Posts Tagged ‘moutoux orchard’

From One Local Summer to One Local Harvest

Wednesday, September 2nd, 2009

one local summer 2009We were out of town the past two weekends, and the absence from farmers markets and cooking prevented me from wrapping up the One Local Summer challenge with as big a bang as last year’s all-local barbecue. Sure, we savored local foods on our travels — the first weekend the boy, sister-in-law and I road-tripped our way to Burlington, Vermont, for the first Vermont Cheesemakers Festival. In New York, we ate at Marlow & Sons, featuring local eats including my Pennsylvania chevre, peach and mint crostini and sweet corn soup with fresh dill. (Perfect for the rainy day.) And I picked up still more local cheeses from two Brooklyn cheese shops, Bedford Cheese Shop and Marlow & Daughters, and Brooklyn-made bread and pickled pears for an all New York cheese plate to share with my in-laws. (Reviews to come over on Cheese + Champagne.)

Still on my foodie task list before summer officially ends: chocolate zucchini muffins (would you believe we’ve hardly had any zucchini yet from our CSA?), tomato gazpacho and *fingers crossed* putting up some peaches if there are any left at the markets this week. (See tomato jam and chilled plum soup for ways we’ve used up at-risk fruit lately.)

moutoux orchard

My most exciting local foods find this season is one I haven’t even gotten to taste yet: local, organically-grown and milled flours from Moutoux Orchard. Truly local grain is the holy grail for locavores; here in the greater DC area we have several grist mills that may mill locally, but generally use Midwest-grown grains. While I’ve made do with Wye Mill in Maryland, which does use local grain but requires a 120-mile round-trip journey to secure, it is somewhat impractical as a regular source of flour. I was thrilled to learn of Moutoux’s new grain crops at our Summer Solstice feast earlier this summer, but the first batch of flours just arrived at the markets (Falls Church and Dupont Circle) as we were headed out of town. I’ll be sure to report back when I’ve finally procured and experimented with these Loudoun County-grown grains.

Most importantly, Italian plums and figs are finally at the market reminding me that the best local produce is found in the fall. If you’re like me and can’t fathom quitting the One Local challenge just when it’s getting good, please continue to check in and I’ll post occasional “One Local Harvest” updates from now through November. Whether you’re cooking local suppers or putting up local produce for winter, we want to know!

Visit Farm to Philly for the final round-ups of the One Local Summer challenge; including a beautiful vegetable lasagna from Nancy and Kristina’s reflections on catching one’s own meal.

Virginia Farmland Solstice Supper

Monday, June 22nd, 2009

Saturday morning I awoke thinking it must still be night given how little light was coming in through the blinds. No, just yet another rainy morning. My heart sank fearing that our “fork to farm” summer solstice dinner, to be cooked by Vermilion‘s Chef Tony Chittum in the fields of our CSA farm, Potomac Vegetable Farm in Purcellville, would be canceled. Fast forward eight hours — after a damp trip to the farmers market where the farmers were practically giving food away in “rainy day sales” for the dedicated few who braved the storms — and here is the vista that awaited as we strolled from the reception at neighboring Moutoux Orchard to the dinner site.

walking to potomac vegetable farm

We began the evening sipping peach-infused sparkling voignier in the peach orchards, before moving on to a surprisingly intimate feast for 100+ fellow diners, ingredients provided by six Virginia farms and Horton Vineyards, and prepared by Chef Chittum and his crew over a grill and makeshift kitchen in the middle of the field.

virginia farmland solstice supper

The additional farms — Greenstone Fields, Tree and Leaf Farm, Wheatland Vegetable Farms, and New Frontier Bison. An appetizer paired sweet beets with Alberene Ash goat cheese; the salad featured “this morning’s deviled eggs”; heirloom beets accompanied sweet Virginia ham-wrapped scallops and magnificent crab cakes; a mixed grill of beef, rabbit terrine and bison was served family-style with a sheep’s milk yogurt dressed potato salad; and luscious Caromont Farm chevre cheesecake, spiced with strawberry black pepper preserves, and Virginia peanut cookies swept us away at the conclusion of the meal, while fireflies punctuated the fields and the sun settled behind the Blue Ridge Mountains. A truly magical evening!

(full photoset here)