Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Easter Goodies from deRochonnet's Chocolates

This just in from our friends at deRochonnets Chocolates:

Handcrafted chocolate for Easter!

The Easter Basket is an actual chocolate basket with our products (marshmallows, chocolate eggs, carrot - flavor of a orange dream sickle, floppy ear bunny, chocolate nonpareils, white chocolate lamb) except the jelly beans. All of the chocolate products are made with French & Belgian chocolate. Price $18.00 (Milk or Dark)

The Mad Hatter Bunny reminds you of Alice & Wonderland. The bunny has been painted with colored cocoa butter price $18.00

Pick yours up at their store:

13228 Midlothian Turnpike

Midlothian, VA 23113

or call (804) 794-1551

Dragonfly Farms

We got a lovely note from Bruce Johnson at Dragonfly Farms, and wanted to share some info about their farm with y'all. Bruce says:
My wife, Katherine, and I own and run Dragonfly Farms in Beaverdam, Va. (north west Hanover County) We raise Belted Galloway and Angus cattle for all natural grass fed beef. We produce pastured eggs with a couple of small flocks of chickens. We grow some produce, enough for us and to supplement sales at a few farmers’ markets. We grow perennials and Japanese Maples, and are beginning to be able to offer some greenhouse crops. Katherine is a working horse vet, so with that advantage we also board some special needs horses. We have a beautiful farm and love showing it off. We welcome visitors anytime.
We sell our beef and eggs at the Ashland Farmers’ Market every Saturday. We plan to go to the market in front of Whole Foods the first Thursday of each month, and would like to go to the St. Stephens market and maybe the new one on Monument and Robinson a couple of times this season. We also are a producer in Fall Line Farms.

Check them out at:

Monday, March 29, 2010

Carolyn Steel: How food shapes our cities | Video on

On this rainy day, I am catching up on my Ted Talks- a wonderful online lecture series. Check out this inspiring talk by Carolyn Steel on 'How Food Shapes our Cities'. Enjoy!

Carolyn Steel: How food shapes our cities | Video on

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Lavender Fields For Your Spring Garden Start Up

If your starting your spring garden beds check in with Lavender Fields herb farm. They are currently running specials... by one get one free on 4 packs of veggies, and 50% off cilantro. These sales really help when your talking certified organic prices. Also They are carrying, soils, compost, and organically treat lumber to make your raised beds.
Check out their website here.

CSA info session this Thursday


frog bottom farm csa

community supported agriculture in the heart of Virginia

CSA Info Session

*meet the farmers

*learn about the CSA model

of eating fresh local vegetables

* learn about frog bottom farm and

their sustainable growing methods

*sign up for the 2010 CSA season


Thursday, April 1


Central Montessori School

323 N 20th St near E Broad


Get more details at

Update On Dominion Harvest..Local Food Delivered to Your Door

If you haven't heard about Dominion Harvest, it is a website based home delivery service for locally produced foods. They promise that all foods come from no more than 100 miles from your area (determined by your zip code). Although I am a big proponent of farmers markets and the one on one producer/consumer interactions they create, it is just not practical to assume everyone is willing or able to follow this model.
With Dominion Harvest you can sign up and order a 1 of 4 different boxes of fresh food ranging from 10-11 types of greens and vegetables, to one with enough greens, vegetables, raw milk, bread, and meat for a family of four. You can choose weekly or bi-weekly delivery, and there is no sign up fee. You can cancel your participation at anytime. The cost for the 2 smaller boxes is $37. The largest box is $67.
Dominion Harvest focuses on delivering to urban and suburban areas to maximize efficiency. To determine if you are eligible for delivery you just type in your zip code. I tried out 23227, 23225, and 23229. All were current delivery areas. Adding to the convinence are insulated, reusable containers containing ice packs Dominion Harvest guarantees will keep your food safely chilled even during the summer for 10 hours. You can also add on specialty items each week, and notify them of any allergies to have your box altered to suit your needs.

The one flaw that I see on the website is the apparent lack of clear sourcing information. The site states that they track the source of each product so you can find out where each item came from by contacting them. This part doesn't sound like the most convenient system for consumers who actually care where their food is coming from. One improvement they say will be in place as of the season starting May 2010 is a Dominion Harvest blog that will allow customers to read about, and directly contact the producers with whom Dominion Harvest is working.
I plan to give it try for one week in May and see how it goes. I'll keep you posted. To check out our other related post simple type Dominion Harvest into our search window.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Join the Faith Farm CSA

Brenda from Faith Farm wrote with this info on their 2010 CSA:

What is a meat CSA and why should I join?

A CSA is Community Supported Agriculture. You have seen many veggie CSAs at our Richmond markets. We raise animals, and have seen the need for a meat CSA and would like to offer this year round to our customers. By joining a meat CSA, you are helping support our local family farm with a healthy and nutritious source of meat. You are allowing us the guarantee that our meats will be sold enabeling us to plan for our future needs. In return, you get a guaranteed a certain amount of meat at a discounted price. The most important part is that our animals are raised without all the hormones and antibiotics that have become a standard in the growing practices of “Factory Farms”. You can eat knowing that your meat came from animals that were allowed to roam pastures, eat grass, breathe fresh air and generally lead a happy life.

Are we organic?
No, We are not certified organic, nor do we plan on becoming organic.We believe in treating our animals humanely, allowing them to graze on our 95 acreas, breathe clean, fresh air and run and play all they want in the sunshine. We go as organic as possible on the feeds, but nothing is certified organic. We never use animal by products or any type of antibiotics or growth hormones.

What is in a share?
We will include most everything we sell. Eggs, Grass Fed Beef, Pastured Chicken,Pastured Pork, Honey, Amish Roll Butter, Goat Cheese, Jams, Noodles
Our shares will work on the debit system , each week the amount you purchase
will be deducted from your share. Members get the upfront discount as well as additional discounts for specials and opportunities for products not available to the general public.

Can I get anything I want?
Our CSA members will be entitled to all our products first. Realizing we process chickens April thru October, have a limited amount of steak cuts, (flank steaks, filets, hearts,tongue,etc) our pork is limited in tenderloins & chops our jams are produced seasonally… That is the reason, at this time, we will take only 50 new shares. We feel we will be able to fill your orders.

How can I become a member?
E-mail us at and let us know if you would like
To be part of our CSA. We would need a $ 100.00 deposit by Apr.1st.
And we will take only 50 new CSA members for this season
commitment, May thru August. Balance of $ 250.00, due by May 1st
May 1st 2010 – August 30th 2010 is the share term.

We do want you to be aware that any unsued portions may not be credited to another person or carried over to another date. This is a new venture for us. We will be as flexible as possible.
We will be at:
BYRD HOUSE : 3:30- 7:00 Tuesdays
BRYAN PARK : 3:00-6:30 Tuesdays
GREAT BIG GREEN HOUSE: 10:00-2:00 Every other Thursday
FOREST HILL 8:00 - TBA Saturday
SAINT STEPHEN'S 8:00-12:00 Saturday

Monday, March 15, 2010

New Local RVA food blog

Check out the Local Plate, a blog about cooking with local meats (among other things). Brad and C.J. have lovely seasonal menus featuring thrifty cuts of meat from local producers and the drinks to attend them. These guys have the in to what is happening at the Belmont Butchery, Ayrshire Farms, Deblyn Farms and more. Plus, they know a lot about wine- and who doesn't love that?

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Food Bloggers storm Olio

Just kidding. It was not nearly that aggressive, (and also we were invited) but it was pretty exuberant. The food bloggers on Eating Richmond did take over Olio for an evening last week, however, and swooned over the food, met the proprietors of this sweet, neighborhood spot and totally nerded out about our takes on food.
Olio is a really fun market and bistro, on Main near Meadow, where you can pick up gorgeous olive oils, vinegars, truffles and wines as well as salads, sandwiches, soups and pizzas- all made to order. The RFC was very glad to see the focus on local producers- Olio is a drop of site for the Avery's Branch milk share program, and many of their veggies are from Victory Farms in Hanover.
The food was great- I loved their use of (home made?) dried tomatoes and white beans on their bruchetta, as well as the flat bread on their pizzas. The drinks are inexpensive and the menu at Olio is fresh and varied, which makes it a great spot for a quiet dinner (if you don't go when the raucous food bloggers are there.) If you want to order in, Olio offers free delivery for orders over $40.
It was fantastic putting faces to the voices of the local food blogs. I loved hearing the stories of food activism from RVA Foodie , aka Jason Guard, who writes Caramelized OpinIONS and is the co- creator of Eating Richmond- the food blog aggregate that brought us all to this bistro for drinks and antipasto. I got to talk with Brittany of Eating Bird Food about her trip to San Francisco at the Food Buzz Convention- I was seriously jealous! And, I always enjoy sharing drinks with John Haddad, food writer for Style Magazine and his blog, Epicuriosity. John is helping to start the Slow Food RVA chapter, and it has been really fun to see how that is shaping up. I was a bit surprised to find myself talking with Bacon Grease (not his real name) of Eating Video Games about preparing and eating pig heads. I would not lie- check out the posts. Part 1 is here, part 2 is here.

So thanks, Jason for getting us all together- I look forward to many more crazy conversations with y'all about our adventures in food and elsewhere.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Veggie garden prep

I love the tidiness and the promise held in a spring garden. Don't get me wrong, I love the rambliness of late summer also, but there is something very calming about being able to work with the blank canvas of a newly cleaned garden. Since the median garden that Natalie built is right outside of my front door and she is no longer using it, I have decided to take it on this year. I had so much fun perusing the catalog from Southern Exposure Seed Exchange that it became fairly difficult to choose which seeds to purchase. The only consolation was that I can- God willing- try other varieties next season. My plan this year is to have a simple spring garden with peas and lettuce, then plant a 'summer in winter' garden in June, with veggies grown in the summer that I can store through the winter. I already have have Queen Anne black eye pea seeds, Peking black crowder pea seeds, and I plan on growing paste tomatoes. Of course, I will also have flowers- Selma Suns Sunflowers for the birds and Tashkent marigolds to repel destructive insects and nematodes.

Last Sunday I went in to the garden to pull the weeds that had crept in over the last season, and found that some beets, daikon radishes and Tatsoi were still alive! After a very cold and snowy winter, there were even some tiny carrots. I pulled all of the plants, kept some beets and radishes to eat and replanted some of the smaller beets. (I am not sure the beets will do anything- plants with large tap roots usually do not respond well to being transplanted, but hey- it was worth a try.) I spread a bag of Black Kow composted manure which is a wonderful organic nitrogen source. On top of that I added two bags each of leaf mold and mushroom compost- all purchased at my lovely neighborhood Azalea garden center.

I placed a metal trellis in the center for the snow peas to climb, and sprinkled a package of salad greens in the rest of the bed. I am keeping the top consistently moist and today I saw the first little cotyledons breaking through the top of the soil. Let the riot begin!

Monday, March 1, 2010

Check out Byrd House Market this Tuesday! And Support Haiti!

Ana Edwards sent out a great e-mail this week letting everyone know about two great projects taking place. Here's what she had to say...

"To support our kids for being so bright and wanting to help the kids in Haiti, there will be a DONATION BOX at the market this week. Click the link "Kids Yard Sale for Haiti" at to learn more. Special Thanks to vendor Rostov's Coffee & Tea for donating coffee to the cause.
Here's a little press from the Times Dispatch:
If you see Marlene, our Volunteer Environmental Coordinator, looking a wee tired it might be because she and a resilient assistant spent 6 hours on Saturday cleaning up the fence-line around the land that will be the BHM Farmlet. Blackberries will take the place of 6 truckloads of trash wood and weeds that our intrepid team carted out of there. Since we'd like Marlene and Pat to live into their next decades, why don't you come on out for the next Farmlet Work Out Day, next Saturday, Mar. 6. layout and notifying new vendors of their status... "

In addition check out some of the great food you find at this weeks renegade market!....

Bread for the People: Baguettes, Foccacia (feta, herbed), Brioche, Wheat loaves, Rolls and other good breads - breadman(at)netscape(dot)net
Empress Farms: Whole Turkey, Ground Turkey Turkey cutlets, Turkey eggs, Rabbit, canned apple goods (Apple-Maple Jam, Spicy Pickled Tomatoes...) rabbits(dot)for(dot)you(at)gmail(dot)com
Faith Farm Food: Grass-fed Beef, Pastured Pork, Amish roll butter, Eggs (all winter), Local Honey, Jams, Egg Noodles - Boston Butts for barbecue, Meaty Chicken Wings,Steaks for grilling, chili a mix of Chorizo; Ground Beef works great, suckling pigs - faithfarmfoods(dot)blogspot(dot)com
Thistledowne Farm: Local Apples, Foccacia Breads, Herbs, Jams (Peach-Rosemary, Blueberry-Basil...), Pickles, Apple sauce, Pizelles and handmade Soaps

Plus more from their renegade CSAs.