Posts Tagged ‘wegmeyer farms’

Cheesy Pumpkin Fondue

Sunday, November 15th, 2015

Happy November! We’re enjoying some beautiful fall weather right now which is making it slightly easier to cope with the time change. In an effort to soak up every drop of sunshine that we can, we made another post-Halloween farm trip to Wayside Farm Fun in Berryville with good friends last weekend. It’s just not fall until you’ve been buried in a corn crib, after all!

Wayside Farm Fall Festival |

Or watched pumpkins dropped from the sky!

Wayside Farm Festival |

Hopefully you’ve spared a pumpkin from jack o’lantern carving to cook with — if not, it’s not too late to find one at the farmers market. These amazingly pastel heirloom pumpkins were actually spotted at Whole Foods, grown at another foodietots-favorite, Wegmeyer Farms in Hamilton, VA.

heirloom pumpkins wegmeyer farms |

As the weather turns colder, meals with gooey melted cheese seems to fall into heavier rotation in our weekly meal plan. We’re calling this one healthy though since it’s served in a vegetable! Pumpkin fondue cooked right in a carved out pumpkin makes for a fun presentation. I blanch broccoli spears and slice red peppers for dipping, along with cubed bread. And remember to scoop out the pumpkin flesh, too — save any leftovers to spread on toast the next morning.

Pumpkin Fondue |

Recipe: Pumpkin Fondue

Makes: 4-6 servings


  • 1 small pie pumpkin
  • 1 cup cubed wheat bread
  • 8 ounces Asiago cheese, shredded
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock
  • 1 tablespoon corn starch
  • 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
  • Cubed bread, meat and/or vegetables for dipping


1. Cut top off of pumpkin and scoop out seeds and stringy interior. (Reserve seeds for roasting.) Place hollowed pumpkin in a shallow baking dish.

2. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

3. In a saucepan over medium low heat, whisk together the cream, stock and cornstarch. Cook, stirring frequently, until mixture just begins to simmer. Then stir in nutmeg and add cheese, a little at a time, whisking until all the cheese is melted. Remove from heat.

4. Spread bread cubes in the bottom of the pumpkin. Pour cheese sauce over the bread and bake for about 45 minutes, until cheese sauce is bubbly and slightly golden brown. Pumpkin should be tender when pricked with a fork.

5. Serve with additional cubed bread and other desired dippers.

Note: Use caution when serving — the pumpkin will be hot! Be sure to use long-handled fondue forks, or skewers if you don’t have fondue forks. You can also spoon out some of the cheese sauce onto plates for younger children.

This recipe was originally created for Applegate.

Have you made your own pumpkin puree before? See how easy it is here. And then bake up some of these:

What are you excited to make now that cooler weather is here?

A note: I was recently interviewed by Foody Direct as part of their Expert Interview program. Click here to read the interview and let me know what you think!

Best Berry Picking Farms & Festivals

Friday, May 22nd, 2015

Memorial Day weekend is traditionally the pinnacle of strawberry season here in the DC area, and the foodie tots tend to eat through our weekly market haul of berries well before I get a chance to cook with them. So a trip to the pick-your-own farm is essential for stocking up!

Here are a few favorite places to get out and pick your own berries in Northern Virginia:

strawberry patch at wegmeyer farms

  1. Great Country Farms: Bluemont, Va. (note: GCF charges admission, but is basically a farm adventure land for the kids. Check the website to see about special events.)
  2. Hollin Farms: Delaplane, Va.
  3. Wegmeyer Farms: Hamilton, Va. (see comments below)
  4. Butler’s Orchard: Germantown, Md.
  5. Shlagel Farms: Waldorf, Md.
  6. Westmoreland Berry Farms Oak Grove, Va. (on the Northern Neck, they serve barbecue fare and ice cream/strawberry shortcake in season)

foodie tots at Wegmeyer Farms, Va.

A few things to note for a successful berry picking trip:

  • Go early and ALWAYS call ahead to check picking conditions. The farms around here tend to get picked out quickly on nice summer days, and this weekend is sure to be busy.
  • Dress the kids in dark colors (or red) to avoid stains and wear appropriate footwear (e.g., not the flip flops my toddler refused to change out of. They were new, after all, and a girl can’t be separated from her new shoes.).
  • Bug spray and sunscreen/sun hats are a must.
  • You can’t plop a toddler down in a field of the freshest berries she’s ever seen and not expect her to nibble — so be courteous and round up your tab at check-out to cover any excessive in-field consumption.* And if you hope to have enough leftover for jam, you might want to buy twice what you think you’ll need.

Wegmeyer Farms is an easy under-60-minute drive from Arlington, and we love it for the younger kids in particular. The berry patch is a manageable size (and easy walking distance from parking) for younger kids. There are a couple picnic tables but unlike some of the larger farms (Great Country and Westmoreland have full-service concessions) you’ll have to pack your own lunch. {Update: Wegmeyer has three separate locations this year — Hamilton, Gilberts Corner and at Oaklands Plantation — visit their website for details.}

Hollin Farms is also an easy drive, off of I-66 at exit 23, and grows a variety of crops from berries to peaches, greens and even peanuts. They also practice Integrated Pest Management (IPM) — while I’m not aware of any truly organic local pick-your-own farms, IPM farms typically use more natural/less synthetic pest control methods.

foodietots at delaplane strawberry festival

For more than just picking, two popular festivals take place this weekend, May 23 & 24 —

Delaplane Strawberry Festival at Sky Meadows State Park, 10am to 5pm each day. Take a hay-ride, listen to live music, enjoy food and crafts, pony rides, games and more. Find our recap here.

& Great Country Farms Strawberry Jubilee, 9am to 6pm (but strawberry picking only from 9-11am) and next weekend, May 30-31. Features a Diaper Derby for crawling tots, a Strawberry Princess, strawberry shortcake and much more!

If my kids leave any, we’ll be making strawberry shortcake this weekend. You?

virginia grown strawberries

*The foodie tot heard the farmer say, “Go ahead and taste ’em,” and promptly shoveled three in her mouth.

Worm Wednesday: Celebrating Strawberries

Thursday, May 26th, 2011

I’ve lived in Virginia for more than a decade (gulp), and yet I still have trouble thinking of May as strawberry season. Growing up, the grange down the road from our house hosted an enormous strawberry shortcake festival every Father’s Day weekend. On the bright side, Virginia’s accelerated berry season means I get to enjoy my favorite dessert for Mother’s Day — but I still feel a tightening in my chest as Memorial Day approaches and I realize it’s already time to think about preserving strawberries for winter. (My plans? More freezer jam — easy and so heavenly to open up a jar mid-winter and enjoy the scent of fresh berries again.)

strawberries from the garden

We’ve enjoyed a handful of fresh berries from our own garden — the first batch went directly into the boy’s mouth, the second time around there were enough to share one with the baby, too. We still are a long way off from meeting our strawberry consumption demand with entirely home-grown berries, though, so we’ll be back to market and perhaps a farm over the weekend to stock up.

home-grown strawberries

I loved the pictures Fun Mama shared of her adorable toddlers picking berries at Wegmeyer Farms in Loudoun County. (They helpfully advise parents to dress children in red or other stain-appropriate clothes for the outing.) Great Country Farms in Bluemont, Va., hosts their annual Strawberry Jubilee this weekend — but check their website first and get there EARLY as they sell out of berries. (Really!) You can find a pick-your-own farm near you at the PickYourOwn website. Have you gone berry picking with your kids yet this year?

We eat most of our berries straight out of hand before I can do much else with them, but here are some foodie tots-approved strawberry recipes we’ve enjoyed in years past:

(PS I do realize it’s not Wednesday, but yesterday just got away from me. You know how that goes, I’m sure. If you’d like to share a photo of your kids in the garden for a future “Worm Wednesday” post, please e-mail it to, or leave a link to a recent gardening post in the comments.)