Farm To Fork A local Celebration of Family, Food and Farms



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Buy Fresh Buy Local Hampton Roads will host 4th annual Farm to Fork local food celebration on Sunday, September 21st from 3-6pm at the Virginia Tech Agricultural Research and Extension Center.

“This is a vibrant event,” says Director Kirsten Halverson, “that brings together a community of people to celebrate the wonderful local food found in Hampton Roads.”  The event features local food tastings prepared by seventeen Buy Fresh Buy Local partner chefs, using fresh, seasonal ingredients from the farms and waters of Hampton Roads. Taste local beer, wine and cider while enjoying live music and a contra dance band from the area.

Activities for the kids will include a live farm-animal exhibit and local food crafts. Vendors will sell local honey, soap, jam and more. An extensive raffle with items donated by local businesses will also help raise money for the Hampton Roads chapter of Buy Fresh Buy Local, which is a non-profit organization that helps connect consumers to fresh, local food and helps support small, family farms and producers.

For a more personal interaction with the chefs and farmers who make this event possible consider buying a VIP ticket.  VIP tickets allow you to arrive half an hour earlier to engage with the chefs, farmers, brew masters and wine makers who make this event possible.  VIP tickets are limited and cost $49 per person, or $399 for a reserved table of eight.

VIP and general admission tickets to the event are limited and are available online. General admission tickets are $40 in advance, $45 at the door for guests 12 and up. Children ages 8-12 are $15 in advance, $20 at the door, and children under 8 are free. For tickets and additional information, please visit:



Double Lamb Chops, carrots, and corn maque choux a la Kathy

Double Lamb Chops,carrots, and corn maque choux.

Tonight we passed through Pendulum Fine Meats to pick up our protein for dinner.  As we walked in we were greeted warmly as always and then we started gazing into the meat counter to see what we wanted.  Dana reminded us that we had their pork chops last time and we asked Kilan, their butcher, for his suggestions.  He suggested the double lamb chops and brought them out of the counter for us to see close up.

Double Lamb Chop

Double Lamb Chop

We had never actually seen this type of cut, which took our interest right off the bat, and we picked up two for dinner.  This particular style of chop is called many names and here are a few; double chop, Barnsley Chop, English lamb Chop, double loin chop, and saddle cut chop.  The main description is a double loin lamb chop that is a cross cut of the “saddle” of the lamb.  The saddle is the rear middle of the back.  You will see the actual vertebra is the bone in the center of the chop. One of the source books (aka Kathy’s mountain o’cookbooks), mentioned that you will only find this type of cut in a specialty or finer butcher shop.  So obviously that’s why we found it at Pendulum Fine Meats.

We kept the preparation simple with salt, pepper, garlic powder and chipotle powder.  This was prepared on the grill tonight and I want to discuss the fire a little in this article as it is important in the proper preparation of food.

First, we do not use any starter other than paper.  We don’t want to add any chemical flavor to the meat or products we place on the grill.  The grill I currently use has a neat design in that you can remove the center of the grill and place an insert to make a charcoal chimney in the center.  I am using the hardwood chunk charcoal and it works very well.

Coals in Chimney

Coals in Chimney

After the coals are ready to cook, I pull out the chimney and then I push the coals to one side to only cover the bottom of one half of the grill.  This is important so that you can have a cool side and a hot side to the grill.  Not saying the cool side is “cool” but does not have direct heat below the food you are cooking. I generally keep the top on the grill when cooking on the direct heat side.  This keeps the airflow across the coals restricted, thereby lowering the fire’s flare ups.

Coals on half of the grill

Coals on half of the grill

I want to make the next steps very clear.  I do not destroy meat by over cooking it.  I eat my steak rare and typically cook meat to a maximum of medium.  This provide the best flavor of the meat.  For the lamb we followed the same principal as cooking a steak.  The cut was 1” thick and for a rare steak or med rare I follow the rule of 3 minutes.  To give a grid look on the steak I cook for 3 minutes then rotate ¼ turn and cook for another three minutes.  Then flip and 3 and 3.  The first three minutes are over the coals and the second 3 is on the cool side of the grill.  This goes for both sides.  I pressure test the meat in the center by pressing with my finger feeling the resistance of the meat.  I will cover temperature testing with the area between your finger and thumb in another article.  When they are finished on the grill, you bring them in and cover with foil for at least 5 minutes to allow the meat to rest.  This is a very important step as it allows the meat to relax and the juices to redistribute back into it and not leak out when you cut the meat.  I know this part is hard to sit and watch that helpless meat sit there all alone not being eaten but we must resist as the reward is even greater. While it rested, we mashed some gremolata into a little butter and then smear on top of the chops while they rested. Examples of the hot and cold side cooking below


Cooking on direct heat

Cooking on direct heat


Cooking Indirect Heat

Cooking Indirect Heat


The carrots that we picked up while at PFM were peeled, placed in a sauce pan and covered with a can of Seagram’s ginger ale.  You cook the carrots until they are tender.  By the time they are tender, the ginger ale is usually almost gone.  Add a pat of butter and swirl, glazing the carrots. 

Seagram's Braised Carrots

Seagram’s Braised Carrots

The final component of the dish tonight was maque choux a la Kathy.  Traditional Louisiana maque choux can contain tomatoes, bell peppers and other components but tonight we are keeping things simple with corn off the cob, leeks sliced, celery, and cream.  The seasons were salt, pepper, thyme, and garlic.

It is a repetitive process.  Saute the leeks in a bit of butter with a little salt.  Add the garlic, saute a  little more.  Add the celery, saute little  more.  Add the corn, again, saute a little more.  Milk the corn cobs.  Add that and saute a little bit more.  Add some thyme and you guessed it, saute a little.  At this point you get to go a little crazy, and … wait for it… add a little water.  Cook the mixture until it is to the desired tenderness.  When you are almost there, add some cream and taste for seasoning.  Add salt / pepper / thyme or whatever you feel is necessary.   This is a very flexible, forgiving and “kitchen fridge-friendly” dish.  While I didn’t tonight, I usually start with a little bit of meat / ham / tasso / bacon, etc.  You can add whatever you like.  Tonight my fridge had leeks, I used leeks.   The next time, it might be shallots or onions.  I didn’t have any sort of stock, so I used water.  Like I said it is a very flexible dish.   

All in all this was an outstanding dinner and we will be having it again. 


Double Lamb Chops, Young carrots, and corn maque choux

Double Lamb Chops, Young carrots, and corn maque choux

 Chris & Kathy

Double chops:  Pendulum Fine Meats

Carrots: Pendulum Fine Meats

Fresh Corn: Brothers Farm Market

Fresh Leeks: Brothers Farm Market

Water:  Eau de Faucet  

Clarke Farm Chesapeake VA

FarmersMarkets3831 BRUCE ROAD

From the Website of Clarke Farm

    Welcome to Clarke Farm.  Hidden in the Western Branch section of Chesapeake, is our small 10 acre farm.  We raise a lot of varieties of seasonal vegetables to sell from our farm stand.  Of course, tomatoes are always at the top of the list of best sellers.  2010, was Clarke Farms 20th year being open as a farm market.   Join us as we continue to grow into the next decade.

We look forward to seeing you and sharing the beauty of our farm.

Yorktown Farmers Market

Yorktown Market Days
From the website of Yorktown Market Days
We would like to thank our 2014 market days sponsors including Founding market sponsor, 1st Advantage Federal Credit Union and other market sponsors Farm Bureau, Custom Gardens, and Saude’ Creek for their support.

Yorktown Market Days will begin its eighth season with a fitness market on May 10, 2014 with a variety of products from new and returning producers. The Yorktown market features seasonal fruits and vegetables, fresh seafood, eggs, poultry, beef and pork; fresh breads, cheeses, baked goods, peanuts, cut flowers, organic and gluten free products, potted plants, coffee, jams & jellies; dipping oils and meat rubs; quality art, and live musical entertainment. Click on the 2014 vendor list to see over 30 farmers, watermen, bakers and producers from last year’s season. We look forward to seeing you in the spring when the weekly markets return to Riverwalk Landing on the Yorktown waterfront.

Breakfast Burrito with Chorizo

This morning we made breakfast burritos using the chorizo that we made in the Pendulum Fine Meats Sausage class.  The taste was very well  balanced with spices, and not overpowering from heat.  This shows the mark of a good blend in that you can taste all the components.  As our focus this morning was trying out the chorizo, the burrito was very basic and simple.  The next time there will be some additions, such as onions and peppers. Continue reading

Sausage Class at Pendulum Fine Meats

Stop in and meet your new neighbor

Stop in and meet your new neighbor

Kathy and I are always looking for local products as you will see and continue to see on our site.  A few weeks ago we stumbled on a website for Pendulum Fine Meats in Norfolk VA.  On reading the site we became very interested in the Fresh Grass & Grain fed meats they provide.  We visited the store and instantly fell in love with the place. Continue reading

Smoked From Above Virginia Beach VA

Smoked from Above is a local family owned business in VA beach.  The atmosphere is inviting and provides you with the family friendly feel. The menu is well laid out and ordering was quick.  We had to clarify our order a couple of times to ensure accuracy which I believe was from the ambient noise in the restaurant causing difficulty in communication.

Kathy and I along with a niece and her friend ate dinner there before going to see a concert at the amphitheater.  The service was quick and we did not have to wait long for our meals to arrive in the window.

Chris: I ordered the 2 meat plate which consisted of Chopped Pork and Ribs.  The rib Meat had a good flavor but not heavy smoke flavor.  The meat was not dry which is important to me. When I picked up the ribs the meat fell off the bones and the bones looked over-cooked.  I prefer a slight “snap” when the meat comes off the bones meaning some resistance.  I was not provided with the option of a dry or wet and it was covered in sauce.  There are three types of sauces to choose from.  The original which was very sweet to taste and I believe is what came on the ribs. Then there was the newer style which was not as sweet but still the sweet was the most dominant flavor.  The last was a mustard based which was basically ketchup and mustard mixed.  Mustard was the primary taste to this one.

The Pulled Pork was dry but the flavor was good having little to no smoke flavor also.  I am not sure if this was that the shop was slow on a Tuesday and the pork had been on the warming table for some time but my Niece actually commented that hers was quite dry also.  For my sides I had the collards and Brunswick stew which were both good. I would eat here again but it honestly does not give me the “urge” to go again and will be a passing thought when we visit and not planned.

Kathy:  I ordered the two meat plate as well, but with ribs and chicken.  My sides were green beans and coleslaw.  The ribs were overcooked, but not burnt.  They were smothered in a sweet bbq sauce and the smoke flavor was non-existent. The coleslaw had a plastic taste that was very disconcerting and rendered the slaw inedible.  The green beans tasted as if they had been cooked with vinegar, which I found to be an unpleasant surprise.  The hush puppies were good — crisp and tasted of corn meal.  However, all in all, for me my Smoked from Above meal was disappointing especially coming from a place that boasts being “Best Of the Beach, 6 years running”.

Our niece’s friend had BBQ the night before and ordered a salad which was a decent looking salad and a large portion.  As she was eating she encountered three small pebbles on the lettuce.  Thankfully she did not break a tooth.  We informed management and they apologized and offered to replace the salad or refund the money.   We chose neither, as our concern wasn’t about the money or replacement food, but rather how sanitary the conditions were and if the lettuce was cleaned properly.  I don’t want to cite any health issues or concerns as the restaurant looked clean and well maintained.  The kitchen area is visible from the front so you can see that it appeared clean.  This was just our experience at that meal.



Chris & Kathy
Smoked From Above BBQ on Urbanspoon

Williamsburg Farmers Market

From the Website of Williamsburg Farmers Market

Mission Statement from the site of Williamsburg Farmers Market

To sustain, foster, and operate a weekly Williamsburg Farmers Market in Merchants Square for growers and producers primarily of Eastern Virginia featuring fresh seasonal food and farm products for sale directly to the residents, students, businesses, and visitors in the Greater Williamsburg area.


  • Provide healthy regionally produced food to all economic levels of the Williamsburg community.
  • Stimulate the regional farm economy and preserve agricultural land.
  • Sustain and enhance the historic role of the Williamsburg town center as a premier gathering place for markets, social, cultural, and entertainment events.
  • Create a fun and educational venue to enhance community life in Williamsburg.

Continue reading