Taste Summer’s Farm Fresh Bounty of the Blue Ridge
It’s the height of the produce season! Now’s the time to enjoy that patio and grill with great summer “real food.” Take a tour through Taste of Blue Ridge for locally sourced goodness, get tips on grilling, and try these easy and delicious recipes.
Great Summer “Real Food”
What is great summer “real food?” It’s PYO fruits and vegetables from a local farm or a fresh selection from the neighborhood farmers market or community store. And summer means grilling. Pair your fruits and vegetables with superior beef raised by Valley farmers and taste the difference!
So where are the best places to find your great summer “real food?” We’ve put together a list of protein and produce providers for your dining pleasure.
Start with Flavorful Beef
Ah, the sound of a sizzling grill! Make the most of your outdoor dining experience with fresh and flavorful beef raised in the Shenandoah Valley. If you live in Western Loudoun County, Clarke County or nearby Winchester, you can enjoy Black Angus beef from Audley Farm in Berryville. Audley has seasonal sales on property as well as at the Clarke County Farmers Market and Mackintosh Fruit Farm. And Audley’s beef is also available year-round at The Butcher Station in Winchester and Locke Store in Millwood. In addition to steak, check out the ground beef for hamburgers as well as the no nitrate hot dogs.
Chapel Hill Farm
Also in the Berryville area, you’ll find Chapel Hill Farm – home of the heritage breed Randall Linebacks. This breed of cattle is 100% pasture born and raised. These hearty cattle provide a meat that’s lean and muscular. And because the meat does not contain a lot of fat, you’ll find it cooks more quickly. You’ll find some important tips on preparing their beef on Chapel Hill’s website. You can purchase Chapel Hill meat through online shopping/delivery, pre-order/local pickup, as well as at select stores and farmers markets.
Another farm raising heritage breeds is Ayrshire Farm in Upperville. Ayrshire offers not only two lines of heritage cattle, it also is home to the heritage Old Spot pig breed as well as chickens, turkeys and ducks. Check out their product selection and place your order with Mike Estienne at email@example.com.
More Grillin’ & Sizzlin’
Heading south on I-81 you’ll find Burner’s Beef in Luray. Now if you prefer your steak with a little more fat, you’ll find dry aged, grain fed beef from this family farm. Cattle are raised with no antibiotics, steroids, or hormones. Hawksbill Trading Company in Luray carries a selection of Burner’s steaks, ground beef, and ribs, as well beef sticks and jerky. And you can shop online with Burner’s for individual cuts. If you have a large family of carnivores, consider ordering a quarter, half, or whole steer and fill that freezer!
When he’s not working on the farm, Jared Burner is a master of the grill. Check out his YouTube video and grill the perfect steak!
To round out the area’s locally sourced beef selections, take a look at Blue Cedar Beef in Verona near Staunton. Blue Cedar Beef offers free shipping to your doorstep. This small, family-owned farm offers a big selection of high quality, dry aged beef. Check out their shares, specials, and sampler boxes.
Complete Your Patio Dining
Now that you have something for the grill, it’s time to turn your attention to the rest of great summer “real food”. The stars of the season are all the fresh fruits and vegetables. Prime produce is readily available through PYO (pick your own) farms, community stores, and farmers markets. Choose your favorites from these places and try some of our favorite recipes. And if you enjoy that local goodness, consider a farm CSA (community supported agriculture) subscription for next year.
Located between Purcellville and Lovettsville in Western Loudoun County, Lydia’s Fields at Wheatland continues a long tradition of heirloom tomato cultivation. And Lydia’s Fields is also known for its “House of Figs.”
Lydia’s is part of the Falls Church Farmers Market as well as the Leesburg Market (check Facebook for their schedule). Lydia’s has a wide variety of fruits, vegetables, and herbs – including some things you may not have encountered before like the kohlrabi, which looks like a turnip spaceship! Diversify your plate with some unique summer produce.
Taste the “Real Food” Difference
Part of the fun of summer produce is going to the local “pick your own” patch. And it’s a great way to spend time with family and friends. One of the top PYO spots in the northern Shenandoah Valley is Mackintosh Fruit Farm just off Route 7 in Berryville. The farm does a terrific job of keeping folks informed about what’s in season and available. Follow them on Facebook or sign up for the weekly seasonal newsletter. After picking, take a stroll through the farm’s community market and enjoy a snack and drink on the patio.
West Oaks Farm Market
Another wonderful PYO farm and community store can be found in Winchester at West Oaks Farm Market. This 10th generation farm is well known and loved by locals with its expansive selection of local produce, proteins, and food artisan selections. WOFM is the true definition of a modern day community store. The cafe is a gathering spot and West Oaks loves to showcase live music and family-friendly events. Keep up with WOFM on Facebook – we are lovin’ their 2021 corn maze!
Complete your summer meal with a course of locally sourced cheese and fresh baked bread. Deliteful Dairy in Williamsport, MD hits the Leesburg Farmers Market regularly and they also have an on-site store. Just order online and then pick up your “real food” goodies. The online store features milk, cheeses, butter, local meats, and eggs. Pair your Delightful Dairy cheese with an artisan loaf from Bolivar Bread Bakery. Order online for local delivery to select locations. And in October, Bolivar Bread is opening a storefront in Harpers Ferry.
Great Summer “Real Food” Recipes
Now that you have all this locally sourced food, we can’t leave you hanging. Here are some easy and delicious recipes for your table – a classic marinade, a quick veggie grill, and some new ways to prepare mouth watering corn on the cob.
The Best Steak Marinade:
We didn’t name it that, but why argue with the folks from All Recipes. It takes only 5 minutes to make and is sure to enhance your grilling. You’ll need:
- ¼ cup olive oil
- ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
- ¼ cup Worcestershire sauce
- ¼ cup soy sauce
- 2 tsp. Dijon mustard
- 2 tsp. minced garlic
- Pinch salt & pepper to taste.
Mix all ingredients in a small bowl, season with salt & pepper, and marinate meat for 2 hours. EASY!!!
Quick Veggie Grill:
You can put pretty much any vegetable on the grill. Foodie Crush has a breakdown of what to grill and how long to grill it. Here’s their recipe which you can make in 30 minutes.
- portobello mushrooms x 2
- eggplant x 1
- zucchini x 1
- yellow squash x 1
- onion x 1
- bunch thick asparagus x 1
- red bell pepper x 1
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
- Prepare the grill with clean grates and preheat to medium heat, 350°F to 450°F.
- Trim the ends of the eggplant, zucchini, yellow squash and onion and cut into 1/3″ to 1/2″ slices. Seed the red bell pepper and cut into quarters. Trim the ends of the asparagus.
- Drizzle the vegetables with olive oil and sprinkle evenly with salt and pepper. Grill the vegetables with the lid closed until tender and lightly charred all over, about 8 to 10 minutes for the bell peppers, onion, and mushroom; 5-7 minutes for the yellow squash, zucchini, and eggplant and asparagus.
- Serve warm or at room temperature.
Grilled Corn on The Cob: Bobby Flay of the Food Network is truly a grill master, so who better to turn to for a grilled corn on the cob recipe. Give this one a try. It elevates corn on the cob to a new level with barbeque and herb butters. And as for the age-old question, “to husk or not to husk” – it’s your choice with these recipes from Love and Lemons.
Enjoy the bounty of the season with great summer “real food.” Fire up the grill and enjoy!