Don’t just get away – indulge yourself! The South’s New Foodie Hot Spot, the Shenandoah Valley has the perfect combo of family farms and farm-to-table restaurants which means the sights, sounds, tastes, touches and smells you’ll experience are pure authenticity – plus pretty tasty too. On the Fields of Gold Farm Trail, you can meet the farmers who grow your food and then follow that food to local restaurants with transformative meals. Get hungry.
Before visiting, check out the Fields of Gold Trail site where you can explore by locale or theme. Are you interested in Farm Experiences? Pick-Your-Own farms? On-Farm Lodging? Farm to Table Restaurants? Trout Farming and Fishing? Or Wineries and Breweries? Or start with where you’re staying.
You might start at a Virginia Century Farm, a farm in continuous production by the same family for over 100 years. Edinburg is home to Swover Creek Farm Brewery whose motto is “Berries, Brews and Brats,” with pick your own blackberries in late June and blueberries starting July 4. Alongside a Beer Garden and dog park, Swover Creek makes nine different kinds of sausages on site along with an assortment of jams, pies, brick oven pizza, sandwiches and salads. So, bring the pooch and the kids and make a day of it!
If all this activity has made you hungry, head to Staunton, named “One of America’s Favorite Mountain Towns,” by Travel and Leisure. Enjoy “inspired southern cuisine in a stylish, metropolitan setting” at Zynodoa. Using seasonal produce, local meats, and seafood from the Chesapeake Bay, the list of “Farms and Forage” tells you exactly where they source your food. This charming small town is also home to Chef Ian Boden, a two-time James Beard Semi-Finalist Best Chef Mid-Atlantic. His restaurant, The Shack, is named after his wife’s grandmother’s shack in nearby Swoope (home also to Polyface Farms, Joel Salatin’s farm mecca of beyond-organic practices),” where she cooked up all of the Appalachian and Southern dishes that inspire much of the current menus.”
For a global twist on farm-to-table, meet Harrisonburg-based Chef Ridwan at Boboko. As a child in Indonesia, he helped his father sell produce at the local market. Now he sources his restaurant’s produce from the Harrisonburg Farmer’s Market! Downtown neighbor Bella Luna produces wood fired pizza from local ingredients in a stunningly renovated livery stable. Round out your day with a visit to White Oak Lavender Farm. Stroll through fields of lavender, peruse their store and don’t forget to taste some of their 11 wines, including a truly special Lavender Rose. The lavender ice cream might just make your trip.
Other options to round out your culinary trip to the Shenandoah Valley:
- Visit the Nu-Beginning Farm Store in Staunton, “a combination micro-restaurant/coffee shop/grocery store/deli/meeting place, with a full breakfast, lunch and dinner menu, house-made desserts, locally roasted coffee, and goods from over 75 local producers.”
- Try out nearby JMD Farm Market and Garden Center just south of Staunton. Well known for farm-raised meats and eggs, seasonal fruits and vegetables, pottery and other local farm products, JMD also offers a natural playground and family hang-out spots. Check out their events page for everything from a Backyard Cookout to Summer Potting.
Farming and food is a way of life in the Shenandoah Valley. You’ll never be bored or hungry when you visit in the Valley.