For Piedmont Family Magazine — April 2013 —
In my role as the Buy Fresh Buy Local Coordinator for The Piedmont Environmental Council (PEC), local food is an everyday topic of conversation. From broader discussions on how to encourage larger institutions to purchase locally or how to make the food distribution system more efficient, to quick conversations with farmers about a new ethnic vegetable variety or gourmet garlic — Buy Fresh Buy Local is all about strengthening our local food system so that it supports farmers and consumers alike.
PEC’s Buy Fresh Buy Local chapters are part of the national non-profit, Food Routes Network, and the program is designed to promote our local food economy by connecting local farms with consumers. The three chapters managed by PEC—Loudoun County, Northern Piedmont, and Charlottesville Area—encompass eleven counties and over 600 farms, farmers’ markets, specialty food producers, vineyards, restaurants and retailers. All of these producers and distributors are listed on our website and in our annual Buy Fresh Buy Local guides, which helps market their goods and informs consumers about what food products are offered in their area. While the website, www.BuyLocalVirginia.org, is accessible year round, the printed guide is an annual publication direct-mailed each spring to over 260,000 households in our three Buy Fresh Buy Local chapter regions — with more distributed to area businesses. Using this guide will help you find sources of local food to stock your fridge and pantry, and support our piedmont farms.
Farmers’ Markets: Most people are familiar with farmers’ markets—local venues where farms and other businesses set up to sell their products. While many farmers’ markets convene on Saturday mornings, more and more are opening during late-afternoon and evening hours to coincide with the after-work commute. Our Buy Fresh Buy Local guide lists over 30 farmers’ markets throughout the region, so be sure to search for the one closest to you and get to know you local farmers–by mid-season you’ll be friends.
CSA’s: Another category listed in the guides is Community Supported Agriculture (or CSA). CSA’s are a way for your family to get your weekly produce and other farm products while directly supporting a local farm at a time when they need it most. A family signs up for a CSA share at the beginning of a growing season. Since the farm receives the payment upfront, they are immediately able to invest in the seeds, equipment, and other materials needed to launch their production for the season. In return, your family receives a box of farm fresh products each week of the growing season (anywhere between 20 and 25 weeks), to be picked up either on-farm or at specific drop-off locations. The variety of products you receive each week changes throughout the season, and many farms offer recipes for less familiar items. While most CSA’s revolve around vegetables, you can also find CSA’s for meat, eggs, dairy, and even whole-diet. Check out the list of CSA’s in Culpeper, Fauquier, and Loudoun counties at the end of this article.
Retailers: More and more local retailers are stocking products from our local farms, so make sure you ask for local when you’re out doing the weekly shopping. A little consumer encouragement goes a long way.
On-farm sales: Many farms invite you to visit and purchase products on-site. This is a great way to learn more about your local farmers and their products. Remember, though, these are working farms—always call before visiting.
The more that consumers request and purchase local food, the more we support sustainable farming practices, the humane treatment of animals, and a greater sense of community. Find local farmers at your farmers’ market, consider joining a CSA, and keep asking for local in your grocery store. Enjoy your locally-stocked kitchen and test some new recipes!
As a member of an egg CSA, each week I pick up a dozen of the freshest eggs from friends down the road. One of my favorite recipes to make with those eggs is a quick and easy frittata—it’s simple to throw together eggs and milk with whatever vegetables you have in the fridge. All of these ingredients can be found through your local farmers.
8 free-range local eggs
½ cup local whole milk
2 Tbsp butter
2 medium potatoes, diced into ¼ inch cubes
½ cup sliced shiitake mushrooms
2 green onions, sliced
2 cups leafy greens (i.e., spinach, kale, swiss chard), coarsely chopped
3 ounces local cheese (i.e., goat chevre, grated cheddar)
Preheat oven to 400.
Whisk together eggs and milk. Season with salt and pepper.
Melt butter in 10-inch skillet over medium heat. Add potatoes and mushrooms, cook for 10-15 minutes until browned. Carefully not to let them burn! Reduce the heat if needed.
Sprinkle green onion and leafy greens over potato mixture, cover with lid to wilt the greens.
Pour egg mixture evenly over vegetables, top with cheese, and place skillet in oven for 15 minutes.
Skillet Pork Chops
Pork has never a favorite meat of mine…until I had pulled pork at a farm lunch. I bought a pack of pork chops from the farm, cooked them up on a skillet and served with oven-roasted root vegetables (carrot, onion, beet, potato, sweet potato). Delicious. I was hooked. Again, most of these ingredients can be found through local sources.
4 pork chops
1 Tbsp butter
1 sliced large onion
1 cup sliced mushrooms
2 Tbsp dijon mustard
½ white wine
Heat skillet on medium heat and melt butter, careful not to let burn.
Sautee onion and mushrooms until soft (about 10 minutes).
Remove onion mixture and place pork chops in pan. Cook for 5 minutes then flip for another 3-4 minutes.
Remove chops and let rest while preparing sauce.
Add mustard and white wine to skillet, stir to incorporate and add the onion mixture. Cook for 1 minute. (You could add some cream at this point if you like a thicker sauce)
Spoon sauce over chops when ready to serve.
Buy Fresh Buy Local CSA List
Whisper Hill Farm
7215 Robinson River Road
Seasonal Plants, Produce, Herbs & Cut Flowers
Bull Run Mountain Vegetable Farm
4362 Highpoint Lane
Seasonal Vegetables, Fruits, Eggs, Honey
Rock Run Creek Farm
3618 Rock Run Road
Francis & Carol Ngoh
Eggs, Herbs, Shiitake Mushrooms, Fingerling Potatoes and other Seasonal Produce
Chicama Run. LLC (Meat CSA)
14809 Purcellville Road
Joseph and Dana Sacco
Free-Range Eggs; Pastured Chicken & Pork; Grass-Fed Beef, Lamb & Goat; Meat CSA; Fresh Milk
Great Country Farms
18780 Foggy Bottom Road
Mark & Kate Zurschmeide
Strawberries, Blueberries, Blackberries, Peaches, Veggies, Apples, Pumpkins
Herban Avenues at the AHHA Ranch
38363 Stevens Road
Herbal Teas, Potted Herbs, Eggs, Body Care and Bath Products, Dried Fresh Cut Herbs/Flowers
Mountain View Farm at Blue Ridge Center for Environmental Stewardship
11661 Harpers Ferry Road
Shawna DeWitt & Attila Agoston
Certified Produce, Free Range Eggs, Pastured Pork
Moutoux Orchard (Whole Diet)
15290 Purcellville Road
Peaches, Apples, Seasonal Vegetables, Whole Wheat and Spelt Flours, Pastured Eggs, Grass Fed Lamb
Quarter Branch Farm
40327 Quarter Branch Road
Carrot, Celery, Beet, Garlic, Squash, Tomato, Pepper, Onion, Salad, Cooking Greens, Sweet Potato, and Much More
Stoneybrook Organic Farm and Market
37091 Charlestown Pike
Farm: Certified Organic Produce. Farm Market: Produce, Eggs, Dairy, Meat, Cheese, Grains, Bulk Foods, Natural Foods
23595 Founders Drive
Seasonal Produce, Strawberries, Honey, Eggs, Local Grass-Fed Meats, Dairy, Fruit, Baked Goods, Natural Foods