Sponsored Advertising Content: Southern Living has partnered with Virginia.org to form a guest blogger network. Today’s post is provided by guest blogger Jessica van Dop DeJesus of The Dining Traveler. Check back every Monday and Thursday for new ways to explore the state of Virginia.
If you love eating local, Virginia is the state for you! Given its blessed geographical position, it enjoys the seafood of Chesapeake Bay, oysters of the Rappahannock River, fertile soils of the Blue Ridge, ideal wine producing weather, and so much more… Thankfully, more Virginian restaurants are taking advantage of this, creating menus using ingredients ranging from their own backyard to their neighborhood farmers. Below are some unique suggestions on how you can eat local in Virginia:
Goodstone Inn: This luxurious inn in the heart of Middleburg, Virginia gives you a glimpse of what living on a farm is like. You’re awakened by the sound of the hens roaming the grounds, greeted by the house llama, and personally witness the groundskeepers supervising the growth of their crops. Your yummy breakfast omelet has been made by eggs from the hens on property and your dessert garnished with berries grown in-house.
The Restaurant at Patowmack Farm: This beautiful restaurant sits atop a hill with a sprawling view of Loudoun County. As you walk from the parking lot to the restaurant, you will probably catch wandering geese. The restaurant changes their menu often, using mainly ingredients from their farm and acquires the rest from local purveyors. Owner Beverly Morton Billand, having lived abroad for many years, adds an international touch to the menu by adding influences from her travels. 2016 James Beard Nominee Chef Tarver King’s delicious mushroom soup garnished with pork belly and homemade croutons is a dish I’ll always remember from my visit. Bonus: the farm was one of the first certified organic farms in Virginia.
Grandale Vintner’s Table: This farm to fork restaurant is perfect for the lovers of Virginia Wine. The restaurant is located at 868 Vineyards, one of the largest vineyards of Loudoun Country, covering over 120 acres of land. There, Chef Author Clark grows many of the items on his menu to include berries, herbs, and greens. Other items such as meat and fish are acquired by purveyors of nearby farms in Virginia and Maryland. The dishes are carefully paired with wines of 868 and other neighboring wineries. What to order: their strawberry salad with candied nuts is a must.
Lansdowne Resort and Spa: Lansdowne Resort and Spa is a renowned luxury resort and spa nestled in Virginia Wine Country which takes advantage of the abundance of farms in the area to create its menus. In the sprawling grounds of Lansdowne there’s the Lansdowne Garden, which produce is used in the many dishes offered at the property. Start the meal with cheeses and cured meats produced by neighborhood farms or a platter of oysters from Virginia’s Rappahannock River. At Lansdowne, you not only eat local but also drink local-there’s an extensive range of Loudoun County produced craft beer and wine on their menu.
L’Auberge Provençale: This inn is a popular romantic getaway for those of us living in the Washington, DC and Northern Virginia area. I say true love does come alive through a good meal! What makes this inn truly special is that the owners have been using the farm to table concept before it was a trend. Since its inception in 1981, the innkeepers have kept a vegetable garden, herb gardens, and an orchard on property. In the past, the staff also raised pigs, chickens, and rabbits. Given the demands of the inn, the management now reaches out to local farmers to supply the meats used at the restaurant. However, the restaurant still supplies their own organic fruits and vegetables for the menu. No food waste at L’Auberge: Owner Celeste Borel says: “In the summer, when we have an overabundance of produce and fruits, we pickle, make jams and jellies, chutneys, escabeche etc. to use in the winter months.”
Virginia has won the agricultural lottery with its geography and fertile lands. This is a small glimpse of the restaurants which bring farm to table to life in Virginia.