caused by factory farming—damage left for taxpayers to fix. Subsidies and government clean-up measures are not included in the price you pay for processed food at the

If you took all the money people spend on unnecessary baubles and junk food, it would be enough for everyone to eat like kings. grocery store, but if they were, local food would not seem so expensive in comparison. Consider the Rhode Island–sized area in the Gulf of Mexico now known as a “dead zone” because nothing can survive in the oxygen-starved water, a result of manure and pesticide runoff. Who pays for the clean up and the reversal efforts? Who pays to address antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria like MRSA, caused by the overuse of antibiotics in CAFOs (concentrated animal feeding operations)? Who pays to treat people with Type II diabetes, which they get from consuming processed food that is sold cheaply because the corporations making it have received subsidies? Who pays to clean up stinky rural neighborhoods with densely populated poultry and livestock compounds? And what is the value of the land irreversibly damaged by bad farming practices?

molly mcdonald peterson

Elitism


could afford to purchase an extra one for an impoverished family. And if you had to give up a few $4 lattes to do it? What a pity.

Spare Change? This winter, the Front Range Permaculture Institute invited me to come to Fort Collins, Colorado, and give a speech at a fundraising event. They filled a huge community theater with people, and ticket sales were enough to pay my travel and honorarium— with enough left over to buy 40 CSA shares for poor families in their community. What a wonderfully empowering local effort. (They didn’t wait for a government program.) Perhaps nothing would reduce perceptions of elitism faster than foodies buying CSA shares for impoverished families. At the risk of sounding uncharitable, I think we need to quit being victims and bring about change ourselves. Don’t complain about being unable to afford high-quality local food when your grocery cart is full of beer, cigarettes, and People magazine. Most people are more connected to the celebrities in People than the food that will become flesh of their flesh and bone of their bones at the next meal. The other day I saw precooked bacon in a box at the supermarket—for $30 a pound. Do we really have to buy precooked bacon? If you took the average shopping cart in the checkout line and tossed out all the processed food—everything with an ingredient you can’t pronounce, everything you can’t re-create in your kitchen, and everything that won’t rot—and substituted instead locally sourced, fresh items, you would be dollars ahead and immensely healthier. We can all do better. If we can find money for movies, ski trips, and recreational cruises, surely we can find the money to purchase integrity food. The fact is that most of us scrounge together enough pennies to fund the passion of our hearts. If we would cultivate a passion for food like the one we’ve cultivated for clothes, cars, and entertainment, perhaps we would ultimately live healthier, happier lives.

Embracing Elitism

Sixth—and this is where I wanted to head with this discussion— plenty of money already exists in our economic system to pay for good food. Can you think of anything people buy that they don’t need? Tobacco products, $100 designer jeans with holes already in the knees, KFC, soft drinks made with high fructose corn syrup, Disney vacations, large-screen TVs, jarred baby food? America spends more on veterinary care for pets than the entire continent of Africa spends on medical care for humans. I won’t belabor the point, but if you took all the money people spend on unnecessary baubles and junk food, it would be enough for everyone to eat like kings. We could all be elitists. With that money, we could create a suburb of Lake Wobegon, where all the people eat food that is above average. Almost everyone I know who owns a community supported agriculture (CSA) share

To suggest that advocating for such a change makes me an elitist is to disparage positive decision making and behavior. Indeed, if that’s elitism, I want it. The victim mentality our culture encourages actually induces guilt among people making progress. That’s crazy. We should applaud positive behavior and encourage others to follow suit, not demonize and discourage it. Would it be better to applaud people who buy amalgamated, reconstituted, fumigated, irradiated, genetically modified industrial garbage? The charge of elitism is both unfair and silly. We foodies are cultural change agents, positive innovators, integrity seekers. So hold your head high and don’t apologize for making noble decisions. Internationally acclaimed farmer, conference speaker, and author Joel Salatin and his family operate Polyface Farms in Augusta County near Staunton, Virginia, producing and direct marketing “salad bar” beef, “pigaerator” pork, and pastured poultry. He is also co-owner of T&E Meats in Harrisonburg.

www.flavormags.com

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wishes to thank the sponsors, participants, hosts, and guests who made the benefit for the Rappahannock Food Pantry such a success! T wo washingTons MeeT

held on April 24, 2010, in Washington, Virginia, included a book reading and signing at R. H. Ballard, one-act comedy performances put on by the Rappahannock Association for the Arts and the Community, and a dinner and wine raffle held at Beverly and John Fox Sullivan’s home

raised more than $12,000 for the pantry and its hoop house, which will help to ensure that those in need will have fresh, nutritious food year-round.

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artisans & entrepreneurs

Cheese Greater Marian Burros Photos by Molly McDonald Peterson

The demand for FireFly Farms’ cheeses — including a rare goat’s-milk blue — seems insatiable.

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hen Michael Koch and Pablo Solanet bought an old farm in Garrett County, Maryland, in 1997 and turned it into their weekend getaway, it was not with the thought that it would become a working farm again. But one thing led to another, and by 2002 they were sitting on their back deck in late summer trying to come up with a name for their new cheesemaking endeavor. As Koch tells it, “As the sun went down, there was a big field of goldenrod and a layer of fireflies that looked like the Milky Way, and FireFly Farms seemed appropriate.” From one mild fresh goat cheese, Allegheny Chèvre, the business has grown to nine, including some very complex, aged varieties that would interest any serious artisanal cheese aficionado. www.flavormags.com

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artisans & entrepreneurs

From Big City to Blue Ribbon Koch and Solanet are both from farming families, and Koch remembers making cheese with his grandmother when he was six. His great-great-grandfather was a cheesemaker in Switzerland. Like so many young people who are going back to the land, Koch and Solanet bring big-city experience with them. Koch continues to work in housing finance. Solanet, a graduate of L’Acadamie de Cuisine and a chef, wanted to move out to the country but continue to work with food. The next thing they knew, Solanet was making cheese. “A local man had some goats left over from a project, and we convinced him we wanted to make cheese,” said Koch. “We were doing it for ourselves. And the first year FireFly Farms was officially in business, Pablo won a blue ribbon from the American Cheese Society for a goat’s-milk blue.” Koch doesn’t find it so surprising. “Pablo is a brilliant chef and I took quite a bit of chemistry. Between the two of us, it was an effective combination.” Nevertheless, their success has been hard won.

By Guess & By Golly “You don’t know what you don’t know,” he said. “We did it by guess and by golly because it was sort of a dream. We made a lot of mistakes.” They sought advice from fellow cheesemakers. In 2001, both attended a weeklong course in cheese technology at the Uni-

Like so many young people who are going back to the land, Koch and Solanet bring big-city experience with them. versity of Wisconsin. Two years later, they hired Matt Cedro as cheesemaker; he went on to graduate from an artisanal cheese program at the University of Vermont in 2004. On their way to profitability, they threw out whole batches of cheese. They almost ran out of money many times, but they persisted. In 2006, they went into the black with a repertoire of nine different cheeses—some of which are exceptional. “We didn’t want to just copy someone else,” Koch said. “The cheeses are rooted in tradition but altogether different.”

What Recession? A lot has changed since the fireflies floated over the goldenrod: The goats are gone—too much work to raise and milk them. FireFly Farms now buys its milk from three small Amish family farmers who farm organically but are not certified. The business managed to survive the recession—because of the enormous interest in artisanal cheese, Koch believes—and is even expanding. Today Solanet devotes himself to marketing while Koch is president and chief financial officer of the company.

Cheesemaker Pablo Solanet (shown below left at La Fromagerie in Alexandria, Virginia) founded FireFly Farms with partner Michael Koch in 2002. 1: Making FireFly’s Cabra LaMancha, a worker at the facility on the farm cuts the cheese to separate the whey. 2: After the whey is drained off, the cheese is clumpy. 3: Those clumps are pressed into molds, where more whey drains off. 4: The cheese is removed from the mold before it is brined, creating a rind, and is then aged for 12 weeks.

q w e r

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SOME TASTING NOTES Easy to enjoy, none of FireFly Farms’ cheeses would be described as intense. Merry Goat Round  Goat’s milk brie, creamy. Mountain Top Bleu  Pyramid with blue veining and white-bloomed rind. Delicate and creamy. \  Buche Noire  Ash-covered, creamy. Black & Blue  Sweet and sharp, creamy blue-veined with black-wax rind. A bit like sweet gorgonzola. Bella Vita Younger and milder than parmesan. Allegheny Chèvre  Simple, fresh goat cheese.

www.

LOULIES.com

A Guide to How to Shop and What to Cook

With a Small Business Administration loan, they are opening a new plant next year where they can produce 16,000 to 20,000 pounds a month—four times more than they do now. They already sell to local cheese shops in D.C., Virginia, and Maryland, including Cowgirl Creamery and La Fromagerie; to Whole Foods in four states and the district; to a few wineries; to Mom’s Organic Markets; and at 13 farmers markets.

Ready for Raw? Koch and Solanet want to make and sell raw-milk cheese, and the state of Maryland is now conducting a raw-milk cheese pilot in order to see whether it will allow the use of unpasteurized milk. The couple is also talking about experimenting with cow-goat milk cheeses while remaining one of the only maybe half a dozen or fewer cheesemakers countrywide who make goat’s-milk blue cheeses. They see themselves as pioneers in their little corner of Maryland, which they want to become a hub of artisanal cheesemakers. The whole state of Maryland has only four goat’s-milk cheesemakers now. That doesn’t mean, however, they want FireFly Farms to become a national brand. “We do not really want to go all over the country,” said Koch. “The idea of putting my goat cheese in California and using all that jet fuel seems to me to be silly. I’m all about place, and we can make a living at it. Pablo and I are committed to small, sustainable agriculture. We want to be a well-known regional brand.” Marian Burros was on staff at The New York Times for 27 years and still writes for them. She has lived in the Washington area since 1959, and at one time or other, she worked for The Washington Post and the late, lamented Washington Star and Washington Daily News. She was also a consumer reporter for D.C.’s WRC-TV. The author of 13 cookbooks, she has been writing about small farms and the pleasures of local food since the 1980s.

FireFly Farms Garrett County, MD The farm is not open to the public.

(301) 245-4630 www.fireflyfarms.com

Best Recipes and Tips for In-Season Home Cooking Join Us and Share Our Kitchen www.flavormags.com

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tales from the field

It Takes a Village (of Farmers) Pablo Elliott

Photos by Molly McDonald Peterson

Local farms are collaborating to provide on-farm training for busy students in a busy season.

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e wanted to create a formal training program for farmers,” Jean-Paul Courtens said over the phone, “but what we really created was a social network!”

I was fortunate to catch Courtens on the phone, right in the heart of lambing season. (That’s because I called him right in the heart of supper.) I’m part of a small group of farmers in the D.C. metro area that met a few times over the winter to start a Collaborative Regional Alliance for Farmer Training (CRAFT) program based on the one Courtens created in 1994 in upstate New York, so I was eager to speak with him. Courtens runs Roxbury Farm, a longtime community supported agriculture (CSA) operation in Kinderhook, New York, and he is widely regarded by his farming peers as a true master of organic and biodynamic farming systems. Courtens completed a formal, four-year intensive training program in biodynamic agriculture at Warmonderhof, in Holland, before arriving in the United States and eventually starting Roxbury Farm in 1990. Since then, his 310-acre operation has grown to provide diversified foods for 1,200 families. It’s hard to imagine how a farmer with a 1,200-member CSA has time to teach

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and train new farmers, but the CRAFT program makes it possible. In its 17th year, the CRAFT program is still going strong, and sustainable farm communities throughout the United States and Canada have adopted the CRAFT model and implemented their own versions of the program. Why is CRAFT so successful? The program is a simple solution to an on-farm education problem. Farmers are the best teachers of farming, but they are very busy. Those interns, apprentices, and workers who join farm crews with sincere farming ambitions of their own are among the best students, but they are also very busy. The best teachers and the best students in sustainable agriculture often spend hours together each day, yet the pressures of the growing season can form a seemingly impenetrable barrier to more meaningful on-farm education experiences. CRAFT approaches on-farm education as a cooperative process. Almost no farmer has time to teach an extensive course during the growing season (some would argue that the growing season is the course), but most farmers can certainly make time to host one class, tour, or potluck each year. Identify willing farms, create a calendar of educational events that rotate among those farms and, voilà, you


have created a CRAFT program. The on-farm learning experience has been enhanced for all involved without burdening any one farm, teacher, or student. To keep this first year of the Chesapeake CRAFT program manageable, organizers scheduled a different farm gathering every three weeks during the growing season, which is often enough to sustain momentum but not so often as to discourage time-strapped farms from participating—particularly when the Beltway at rush hour is involved. In contrast, Courtens’s CRAFT group meets every week. “In Europe, we learned one way to harvest lettuce, one way to hoe. There was only one way to do things—the right way,” Courtens recounted. “Here in the U.S., it took me a long time to understand that each farm does all these things differently. It’s really incredible. With CRAFT, you get to see these different approaches and learn from one another.” Many of the successful pioneer farmers in the organic/local/sustainable farm movement of the late 20th century did not grow up in a farming community and never received any type of formal training in agriculture. They started with land that was oftentimes cheap because it was not the best farmland or not in the best location. And although they arrived with plenty of enthusiasm, they lacked practical farm knowledge. So these innovative, pioneering farmers created their own systems by combing through any available books and articles, in conversations and gatherings with other farmers, and through healthy doses of trial, error, and improvisation. The wheel of the American food system needed to be reinvented, and it was, on a thousand farms and in a thousand different ways. This spring, The Farm at Sunnyside near Washington, Virginia, hosted a CRAFT group. Farm manager Emily Cook (at center, below left) gives participants an orientation before heading out to the fields.

The result of historic and ongoing agricultural reinvention on ecological farms throughout North America is that there are several right ways and schools of thought regarding any of a zillion different eco-agriculture subject areas—from natural pest management, to rotational grazing, to seed propagation, to cultivation, to equipment choices, to marketing strategy. And the best way for a prospective farmer to sort through all these options is to see them in action and observe how they work in concert together.

The on-farm learning experience has been enhanced for all involved without burdening any one farm, teacher, or student. It is also true that every farm’s system has strengths and weaknesses— another valuable learning lesson for CRAFT participants. And it may come as a shock when, for instance, the apprentice on one vegetable farm realizes that 75 percent of his or her work activities may not be done on another local vegetable farm at all. The question then becomes whether farmers may be nervous about what their interns or workers learn when they visit the farm 20 minutes down the road and gab with the others at the potluck. However, rarely does someone conclude that one farm is simply better than another farm. One farm crew may work longer hours but gain more market experience. Another farm may focus on methods and equipment more scale-appropriate and affordable for the first-year farmer. A third farm may have a proven track record of economic success and a well-honed production system, while a fourth farm may be in

www.flavormags.com

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Farms participating in the 2010 program, r, which runs from April through Octobe include the following: Calvert’s Gift Farm, Sparks, MD MD Country Pleasures Farm, Middletown, MD Ecosystem Farm, Accokeek, Good Fortune Farm, Brandywine, MD Great Kids Farm, Baltimore, MD Ivy Brand Farm, Edgewater, MD Kayam Farm, Reisterstown, MD Mountain View Farm, Purcellville, VA

Moutoux Orchard, Purcellville, VA Red Wiggler Farm, Clarksburg, MD VA Stoney Lonesome Farm, Gainesville, VA The Farm at Sunnyside, Washington, renton, VA The Local Food Project at Airlie, War Waterpenny Farm, Sperryville, VA Wollam Gardens, Jeffersonton, VA

The Spring 2010 Buy Fresh Buy Local food guide is on its way to your home! The Piedmont Environmental Council sends free local food guides to every home in nine counties--about 250,000 homes.

Visit www.buylocalvirginia.org to discover local farms and farmers markets in over 60 counties in Virginia. 40

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its beginning stages, building fences and infrastructure. All of these farms can provide priceless learning opportunities for the aspiring food producer, and the crews from each of these farms are grateful to have the opportunity to meet with, and learn from, one another. With time, the CRAFT program becomes the educational equivalent of a vibrant farmers market, providing an efficient structure for the cooperative effort of independent farm operations and mutually amplifying the benefits for all involved. And like a farmers market, the spirit of healthy competition can inspire ongoing improvements in each participating farm operation. Not all farmers are interested in being educators, and they have different philosophies on how to best train the next generation of food producers. (Enter stage right: the apprentice-versus-intern-versusworker debate.) But all farmers know that the average age of the average farmer in North America is . . . old. And most farmers would agree with Courtens that visiting other farms from time to time is a great way to learn. Pablo Elliott is director of The Local Food Project at Airlie, a year-round organic production garden and sustainable agriculture outreach project at the Airlie Center, a leading green conference facility located in Warrenton, Virginia. To learn more about the Local Food Project, visit www.airlie.com. Beginning with this issue, each Tales from the Field column will be written by a different contributor.

Chesapeake CRAFT Program www.accokeek.org/craft


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Coming Home to the Farm Zora Margolis

Photos by Molly McDonald Peterson

When they were boys, these farmers didn’t expect to make a living on the family farm, but that’s just what they’re doing.

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he loss of small family farms has been increasing at a steady pace since the mid-20th century. Unable to make a go of it in the face of the burgeoning hegemony of industrial agriculture during those years, many of the sons and daughters of American farm families left the land to pursue careers with more security

and predictability. For years, Farm Aid rock concert benefits, documentary films, politicians, and activist-authors sounded the alarm, with little apparent effectiveness. In the past 10 or 15 years, however, small positive changes have been occurring in that grim picture. Here are profiles of two men who grew up on family farms and left to pursue other careers. Both decided to return to their families’ farms. They made changes to their farms in light of new thinking about old ways of doing things. Far from fading away, their small farms are thriving, and their stories provide a glimmer of hope about the future of farming on a small scale, fueled by their strong commitment to stewardship of their land.

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Mark & Clare Seibert Clear Spring Creamery

Mark Seibert grew up on the Maryland farm that had been in his family for four generations. He loved life on the farm but early on absorbed the lesson that it wasn’t possible to make a living there. “My father was only a part-time farmer. His real profession was as a schoolteacher,” he explains. Evenings and during the summer months, Mark’s dad grew wheat and barley, raised beef cattle, and sold hay. They always had a big vegetable garden. They barely broke even. “I didn’t have many responsibilities until I was 10 years old, when I started helping with some of the crops,” Mark says. As a teenager, he planted, cultivated, picked, and sold sweet corn at a roadside stand adjacent to their home. He also raised his own beef cattle. He especially liked growing row crops. And he got to keep the money he made.

more grass and developed what became a 100-acre sustainable, healthy ecosystem.

Make Mine Milk Spring 2007 was the beginning of Clear Spring Creamery: Mark and Clare decided to make a major investment, building a milking parlor and starting to milk their cows. The first year, they sold their milk wholesale to a co-op. They decided to seek certified organic status so that they could sell to an organic co-op, which had higher, more stable prices for bulk milk. (They finally achieved organic certification in 2009, becoming the first organic farmstead dairy in Maryland. The other organic dairy farms in Maryland don’t process their own milk.) Even so, there was no way that they could make a living just by selling bulk

A Foot in Both Worlds Convinced that farming couldn’t be his career, he chose the next best thing and studied agronomy in college. After graduation, he went to work for the U.S. Department of Agriculture as a soil conservation specialist, first in Hagerstown and then in Chestertown, on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. It was there that he met and married Clare, who had grown up in Calvert County, Maryland. She didn’t live on a farm, but she always loved animals and had wanted to be a veterinarian when she grew up. Vet school wasn’t in the cards, however; she majored in natural resources management and, after college, got a job working for the Calvert Soil Conservation District. In 1994, Mark’s father and mother had both passed away. Eventually, Mark was able to get a transfer to the USDA office in Frederick, 40 miles from his family’s farm. Since he was the only one among his siblings who wanted to farm on the family’s property, he and Clare bought it from his mother’s estate. As a prescient farewell gift, the staff at the Chestertown USDA office gave the Seiberts a dairy calf, which they transported to the farm in a U-Haul trailer. Mark commuted daily to his job with the USDA in Frederick. He studied grazing techniques and planted grass. The farm’s land was subject to erosion, and as a soil conservationist, Mark knew it was more suited for pasture than for growing crops. They began buying calves each spring to raise and sell, eventually building a small herd. They were breeding cows, not milking them at that point. Mark put up fences to keep the cows out of the streams on the property and reacquired acres that his father had rented out to other farmers. He planted

“The biggest change is that we now have a system in place that can provide us a livable income. That wasn’t the case for my dad.” —Mark Seibert of Clear Spring Creamery milk. It didn’t pay enough. Mark figured he’d need to keep his USDA job for the foreseeable future. They also sold some of their milk to a nearby cheesemaker—it was from him that they first found out about farmers markets. Clare became fascinated by the process of making cheese and enrolled in a cheesemaking seminar offered by the Pennsylvania Association of Sustainable Agriculture (PASA). Their plan was to become farmstead artisan cheesemakers. www.flavormags.com

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Through friends they’d met at PASA, the Seiberts heard that D.C.’s FreshFarm Markets organization was looking for a dairy vendor for the Dupont Circle farmers market. FreshFarm had plenty of cheesemakers already; they were looking for someone to sell milk. Clear Spring Creamery made its debut at the market in April 2008, selling whole unhomogenized, creamline milk and a fresh cheese called quark. They soon expanded their offerings to include Clare’s Camembert, probiotic yogurt, chocolate milk, and eggs.

Making a Living and Loving It They’ve added more markets in the last couple years. This year, they will be at up to five markets a week from spring to fall. In early 2009, after 20 years of service, Mark was able to quit his job with the USDA and is now a full-time farmer. They milk their 40 cows once a day (most commercial dairies milk twice a day), bottle enough for the markets, make cheese, and sell their excess milk to an organic co-op. “The biggest change is that we now have a system in place that can provide us a livable income. That wasn’t the case for my dad,” Mark says. “I enjoy my life a lot more than I used to.” “I don’t envision us getting bigger—hiring more people and getting more complicated,” Clare reflects. “We’re satisfied. It’s a challenge, but it’s manageable. We have a lot of control of the product, from beginning to end.” At the opening ceremony for the FreshFarm White House market in October 2009, Clare was on the dais with Michelle Obama and spoke as a representative of the local farmers. (“That was a day I’ll remember for the rest of my life,” she says.) The farmers markets have made it possible for Mark to live the childhood dream he thought was impossible: to make his living as a farmer on the land that has been his family’s farm for 100 years. Mark and Clare’s two preteen children are the fifth generation to call it home.

Clear Spring Creamery Clear Spring, MD

The property is not open to the public.

www.clearspringcreamery.com seibert@clearspringcreamery.com Products are available at farmers markets and retailers in D.C. and Maryland.

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Mark Toigo Toigo Orchards

“As a kid, I thought it was the greatest form of child abuse ever,” laughs Mark Toigo, joking about what it was like to grow up on his family’s farm. He’s exaggerating for comedic effect, but there’s a kernel of painful truth underneath. Labor was hard to come by, and Toigo and his siblings were often called on to do farm work that he found so mind-numbingly tedious that he would fantasize about running away. Toigo was five years old when his parents bought the old farm, which he describes as having been more of an “elderly estate” at the time, although it had been a working farm since 1790. This was the late 1960s, and his family was living in the D.C. area. Initially the farm was a weekend and summer retreat for the family—Toigo, his mom, dad, two sisters, and a brother.

The Reluctant Heir Toigo explains that his family’s only previous connection with agriculture was via his paternal grandparents, who had come from rural Italy to Allentown, Pennsylvania. They always planted big vegetable gardens on rented lots, growing a signifi-


cant amount of their own food. He describes his Italian father and Scottish mother as “romantics who identified with the back-tothe-land movement of the late ’60s and early ’70s”—although his father, who worked as an engineer in the defense industry, never gave up his work. In the mid-1970s, when his parents were no longer able to maintain two residences, they moved to the farm and Toigo’s father commuted to work. Almost all of what was produced on the farm at the time was sold to wholesalers and packing houses. Before there were produceronly farmers markets—when Toigo was a teenager—he would bring apples to the city, set up a stand, and sell them. When it came time to go to college, he wanted to go far away from the farm. He enrolled at Embry-Riddle University in Florida to study aeronautical science, following in the footsteps of his father and uncles, all engineers. While enrolled in college, Toigo worked in a restaurant kitchen under chef Tim Rosendahl, a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, and developed a greater awareness of and apprecia-

TCHER’S BLOCK

tion for food and fresh produce than he’d had growing up. “I never thought I’d come back to the farm,” he says. “I thought I’d fly for a living or have a regular job.” His sisters had both moved away, and his brother had joined the Navy.

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“It’s hard to have an attachment to farming when you are just growing stuff, putting it on a truck, and pushing it down the road.” —Mark Toigo of Toigo Orchards But the 10 percent that is sold in farmers markets and to restaurants provides 90 percent of his revenue, which enables him to provide a decent standard of living—and medical insurance— for his nine year-round, full-time employees. Of the farm’s 450 acres, 300 are planted in tree fruits, 50 to 60 are in corn, and 20 are in vegetables and melons. Over time, and in response to the differing demands of his customers, he has planted many varieties of each of the tree fruits he grows. The orchard includes 27 varieties of peaches alone, plus many varieties of plums, cherries, apricots, and pears. Farmers markets are his primary focus: “I cherry-pick the best stuff for those,” he says, unintentionally making a pun. The fruit destined for farmers markets is picked riper, and the varieties Toigo chooses have more flavor. He grows 10 different types of apples just for the farmers markets. None of Toigo Orchards’ Red and Yellow Delicious and Rome apples, grown for wholesaling and packing plants, come to the markets. Those are varieties that his farmers market customers aren’t interested in.

Converted

A New Perspective When Toigo graduated from college in 1986, however, the country was in an economic downturn, and he was unable to find an engineering job. He moved back in with his parents, on the farm. In June of that year, at his father’s suggestion, Toigo took 15 flats of fresh-picked strawberries to the farmers market in Alexandria. “People just went bonkers over them. I sold out within minutes,” he says. Soon after, he met D.C. chef Ris Lacoste, who told him, “Gimme everything you’ve got.” Lacoste introduced Toigo to other D.C. chefs—Bob Kinkead, Jeffrey Buben, and Jamie Stachowski, among others. The chefs were all eager to buy ripe, farm-fresh berries, fruit, and corn. With the additional possibility of selling at farmers markets, Toigo soon saw the potential of his family’s farm in a very different way. Toigo, an outgoing, engaging man who enjoys being at the markets and getting to know his customers, says, “It’s hard to have an attachment to farming when you are just growing stuff, putting it on a truck, and pushing it down the road.” Direct feedback from the people who consume what he grows makes all the difference to him, as does the money: 90 percent of what he grows still goes to wholesalers who sell to supermarkets and to packing houses that make applesauce for schools and prisons. 46

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The way Toigo sees his life today—satisfying and healthy—is a 180-degree shift from how he saw farming in his childhood. Encountering him at a farmers market these days, one meets a man who has a great zest for life. As he looks to the future, he plans to migrate away from volume growing and focus on more specialized fruits. He’d like to sell directly to retailers and do more growing for schools and farmers markets. Like many local farmers, he’s been using new techniques, such as tunnels, to extend the growing season. But what won’t change at all are the relationships he continues to forge with his customers and the gratification he gets from hearing how much they enjoy what he grows.

Toigo Orchards 750 S. Mountain Estates, Shippensburg, PA

The property is open to the public.

(800) 209-5950 www.toigoorchards.com Products are available at farmers markets in D.C., Maryland, and Northern Virginia.

Zora Margolis has lived in Washington, D.C., since 1996. She is a frequent contributor to Flavor and co-hosts the farmers market forum on www.donrockwell.com, D.C.’s popular food lovers’ discussion site.


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groundbreakers

The Local PET Food Movement Michael Clune Photos by Molly McDonald Peterson

Consumers want local, safe food—for themselves and for their pets. Carole King has your pets covered.

R

uss, an energetic terrier cross, was zestful and dynamic, always ready for the next adventure. So it was a real surprise when, one morning, he could hardly move. His owner, Carole King, rushed him to the veterinarian, who diagnosed him with a rare form of anemia. After two weeks in intensive care, the little dog succumbed to his illness, devastating King and her husband. Though grief-stricken, King felt compelled to find alternatives to conventional veterinary care that could prevent such a devastating nutritionrelated loss. In memory of Russ, she vowed that she would learn as much as possible so other pet owners would never have to experience the untimely death of a beloved pet.

Be the Change In researching holistic healing methods, homeopathy, Reiki, and raw foods, King became convinced that feeding pets raw foods, properly sourced and formulated, is not only natural, but optimal. According to King—who at that time was the owner of Doggie Dooty, a dog walking and pet-sitting service in Northern Virginia—her conclusions were confirmed by her interactions with hundreds of dogs who, in her opinion, lacked vigor because their conventional pet food did not provide ade-

quate nutrition. To supplement her research, King returned to school to become certified as a veterinary assistant, increasing her knowledge of canine and feline anatomy, physiology, and health. Soon she began providing individual consultations to clients regarding holistic preventative care and raw pet food. Initially experimenting with commercial raw foods, King found that she was uncomfortable using foods whose ingredients’ origins were unknown. Rather than compromise, she decided to start making foods for her own menagerie of cats and dogs. King began directly sourcing from farms who meet strict criteria for animal husbandry and land stewardship, including The Farm at Sunnyside, Edgeworth Farm, Heartland Harvest, and Pleasant Hill Farm—all in Virginia. “We feel strongly about doing the right thing—sourcing from some of the best local organic and ‘beyond organic’ farms in the commonwealth that aren’t doing things the easy way, but the right way,” says King. Whether buying whole lambs, poultry, or vegetables, King purchases only products that she would feed her family. “Our animals should eat as well as we do. Our Chow Now founder Carole King, shown here with Gil, purchases poultry and lamb from area farms for the company’s line of raw pet food products.

www.flavormags.com

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ingredients aren’t from China, and they’re not from New Zealand. They’re from our ‘backyard.’” Her formulations use grass-fed lamb, pasture-raised poultry, and seasonal, certified organic produce: 80 percent protein and 20 percent vegetables for canines; 90 percent protein and 10 percent vegetables for felines. Following the massive pet food recall of 2007, when melamine and cyanuric acid were found in wheat gluten and rice protein imported from China, King decided to launch her company, Chow Now. How Did We Get Here? Once upon a time, domesticated pets were fed a meat-based diet supplemented with grains and table scraps and scavenged game—much like they would eat in the wild. In 1860, an American businessman living in England invented dog biscuits after watching dogs eat hardtack thrown by sailors onto the docks. Made from vegetables, beef blood, wheat, and beet root, this precursor to dog kibble became a model that others emulated. During World War II, when metal was rationed and pet food was classified as non-essential, production shifted to dry foods. Companies such as Quaker, General Foods, and Mars entered the pet food market, processing byproducts of human food production to make kibbles or pellets for pet consumption. Ingredients are cooked into a liquid, which is then pushed through a mechanical extruder and baked. Though this process produces a larger product—giving more value for the money—it requires the addition of starch. Nutrients must also be added to replace those lost during baking. Fats and flavorings are sprayed on the finished product to make it palatable. Like Twinkies for Your Pet? The problems associated with these products are considerable. First, most commercial foods are primarily grain-based, a direct contradiction to the dietary needs of carnivores like dogs and cats. Second, products are full of preservatives and additives, even though no rotation of shelf stock is required. Third, the industry is regulated by a nongovernmental body that has no enforcement powers and does Rhonda Barnhart of Pleasant Hill Farm in Rixeyville, Virginia—seen here with Clementine the pig—supplies Chow Now with turkeys. Chow Now products are flash frozen to preserve freshness (below left). Vegetables come from The Farm at Sunnyside in Rappahannock County (below right).

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Oh Please, Oh not require analytical testing on pet food—as hundreds of devastated pet owners discovered in 2007. Many people persisted in feeding their pets raw food, even as processed foods became the standard. In 1993, Australian veterinarian Ian Billingshurst published literature indicating that dogs and cats fed a raw diet had shinier coats, healthier skin, cleaner teeth, more energy, and increased immunity against disease. In addition, some studies indicate that cats and dogs fed unprocessed foods had fewer urinary tract infections and gastrointestinal issues. Anecdotal evidence suggests that feeding raw foods to cats can reverse feline diabetes. Chow Now’s King considers Billingshurst to be a “rock star” in the raw food movement and formulated her own mixtures based on his theory.

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“We have a choice to eat healthy, local, sustainably raised, chemical-free food,” King emphasizes. “We owe it to our pets to feed them as we would feed any other member of the family—with good, natural, healthy food.” A Piece of the Puzzle Fortunately, as the local food movement grows exponentially, availability to highquality raw pet food is improving, too; entrepreneurs and farmers are recognizing its market potential. Other raw food producers—such as Wolfie’s Wild Pet Foods in Harrisonburg and Ayrshire Farm in Upperville—are also marketing additivefree, locally sourced raw pet foods and distributing them through retail outlets, farmers markets, veterinary clinics, buyers clubs, and websites. “We’re about making the best possible food with the best possible ingredients and knowledge and research behind it—while supporting our local farmers. We wouldn’t have it any other way,” emphasizes King. “The reward is seeing a ‘picky’ eater gobble Chow Now and the caretaker having an epiphany. Or getting a tearinducing testimony from a person whose cancer-ridden dog will only eat our foods and knowing we’re helping to sustain that animal.” She adds, “To provide safe and humanely sourced, traceable, and chemical-free food that will help them to thrive and live happy and healthy lives—that’s my life’s vision.” Agricultural gypsy Michael Clune is committed to narrowing the divide between local farmers and their customers.

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using our common cents Jennifer Conrad Seidel

Photos by Molly McDonald Peterson

The Slow Money Alliance is re-imagining financing options for local food systems. The magazine in your hands is part of a national movement seeking to establish regional food systems that are sustainable environmentally as well as economically, where new ways of making food flourish alongside new ways of making money. In short, this movement wants to create a vibrant alternative to the industrial food system. For this movement to grow, it needs local-food advocates and financial advisors to devise alternatives to the typical financing structures that promote quick growth and a fast buck.

Rumors of Change As editor of Flavor, I’ve talked with those who have owned foodrelated businesses for decades and others who have great ideas for businesses they’re trying to launch. One of their common frustrations is that most options for raising capital, such as smallbusiness loans and venture capital, aren’t the right fit for local food systems, whose goals are often modest and very long-term. They have to be very creative in raising capital, or they have to go without.

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For example, the nonprofit Local Food Hub near Charlottesville, Virginia, initially sought some capital from Albemarle County’s economic development fund, since the local economy stood to gain from increased agricultural production and sales. Its request was rejected: County supervisors felt the hub was really a high-risk venture capital project. At the eleventh hour the hub found other financing—a combination of government funds (from the Nelson County Economic Development Authority), grants (from the Blue Moon Fund and the Bama Works Fund), and private donations from individuals including author John Grisham and Dave Matthews Band manager Coran Capshaw. This quandary is increasingly common as the demand for local food grows and entrepreneurs try to meet it. We at Flavor have faced this issue ourselves, since we are a for-profit publication with a social mission and are unwilling to compromise our principles to maximize earnings. So when we heard about a new organization conceived specifically to address the financing needs of the local food movement, I picked up the phone and called the man leading the charge, Woody Tasch.


Slowing Down Taking a cue from the international Slow Food movement, which seeks to reclaim the simple pleasures of cooking and eating that are being lost in our fast-food culture, Tasch coined the term Slow Money. In 2009, he published a book entitled Inquiries into the Nature of Slow Money: Investing As If Food, Farms, and Fertility Mattered. Tasch is as experienced with financing sustainable agriculture as one can be in this relatively young movement. For more than 30 years, he has been involved with organizations and companies that manage capital for socially oriented projects and businesses. Until recently, he was CEO of Investors’ Circle, which has facilitated the investment of $130 million of so-called patient capital in over 200 “entrepreneurial companies that enhance bioregional, cultural and economic health and diversity” since 1992. He has also worked for, chaired, and consulted with dozens of companies, organizations, and NGOs. Notably, he was treasurer of the Jessie Smith Noyes Foundation, which made a substantial investment in Stonyfield Farm, now the largest producer of organic yogurt. In 2008, he founded the Slow Money Alliance, a 501(c)(3) of which he is chairman and president. Facilitating a National Discussion Unlike his other ventures, the Slow Money Alliance is not raising capital or distributing grants. Instead, it is facilitating a national discussion that Tasch hopes will lead to the creation of new investment models. The alliance is an advocate, a catalyst. “It’s about creating social capital,” explained Tasch. “It’s about making investors and individuals aware that it’s important for them to put some of their money to work in local food systems.” The alliance’s goal is to see a million investors investing 1 percent of their assets in local food systems in the next decade. Slow Money groups are springing up across the country. The alliance is still in its early stages, so these are brainstorming sessions. Localities are looking to address their own needs, not solve national problems. Yet it is clear that the same issues are being faced nationwide: Everybody needs local processing and distribution. Everyone is struggling with land preservation. Restaurants looking to buy ingredients locally are opening everywhere. “That’s why having some national infrastructure in place can be catalytic,” said Tasch.

slow money alliance

A Food-First Profit Model The alliance sees itself as part of a grassroots movement in which the needs of the food system determine the investment structures being proposed, not the other way around. “We’re starting where the energy is, rather than where the big money is. People who are ready to do this already recognize the importance of it. They are willing to spend author Woody Tasch

“You don’t have to believe the whole industrial food system is going to collapse in order to believe that it’s worthwhile to invest in its rebalancing.” — Woody Tasch of the Slow Money Alliance some time and energy on the invention process.” Once the investment models are in place, Tasch expects that the money will be there, saying, “There’s a lot of pent-up demand.” Tasch distinguishes two ways of investing. On the one hand, we can allow financial practices to determine our agricultural practices. This is the profit-first model, which usually promotes unsustainable farming practices that depend on fossil fuels and agribusiness technology to squeeze more yield and more money out of the land. On the other hand, we can allow our agricultural principles to influence our financial practices. Call this the food-first model, which puts money toward a sustainable growth that acknowledges limits and seeks to benefit not just a few distant investors but the many people working and living in a local foodshed. At present, almost all of our investments in agriculture follow the former model, not the latter. So far, local food innovation has outpaced local finance innovation.

Building New Models Traditional financing instruments are not always applicable to developing food systems. As Tasch explained, it is difficult to invest in small food enterprises: “They’re for-profit, so they’re not good candidates for philanthropy, and they’re way too small for venture capital or traditional small-business thinking. You have to approach it with an integrated mindset that recognizes these are for-profit businesses and that also understands the centrality of local food systems and small food enterprises in preserving soil fertility and creating healthy food.” Tasch stressed the importance of the local food network as much as the individual businesses in that network. But the prevailing financial models—for stand-alone small businesses, for nonprofit organizations, for promising high-yield companies— offer no clear way to invest in such a network or to even recognize it as something worth investing in. One structure proposed has been dubbed “slow munis”— municipal bonds that deploy funds to a portfolio of small food enterprises in a local food system. Bonds would be available starting at small denominations, perhaps $1,000, and bondholders would be able to see their money at work in their communities, much like bonds sold to build schools. The slow muni model still needs to be designed and tested in a municipality: Funds will have to be raised and invested, and it isn’t clear yet how long it would take to determine whether the experiment had succeeded in one place and could be reproduced elsewhere. Another approach looks to create a national pool of capital to supplement what is raised on a local level. According to Tasch, www.flavormags.com

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this modest fund, which may start at $5 to $10 million, would be capitalized by a limited number of very large investors—either foundations or very high net worth individuals. It would be used to co-invest with members of the Slow Money Alliance who want to buy farms in their region, thus preserving farmland and getting the next generation of sustainable farmers started. “Right now I would say we’re in exploratory discussion phase,” said Tasch, “looking at how we could deploy a small fund like this in a very high impact way and capitalize the flow from hundreds or thousands of small investors around the country to scores or hundreds of organic farms.”

A New Neighborliness Most business owners face the challenge of raising capital and providing a return to investors without compromising their independence or, in this case, their focus on a progressive, local mission. Rooted in the community and focused on issues like humane treatment of animals, they may fear losing control of the company. Investors involved with Slow Money understand these values and are not out to make a killing, assured Tasch. “We want to prioritize social and environmental impact and allow financial return to arise organically out of that process. We don’t want to force enterprises to change because of the way that the capital was provided or because of the expectations of the provider of capital. We want to be organized around the needs and the independence and the mission of the enterprise.”

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Local Versus National? Although he is a champion of small, hyperlocal enterprises, Tasch welcomes to the table sustainable businesses that function nationally. “Even though the aspiration is local—meaning we’re trying to get more money focused locally—we all recognize there’s no such thing as 100 percent local. There is always a balance between local and non-local. Non-local can be regional, it can be national, or it can be fair-trade.” He points to Organic Valley, a national company that happens to be a co-op, so its profits benefit many small communities. “It’s a $500 or $600 million business owned by 1,300 or 1,400 organic farmers. It’s bringing product to millions of consumers. So is that national or local? It’s both. And it’s a very important connector.” Bigger Than a Bread Box The global economy demands larger, faster, more. Tasch’s mantra is slow, small, and local. “You don’t have to say everything in the world has to be slow, small, and local in order to invest in slow, small, and local. You just have to believe that we need more balance,” counseled Tasch. “It’s incontrovertible that we’re severely imbalanced and are heading toward an even greater imbalance, at our peril, in both the food system and the financial markets as a whole. We need to get to a place where it’s not either-or.”


For Tasch, the concept of regional solves the dilemma. But how big is a region? “It’s bigger than a bread box and smaller than a multinational,” he answered. There’s plenty of room within a region for enterprises of all sizes that reduce food miles and have more transparency for the investor.

Weighing the Risks In a recent interview, Tasch was asked about the risks involved in what he’s proposing. “Someone asked me, ‘How are you going to get investors to do this? It’s awfully risky.’ I said, ‘Don’t you think it’s scary or risky to have your money in China?’” The Slow Money Alliance may seem poised to take advantage of wary, post-financial-collapse investors, those newly suspicious of companies conflating size and financial security. But Tasch does not guarantee the success or sustainability of enterprises just because they’re small and local. “Most small businesses fail. Most start-ups fail. That’s just the nature of the beast. It’s very hard to start a business. It’s hard to be a farmer. It’s hard to start a local processing facility. It’s hard to grow a CSA.” Investments are risky, but risk is not unique to small, food-related businesses. He points again to Organic Valley, which may be the biggest, longest-running illustration that taking risks on local food can pay off. According to Tasch, the investors who have been lending money to Organic Valley have been earning 6 percent for 15 or 20 years. “When the co-op started, every traditional investor said, ‘That’s the craziest thing I’ve ever heard. It’s all the risks of a

small business and none of the upside.’ But think about how cool 6 percent a year looks on money that’s supporting a network of growers working together to create a national organic brand for what they produce.”

Not Hard to See The way Americans view their food is changing, slowly. Despite bestselling books, celebrity chefs, and White House residents touting the value of knowing your farmer, local food still accounts for an almost negligible percent of food consumed nationally. Tasch is not looking for a food-system apocalypse. Instead, he is organizing for slow, steady change. “I would call it a rebalancing rather than a collapse and rebuilding,” he said. “You don’t have to believe the whole industrial food system is going to collapse in order to believe that it’s worthwhile to invest in its rebalancing.” It is our hope that our foodshed, with the nation’s capital at its center, can play a prominent role in this rebalancing. Jennifer Conrad Seidel is the editor of Flavor.

Slow Money Alliance www.slowmoneyalliance.org No Slow Money groups have been started in the Capital Foodshed—yet.

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The new innkeepers and chefs at the beloved Ashby Inn in Paris, Virginia, are being celebrated for their fresh take on locally procured ingredients. Shannon Sollinger   Photos by Molly McDonald Peterson

I

n 1984, Roma and John Sherman (who helped lead the battle against a Disney theme park in Haymarket, Virginia) bought and renovated a Federal-style manor house, built in 1829, that sits at the base of the Blue Ridge mountains in the tiny village of Paris, an hour west of Washington, D.C. The property, the Ashby Inn, includes six rooms in the main house and four suites in a separate building. Guests can relax outside on Adirondack chairs on the manicured lawns with views of the flower beds and vegetable and herb gardens. The restaurant’s main dining room features dark wood walls, oriental rugs, and views of the 1,400-acre Ovoka Farm, which was bought, and put off-limits to developers, in 2000 by the Piedmont Environmental Council. From May on, most guests opt for

al fresco dining on the tented patio. In or out, dining is intimate and quiet.

Changes Come Five years ago, Jackie and Charles Leopold took over from the Shermans, and last November they turned full-time management of the inn over to Neal Wavra and his wife, Star. The ink wasn’t dry on the partnership when the Wavras invited chef Tarver King and his sous chef at Middleburg’s Goodstone Inn, Nathan Shapiro, to take over in the kitchen and bring the region’s bounty to diners. The emphasis on local and fresh is not new to the inn. A Fodor’s review published during the Leopolds’ tenure remarks www.flavormags.com

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on dishes “made with the freshest local ingredients and presented in an intimate setting.” The WavraKing team can be trusted to continue and expand on that farmto-table approach.

The Road to Paris (Virginia) King’s Russian-immigrant grandmother once roomed with Julia Child at Le Cordon Bleu in the other, better-known Paris, and he grew up with stories of her cooking prowess. He went straight from high school to some of the top kitchens in the world to learn his trade: Le Chambord and Bistro in Virginia Beach, The French Laundry in the Napa Valley, Le Neal Wavra (left) and Tarver King (right), who came to the inn last winter, have brought renewed attention to the inn. Bec-Fin in Philadelphia, and The Fat Duck in England. King then presided over the five-star kitchen the numbers of local farmers. “The closer you can get to the justat the Woodlands Resort and Inn in South Carolina before clipped vegetable, the better your ingredients, the better your taking the top job at the Goodstone Inn in 2008. foundation,” King says. “Everything local here is better than There he met Wavra, who had just signed on as dining room anything I can order. I want to have the best stuff I can. That’s manager and sommelier. When Wavra moved to the Ashby Inn, one of the reasons for coming to Virginia in the first place.” he knew he wanted King to come with him. Wavra’s no slouch Different Every Day in the kitchen himself, with a degree from the Culinary Institute of America and time spent in the kitchens of Charlie Trotter’s The Ashby Inn menu adapts to reflect the reality that because in Chicago and Blackberry Farm in Tennessee. Since he left a few small farms use a formal distribution system, ordering a government job to pursue cooking, he has focused on gathering desired amount of a product is not an real option. Local profood from nearby farmers and producers. ducers call him and he buys what they have that day. A local cattleman can call Wavra and say, “I just slaughtered one cow The Just-Clipped Vegetable and I can give you the rib-eye and a couple of flank steaks and This approach makes culinary sense. If you don’t start with the flatiron.” Five years from now, Wavra hopes to have estabexceptional ingredients, Wavra points out, you won’t put out lished some sort of distribution system that works locally. “We exceptional meals. Shopping local is step one. need to cook and serve. They need to farm. There’s got to be an Every menu at the inn includes a pledge “to provide a quality intermediary.” dining experience founded on food and drink from sources we It’s King’s job to build that day’s menu around what comes in know and trust.” That may mean a wine from Linden Vinethat day. “Tarver gets food. He gets how to put food together. yards just down the road in Fauquier County or from Boxwood He gets how to build flavors,” explains Wavra. He adds that Winery in nearby Middleburg. It likely also means vegetables, while King is justifiably proud of his craft and his creations, he meats, nuts, herbs, fruits, and dairy products from farmers in doesn’t let his ego get between his ideas and a guest’s request. If Paris, The Plains, Culpeper, Middleburg, and Berryville. Diners the guest asks for a change, King tries to accommodate it. can see for themselves where ingredients come from: The menu King simply loves food. He loves growing it, harvesting it, identifies farmers and producers and even names the boat that and using it to create new and surprising dishes. “Awesome” is brought that day’s catch of fish to shore. the most frequent word in his vocabulary. He waxes rhapsodic Since arriving in Paris, King has loaded his speed dial with over fresh-snipped sorrel leaves, just-harvested morels, and the fun of using smoke from wood chips and pine needles. His meals, he explains, are more than “going somewhere and plopping down and putting food in your belly and leaving.”

“The two most important things in life are love and hunger.” —chef Tarver King

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It’s Awesome King is already dreaming about his summer menus. “We’ll have a lot of vegetables. We like to use deep, rich flavors and then


Flounder with Young Vegetables, Jasmine Rice, Buttermilk Nage & Lemon This fish is topped with a frothy buttermilk nage, or broth. “This makes an amazing light broth for soups as well,” says chef Tarver King. Managing partner Neal Wavra recommends pairing this dish with Linden Chardonnay, particularly from Jim Law’s Avenius vineyard. “This vineyard rests on slate that gives the wine a real verve. While not short on complexity, the wine sings a few high notes very well. The mineral quality and the acidity of the site are matched with a mix of new and old French oak that complements the overall wine and pairing. The buttermilk has a twang that is sharp, matched and directed by the wine’s acidity. The wine’s pleasing body supports the fresh spring vegetables. Finally, the crispy crumbs in the dish are a nice echo for the oak profile of the wine.”

Serves 4. For the vegetables 8 baby carrots, peeled 4 small fennel bulbs 4 baby turnips, peeled 8 small shallots Extra virgin olive oil Sea salt Prepare a large bowl of ice water and set aside. Boil a big pot of water that’s been seasoned with salt so it tastes like the ocean. Blanch carrots, fennel bulbs, and turnips until tender and then “shock” them in ice water. When each is cool, pat dry on a paper towel and reserve. Preheat oven to 400 F. Toss shallots in olive oil and lots and lots of salt. (They should be caked with salt. Don’t worry—when peeled, they will taste seasoned and sweet.) Roast in oven until tender (8–12 minutes). Let cool at room temperature. When cool, peel outer layer off with your fingers. Set peeled shallots aside with blanched vegetables.

For the rice 2 cups good-quality Thai jasmine rice 4 cups water Put rice and water and a pot. Bring to a hard simmer, reduce heat to low, and cover with lid. Cook for 15–20 minutes or until soft. Keep warm until ready to plate.

For the nage 2 quarts buttermilk 6 shallots, peeled and sliced thin 6 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced thin 1 teaspoon sugar Juice of one lemon A bundle of fresh thyme about the size of a quarter Salt to taste 2 tablespoons butter 2 tablespoons soy lecithin (available at local health food stores) Put buttermilk, shallots, garlic, and sugar in a good-sized pot. Bring to a boil; reduce to a mild simmer. Simmer for 10 minutes and turn off the heat. Stir in lemon juice and thyme and let sit for 20 minutes. Strain through a chinois or fine-mesh strainer and then again through a coffee filter. Season to taste with salt. (It should have a flavor similar to ranch dressing.) Whisk in butter and lecithin and keep whisking until a nice froth accumulates.

For the fish 4 portions of extremely fresh flounder Sea salt Grapeseed oil Dry fish on paper towels and season lightly with sea salt. Heat a 10inch nonstick sauté pan with oil. Cook fish on one side until golden, about 3 minutes.

To plate Prepared vegetables (above) Extra virgin olive oil 1 lemon, quartered and seeds removed Sprigs of fresh dill, in ice water Fennel tops, in ice water Basil leaves, cut thinly Parsley leaves, in ice water Warm prepared vegetables, including roasted shallots, in olive oil and season with salt if necessary. Place fish in the center of four large bowls and douse with a squeeze of lemon juice. Fork rice and crumble it over and around fish. Evenly distribute the warmed vegetables over and around the fish. Froth broth with a whisk until foamy (like the sea). Spoon the nage and bubbles over and around the fish. Pat herbs dry. Garnish with sprigs of dill, fennel fronds, basil, and parsley, and serve. www.flavormags.com

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MOUNT WELBY the perfect place to vacation this summer

play with a lot of acidity to kind of cut through those rich flavors.” Roasted fatty pork shoulder with pickles is a good example: The heavy pork, he says, “kind of sits. Then the pickles [have] all this bright acid. The next thing you know these two worlds collide in your mouth and everything is beautiful and balanced.” He loves to use acids. He likes sorrel leaves for their lemon and acidity, and he’s creating homemade vinegars. He is experimenting with peach-pit infused vinegar (which he calls “awesome”). Peach pits appear more than once on the menu. King also brines dwarf peach nuts from Mackintosh Farm in Berryville—harvesting the buds just as they are starting to form a peach, brining them like an olive, and soaking them in oil with a little truffle. It’s almost time for fresh tomatoes, and he’s got 15 varieties growing on the inn grounds. A favorite presentation, he said, is to inject a fresh-made mozzarella ball with a gazpacho-like tomato juice. “It looks like a little ball of mozzarella, and then you break into it and the gazpacho pours out. It’s awesome.” Soft-shelled crabs are coming in. The Spanish mackerel and tuna will be running along the coast. Rockfish seviche, marinated in citrus juices or coated with chickpea flour, is already on the menu. Chanterelles will soon be ready for the picking.

Love and Hunger

Mount Welby is a luxurious vacation rental in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Sixty miles west of Washington, DC and minutes from Middleburg and Little Washington, Virginia, this historic house built in 1823 accommodates 10-12 guests. Relax in the jacuzzi, lay out on one of the terraces or enjoy a special wine tasting dinner prepared by one of the area’s chefs. Enjoy spectacular views in every direction on this 63-acre estate in the heart of Virginia Wine Country.

540-364-9000 www.mountwelby.com 60

• june/july 2010

“We will honor the history of the Ashby Inn, which means a great deal to a great many people,” Wavra emphasizes, “and continue to take it in a forward, progressive direction.” And, he believes, the Ashby Inn will be “recognized as a place that people come to consistently for great food and great service, both the locals and those from London and France and Los Angeles and Japan.” King contributes his epicurean vision: “The two most important things in life are love and hunger—love to create life, hunger to sustain it.” Shannon Sollinger settled in Hamilton in Loudoun County in 1995. She is a Virginia correspondent for Lancaster Farming and was converted to Virginia wines, meats, and produce “at first taste.”

Find a recipe for Tarver King’s Sorrel Granita, which complements fresh shucked oysters, crème fraîche ice cream, and beet salad, at flavormags.com.

The Ashby Inn & Restaurant 692 Federal Street, Paris, VA (540) 592-3900 www.ashbyinn.com

ENHANCED


seasonal table

Cooling Off Recipes and Photos by Suzanne Simon & Bettina Stern

How should we make adjustments to what we eat as the seasons change? We’re not just talking about eating fresh strawberries during their peak season because they taste better. We are also talking about eating or combining foods during certain months because they have a healing or beneficial effect on our bodies—perhaps because of their constitution or how our bodies digest them. We often dash around the kitchen making the same old thing or choosing a dish because it can be made quickly—rarely considering an ingredient’s season and its attributes. But when we start to pay attention, the prominence of certain foods during a particular time of year makes perfect sense. Consider foods that help the body stay cool in the summer. According to Paul Pitchford’s Healing with Whole Foods, various foods cool the body in the hotter seasons. Fruits and vegetables like watermelon, cucumbers, rhubarb, and tomatoes are cooling because they naturally contain lots of water. It may seem counterintuitive, but pungent seasonings such as cayenne, paprika, curries, and hot peppers actually cool you down by making you sweat, because you feel cooler as sweat evaporates. According to Pitchford, vegetables such as lettuce, squash, radish, cucumbers, and leafy greens that take a short time to grow are usually more cooling than those such as rutabaga, parsnip, or celery root, which take a longer time. Sprouted grains and legumes also have a reputation for cooling the body, as they require little or no cooking; this is also the case with fresh herbs, especially ginger, marjoram, cilantro, lemon balm, parsley, basil, and mint. Seafood and chicken are regarded as more cooling than dark meat, and yogurt is considered the most cooling of dairy products. And, of course, foods eaten cold or raw are more cooling than those eaten hot. However, this does not mean that you should avoid all cooked foods or that you shouldn’t enjoy roasted eggplant or zucchini when the weather is scorching. A little yogurt can make these as cooling as they are comforting. Here are some “cooling” recipes for the hot summer days ahead. Make a dish to share at a holiday picnic, or combine them into a summer menu.

cantaloupe tomatoes

f

r adishes

f

watermelons

red cabbage

f

leafy greens

cucumbers f

summer squash

f

eggplant f

rhubarb

sweet corn

f

lettuce

f

celery

f f

spinach peaches

zucchini

Suzanne Simon and Bettina Stern are real cooks with real kitchens. They inspire home cooking by writing and passing on recipes and tips on what to cook and how to shop. Go to Loulies.com to share their kitchens and to find more MarketCook recipes.

Find recipes for Watermelon-RaspberryGinger Coolers and Sweet & Tangy Dilled Cucumber Salad at flavormags.com.

ENHANCED

www.flavormags.com

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seasonal table

charmoula-marinated grilled chicken This quick Moroccan marinade uses few ingredients, and the smoked paprika and cayenne impart loads of flavor. It can also be brushed on eggplant (for a vegetarian dish) or on fish before roasting or grilling. Serves 6. 2 tablespoons cumin seeds 2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed 1 teaspoon kosher salt Juice of 1 lemon 4 tablespoons red wine vinegar 1 teaspoon hot paprika 2 teaspoons smoked sweet paprika ½ teaspoon cayenne 1 large handful fresh cilantro leaves ½ cup extra virgin olive oil 6 bone-in chicken breasts with skin Using a blender, food processor, or mortar, combine all ingredients except chicken and process until smooth. Pour over chicken and rub under and into skin with hands. Let marinate overnight or for at least 1 hour before grilling. Tip: Smoked paprika, or pimentón, is amazing. If you have not already discovered it, look for it on your next visit to the store or at online retailers like LaTienda. We use it all year long in our kitchens.

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Look for prize-winning Piedmont, EVERONA Stony Man (likeDAIRY Pecorino) Shanandoah (a Swiss style) Blue Aged sheeps milk cheeses Ridge orNutty, Skyline (the camembert complex taste Look for prize-winning Piedmont, Stonyand Manthe (like Pecorino) one with blue outside), , Shanandoah (a Swiss style) Blue Ridge or Skyline (the camembert one with blu specialty herb or pepper ones outside), and the specialty herb or pepper ones Pride of Bacchus, a wine soaked Pride of Bacchus, a wine soaked cheese, ready soon! cheese, ready soon! We are a USDA-inspected abattoir and retail meat market

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• june/july 2010

• Natural Beef, Pork, Lamb, Goat, Bison, Chicken, & Eggs • Humane slaughter & processing of livestock • Whole BBQ pigs available Ph: 540-854-4159 Ph:540-8544159 email everona@husghes • Ask about our “Pink Label” meats At Feast, Cheesetique, Kybecca, Whole Foods Vienna and George Town, Email: everona@husghes many farmers’ markets, and discerning area restaurants True & Essential Meats 256 Charles St. Harrisonburg, VA 540 – 434 – 9920 Monday thru Saturday www.temeats.com

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At Feast, Cheesetique, Kybecca, Whole Foods Vienna and Georgetown, many farmers’ markets, and discerning area restaurants.


seasonal table

grilled zucchini with yogurt aji picante Aji picante (“hot pepper” in Spanish) is popular as a table condiment. In this recipe we mix it with yogurt. You can serve it alongside just about any of summer’s grilled vegetables. Makes about ¾ cup. 1 bunch fresh cilantro, washed and dried ½ tomato, quartered ½ small onion, quartered 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar Juice of ½ lime ¼ teaspoon kosher or sea salt 1 large clove garlic 1 serrano chile, stemmed and seeded 1 jalapeño chile, stemmed and seeded 1 tablespoon good olive oil Plain yogurt, preferably Greek-style Place all ingredients except yogurt in a blender or food processor and pulse until mixture is somewhat coarse, being careful not to overblend. Add yogurt to taste, and serve with grilled zucchini.

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seasonal table

marinated greens You can use any type of greens—kale, spinach, chard, tatsoi, mustard, or a mix of these— but cook them separately if using a combination because they all have different cooking times. Follow this recipe as a guide, but do not get too caught up in the quantities. Trust your instincts. If you make a larger or smaller batch and feel that more or less marinade is needed, adjust the amounts proportionally. You really can’t go wrong. These greens can be added to just about anything. Pile them on warm bread, eat in the morning with eggs, add to a salad, or just eat them cold by themselves straight from the fridge. They will keep for about one week. Large bag or bunch of greens, washed and stemmed ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil, divided 2 cloves garlic, chopped Juice of ½ lemon Dried red pepper flakes Salt Place about 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large sauté pan and cook greens until they just start to wilt. Turn off heat and let cool in the pan. In a small bowl, mix together remaining olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, a generous pinch of red pepper flakes, and a pinch of salt. In a glass jar, bowl, or dish with a lid, mix greens and marinade. Cover. Serve at room temperature, but keep in the refrigerator if not serving that day.

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• june/july 2010

that you own 201 Ethan Allen Ave • Takoma Park •MD • 20912 (301) 891-2667 ---------------------8309 Grubb Rd • Silver Spring • MD • 20910 (240) 247-2667

Moorish tapas&bar

Alhamraa.net

434 9729907 IX Buildind 2nd Street SE Charlottesville VA 22902


seasonal table

bread salad with tomatoes, olives

&

parsley

A nice change from the ubiquitous panzanella. Serves 6. 1 baguette 1 clove garlic 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar 1 large tomato, quartered Âź cup extra virgin olive oil 2 pints cherry tomatoes, quartered Large handful flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped 1 cup black kalamata or dry-cured olives, pitted Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper Preheat oven to 425 F. Break bread apart into bite-size pieces, enough to fill a baking sheet. Toast in oven for about 10 minutes, until light brown. While bread is cooking, place garlic, vinegar, large quartered tomato, and olive oil in a blender or food processor. PurĂŠe until smooth. (The dressing will turn a light orange color from the tomato.) Put toasted bread pieces in a large salad bowl. Add cherry tomatoes to bowl along with olives and chopped parsley. Pour dressing over ingredients and toss. Add salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Tip: Introduce other seasonal ingredients, such as a few strips of roasted or grilled green peppers, for a heartier salad.

S AN O U I H C ITALIAN TABLE

Seasonal menu using products from local and sustainable farms. Featuring Polyface, BackField Farms & Planet Earth Diversified. Creative, contemporary cuisine with service that is polished, knowledgeable, and friendly. 412 South Main Street Harrisonburg, Virginia 22801 (540) 434-4464 www.joshuawilton.com

www.flavormags.com

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seasonal table

simple seared corn This dish is perfect after a trip to the farmers market. Fresh corn kernels are seared quickly, until just cooked, in a hot pan with chiles. Serves 6. 6 large ears fresh sweet corn, shucked 2 to 3 serrano chiles, stemmed 2 small jalapeños, stemmed ¼ cup water Kosher or sea salt Juice of 1 large lime Small handful cilantro leaves, finely chopped 1 lime, cut into wedges In a large bowl, stand each ear of corn on its end and, using a sharp chef’s knife, cut corn kernels from the cobs. Slice chiles crosswise into rings, seeds and all. Heat a large, well-seasoned cast-iron pan or a nonstick skillet (with a lid) over medium-high. When hot, add corn and chiles to dry pan and cook, stirring, for 6 to 9 minutes, until almost all of the kernels have browned a bit. In a cup, combine water, salt (to taste), and lime juice. Stir to dissolve salt. Add cilantro to pan and drizzle salted lime water over top. Cover and remove from heat. Let stand for several minutes, adjust seasoning, and serve with wedges of lime.

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seasonal table

Better Food Begins Here*

Organic, Soy-Free Feeds • Mineral Supplements • OMRI Approved Fertilizers • Humates Delivery throughout Northern & Central Virginia Call Kevin, Steve or Keith at 888-699-7088 www.countrysidenatural.com * ask your grower or producer if they use Countryside Natural Products.

rhubarb gr anita Granita—a simple frozen mixture of water, sugar, and liquid flavored with fruit—is one of our favorite summer desserts. This version is made with rhubarb and mint, and even our children love it. Play around with other flavor combinations as you wish. Around here, the traditional flavor combination is rhubarb and strawberry, but rhubarb combines nicely with ginger, too. You can also make granita with just about any citrus or berry fruit. Makes about 6 small servings or 4 regular servings. 8 to 10 stalks fresh rhubarb, cut into chunks 1 cup cane sugar 6 cups water Fresh mint leaves, slivered Add rhubarb to saucepan with sugar. Cover with about 6 cups water. Cook for 30 to 40 minutes, until tender. Remove from heat and let cool.

             

 

Strain cooled liquid using a fine-mesh strainer or cheesecloth to remove pieces of rhubarb. Pour onto a shallow, rimmed baking sheet to form a thin layer of liquid, no more than 1 inch deep. Carefully place baking sheet in the freezer for 2 to 3 hours until mixture is solid, scraping with a fork every hour so that it does not freeze into one solid mass. To serve, scoop into small cups and garnish with mint. Tip: Rhubarb comes in both light green and red. The flavor is the same, but the color of the granita will be different.

  



www.flavormags.com

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Cherries & Berries are in store...and more!!!

cherrie

s

in time new products illing! gr er m for sum

1 month old honey-crisp apple 5 week old white peach

Thank you for supporting local farms!

Markets are in full swing

Find a market near you & know the latest! Vist: www.ToigoOrchards.com for more details

Toigo Orchards

750 South Mtn. Estates Rd. • Shippensburg, Pa 17257

Simple, Local, Like Home

Two Convenient Locations One Great Experience Using the freshest local ingredients. The Vintage Restaurant Group creates decedent delights of culinary creations

50 Catoctin Circle NE Leesburg Va 20176 (703) 777-2169

SOUTH RIDING

1

25031 Riding Plaza Chantilly VA 20152 (703) 722-2844

Book for Corporate Events, Holiday Parties, Off-Site Catering, Weddings, Rehearsal Dinners

For information on both restaurants visit www.vintage50.com 68

• june/july 2010


the guest list

Two Washingtons Meet April 24, 2010 Washington, Virginia Sara Mashek & Clark Wolf Jackie Burke & Luca Pashina

Rick & Chelsea Wasmund

Nini Ferguson & Sharon Pierce

photos by molly mcdonald peterson

Beverly Sullivan, Mimi Forbes, Heidi Lesinski, Ben Goddard

John Fox Sullivan & Melissa Harris

Sylvie & Keith Rowand

Max Richtman, Monique Maniet, Walter Nicholls

Flavor hosted Two Washingtons Meet, a benefit for the Rappahannock Food Pantry at the Meadows, the historic home of Beverly and John Fox Sullivan. Attendees enjoyed a lamb and pig roast accompanied by a wide assortment of local foods from Rappahannock County, fine prepared foods, and some of the standout Virginia wines chosen by D.C.’s hot sommeliers as revealed in the April/ May 2010 issue of Flavor.

Matthieu Finot & Erin Yarde

Rachel Martin & Manuel Simpson

Ralph Bates, Jane & Jeff Smith

The Meadows

Mary Ann Kuhn & John Bourgeois

Melissa Harris & Bill Plante

Alma Jones & Susan James

Joan & Robert Ballard

Jim & Betsy Dolphin, Matthieu Finot

Steve Tuttle & Pam Hess

Rob Cox & Autumn Reynolds

Betsey Apple & Ellen Charles

Dwight McNeill & Brian Noyes

www.flavormags.com

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the guest list

The Local Flavor Open House

Chrystal & Tony Mehl

April 10, 2010 Amissville, Virginia

Guests sampled and savored local fare at the first Meet Your Farmer event hosted by Mark Reinhardt and Laurie Smith of The Local Flavor Farm Buyers Club. The club delivers local products such as grass-fed meats, cheese, organic produce, and homemade salsas and mustards to urban areas around the state. photos by molly mcdonald peterson

Mike Peterson, Emily Cook, Heidi & James Hammond, Alex Kwiatkowski

Mark Reinhardt & Laurie Smith

Central Virginia Winery Tour May 14, 2010 Richmond, Charlottesville, Afton & White Hall, Virginia

This tour, organized by the Virginia Wine Board, brought Richmond-area retailers and restaurateurs to three vineyards in the Charlottesville area— Jefferson, Veritas, and White Hall—for tastings and visits with the winemakers. Virginia’s First Lady Maureen McDonnell, Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry Todd Haymore, and executive mansion chef Todd Schneider were the special guests. photos by cheri bowling

front: Crescentia

Woodward, Andy Reagan, Maureen McDonnell, Annette Boyd, Laura Wood Habr back: Todd Schneider, Ryan Greer, Todd Haymore, Chad Zakaib

Food security. The local food movement. Farmers markets. Best ginger recipes. Backyard chickens. Rich land, poor nutrition. Pickle emporiums.

www.longines.com

Public radio takes food seriously . . . and not so seriously.

NPR News & NPR Talk

103.5

FM

Charlottesville

90.7

FM

Shenandoah Valley

Fostering informed, engaged and culturally enriched communities

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the guest list

Screening of Fresh for Congress & Post-Screening Reception May 21, 2010 Washington, D.C.

Mark Lilly, Suzi Miles-Lilly, Tristen Scheitle

Ana Sofia Joanes & Joel Salatin

Filmmaker Ana Sofia Joanes hosted a screening of her film for legislators and staff on Capitol Hill, which included a Q&A with Joel Salatin. After the film, guests toured the Farm to Family Bus and attended a reception at Poste Moderne Brasserie. photos by molly mcdonald peterson

Suzi Miles-Lilly & Maayan Alon

Gabe Mandel & Warren Taylor

estate grown hand crafted wines viognier, merlot, cabernet franc & other innovative blends

SAVE THE DATE

Headwaters 13th Annual TASTE OF RAPPAHANNOCK Saturday, September 11, 2010 Fabulous dinner, local wines, and silent live auctions for $150 per person

All proceeds benefit the children of Rappahannock County Tickets are limited, so buy yours today!

www.headwatersfdn.org (540)987-3322 photo by MJM Photography

open Friday, Saturday, Sunday 540-636-8086 ∙ www.chestergapcellars.com 4615 Remount Rd (Rt. 522) ∙ Front Royal, VA 22630

www.flavormags.com

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W

ith the summer sun warming the land and area fields flourishing with fresh produce, it’s time to head to

our local restaurants to see how some of the area’s best

chefs are preparing and presenting the season’s bounty. From sustainable seafood to a smorgasbord of local goodies procured from the Capital foodshed’s plethora of farmers markets, area chefs are sourcing the freshest ingredients to create bright menus, exciting flavor combinations, and innovative culinary concoctions in an attempt to awaken our senses from a long and hard winter. Here’s a look at seven local restaurants that are serving up summer menus which showcase the best of what’s around. Consider it a tantalizing sneak peek into the dining delicacies and seasonal treats that will excite and satisfy area diners for weeks to come.

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Alexandria | (703) 706-0450 |110 South Pitt Street Alexandria, VA 22314-3126 |www.restauranteve.com

Appetizers Salad of Pipe Dreams Farm Rabbit with Chantrelle Mushrooms and Mustard Vinaigrette $18.50 Creamy Maine Lobster Risotto $19.00 Salad of Heirloom Beets with Black Pepper Chèvre, Beet Coulis and Lemon Tuile $17.50 Maryland Blue Crab Cakes with Warm Brioche and Harissa Aïoli $25.00 Tartare of Pine Ridge Farm Beef with Housemade Rye $18.00 Virginia Asparagus with Poached Polyface Farm Egg and Parmesan Vinaigrette $18.00 Entrees Pan Roasted Nilgai Antelope with Roasted Porcini Mushrooms, Spring Onions and Antelope Jus $42.00 Crisp Veal Sweetbreads with Ragout of Mousseron Mushrooms, Peas and Poached Cipollinis $37.50 Basque Style Seafood Stew with Shellfish, Linguiça, Croutons and Aïoli $34.00 Roasted Black Bass with Asparagus, Yukon Gold Potato, Jamón Ibérico and Sauce Soubise $38.00 Roast Belly of Korobuta Pork with Broccoli Raab, Oven Dried Tomatoes and Pork Sauce $37.00 Sides $7 Creamy Risotto • Braised Baby Leeks with Truffle • Roasted Fingerling Potatoes

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summer menu series www.flavormags.com

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Leesburg | 703.777.WINE 7 South King Street Leesburg, VA 20175 www.thewinekitchen.com

Mediterranean “potato salad” country olives / feta cheese / oregano lemon vinaigrette / greens. 9.00 Parisian Herb Gnocchi local asparagus / forest mushrooms / goat cheese foam / Pinot Noir reduction 12.00 Pannini Portobello and herb goat cheese / onions and peppers / served with side salad. 9.00 Seared Ahi Tuna tropical fruit salad / cilantro-jalapeno vinaigrette. 12.00 Croque Monsieur (think gooey ham and cheese) / served with side salad. 9.00

“Chicken and Waffles” farm-raised quail / cornmeal-herb waffles / bacon caramel syrup. 12.00 Lothar’s Bratwurst local bratwurst / German mustard potato salad / house-made red sauerkraut. 10.00 Pork Loin Cutlet asparagus / herb spaetzel / Dijon cream sauce . 14.00 Mac n’ Cheese 6.00 Arugula and Citrus Salad Medjool dates / almonds / parmesan / vincotto vinaigrette. 9.00

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Washington, DC| 202-331-8118 818 Connecticut Ave., NW Washington, DC 20006 www.equinoxrestaurant.com

For the table

Yukon Gold Potato Gnocchi 26

Morel Mushroom Cream, Local Asparagus and Shaved Pecorino

Crispy Blue Crab Spring Rolls 9

Davoncrest Cilantro and Preserved Lemon Mayonnaise

Creamy Orzo “Risotto” 22

Chive Crème Fraiche and Parmesan Reggiano

Grilled Octopus, Squid Ink and Charred Pennsylvania Ramps

Starters

Herb Grilled

Sautéed Rappahannock River Oysters 14

Wild Maryland Rockfish 25

Celery Root, Wilted Spinach and Golden Pineapple Butter

Freddy’s “Vera Cruz”, Jerusalem Artichokes and Toasted Pepita

Pan Seared Maine Diver Scallops 12

Pan Roasted

Equinox Risotto Fritters 9

Puree of Sweet Peas, Davoncrest Pea Tendrils and Black Truffle Vinaigrette

Pasta Saffron Tagliatelle with Path Valley Spring Vegetables 22 Fava Beans, Fiddlehead Ferns and Sweet Garlic Cream

Thyme Marinated Breast of Lola Duck 28 House Made Duck Confit and Bing Cherry Gastrique

Sides Equinox Truffled Macaroni and Cheese 7 Elbow Macaroni and Vermont Cheddar

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summer menu series www.flavormags.com

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Crisp Chesapeake Oysters

$10

Fried Green Tomatoes

$13

Creamed Spinach, Curry Aioli, Black Lava Salt

Shrimp & Lobster Salad, Celery Root Slaw, Mustard Chive Oil

$13

Wild Leek, Fiddlehead & Crab Risotto

Cherry Glen Farm Goat Cheese, Toasted Garlic Oil

Seafood Salad

Shrimp, Crab, Seared Tuna, Arugula, Avocado, Mango, Tomatoes, Madras Curry Oil

The Wedge Salad

Smoked Iceberg, Bacon, Hard Cooked Farm Egg, Tobacco Onions, Gorgonzola Dressing

$18

$9

Pan Seared Scottish Salmon

Orzo, Spinach, Ruby Grapefruit, Grilled Zucchini Ribbons, Drawn Lobster Butter, Tiny Herb Salad

$22 / $29

Uptown Barbeque Plate

$24

Pan Roasted Organic Chicken

$22

Brown Sugar & Coffee Rubbed Short Rib, Fennel Rubbed Smoked Pork Shoulder, Smoked Pulled Chicken, Fennel-Apple Slaw, Mac & Cheese, Bacon-Cider-Mustard Glaze

Ayrshire Farm, Upperville, VA Honey-Lavender Glaze, Asparagus, Scalloped Potatoes, Marsala Pan Sauce

Grilled Rainbow Trout a la New Orleans

$17 / $24

Cajun Spices, Jumbo Lump Crab, Toasted Almond Butter, Asparagus, Crisped Capers, Whipped Potatoes

Tuskie’s Puts Great Food and Great Wine on the Map We’ve been pleasing customers with our extraordinary cuisine for 25 years. During that time, Loudoun County wineries have grown from a handful to over 24. To help you plan a memorable day touring Loudoun’s countryside and wineries, we’ve created an illustrated Tuskie’s Wine Trail map and Vineyard Values coupon book, filled with savings at wineries, B&B’s, hotels and limo companies. Stop in and pick one up. Pair your wine tour adventure with a great meal at Tuscarora Mill, featuring our inspired culinary craft using the freshest products from local farmers. It’s a great way to cap a great day.

American Restaurant, Café & Bar 203 Harrison Street, SE Leesburg, VA 20175 703.771.9300 www.tuskies.com 76

Menu Ad.rev2.indd 1 • june/july

2010

6/1/10 12:24 PM


Chef/Proprietor Robert Wiedmaier 2401 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW Washington, DC 20037 www.marcelsdc.com 202 296-1166 Gratin of Stellar Bay Oysters, Mussels & Cockles, Tomato Fondue, Crispy Parma Ham, Oyster Cream La Belle Farms Duck Breast, Cous Cous with Golden Raisins, Turnich Farms Spinach, Cider Duck Jus Parker Farms Heirloom Tomatoes, Pipe Dreams Goat Cheese, Balsamic Reduction, Red Onion, Chive Blossoms Randall Lineback Veal Chop, Morels, Cabernet Thyme Sauce Marcel’s Classic Boudin Blanc, Pearl Onions, R.L. Irwin Wild Mushrooms, Red Wine Truffle Essence

Martin’s Angus Beef tenderloin, Yukon Gold Potato Puree, Meaux Mustard Cream Alaskan Yellow Eye Rockfish, Tomatoes, Nicoise Olives, Fresh Link Micro Basil Path Valley Farms Poached Egg on Anson Mills Polenta, Iberico ham J Godwin Farm Strawberry Shortcake, Lemon Curd and Chantilly Cream

New Frontier Bison Strip Loin, Wild Asparagus, Red Spring Onion, Cèpe Mushrooms, Grenache Reduction

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summer menu series www.flavormags.com

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703 771-2233 11 North King Street Leesburg, VA 20176-2819 lightfootrestaurant.com

Grilled 8 oz. Filet Mignon topped with HorseradishChive Butter and Crispy Onions set with Mashed Potatoes, Grilled Asparagus and Classic Bearnaise $30.

Wild Berry Salad Mixed Greens tossed with Balsamic Vinaigrette, Strawberries, Blackberries, Raspberries, Boursin Cheese, Spiced Candied Cashews and Balsamic Glaze $8. Chef Ingrid’s Soon To Be Famous French Onion and Field Mushroom Soup topped with a Croustade, Gruyere, Goat Cheese, Pecorino Romano and Truffle Oil $9 Fried Green Tomatoes topped with Jalapeno Cheddar and Sauteed Shrimp served with Szechwan Chili Cream $9 Roasted Organic Half Chicken set with FennelBaby Spinach-Mushrooms-Garlic and Pan Juices $18. Cedar Plank Roasted 14 oz. Duroc Pork Chop with a Whole Grain Mustard-Honey au Jus, Fingerling Potatoes and Grilled Scallions $26.

Wild King Salmon topped with Smoked Tomato Salad set over Mixed Greens, Arugula and French Beans tossed with Balsamic Vinaigrette and garnished with Roasted Potatoes, Goat Cheese and Smoked Bacon $15. “The Atomic Crab Cake” Jumbo Lump Roasted Crab Cake served with Tomato Rice Pilaf, French Beans, Corn Salad and Remoulade $29. All Natural Meyer Grilled 8 oz. Hamburger on a Warm Kaiser with Shredded Lettuce, Cambozola or White Cheddar, Applewood Smoked Bacon and Chef’s Special Sauce served with French Fries, Coleslaw and House made Pickles $12 with a Fried Organic Egg $13. “Vegetarian Mexican Breakfast” Black Beans and Rice topped with Jalapeno Cheddar, 2 Fried Organic Eggs, Jose’s Salsa, Avocado, Sour Cream, Cilantro and a Grilled Tortilla served with Fresh Fruit $13.50 (Sunday BRUNCH ONLY)

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summer menu series


Lovettsville| 540-822-9017 42461 Lovettsville Road Lovettsville, Virginia 20180 www.patowmackfarm.com

From our farm to your table: Patowmack Farm Leaf Lettuce Blend 8 breakfast radish, farm egg mimosa, garden herbs, virginia viognier dressing

Hedgeapple Farm Beef Striploin 32 charred endive, guanciale, rhubarb sauce, nepitella

Crudo of Wild Atlantic Cobia 10 meyer lemon pickles, snow peas, kagayaki organic rice puree

Hay Smoked Potato Gnocchi 24 stinging nettles, porcini mushroom, garlic potato consomme,

Shellfish Consomme 12 crab dumpling, pernod custard, crispy rose shrimp

Lavender Vanilla French Toast 10 mulberry jam, burnt caramel ice cream, almond streusel

Coca of Surryano Ham 14 sunnyside up farm egg, sweet spring garlic cream, obergood tomme

Strawberry Shortcake 10 madeleine biscuit, strawberry terrine, sour strawberry sorbet, sweetened milk glaze

Marinated Artichoke Heart 12 barigoule vegetables, fried bread, white wine butter froth Charcoal Grilled Chesapeake Bay Rockfish 30 rainbow chard, fava beans, squash blossom pesto

The menu is revised based upon availability of local, organic, seasonal ingredients

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Monticello's only winery to be served in the White House for the Governors Ball!

‘‘... the region’s most

consistent track record.’’ — WINE S PECTATOR M AGAZINE

DOUBLE GOLD MEDAL  Lodi Wine

GOLD MEDAL  Finger Lakes International 2010

Awards 2010 (97 Points )

O PEN W ED -S UN

M ONDAY Located between Monticello and Ash Lawn on Thomas Jefferson’s original 1774 vineyard sites. Open daily for tours and tastings. For additional information, please call 800-272-3042 or visit WWW.JEFFERSONVINEYARDS.COM 80

• June/July 2010

HOLIDAYS

AND ALL

11

AM -6 PM

(434) 984-4272

www.SugarleafVineyards.com 3613 WALNUT BRANCH LANE N O RT H GA R D E N , VA 2 2 9 5 9


Features

June/July 2010

88 Virginia Winemaker Straddles the Pond Winemaker Michael Shaps has proven his commitment to Virginia, but he still loves working in Burgundy.  Dave McIntyre

Departments

82 flights 92 imbibe Pickin’ Up Sweet Libations

Blacksnake Meadery is making honey wine, which has a history as rich as its name.  Amber Davis

95 blind tasting Virginia Pale Ales and IPAs, Too!

Our latest blind tasting featured beer pitchers, not bagged wine bottles.  Evan Williams

100 pairing Summertime Staples These tips will help you pair local wines with your favorite summer foods.  Rebecca Thomas Snyder

102 drink seasonally

Sean Rapoza of Balliceaux Meet Balliceaux’s “chef behind the bar.”  John Haddad

Columns

86 growing wines Chardonnay A new look at Virginia’s wallflower wine.  Jim Law

98 winemaker’s notes Sarah O’Herron

A former management consultant, Black Ankle Vineyards’ co-owner and winemaker has an eye for her winery’s best practices. photo of mixologist sean rapoza by laura merricks


Flights

Amber Davis

A Good Test-Taker

Jefferson Vineyards  (434) 977-3042, www.jeffersonvineyards.com

Good Southern Hospitality

A Polo Cup and a Glass of Wine Visitors attending one of the many polo events and steeplechases held at the Great Meadow Foundation in The Plains, Virginia, now have the opportunity to try some of the area’s best wines with the establishment of the venue’s Boxwood Bar. Featuring the wines of Boxwood Winery in Middleburg, Virginia, the bar at Great Meadows is the winery’s fourth external tasting site. The bar is located on the patio area, overlooking 200 acres of polo fields where matches are held every Saturday night from May 22 through September 18. A nonprofit foundation, Great Meadow seeks to preserve open spaces for the encouragement of field sports and to serve as the area’s premier venue for professional polo exhibitions and national polo circuit events, such as the prestigious Virginia Gold Cup each May. Boxwood Winery  (540) 687-8778, www.boxwoodwinery.com Great Meadow Foundation  (540) 253-5000, www.greatmeadow.org

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Every third Tuesday of the month, the Southern Inn Restaurant hosts a two-course food and wine pairing dinner featuring a local Virginia winery. Located in Lexington, Virginia, the circa 1932 restaurant has been offering monthly wine dinners for over a year. Recent wineries showcased at the dinners include Amrhein Wine Cellars, Barren Ridge Vineyards, Keswick Vineyards, Lovingston Winery, Rockbridge Vineyards, Villa Appalaccia Winery, and Gabriele Rausse Winery. In June, the inn will host Château Morrisette Winery. During each dinner, representatives from the participating winery will be on hand to speak about the wine, and guests can fill out order forms to purchase the wines sampled. Menus are crafted to fit the characteristics of the wines served, with foods sourced from local farms and providers like Mountain View Farm and Cedar Hill Farm. In addition to sponsoring the Virginia wine dinners, the restaurant carries an extensive 150-bottle wine list featuring 25 Virginia wines. It also hosts beer tasting events, and diners can choose from six beers on tap and 50 by the bottle. The Southern Inn Restaurant  (540) 463-3612, www.southerninn.com

left: cheri bowling. right: stephen barling

At this year’s Consumer Wine Awards held in Lodi, California, two wines from Jefferson Vineyards, the 2008 Pinot Grigio (94 points) and the 2009 Viognier (97 points), were awarded platinum medals and ranked among the top 10 from a selection of 550 wines from around the world. (The 2008 Chardonnay wasn’t far behind at 90 points.) Even though new studies by scientists and researchers at the University of California, Davis and Cornell University have found that professionals and consumer wine evaluators prefer different varietals and flavor profiles, the Jefferson Pinot Grigio proved to be an exception to the rule as it was selected best in class by consumers as well as by expert judges the previous year. A good wine, it seems, can transcend barriers of drinking expertise.


NOW OPEN Food Fund Fun Family-owned and -operated Cardinal Point Winery in Afton, Virginia, has found a way to help the local community. From May through August, the winery will host its Tins for Tunes concert series and food drive on every second Saturday. Each event will feature a different band. The $10 ticket price is waived if you bring five nonperishable food items, and kids 18 and under get in free. Last year, the event raised over two tons of food for the Jefferson Area Food Bank in Charlottesville and the Food Pantry in Lovingston. Cardinal Point Winery  (540) 456-8400, www.cardinalpointwinery.com

Tap into This Summer’s Brewfests The World Beer Festival will make a stop at Richmond, Virginia’s Brown Island on June 12 as a part of a four-city tour. Produced by All About Beer Magazine, the event consists of two identical sessions: an afternoon session from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m., and an evening session lasting from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. Attendees will be able to enjoy unlimited beer samples from 85 national and international breweries offering over 180 beers, as well as a wide variety of local food vendors and live entertainment. Event proceeds will benefit FETCH a Cure, a nonprofit pet care organization. Individual tickets cost $40 per session in advance ($50 at the door). World Beer Festival  allaboutbeer.com/gather-for-beer/world-beer-festival/richmond-va

left: peter hedlund. right: gene lafollette, shenandoah photographics

{  The third-annual Northern Virginia BrewFest will once again be held at Morven Park in Leesburg, Virginia. The festivities take place on Saturday, June 26 from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. through Sunday, June 27 from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Attendees will have the opportunity to sample brews from over 50 American breweries and enjoy live entertainment, shop in a marketplace featuring local and regional vendors and artisans, and sample food from area restaurants. The $20 ticket price online ($25 at the door) gets you a 6.75 oz sampling glass and 4 beer-sampling tickets (additional tickets can be purchased for $1 apiece). Wine will also be available for tasting. Northern Virginia BrewFest  novabrewfest.com/summer

40 Gibson Hollow Lane • Etlan, Va 540.923.4206 • ducardvineyards.com www.flavormags.com

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www.MarketStreetWine.com Local Winery Gets Cooking

es cheapcphearic p taste without

UPTOWN

 N S’ W --WINE

DOWNTOWN  S.  E. M S. --WINE

C, VA

Visit our new

website!

This summer, Blenheim Vineyards will offer a series of cooking classes aimed at introducing individuals to the benefits of buying and using local products in their kitchens. The four-part series will be held at the winery and hosted by Kirsty Harmon, the winemaker and general manager of Blenheim Vineyards, and Benjamin Thompson, the owner of The Rock Barn, a new full-service, field-to-fork catering company located in Arrington, Virginia, that focuses on creating thoughtful menus based on the bounty of the region’s local farms. Each class is broken into two parts, beginning with a discussion on where the meal’s ingredients were sourced and the food’s historical significance in our region, and ending with a cooking session. Each session also includes a tasting of a Blenheim wine selected by Harmon to complement the menu. The first course in the series, which will take place on June 16, covers recipes involving the egg; later courses will tackle air-cured ham, vegetable-focused foods, and salmon cooking techniques. The series runs through July 28, with courses offered every other week. Blenheim Vineyards (434) 293-5366, www.blenheim vineyards.com The Rock Barn (434) 263-4222, www.therockbarn.net

Are You a Locapour? Jeff Seigel, who blogs at The Wine Curmudgeon, and Dave McIntyre, who covers wine for The Washington Post, want you to be. The pair are on a nationwide mission to raise the prestige of local wine regions through their business, Drink Local Wine. Most recently, the organization hosted a wine event at the Lansdowne Resort in Leesburg, Virginia, focusing on Virginia and Maryland wines. The event featured seminars on what grapes grow well in Virginia and showed wineries how to use social media to get the message out. The weekend culminated in a Twitter Taste-Off, where participants tweeted their tasting notes as they sampled dozens of wines. Breaux Vineyards won the best red wine and media award for its 2002 Reserve Merlot, Michael Shaps 2008 Viognier captured the people’s choice award, and Chrysalis 2008 Albariño won for best white wine. Drink Local Wine Conference  www.drinklocalwine.com

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Loudoun’s Local Libations Leesburg, Virginia’s newest source for local spirits, Hop ‘N Vine, opened last April at the National Conference Center. Offering 30 different wines by the glass, the bar carries many regional selections, including wines from Fabbioli Cellars, Sunset Hills Vineyard, Barboursville Vineyards, Loudoun Valley Vineyards, Notaviva Vineyards, and Corcoran Vineyards. In addition to a 26-bottle craft beer list, the bar also offers one brew from Leesburg’s Vintage 50 restaurant on tap on a rotating basis. The bar will be rolling out some exciting, locally focused initiatives in the near future, including offering educational wine seminars and tastings with a local area winery. Plans are also in the works to reserve and cultivate a parcel of land on Great Country Farm in Bluemont specifically for the conference center’s use during next year’s growing season to ensure a constant supply of fresh, local produce. Hop ‘N Vine  (703) 724-6290, www.conferencecenter.com

Behold, the Beer Barons

jason kaplan

Central Virginia once again proved its beer prowess at this year’s most prestigious international beer competition—the World Beer Cup, held in Boulder, Colorado on April 10. More than 600 breweries from 44 countries competed in this year’s competition, submitting a total of 3,330 beers for judging. Here are the awards that Virginia, D.C., and Maryland breweries brought home: Blue Mountain Brewery in Afton captured the silver medal for its Rockfish Wheat beer in the American-style wheat beer category. Brewer’s Alley Restaurant and Brewery in Frederick, Maryland, won a silver medal in the English-style India pale ale category for its Brewer’s Alley India Pale Ale. Clipper City Brewing Company of Baltimore took home a gold medal in the golden/blonde ale category for its Heavy Seas Gold Ale. It also garnered two bronze medals—one in the Vienna-style lager category for its Heavy Seas Marzen and one in the classic English-style pale ale category for its Heavy Seas Pale Ale.

t  Only five overall champion brewery and brewmaster awards were given—Devils Backbone Brewing Company and its brewmaster, Jason Oliver, were among that prestigious group, winning the Small Brewpub of the Year award. Devils Backbone also took home several additional awards, including a gold medal in the Baltic-style porter category for its Danzig porter, and three bronze medals: one in the coffee-flavored category for its Morning Bear brew, one in the German-style schwarzbier category for its Schwartz Bier, and one in the traditional German-style bock category for its Kollaborator brew. Frederick, Maryland-based Flying Dog Brewery won a silver medal in the aged beer category for its 2007 Vintage Gonzo Imperial Porter. Rock Bottom Brewery, which has locations in Arlington and Bethesda, took home three gold medals for its Harvest Moon Rye in the rye beer category, its Dude, Where’s My Vespa? beer in the coffee-flavored category, and its Highland Courage in the Scottish-style ale category. World Beer Cup  (303) 447-0816, www.worldbeercup.org www.flavormags.com

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growing wines

Jim Law

Chardonnay is more complex than you think.

T

here is more acreage of Chardonnay in Virginia than of any other variety, and this reflects a national trend: Chardonnay is the most widely sold variety in the U.S. Arguably, it makes some of the most complex and age-worthy white wines in the world and receives the highest prices. Then why is it Virginia’s wallflower wine? As with so many varietals that have become popular in the marketplace, Chardonnay has been associated with cheap, massproduced versions. Most Americans are not aware that white Burgundies are made from Chardonnay grapes. This region is the origin and apex of what great Chardonnay can be. Over many centuries, Burgundians have learned which parcels (terroir) consistently produce their greatest wines.

Almost every emerging winegrowing region includes a Chardonnay in its stable. The majority of old vineyards in Virginia are Chardonnay. Linden’s oldest planting is 26 years old, and there are others in the state that are even older. We are still fine-tuning our Chardonnay vineyards, and we’ve found that cooler sites at higher elevations seem to give the most character. Over the past decade, the trend internationally has been toward planting the French Dijon Chardonnay clones. These vines have small clusters, which can be good for quality but often lack acidity in warmer vintages. At Linden we are now experimenting with some of the Wente (California) clones that retain more natural acidity.

The Vine

The Cellar

A relatively easy-to-grow and very adaptable vine, Chardonnay thrives in both cool and hot climates and is happy in many different soils. This adaptability has made Chardonnay ubiquitous.

Chardonnay is often referred to as the winemaker’s grape. It has a subtle aroma and flavor profile but can possess alluring textures often combined with great acidity. It is a wine that can be easily and successfully manipulated in the right hands: Native yeast fermentation, cool stainless-steel fermentation, warm oak fermentation, lees aging, malolactic fermentation, and oxidative or reductive winemaking are all acceptable techniques.

The Styles Chardonnay’s regional adaptability in the vineyard and malleability in the cellar result in a myriad of styles that often confuse the public. Most Americans first got acquainted with lowcost California or Australian Chardonnay. Unfortunately, that sweet, low-acid, oak-infused hedonistic style has become the standard bearer. I like to categorize three general styles of Chardonnay: Hedonistic. This is a style that California does well and Virginia struggles with. These are the blowsy, blockbuster wines that pile on most of the cellar techniques available. They have lots of oak and alcohol and are soft and buttery from malolactic fermentations and lees contact. These get your attention immediately—like Mae West or Marilyn Monroe—but can eventually

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• June/July 2010

molly mcdonald peterson

Chardonnay


become tiresome due to their monolithic profile and weight. Wine judges, who only spend a few minutes with each wine, are impressed and often award these wines gold medals. This style requires very ripe, concentrated grapes, which is difficult to consistently achieve in Virginia’s climate. In the bad old days, Virginia winemakers attempted this style using grapes more appropriate for the refreshing style (below). The result reminded me of a naturally pretty teenage girl experimenting unsuccessfully with makeup. Refreshing. This is what Virginia does very well: pretty, fruitdriven aromas with low to moderate alcohols, fresh acidity, and little or no oak. These are wines that everyone is comfortable with—like the girl next door, to continue the metaphor. Because these are usually made from higher-yielding vineyards and simple winemaking, they are attractively priced. In wine competitions, they are often awarded silver medals, as they do what wine is supposed to do: refresh the palate and delight the nose. These are great food wines, especially with lighter summer fare. Terroir. This is the holy grail of serious Chardonnay producers. In Burgundy, Chardonnay is seen as the vehicle for expressing a specific site’s characteristic or terroir. This style has a concentration from the sap of the vine and the minerality of the soil. These wines are shy at first but then evolve and develop in the glass. They are “come hither” wines. This style of Chardonnay requires age—vine age, wine-

This style gets your attention immediately— like Mae West or Marilyn Monroe— but can eventually become tiresome. grower age, wine age, and consumer age. Vines need to be in the ground for some time before they can fully express terroir. I find that when a vine’s age reaches double digits, the resulting wines are more interesting. A winegrower also needs to age with these vines to understand the nuances of the site and the personality of the vineyard. Wines made in a terroir-driven style need bottle age, too, as they are typically closed, tight, and often reduced when young. These are wines of contemplation. They are not cocktail wines. Consumers need to give them their full attention and to observe the wines as they evolve and change over the course of a meal. It is for this reason that these wines are overlooked in wine competitions. These are the Meryl Streeps and Cate Blanchetts of Chardonnay—complex, reserved, intellectual, and long-lived. Virginia has the potential to make great terroir-driven Chardonnays, but these wines require a fanatical dedication to the vineyard that can only come with focus and time. Winemaker Jim Law is the owner and winegrower of Linden Vineyards in Fauquier County.

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Virginia Winemaker

Straddles the Pond Dave McIntyre

Photos by Laura Merricks with Dave McIntyre

When Michael Shaps travels from Charlottesville to Burgundy, he changes more than just time zones.

left: laura merricks. right: dave mcintyre

M

ost winemakers would love to be in two places at once during harvest—but those places would usually be the vineyard and the winery. Michael Shaps would like to be on two continents at the same time. Shaps is well-known as one of Virginia’s top winemakers, having been involved in the early successes of several of the Old Dominion’s leading wineries, including Jefferson, Keswick, and King Family. Today, as co-owner and consulting winemaker at Virginia Wineworks—the state’s first “custom crush” facility— south of Charlottesville, Shaps is helping nearly 20 start-up wineries that don’t have their own facilities. Along with producing wines himself under the Wineworks and Michael Shaps labels, he is helping fuel the rapid expansion of Virginia’s young, vibrant, and exciting wine industry. Yet each fall in the middle of harvest, just as the Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot approach perfection on the vine, Shaps hops a flight to France. There, in a centuries-old brick-lined cellar beneath a small house in the town of Meursault, he makes wine from Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grown on five hectares (about 13 acres) of vines spread throughout Burgundy’s famous Côte d’Or. In a matter of hours, Shaps travels from one of the world’s upstart wine regions, where he is a star, to one of the most traditional and storied, where he is little-known and where his wines amount to a mere drop in the ocean of Burgundy’s wine.

sure how or why. His accomplishments are more celebrated in Virginia, yet his winemaking ties are older in Burgundy. Maison Shaps et Roucher-Sarrazin is a joint venture with Michel Roucher-Sarrazin, whom Shaps met in the early 1990s when he was studying winemaking at the famous Lycée Viticole de Beaune. Shaps interned at the well-known Maison Chartron et Trebuchet in Puligny-Montrachet, where Roucher-Sarrazin was on the winemaking team. The two forged a lasting friendship. Today, Roucher-Sarrazin is winemaker at Domaine Debray in Beaune, a few clicks up the road from Meursault, and he looks after the pair’s wines when Shaps is stateside.

Across the Pond How does he do it? Why does he do it? Shaps himself answers those questions with a nervous laugh, as though he’s not really

After his schooling in Beaune, Shaps returned to the United States, where he helped a Massachusetts winery in its formative stages (the winery has since gone out of business) and flirted with the West Coast before taking the winemaker job at Jefferson Vineyards in 1995.

Michael Shaps (left) makes wine for his own labels and consults for several others in Virginia. When in France (right), he partners with Michel RoucherSarrazin, whom he met when interning at Maison Chartron et Trebuchet.

“In other markets such as New York, they may know my Burgundies, and that gives an intro for the Virginia wines.” — winemaker Michael Shaps

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in how Shaps makes wine here—a region where there really is no other industry. “You can walk 50 yards from this house, and you’ll pass three other wineries, so if you need anything you can borrow it quickly,” Shaps said. “In Virginia, you’d go miles before seeing that many wineries.” Roucher-Sarrazin added that Domaine Debray allows them to use its pressing equipment; the wine-filled barrels are then trucked to Meursault and rolled carefully by hand down a short, narrow stairway to the cellar for aging. “We are not the fanciest operation,” Roucher-Sarrazin said, “but we get it done.” Shaps makes Chardonnay on both sides of the Atlantic, but in Virginia he also makes Viognier and red blends from Bordeaux grapes (Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Petit Verdot). In Burgundy, the only red he makes is Pinot Noir.

“Virginia had about 40 wineries then and was on the cusp of expansion,” Shaps said. Opportunity beckoned. Fifteen years later, Virginia boasts more than 160 wineries, with more added every few weeks. Here and There for the Harvest In late March, I joined Shaps and Roucher-Sarrazin for dinner at Shaps’s pied-à-terre in Meursault. Shaps’s wife, Christie, cooked while Shaps juggled a wine glass and their two toddler daughters, who steadfastly resisted orders to go to bed. Shaps was in France to help with bottling and marketing the wines at a tradeshow, but there was none of the frantic energy of harvest as he described the differences of making wine both here and there. His cell phone, which at harvest would be lighting up with questions from clients back in Virginia, was silent. The vines in the vineyards surrounding the town were bare, not yet wakened from their winter slumber to begin a new vintage. “In Virginia, the harvest stretches over two months, but here everything happens in about a week,” Shaps explained. “It was especially difficult to do the harvest in both places the first few years, and now as Wineworks grows, it is harder to get away from there. But I have a good team in place.” Wineworks partner Philip Stafford manages the operation when Shaps is away. Aside from the speed of harvest, there are other differences In addition to his eponymous labels, Shaps produces wine under the Virginia Wine­ works label (above). The facility he co-owns bottles for other labels, too (right). 90

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Something Old, Something New Burgundy also has centuries of tradition that Shaps and Roucher-Sarrazin want to respect, whereas Virginia is more like a free-wheeling frontier where the only rules are those nature itself imposes on the grapes. Back home in Charlottesville, Shaps is helping establish the standards for Virginia wine. He adjusts his approach accordingly. “In Burgundy, the objective is to be true to the appellation and bring out the unique nuances of each site,” Shaps explained. In Virginia, on the other hand, “the objective is to create a wine that offers mature fruit, concentration, good tannic extraction,


and enough oak to help the wine develop and age.” Shaps buys his Virginia Chardonnay from Wild Meadow Vineyard in Loudoun County, where the grapes achieve exceptional concentration. He vinifies it the same way he does premier cru white Burgundy from Meursault—with about 50 percent of the wine fermented and aged in new oak barrels. While the Burgundy is more age-worthy, sometimes taking five years to unwind and develop its character, the Virginia Chardonnay typically integrates with the oak within two years, Shaps said. While the Michael Shaps Chardonnay may not age as well as his Shaps et Roucher-Sarrazin Meursault, it can definitely resemble its French role model. Last year, at a blind tasting organized by the Washington Post that compared French and American wines, professional tasters from retail stores and restaurants mistook the Michael Shaps Chardonnay for a top-flight Burgundy. Different First Impressions Making wine simultaneously on two continents is difficult, and Shaps faces similar challenges in marketing them. Yet his Virginia-Burgundy connection presents opportunities as well. He has found that his efforts on both sides of the pond, as it were, lend credibility to each other.

“People in Virginia who know me for my Virginia wines are often willing to try the Burgundies,” Shaps said, “while in other markets such as New York, they may know my Burgundies, and that gives an intro for the Virginia wines.” Either way, the wines complement each other in a unique fashion. They show Shaps’s winemaking acumen and skill while expressing Virginia’s raw exuberance and young power. If a little Old World sensibility seeps into his Petit Verdot and a little frontier spirit into his Pommard, wine drinkers on both sides of the Atlantic will benefit. Freelance wine and food writer Dave McIntyre is the wine columnist for The Washington Post. He is also the co-creator of drinklocalwine.com. He blogs at dmwineline.com and tweets at @dmwine.

Michael Shaps Wines & Virginia Wineworks 1781 Harris Creek Way, Charlottesville, VA (434) 296-3438 michaelshapswines.com Maison Shaps et Roucher-Sarrazin www.shaps-rouchersarrazin.com

CONCERT SERIES AND FOOD DRIVE @ CARDINAL POINT VINEYARD & WINERY Cardinal Point Vineyard and Winery needs your help filling our local food banks and pantries. Bring at least 5 non-perishable food items (per person) to gain free admission to hear live music in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. If you forget the food, we’ll charge you $10.00 at the door. (Kids 18 and under admitted free.)

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Virginia’s Blacksnake Meadery shares its sweet secret of success.

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imbibe

Pickin’ Up Sweet Libations Amber Davis Photos by Pat Jarrett

I

t’s written in the stories of Greek mythology that gods and goddesses drank a magical elixir called ambrosia, often described as honey nectar. While some may feel concoctions like drinkable honey belong in the realm of myths and fairy tales, many cultures throughout history have made, and continue to produce, their own unique versions of mead, an alcoholic beverage made from fermented honey. In fact, mead is widely considered to be the first fermented beverage, an early predecessor to beer and even wine. But don’t plan your trip to Greece just yet to sample this ancient recipe. Among the 60 meaderies located in the United States is Blacksnake Meadery in Carroll County, Virginia, which produces a wide variety of honey wine year-round to satisfy the region’s craving for sweet wine.

A Home for the Hives Steve Villers—who owns the meadery with his wife, Joanne—is no stranger to the world of alcoholic fermentation; for years, he spent his free time homebrewing beer. Even though they held full-time jobs as teachers in Fredericksburg, both knew they wanted to start a more regular side project where they could brew and eventually sell their own concoctions. After Villers ruled out the option of cultivating his own vineyard, his curiosity was piqued by the complex and unique flavors of mead. “I attended festivals showcasing mead, where I got to try meads from all over the country and the world, which helped me develop ideas on what I wanted to create,” recounted Villers. “I knew I wanted to use local honey, which has a great nutty taste and interesting characteristics because of the variety of flowers incorporated.”

In 2004, the couple set to work on making their dream a reality, relocating to Roanoke and purchasing a 12-acre property complete with a rustic log home in Carroll County. Today, they produce nine unique meads using honey harvested on their property and from hives on land leased in Franklin County. In a good year, they collect as much as 50 to 100 pounds of honey per hive, which translates to 200 to 300 cases of mead per year.

Varying Degrees of Sweetness Producing mead is similar to brewing beer. Like beer, mead goes through a fermentation process, although in this case yeast converts the mixture of sugary honey and water into alcohol until it reaches 13 to 14 percent alcohol by volume (ABV). The meadery’s four traditional meads—Wildflower Honey Wine, Tupelo Honey Wine, Meloluna, and Sweet Virginia—need to age up to 10 months before bottling. Each mead imparts a different sweetness, depending on the quantity and type of honey used. Typically, the Villerses start brewing traditional meads in August and then bottle them in the spring. Knowing that most consumers assume mead is always sweet, the couple wanted to do more than master the art of producing traditional mead: They challenged themselves to also develop meads with bitter notes, like a beer. Using his knowledge of hops typically used in beer production, Villers created two types of hydromels (low-alcohol meads) called “bee brews.” One of these carbonated beverages, Hoppy Bee Brew, features diluted wildflower honey and hops. In the summertime, Blacksnake offers the refreshing Lime Bee Brew, where the honey is accentuated with lime purée. Because these bee brews contain less honey, they ferment more quickly than traditional meads and can go from brew to bottle in as little as six weeks. In addition to brewing hydromels, Blacksnake produces three seasonal meads in the fall: two cysers (a mead made with apples), Steve and Joanne Villers make mead—honey wine—from the bees they tend in Southwest Virginia. www.flavormags.com

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Mead with Your Meal Traditional Meads

The heavier body and acidity of Sweet Virginia goes well with hearty meat dishes, like meat stews, and lighter desserts. The fruity and sweet Meloluna emphasizes the flavors in caramelized honey, cinnamon spices, and pineapple desserts.

Seasonal Meads The pumpkin-pie spices in Squashed complement strong flavors, from Indian food to vanilla desserts. Both the Crabapple and traditional cysers pair nicely with, or can be used to marinate, pork and grilled meats.

Hydromels

one with traditional pressed The dry carbonation in the Hoppy Bee Brew stands up to strong garlic apple cider and honey and one flavors and Middle Eastern cuisine, like hummus. The citrus qualities with pressed crabapples, and of the Lime Bee Brew pair well with all types of Mexican foods. Squashed, a fruit-based mead (known as a melomel) made with honey, butternut squash, and pumpkin-pie spices.

Sweet Success Blacksnake has sought to create a name for itself outside of Southwest Virginia by competing with meaderies from around the world. Although there is just one annual mead festival in the U.S.—the Mazer Cup International Commercial and Home Mead Competition—several national wine competitions maintain mead categories. At last year’s Wines of the South Competition, Blacksnake garnered two medals: Meloluna received the silver medal and Sweet Virginia captured the bronze. At the 2010 Mazer Cup in March, Meloluna took home a bronze medal in the sweet traditional mead category.

Each mead imparts a different sweetness, depending on the quantity and type of honey used. Responding to the increased popularity and recognition of their products, the Villerses began working with local businesses to distribute their meads throughout the state. Blacksnake meads are now available in 17 retail stores and restaurants in Virginia. Plans are also in the works to begin distribution in North Carolina. Visitors can sample mead at Blacksnake’s log cabin location from May to November. The meadery also joined forces with neighbors Château Morrisette, Villa Appalaccia, Amrhein Wine Cellars, and Foggy Ridge Cider in 2009 to open The Tasting Room in Floyd, a one-stop, easy-to-find spot where visitors can sample wines, ciders, and meads. “Floyd is growing as a tourist destination,” said Villers, “and having an additional space where we can display our local products has really helped our business.” Flavor editorial assistant Amber Davis developed an appreciation for local food, wine, and craft beer while a student at the University of Virginia.

Blacksnake Meadery 605 Buffalo Rd., Dugspur, VA (540) 834-6172 www.blacksnakemead.com

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The Tasting Room 203 South Locust St., Floyd, VA (540) 745-2220 thetastingroomva.com


blind tasting

Virginia Pale Ales and IPAs, Too! A panel of homebrewers and bona fide beer geeks assembled to blind-taste Virginia-made pale ales and IPAs.

Evan Williams Photos by Laura Merricks

I

n the wide, wacky world of American craft beer, there is perhaps no style more ubiquitous (or more-often butchered) than the esteemed pale ale. From the most mundane light ales to incredibly complex copperhued brews, this Americanized version of traditional British pub ale takes on many forms. The best of these, though, strive for balance, cleanness, and hoppy quaffability.

In the Beginning One might think that, with its trademark flair and flamboyance, the American pale ale was a purely stateside invention. But before there was Sierra Nevada, there was Burton-on-Trent. In the late 18th century, the infamous British pale ale was introduced to a world that knew only cloudy or dark beers. Clear, pale beers served in transparent glassware were still quite the technological novelty. Burton-on-Trent was the birthplace of the pale ale. Producing copper-colored (but not exactly “pale”) beers with intense maltiness and—relative to the prevailing ales of the period—assertive hop character and bitterness, pale ales quickly became well-known around the world, not least in British-colonized India. The


blind tasting

style’s popularity there eventually spawned the India pale ale (IPA), typically brewed with higher gravity and heavier hopping to help preserve it during long voyages ’round the horn.

Talkin’ ’Bout a Revolution Fast-forward to the late 20th century: Beer-loving consumers in the U.S. were finding their voice in the marketplace. After having been subjected to the bland, monotonous light lagers that dominated the decades following Prohibition, they demanded variety and innovation. In response, small breweries popped up left and right, but the last thing they wanted to do was compete against Budweiser, Coors, and other macrobreweries in the light lager market. Not only that, but the expensive temperature control necessary to ferment lagers was something many startups just could not afford, so ales (typically fermented at room temperature) become the obvious choice. Many of these early craft brewers co-opted the popular, easy-todrink British pale ale style. However, rather than duplicate the style note-by-note, most brewers began using American-grown barley (which typically imparts a less-intense malt character) and new American hops such as the now-legendary Cascade (a hybrid between British Fuggles and a wild, intensely flavorful North American hop).

After having been subjected to the bland, monotonous light lagers that dominated the decades following Prohibition, beer lovers demanded variety and innovation. Today, the American pale ale and IPA styles encompass quite a broad spectrum, but both are generally characterized by a light gold to copper color, moderate malt backbone, assertive hoppiness, and a clean, crisp palate. IPAs are, more often than not, pale ales on steroids—more aggressive bitterness, more hop flavor and aroma, and higher gravity, though the malt character is often less prominent than in many pale ales.

Balanced & Quaffable The best American pale ales are all about balance and complexity, without being overly aggressive. Our panel tasted several Virginia pale ales, and while the top pick was certainly not chosen easily among the tough competition, the eventual favorite was selected largely for its balance and quaffability. (A quaffable beer is not just “drinkable.” It’s easy to drink in quantity—it leaves you wanting another pint.) That favorite was the Starr Hill Pale Ale ($7.50/6-pack; $24.00/ 2-liter growler inc. first fill, $8.00/refill) from Starr Hill Brewery in Crozet, near Charlottesville. Starr Hill has long been a fixture in the Central Virginia beer scene, and this pale ale is arguably its most well-known offering. In the glass, the beer is light gold to straw in color and very slightly cloudy; it produces a pillowy, white, almost chiffon-like head that sticks around longer than most. The aromas are of honey, fresh spring flowers, and citrusy hops, with very little of the heavy caramel and biscuit character that the other pale ales tended toward. On the palate, there is a bit of light American crystal malt character, and bright, fresh hop flavors abound. In terms of mouthfeel, it was the lightest of the offerings, again without the British-styled sweet caramel and biscuit notes to weigh it down. It was certainly the easiest to drink and the most refreshing, and while it wasn’t the most complex beer of the night, it is one that you’ll keep going back to on a hot summer day. The American IPA is, more than anything else, a vehicle for the ostentatious American hop varieties. While British “noble” hops often have an earthy, herbal tone, the most famous American flavor or aroma hops have more pronounced citrus, spice, and piney sap; these same flavors and aromas are the heart and soul of the American IPA. The best examples have a modicum of balance, but this style is much broader than most. It can range from slightly more intense pale ale to a searingly bitter beer with enough hop aroma to scare away the in-laws. Somewhere in the middle of those extremes, there’s the Devils Backbone Eight Point IPA ($4.50/pint; $19.30/2-liter growler inc. first fill, $10.00/refill) from Devils Backbone Brewing in Roseland, near Wintergreen. The clear favorite, this was the most balanced

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Cheese Image - Max resolution

and most “classic” of the bunch. A goldish orange color, brilliant clarity, and light head beget a wildly intense (and inviting) aromatic profile. Big citrus, spiciness, some pine sap, and even a bit of earthy honeysuckle blossom round out a nose that is unmistakably IPA. On your tongue, the bitterness is forceful but not harsh or biting, and a caramel malt core is surrounded by bright American hop flavors in spades. The finish is dry, clean, and begging for another glass. Our honorable mention goes to South Street India Ink Black IPA ($4.00/pint; $23.50/ 2-liter growler inc. first fill, $8.50/refill) from South Street Brewery in Charlottesville. This is a relatively new American variation on the classic IPA style, starting somewhat as a novelty. (“What’s this? An IPA that looks like a stout!?”) However, having gained popularity among craft brewers (and drinkers) in the past few years, it has become a serious style. The India Ink has a decidedly roastier profile than most, with classic brown ale notes of toffee, chocolate, and espresso. Overlaid on this backdrop is the hop character of a true American IPA—citrusy, fresh, bitter, and perhaps a bit startling if you’re not familiar with the style. An innovative beer that is somewhere between a hoppy West Coast brown ale and a fresh-hopped IPA, it’s worthy of seeking out if you’re a fan of either of those styles. Evan Williams is a self-avowed beer geek and avid homebrewer in Charlottesville. He is also part-owner of the Wine Guild. Flavor is grateful for the assistance of the staff at Beer Run in Charlottesville, where the tasting was held. Co-owner Josh Hunt in particular was an invaluable help. He graciously provided many of the beers at no cost and personally hosted the panel (even providing palate cleansers) during the dinner rush hour.

The Frenchman’s Corner

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winemaker ’ s notes

Sarah O’Herron

Maryland’s Black Ankle Vineyards is making an impression with its award-winning wines and its green approach to grape farming and winemaking. Photos by Molly McDonald Peterson

Black Ankle Vineyards is the creation of wine lovers Sarah O’Herron and her husband, Ed Boyce. They started the project in early 2001, scouring the Piedmont area of Maryland for the perfect vineyard site, and settled on a farm in Mount Airy, just east of Frederick, the following year.  S  They planted vineyards in 2003 and 2004 and made their first wines with the harvest of 2006. The 145-acre property includes 12 varieties of grapes on 22 acres and produces about 3,000 cases annually. The winery’s tasting room, which opened in 2008, is remarkable: The solar-powered building was built with wood, straw, clay, and rocks from the property, and it has a living roof.  S  The young winery quickly distinguished itself, winning the Maryland Governor’s Cup award in successive years for its 2006 and 2007 Crumbling Rock wines (Bordeaux-style blends of Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Petit Verdot). O’Herron and Boyce have shared this adventure with their five children, four of whom were born as the vineyard project unfolded.

W

hen my husband, Ed Boyce, and I decided we would try our hands at grape growing and winemaking, we had one goal in mind: make great wines. Not wines that were great “for Maryland,” or great “for the East Coast,” just plain great—wines that could sit on a table beside wines from anywhere else in the world and belong. We also had no preconceptions of how to go about achieving that goal. We were wine lovers and had drunk many great bottles of wine (including, truth be told, several as we were making this decision), so we knew what we liked to drink and the kinds of wines we would like to make, but nearly nothing about how to make it all happen. We had no farming or winemaking experience and started completely from scratch. While this lack of experience and knowledge may seem like a big disadvantage, we saw it as the perfect place from which to start. As former management consultants with a specialty in assessing best practices, we had plenty of experience approaching an established business with fresh eyes, looking at what was

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being done well and who was doing it, and deciding how to use that knowledge to make further improvements. We looked to the whole world to be our classroom, avidly studying what the best grape growers and winemakers were doing, not just in Maryland or on the East Coast, but in France, Italy, Austria, California, New Zealand, Australia—anywhere that had a history of making the kinds of wines we aspired to make at Black Ankle Vineyards. Aside from providing some wonderful travel opportunities (after all, this project was supposed to be fun), this approach led us down several paths that we had not anticipated. It led us to plant our vineyard much more densely than had previously been considered wise in our region. We have just shy of 1,900 vines per acre, while a number closer to 750 was the norm at the time we planted. It led us to include in our plantings some unusual varietals for the area, such as Albariño and Grüner Veltliner, which we discovered grew in climates that were much more similar to ours than we would have guessed. It led us on a


The more the vintner is able to work in harmony with nature, the better the end product will be. hunt for a farm with big hillsides, extremely low-fertility soils, and literally tons of rocks. In those conditions, our vines would be just unsure enough of their own survival that they would concentrate most of their resources into ripening their next generation (the grapes), making for some fantastic wines. Finally, it led us to a belief in the power of sustainable farming. As we traveled the world, we heard dramatically conflicting opinions voiced with the greatest conviction on any number of issues about grape growing. When it came to sustainable farming, however, we heard a similar theme from all of the great winegrowers that we met: The more the vintner is able to work in harmony with nature, the better the end product will be. While we have not yet figured out how to grow our grapes completely organically, we have embraced sustainable growing as fully as we can. We control all our weeds manually (with the help of both tractor and hoe), use only our own compost in place of chemical fertilizers, and scrupulously tend the vines so that the sun and wind can provide their maximum benefits in protecting the vines from disease. The result is a vineyard that is remarkably balanced and hardy and that, since our first vintage in 2006, has been able to produce delicious, healthy, and fully ripe grapes despite the challenges of our thrill-a-minute Maryland weather. Many grapevines live to be 50 or even 100 years old, producing better and better wine as they age. At only 8 years old in 2010, our vineyard is just a baby, and we look forward to tasting what it will produce in the future. If all goes well, our children and their children will taste the best that is has to offer. Here’s a toast to that!

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pairing

Summertime Staples Follow these guidelines to find the best pairing for your palate.

one of the most pleasurable aspects of eating and drinking

is hitting just the right note with a perfect pairing. You know you’ve made something special when new flavors emerge and subtle ones are brought to the forefront. Exploration and a willingness to take risks will reward you with the most interesting and delightful pairings. Sometimes the process of picking food and wine to complement each other can seem a bit intimidating. At Kybecca, my wine bar, we have come up with a few simple guidelines to help customers make their own great discoveries. 1: Pick Food-Friendly Wines Lucky for us, many of the wines produced locally pair particularly well with food. A food-friendly wine is one where the

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acidity is bright (a red might be described as juicy) and oak aging is done judiciously, with the imparted flavor working in harmony with the wine. Reds should not be too extracted. Big, rich, inky reds are fun for after dinner but can run roughshod over the food. One of our favorite choices for pairing with a wide range of foods is the wonderful Thibaut-Janisson Blanc de Chardonnay ($26.99), a sparkling wine that was recently served at a White House state dinner. At home, pair it with homemade fried chicken for spectacular results. Often people think of serving a sparkling wine only at celebrations, but its acidity and subtle flavors make it a great wine to serve with rich foods like cheeses and pâté. Glen Manor Cabernet Franc ($23.99) is a great food-friendly red that pairs well with earthy mushroom dishes and rare beef tenderloin. In both of these pairings, the wines are harmonious with the food—enhancing and not overwhelming. 2: Contrast Flavors The pairing of spicy food and a lightly sweet white is a great example of successfully contrasting flavors. The fruit, residual sugar, and low alcohol help dampen the flames and bring a fun, fruity quality.

molly mcdonald peterson

Rebecca Thomas Snyder




=`TR] V]VXR_e Linden’s Vidal Riesling ($18.99) has just a slight bit of residual sugar with pretty stone fruit and citrus flavors, making it a great go-to wine for take-out Thai or Pho (Vietnamese noodle soup). Another fun contrasting pairing is a dry rosé like the Kluge Albemarle Rosé ($12.99) with a pulled pork barbeque sandwich—a summertime staple. A vinegar-based sauce works best with this pairing. 3: Balance the Weight of the Wine with the Richness of the Food If the food has strong flavors, a wine with added richness is preferred. With more delicate foods, choose a light, crisp wine. For example, a farmers market salad would be greatly enhanced by Chester Gap’s unoaked Viognier ($19.99). Virginia Viogniers in general tend to be a great bet over sometimes overripe, alcoholic California ones. Try an unoaked Viognier with sushi or sashimi for a unique take on East-meets-West flavors. On the other hand, if a peppered grilled steak is on the menu for the evening, Gray Ghost Cabernet Reserve ($39.99) can take on the charred and pepper flavors quite nicely.

5IF 1804 *OO

PA L L A D I O

540.832.5384

540.832.7848

R ES TAU R ANT

www.barboursvillewine.com U 540.832.3824

Try tasting a wine and seeing what it makes you want to eat. 4: Pair the Food to the Wine Most pairings begin with the food and are followed by the question, “What wine would pair well with this?” That method works best for experienced wine and food people. But if you are not so confident, try tasting a wine and seeing what it makes you want to eat. A recent bottle of Pollak Merlot ($19.99) inspired us to take a trip to our local butcher to buy local grass-fed, ground beef for some juicy hamburgers. This Merlot is well-balanced and rich enough to take on everything from red meat to a less-sweet dark chocolate, like the Gearharts Venezuelan single-bean dark chocolate bar with espresso made in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Wine and Food Pairing June 06, 2010 at 1:00 PM

Bastille Day Celebration

June 20, 2010 at 1:00 PM

Wine and Food Pairing

Fatherʼs Day BBQ

Fourth of July BBQ

July 04, 2010 at 1:00 PM

July 11, 2010 at 1:00 PM

July 25, 2010 at 1:00 PM

Award Winning Wines Concerts Weddings Private Events “Local” Wine Dinners Escape Packages

5: Have Fun Wine and food pairing isn’t so precise. Toss out the idea that there are a narrow amount of choices for good pairings of any given food. It just isn’t so! Many different combinations may work, and it’s up to you to keep looking for the ones that hit your palate just right. Rebecca Thomas Snyder is co-owner of Kybecca Wine Bar & Shop in downtown Fredericksburg and a dedicated food and wine lover.

www.flavormags.com 101


drink S easonally

Sean Rapoza of Balliceaux John Haddad Photos by Laura Merricks

The buzz around Balliceaux’s bartender.

S

ean Rapoza, bartender at Balliceaux in Richmond, Virginia, does much more than sling drinks. He’s an integral part of the restaurant’s “local” operation, and as owner Lanie Gratz remarks, “He’s a chef behind the bar.” Rapoza got his start at the busy Tobacco Company restaurant, a training ground for many local bartenders. He elevated his game at DD33, an Asian-fusion restaurant in the city’s West End, where he developed an interesting drink menu to complement the dining experience, create buzz, and drive business. Although Balliceaux only opened its doors last August, Rapoza was involved much earlier, helping to develop its entire bar menu. The extensive list includes 10 classic drinks like the Sazerac, Dark and Stormy, and what Rapoza calls his “desert island” drink, the Negroni, an Italian creation that perfectly blends bitter, sweet, and tart. He has also created another 10 original, innovative recipes. This homegrown mixology is Rapoza’s strong suit. He combines the best ingredients he can find to make a rotating menu of fresh, interesting cocktails. He works closely with the kitchen staff and the restaurant menu when developing a portfolio of drinks: By collaborating with the chefs to order produce, fruit, and herbs and frequenting farmers markets, Rapoza makes sure he has the freshest, most seasonal ingredients to work with. Balliceaux even stocks Richmond-made Cirrus Vodka when it’s available and encourages guests who normally order Stoli or Absolut to try this small-batch spirit. John Haddad is obsessed with food—growing it, cooking it, eating it, and writing about it—and recently founded the Richmond chapter of Slow Food USA. Find him at www.epicuriousity.net.

Balliceaux 203 N. Lombardy St.,   Richmond, VA (804) 355-3008 www.balliceauxrva.com

102

• June/July 2010

The Missed Connection This perfect summer drink was named by a regular customer who heard that a waitress had found a love match on Craigslist’s Missed Connections section. 4 blackberries 1 ounce thyme syrup 1¼ ounces freshly squeezed lemon juice 2 ounces Cirrus Vodka 1 ounce St. Germain elderflower liqueur Muddle the blackberries in with the thyme syrup. Add lemon juice, vodka, and liqueur. Shake with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass or serve it on the rocks with club soda. Garnish with lemon slice and sprig of thyme.


Tom Yum Yum This sweet and spicy drink takes its name from the popular Asian Tom Yum soup, which also features lemongrass, ginger, and chile peppers. ¹/8-inch slice of jalapeño pepper, seeds removed ¹/8-inch slice of fresh peeled ginger root 1 ounce lemongrass syrup 2 ounces Cirrus Vodka 1¼ ounces Cruzan coconut rum 1¼ ounces freshly squeezed lemon juice

The #1 The applewood The #1 #1malt applewood malt in the world. applewood malt in in the the world. world.

Muddle jalapeño with ginger and lemongrass syrup. Add vodka, rum, and lemon juice. Mix all together. Shake, strain, and serve over ice in a Collins glass with club soda.

Virginia grown, Virginia grown, Virginia grown,

Wasmund’s Wasmund’ ss Single Malt Whisky Wasmund’ Single Malt Whisky Single Malt Whisky

Available at Virginia ABC Stores and bars Available at Virginia ABC stores, better barsCopper and restaurants. restaurantsbetter and the Fox Distillery store. Available at Virginia ABC Stores and Available at Virginia ABC Stores and Visit us at copperfox.biz to restaurants. find a store to learn Available atbars Virginia ABC Storesand and better and Open Mon-Sat 10am-6pm about our passionate approach to making Wasmund’ s— better bars bars and and restaurants. restaurants. better

The #1 applewood The #1malt in the applewood Theworld. #1malt in the world. applewood malt

Closedwhisky Sundays. most unique America. Visit us the at copperfox.biz to find in a store and to learn about our passionate approach to making Wasmund’ s— Visit us at copperfox.biz to aa store to Visit us at copperfox.biz to find find store and and to learn learn the most unique whisky in America. about our passionate approach to making Wasmund’ about our passionate approach to making Wasmund’ss — — the the most most unique unique whisky whisky in in America. America.

www.flavormags.com 103


advertiser directory & recipe index ADVERTISER DIRECTORY Wood-Fired Pizza

supporting

Virginia Farmers

ARLINGTON ~ ASHBURN americanflatbread.com

Humanely raised Rose Veal

540-987-9230 95 Nethers Rd. Sperryville, VA 22740

place your orders through www.fleurirchocolates.com or call 804.577.3819

Triple Oak Bakery surprise . inspire . educate

Al Hamraa Restaurant 64 Albermarle Baking Company 64 Alpaca Compost 104 American Flatbread 104 The Apple House Catering 12 The Ashby Inn 19 Ayrshire Farms 48 Barboursville Vineyards 101 Battletown Inn 8 Belle Meade Farm, School & B&B 6 The Big Bad Woof 51 Bistro Bethem 62 Blandy State Arboretum of Virginia 8 Blenheim Vineyards 97 Brannock Built 20 Bread & Brew 84 Butcher’s Block Market 45 Camino 22 Cardinal Point Winery 91 Carter and Spence 70 Catoctin Creek Distilling Company 99 Central Coffee Roasters 41 Chesapeake Bay Distillery 94 Chester Gap 71 Chiusano Italian Table 54 Clarke County Historical Association 8 Clifton Construction 21 Countryside Natural Products 67 Cowgirl Creamery 19 Cristina’s Cafe 18 Culpeper Chamber of Commerce 2 Delaplane Cellars 85 Delfosse Vineyards & Winery 101 Ducard Vineyards 83 Edible Landscaping 31 Element Bar and Bistro 12 Ellwood Thompson’s Local Market 25 Equinox 75 Everona Dairy 62

• june/july 2010

The Local Flavor 48 Locke Store 8 The Lost Dog B&B 8 Loudoun County Economic Development 56 Louiles.com 37 MJM Photography 50 MOM’s Organic Market inside front cover Marcel’s 77 Margaret O. Sander’s Landscape Design 31 Market Street Wineshops 84 Mas 17 Mount Vernon Farm 40 Mount Welby 60 Mountain Laurel Montessori Farm School 18 Occasions Caterers 47 The Organic Butcher 29 Orlean Store & Restaurant 56 Patowmack Farm 79

Premium Grass Fed Fed Meat Premium Grass Meat

www.TripleOakBakery.com

104

The Local 14

GREENWAY BEEF GREENWAY BEEF GREENWAY Premium Grass FedBEEF Meat

Gluten Free Patisserie Personal Chef Services Local & Organic Ingredients

orders: 540.675.3601 bakery: 540.987.9122 TripleOakBakery@gmail.com

Fleurir Hand-Grown Chocolates 104 Foti’s Restaurant 2 Fountain Hall B&B 2 The Frenchman’s Corner 97 Freshfarm Markets 14 Froggy Spring Farm 104 The Front Royal Visitor’s Center 12 Funk Brothers Furniture 21 George Bowers Grocery 65 Golden Blends Barbeque 12 Green Nest 2 Greenway Beef 104 Gunpowder Bison 10 The Happy Cook 66 Harrisonburg Farmer’s Market 65 Hearthstone School 20 Iron Bridge 47 Jefferson Vineyards 80 Joshua Wilton House Inn & Restaurant 65 L’Auberge Provencale 8 Lemaire Restaurant 15 Lightfoot 78

Burkeville, Burkeville, Va Va Burkeville, Va 804-836-8567 804-836-8567 804-836-8567 greenwaybeef.com greenwaybeef.com greenwaybeef.com

Paul Harris Tree Services 56 Piedmont Environmental Council 40 R. H. Ballard 47 Real Estate III 11 Rebecca’s Natural Foods 63 Red Fox Inn 48 Red Truck Bakery & Market 15 Restaurant Eve 73 Route 11 Chips back cover Roy Wheeler 1 Sacred Plant Traditions 68 Sara Schneidman Gallery 18 Saunders Brothers Farm Market 63 Shenandoah Growers 104 Shenandoah Joe Coffee Roasters 22 Staunton Visitor’s Center 22 Stonyman Gourmet Farmer 34 Sugarleaf Vineyards 80 Suites at 249 54 Sunset Hills Vineyards 99 T&E Meats 62 Takoma Park Silver Spring Co-op 64 Tarara Winery inside back cover Taste of Rappahannock 71 Thornton River Grille 41 Toigo Orchards 68 Trickling Springs Creamery 67 Triple Oak Bakery 104 Turkey Hill Stables 51 Tuscarora Mills 76 Tuscarora Organic Grower’s Co-op 66 Veritas Vineyard & Winery 87 Vino E Formaggio 12 Vintage 50 68 Virginia Farm Bureau 3, 55 Vittitow Construction 20 Wasmunds Whisky 102 The Wine Kitchen 74 WMRA/NPR 70

RECIPE INDEX Bread Salad with Tomatoes, Olives & Parsley page 65

Charmoula-Marinated Grilled Chicken page 62

Flounder with Young Vegetables, Jasmine Rice, Buttermilk Nage & Lemon Ashby Inn page 59

Grilled Zucchini with Yogurt Aji Picante page 63

Marinated Greens page 64

Pickled Vegetable Salad with Country Ham, Shaved Radishes & Watercress Againn page 28

Rhubarb Granita page 67

Simple Seared Corn page 66

Sorrel Granita Ashby Inn flavormags.com

Sweet & Tangy Dilled Cucumber Salad flavormags.com

Watermelon-Raspberry-Ginger Coolers flavormags.com

The Missed Connection Sean Rapoza, Balliceaux page 102

Tom Yum Yum Sean Rapoza, Balliceaux page 103


Toast to the Tunes Summer Concert Series The sun is shining and it is getting warmer everyday, we all know that summer has arrived. Every summer thousands of people are looking for the top events to attend and enjoy the great outdoors. That is exactly why for 6 years Tarara Winery has hosted one of Loudoun Counties top summer activities, The Toast to the Tunes Summer Concert Series. Toast to the Tunes at Tarara Winery is all about showcasing local musical talent beautifully paired with some of Virginia’s finest wines produced with the utmost care and attention. Every Saturday night through the summer season Tarara Winery hosts a new act that ranges from Freddie Long Band cracking our his classic rock and alternative rock styles, to the Reflex jamming to older eighties tunes, and to the smooth Jazz Sounds of Billboard DC musician Marcus Johnson. Other notable bands that will perform this year

will be 2U and Beatle-mania re-creating the sounds of some of the world’s favorite bands. For every great local band that will hit the stage at Tarara Winery this year, there is an equally great wine. The wine selections at the Toast to the Tunes series range from Charval (a steely, grassy, and tropical blend of Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Gris and Viognier), Viognier, Chardonnay, a delightfully crisp Rose, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and a Meritage blend. All of this great music and wine must be paired with two things, great food and a gorgeous setting. At each of the concerts Tarara Winery works with some local vendors to showcase the best of their food selections from Mexican cuisine to gourmet sandwiches. There is also a selection of local cheeses and charcouterie with accompaniments that can be purchased from the winery itself. All of this music, wine and food are all placed in a picturesque setting around Shadow Lake. The suspended stage hangs

at the bottom of a natural amphitheatre full of people staring down at the live band playing surrounded by a frame of Lake Shadow. The Stage was built to ensure that at all times the guest could view the lake on all sides of the band. There are many ways to enjoy the concerts. Tarara Winery has set up the amphitheatre to be able to host hundreds of individuals around the general admission grass, or has allowed larger groups to up-grade to the VIP tents where you will receive strong personal service and can have as elaborate an event as you would please under one of the tents lining the

amphitheatre. For any more information on the Toast to the Tunes Summer Concert Series at Tarara Winery see the website at www.tarara.com or contact Kim Parker at (703)771-7100 ext 233. Sante.


11 Edwards Way 路 Mt. Jackson, VA 22482 路 540.477.9664 路 800.294.SPUD 路 www.Rt11.com

Flavor Magazine June/July 2010  

Flavor Magazine

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