Living a Locally Supported Lifestyle

Posts Tagged ‘virginia’

Music Made Local

Friday, June 15th, 2012

Charlottesville, VA duo The Honey Dewdrops with their Huss & Dalton instruments made in Staunton, VA

I’ve been learning to play the guitar for a little over a year now and started to wonder where my guitar was made. A quick Google search brought up a video tour of the manufacturer’s guitar factory in China. It makes sense; the company isn’t American and produces several different instruments along with a wide variety of other products.

BUT there are many guitars made in the USA, especially those brands considered top-of-the-line. Martin Guitars, a favorite of many professional musicians, are famously made in Nazareth, PA and have been since around 1840.  Taylor Guitars are made in California and Gibson Electric Guitars are made in Tennessee…not to mention the oodles of small specialty luthiers across the country.

With that in mind, I must share the story of Huss & Dalton Musical Instruments in Staunton, VA. (Only 40 miles from the Locallectual home base!) These guys are as local as local can get, especially for Central Virginia Locallectuals. They make about 350 guitars a year and some banjos too. Many of their orders are for Virginia-area bluegrass and traditional folk musicians. They even use local wood! All of their current instrument tops are braced with a supply of Appalachian Red Spruce, harvested from trees in southwest Virginia that were threatened by encroaching disease. The founders, Jeff Huss and Mark Dalton, are themselves bluegrass and traditional American folk musicians.  So for all musicians, fans, and curators of the traditional music out of Central Virginia and the Appalachian mountains, Huss & Dalton instruments are a mountain-y, local-y dream come true, with authorized dealers across the US.

Custom Huss & Dalton Monticello OO-SP Guitar

Still here’s the kicker: Last Spring, Huss & Dalton released a custom guitar, “The Monticello,” made with wood from Thomas Jefferson’s tulip poplar that famously stands on Monticello’s lawn! The fretboard even features a woodburned engraving of Monticello, along with the tulip poplar and Jefferson’s signature. You can read the whole story in the Huss & Dalton newsletter. Not surprisingly, the retail cost of this extra special guitar is pretty steep, but 30% of the cost is donated to the Thomas Jefferson Foundation at Monticello.

Now just to win that lottery…


Upcoming Event – Screening of Documentary “The Greenhorns”

Saturday, April 2nd, 2011

Thursday, April 7th at the University of Virginia’s Morven Farm. Space is limited! Check out this Facebook Event Page for more details.

The Greenhorns Film Screening Event




Get Your Goat (Cheese)

Wednesday, March 30th, 2011

Spring is in the air, and spring greens are on the plate. I don’t know about you, but one of my favorite meals this time of year is a spring green salad topped with a local chevre. With so many great artisan goat cheese producers across the country, you are sure to find one making a lovely chevre near you. Here is a sampling from the Locallectual directory:

Caromont Farm Goat Cheese

Yummy Goat Cheese by Caromont Farm

Caromont Farm, Esmont, VA: I’ve had the pleasure of having cheese from Caramont Farm recently and both Palladio Restaurant and The Local Restaurant… and it did not disappoint! All of Caramont’s cheeses are named for places in and around Esmont, and you’ll find it showcased at restaurants and specialty food stores all over Virginia.

Selection of Goat Cheeses from Redwood Hill Farm

Redwood Hill Farm, Sebastopol, CA: Located in the beautiful Green Valley region of Western Sonoma County, the folks at Redwood Hill have been taking pride in a natural, humane and organic approach to producing artisan goat cheese and other creamery products since 1968. On top of all that, they also take home awards aplenty.

Chevre from Amaltheia Organic Dairy

Amaltheia Organic Dairy, Belgrade, MT: Certified organic, the fresh chevre from Amaltheia regularly gains accolades and awards from the American Cheese Society. The farm itself has won sustainability awards from Ecostar. At this family-run operation nestled at the base of the Bridger Mountains near Bozeman, you’ll find the goats contentedly nibbling grasses and grains.

Fantome Farm Handcrafted Chevre

Fantome Farm, Ridgeway, WI: While Wisconsin is known as “The Dairy State,” a goat dairy may not be the first type to come to mind. However, that shouldn’t stop you from checking out Wisconsin’s artisan goat cheeses, such as the award-winning ones made by Fantome Farm. Each batch of chevre is made on their “ridge in the driftless area of southwestern Wisconsin.” At Fantome, they follow the goats’ natural seasons which means the first batch comes out in late April. Now that is something to look forward to each spring!

We know that loyal locavores are bound to have a favorite chevre producer nearby… don’t see yours in the Locallectual directory? Add it today!

Local Love,
The Locallectuals

Lunch Line Film Viewing in Charlottesville

Friday, March 11th, 2011

Central Virginians, here’s a chance to watch Lunch Line, a documentary about the history of the school lunch program. (It also covers ideas for potential improvements.) It will be screened at the MLK Performing Arts Center at CHS on March 25th at 7:00 PM. Check it out!

Lunch Line film viewing at MLK at CHS in C'ville March 25th

Lunch Line Film Viewing at MLK Performing Arts Center at CHS March 25th



Make Your Flowers Local

Monday, February 14th, 2011

This Valentine’s Day will account for 15-20% of American florists’ yearly sales. Those are some serious numbers. Now imagine if all these sales benefited American flower growers as well. Not going to lie, it would be a tough task to accomplish with Valentine’s Day being in the middle of winter, and with the sheer mass of flowers demanded. So we’re not going be that ambitious. But we will ask that when purchasing Valentine’s Day flowers, you consider your local options first.
Here are some flower growers from across the US to get you started:

Texas Speciality Cut Flowers of Wimberly, Texas

Texas isn’t known for the best growing climate (think droughts, tornadoes, and even grasshopper plagues). That’s what makes the 60 plus types of flowers Texas Speciality Cut Flowers grows even more impressive. In a little over of 20 years, this family farming operation has grown from 12 to almost 130 acres of flowers, allowing for lots of color and variety in your Valentine’s Day bouquet.

Galena Blooms of Galena, MD

The best Valentine’s Day gifts are the ones that last past February 14th. For that reason, you should consider Galena Blooms‘ subscription bouquet service. If you want something that lasts even longer, check out Galena Blooms’ new line of products (soaps, hand creams, oils and vinegars) made from herbs grown on the farm.

Ocean View Flowers of Lompoc, CA

California’s climates (yes, the state has many) make it a great place for growing flowers, avocados, grapes, and many other crops. There’s no shortage of flower growers in Cali, so what makes Ocean View‘s flowers unique? The company sustainably grows its blooms in Lompoc. Lompoc is fifty miles northwest of Santa Barbara near the Pacific Ocean, where the northern and southern currents of the Pacific Ocean meets. This makes Ocean View’s location one of the finest in the state for bright, gorgeous flowers.

The Orchid Station of Barboursville, VA

Orchids can be a challenge to grow and keep healthy, but the results are well worth it. Just ask the family behind The Orchid Station, whose orchids can be found across Washington DC and Virginia. While they are mainly a wholesale nursery, you can find their plants at farmers markets across Virginia, and their greenhouse is open every Saturday to the public. Make this Valentine’s Day even more special by planting it in a handmade pot by a local potter.
We understand that in many parts of the US it can be hard to find local blooms this time of year (International Falls, we’re talking about you). So if you can’t find local flowers, do the next best thing – buy local a locally-owned flower shop. If your Valentine isn’t a flower kind of person? Go for locally made chocolates, jewelry, or for the man in your life, perhaps local spirits – they’re all in the Locallectual directory ! There are plenty of ways to show your Valentine, not to mention your local economy, love with local goodies. So Happy Valentine’s Day to you and yours!

Local Love,
The Locallectuals

Central Virginians – No Thought Necessary, Quick Gifts Everyone Will Love

Tuesday, December 14th, 2010

Sometimes, or really every time, it gets to this time of year, there’s a person on your list that you just put off buying for. Perhaps its because they are the person who has everything, or you don’t know them well enough to really know what they like (but know them well enough to have to give them a gift). If this is the case, and you live in Central Virginia (or really, Virginia and DC),  then I have the gifts for you! Choose a local foods gift box from Feast! that showcases some of Virginia’s yummiest creations. And in the same vein as our last newsletter featuring my gift choices that give back, 10% of the sales of this gift box is donated to the Piedmont Environmental Council (PEC) for the continued production of the Buy Fresh Buy Local Food Guide.

This second suggestion is one you might want to steer clear of if your recipient is a serial plant killer. Southern Exposure Seed Exchange is offering a Virginia Heritage Seed Sampler for the green thumb in your life. The sampler includes 12 kinds of seeds from across Virginia and Appalachia. And not to one up Feast! (which they kinda are), Southern Exposure Seed Exchange is giving 30% (!) of the profits from this sampler to PEC for the Buy Fresh Buy Local guide.

So pick these up or buy online, and give yourself a pat on the back for choosing a great gift that will be loved and benefit Virginia.


Holiday Shopping at its Local-est in Central Virginia

Friday, December 10th, 2010

Central Virginians: tonight and tomorrow, be sure to check out the 5th annual Holiday Craftacular presented by Cville Craft Attack. It will be held at OpenSpace from 4-8 tonight and from 10am-5pm tomorrow.

Over at The Bridge, you’ll find Great Gifts: A Holiday Shop featuring unique handmade and vintage gifts with over 30 artists and craftspeople participating. Shop now up through January 26th.

Finally, the Goochland Farmers Market is pleased to offer a second special indoor Holiday Market at the J. Sargeant Reynolds  Community College Western Campus tomorrow from 10am-2pm. This market of local purveyors will feature many holiday goodies perfect for gift giving!


Virginia Events for Food Suppliers, Buyers, and Celebrators

Sunday, October 31st, 2010

Virginia in the fall is a seasonal splendor.

November is here!
On the first, join a collaborative of Virginian, food-based organizations as they deliver “Field to Fork- Cultivating our Regional Food Network!”  You can register and learn more about the event, intended for local food producers or businesses in search of such provisions, here.  Or, just make sure to be at the Claude Moore Education Complex and Dumas Center of Roanoke before 3:00pm.  The afternoon affair is sure to be worth attending for those in search of a local food outlet or source.
Then, on the fifth, The Piedmont Environmental Council will be hosting its annual Meet the Farmer Dinner at Veritas Vineyard and Winery.  The event will showcase local ingredients in four courses, each of which will be paired with a wine from Veritas.  What’s more, many of the featured producers will be seated for dinner so that genuine discussions can ensue.  After having attended last year’s Dinner at Barboursville Vineyards, I can attest to what will be the wonder and worth of this upcoming one.  Dress up, eat up, and have an authentic ball.
Not long after, a full week of celebratory events will ensue in honor of Virginia’s very first official Farm-to-School Week.  Contact your local schools before the second week of the month to learn about which festivities will be held and when.  Or, if you learn that a neighboring school has yet to plan anything for the Week, be the one to put something together for the students, faculty, and staff of your area!  This week-long Farm-to-School designation is a major success and deserves to be recognized by everyone this month.
Last but not least, the eighteenth will bring “Social Media for Farmers—Where to Be on the Web:  From Google Maps to Facebook” at the J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College Western Campus in Goochland.  The two-hour night class on that day is especially intended for producers who wish to more effectively market their products or become increasingly involved in their respective communities.  If you happen to be one such producer, don’t miss out on this invaluable opportunity to learn more about making connections in a modern way.  More information can be found online at this website.

Charlottesville and New York City Bakeries Will Do Your Body Good

Saturday, October 23rd, 2010

Bakeries!  I scream, you scream, we all scream for baked goods!  Ok, maybe we all don’t; but I certainly do.  Here is a list of local (delicious dessert) purveyors in both Charlottesville and New York that I’ve been meaning to mention for months now:

In Charlottesville:
The Baker’s Palette
When The Baker’s Palette was one block away from my house, I walked by it daily with mouthwatering thoughts of its barely made desserts.  The tantalization was even worse on Saturdays, when it’s booth at the farmer’s market put those goods in plain, enticing sight.  If you’re a croissant person, try the ones made here.  Trust me— you’ve never tasted anything like them.
Chandler’s Bakery
Otherwise known as “the one behind the raisin bars and macaroons,” Chandler’s Bakery has made itself a Charlottesville staple by selling wholesale to a number of local coffee shops.  A twist between a granola bar and a brownie, its Raisin Spice Bars make for a great (and seemingly healthful) midday snack.
•Penne Lane
Penne Lane may not have a website just yet, but it does have some of the best homemade breads and desserts in town, hands down.  Although a new arrival, it is already on par with the almighty Albemarle Baking Company in my book.  Its savory breads are somehow simultaneously light yet doughy and filling.  Its brownies—especially the traditional chocolate ones—are worth missing a workday meeting for.  (As my new most-local bakery, I run in to satisfy my latest cravings often.)  And, what’s not to like about a bakery/deli with a name as ingenious as this one?  Penne Lane’s owners are New Yorkers and you will love them for having moved their talents down south to C’ville.

In New York:
Peacefood Cafe
Peacefood Cafe is the kind of place that makes you want to sit down and stay awhile.  Not necessarily because of its homey atmosphere, but because its clean and healthful presence is just that authentic.  The Upper West Side establishment strives, “…to be an innovative and exceptional vegan café.”  Every good-looking baked good on display looks to have been made with love as well as with body-nourishing ingredients.  I’ll “eat differently” to that.
Levain Bakery
Once I tried what was named—and is—Manhattan’s “…largest, most divine chocolate chip…” cookie by The New York Times, I can’t stop raving about Levain to everyone who will lend an ear.  This bakery is decisively French not only in name but also in recipes; how many “French” bakeries really serve authentic, buttery brioche and pain au chocolat these days?  Put on your “fat” pants and get thee to Levain Bakery.
Sarge’s Delicatessen
Sarge’s homemade cheesecakes came with me everywhere I went during this past visit to the City.  After a late-night order-in of both the Peanut Butter Chocolate and the Original New York Cheesecakes (that each happened to be the size of a small stack of pancakes) I ended up nibbling my way through them for six days straight.  That is no exaggeration.  In fact, one slice even came with me across the city as I taxied from one residence to another.  No more wondering why they’re called “New York” cheesecakes.  Who knew they could be so much (bigger and) better in the City?


Manhattan’s best chocolate chip cookie can be found at Levain Bakery.

Apple Juice in Virginia, Apple Tarts in the City

Thursday, October 21st, 2010

This apple juice was made by Golden Acres Orchards in Front Royal, Virginia.

Apples, apples everywhere!  I can’t seem to get enough of the pure or value added product this fall.  In particular, I just absolutely love apple juice and cider these days.  They’re something that I didn’t grow up drinking or particularly like until just recently.  But then, once I had discovered the sweet or slightly spicy beverage, they’re the only fruit-based beverages I think of purchasing during the cooler seasons.  I’m quite happy with this jug of the local stuff by Golden Acres Orchard in Front Royal, Virginia.  (I’m also planning on reusing the container by having it filled with an autumn draught at a local brewery as soon as I’m through with it.)  The Local Food Hub of Central Virginia has a cider that’s almost more of a juice than a cider but quite delicious in any case.
A few days ago, I stopped by the Terrace 5 café at the Museum of Modern Art in New York and ordered an apple tart that was near perfection: crumbly, warm, compact, and with a small dollop of maple-flavored ice-cream on top.  It made for jut the right apple-based, seasonal snack before viewing the museum’s Counter Space exhibit on the history of the modern kitchen.  What could be more fulfilling than a Sunday entrenched with local, seasonal foods and art on related subjects?!  Not much, I’d say.

A view from the Terrace 5 cafe at MoMa.