DC Refined: 5 Virginia restaurants taking the farm-to-table movement to a new level
“With the growing popularity of the farm-to-fork movement, it’s becoming commonplace for restaurants to try to find ingredients that have traveled as little as possible. Now, some are even taking the extra step to shave a few extra miles off the journey with hyperlocal sourcing. Head up to the roof or take a walk outside the dining room and you’ll find on-property gardens growing fresh produce that’s ready to hit the menu. Pioneers of this concept, like the Restaurant at Patowmack Farm, see robust yearly harvests that can carry them into the off-season thanks to preserving techniques. Patowmack’s owner, Beverly Morton Billand, started the restaurant in 1998, and she and Chef Tarver King now grow everything under the sun, including incredibly rare plants like miracle berries, frost grapes and ground cherries.
These five restaurants are following in Patowmack’s footsteps, making use of whatever space they have – whether it’s a rooftop on a busy city street or a spacious farm on a country estate – to grow hyperlocal bounties.
This hotel and conference center in Warrenton sits on 300 lush and luxurious acres speckled with courtyards, pavilions, and landscaping. Four of these acres are dedicated to Airlie’s organic farm, complete with a hoop house for year-round production, an orchard, and even local community garden plots. The farm grows herbs, veggies (including staples like lettuce, potatoes, peas, and kale, and more unusual varieties like blood sorrel, watermelon radishes, tomatillos, and sun chokes), and mushrooms.
Out in Broadlands, Clyde’s cozy historic tavern is just steps away from their boutique garden and bee colony. The 21-bed garden supplies fresh herbs (over 25 varieties), fruits (berries and figs), edible flowers, heirloom vegetables, micro greens, and shoots to supplement the restaurant’s locally-sourced menu. The harvest is occasionally shared with other nearby Clyde’s locations. Willow Creek also has a beekeeper who cares for the honey bee colonies from April through September.
During their 2011 renovation, this Del Ray spot transformed their roof into a 1,250-square-foot raised-bed garden. Their resident handy man and gardening expert works with the chef to plant the right mix of veggies and herbs for the menu. The produce list has included uncommon items like dragon egg cucumbers and poor man’s pepper, along with standbys like carrots, radishes, greens, nettles, fennel, kohlrabi, and beets.
Read about the other two restaurant farms on DC Refined’s website here!
Featured image courtesy of Airlie.