Our Local Commons
OCTOBER 21, 2015

Our New Book: The Virginia Table

Banner for Our New Book: The Virginia Table
Banner for Our New Book: The Virginia Table

For nearly four years, Our Local Commons has been sharing stories from the Charlottesville local food community — both here on the blog and in the pages of our books. This year, we had the opportunity to expand our reach to the entire commonwealth of Virginia through a brand new project, The Virginia Table, which hits shelves at the end of October.

Our partner in this project was Early Mountain Vineyards, which approached us early in the year with the idea, seeded by vineyard owner Jean Case, to create a book showcasing the work of food artisans across the entire Commonwealth of Virginia. The book was an extension of Early Mountain’s “Best of Virginia” program — a collection of the finest wines from across the state, which Early Mountain carries at its tasting room in Madison alongside its own meticulously crafted wines in an effort to help familiarize its visitors with Virginia’s incredible wine offerings.

From the moment they asked us if we were interested in partnering on such a project, our hearts sang with a resounding YES. Over the past four years, we have found our voice and aesthetic as a collaborative team, and feel very fortunate to be able to use that voice to illuminate the hard work and dedication of those who grow, craft, and prepare food. The opportunity to work collaboratively with Early Mountain to expand the reach of those stories to other areas of Virginia was absolutely thrilling. And so, as is our habit, we dove in.

And that is how we spent the months of July and August driving all over this beautiful state, from Concord, Lexington and Lowesville; to Charlottesville and Harrisonburg; to Lovettsville, Marshall, and Middleburg; to McLean and Alexandria and many, many places in between. We made new friends, met up with familiar faces, and got lost in conversation again and again, learning about the craft of each of these individuals. They work in many different industries, but all have one trait in common: a tireless dedication to creating the finest food for their fellow Virginians.

Over the past four years, we have found our voice and aesthetic as a collaborative team, and feel very fortunate to be able to use that voice to illuminate the hard work and dedication of those who grow, craft, and prepare food.

The Virginia Table looks at six food industries in the Commonwealth: wine, cheese, beer, grain, meat, and cider. Each chapter includes:

  • A feature-length story from an up-and-coming artisan in that field
  • A sidebar sharing the perspective of veterans and specialists in these industries
  • Full-color spreads of Virginia-made products
  • Recipes and pairings created by some of the Commonwealth’s leading chefs

Interspersed throughout, The Virginia Table also features intimate profiles of tastemakers from across the Commonwealth — including chefs, writers, and restaurateurs — whose passion for Virginia food paved the way for the state’s rising profile. These tastemakers include Chef José Andrés of ThinkFoodGroup, restaurateur Michael Babin of Neighborhood Food Group, food writer Patrick Evans-Hylton, and wine writer and Washington Post columnist Dave McIntyre, among other well-respected and acclaimed individuals.

As with Our Local Commons—Charlottesville, Vol. I and Vol. II, we partnered with Matt Thomas of Convoy for the design and layout of the 80-page book. Richmond-based Worth Higgins & Associates, which printed Vol. II, served as the printer. Along the way, many others also lent their talents, products, and time to the creation of the book, especially Tracey Love, Roxie Daisy, Timbercreek Market, Blanc Creatives, and Monolith Studios. And throughout the project, we had the pleasure of working with Rachel Kennedy Caggiano and Dave Kostelnik of Early Mountain.

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We ended this summer feeling exhilarated by this project. It took an incredible amount of work to it all pull together in such a tight timeframe, but that work only served to remind us of the early mornings and late nights of those we met throughout the summer — and the many individuals in Charlottesville’s own local food community that we have had the privilege to meet over the past four years. They inspire us to keep pushing forward telling these stories through thoughtfully crafted images and words, so that we may all see this burgeoning food movement rise to its next level.

Know this: What’s happening with the local food community in Charlottesville is happening in Richmond. It’s happening in Lynchburg and Harrisonburg and Alexandria and everywhere else we visited this summer. Virginia is taking center stage in this nation’s reborn culinary identity, and we should all feel inspired by what’s happening in our state.

But there’s much still to do — like producing Our Local Commons—Charlottesville, Vol. III, which comes out in 2016. So now: time to get back to work.

It took an incredible amount of work to it all pull together in such a tight timeframe, but that work only served to remind us of the early mornings and late nights of those we met throughout the summer.

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You can preorder The Virginia Table at virginiatable.com. Here’s what’s inside:

FEATURED TASTEMAKERS

Chef José Andrés – ThinkFoodGroup

Restaurateur Michael Babin – Neighborhood Restaurant Group + Arcadia Center for Sustainable Food & Agriculture

Food Writer, Editor + Columnist Patrick Evans-Hylton

Chef Tarver King – The Restaurant at Patowmack Farm

Restaurateur Kendra Feather – The Roosevelt, Ipanema Cafe, WPA Bakery, and Garnett’s Cafe

Wine Writer + Columnist Dave McIntyreThe Washington Post

Restaurateurs Neal + Star Wavra – FABLE Hospitality + Field & Main Restaurant

FEATURED ARTISANS

Wine | Ben Jordan, Early Mountain Vineyards – Madison, Virginia

Cheese | HB Hunter, Spring Mill Farm – Concord, Virginia

Beer | Mary Morgan, Three Notch’d Brewing Company – Harrisonburg, Virginia

Grain | Brian Walden, Steadfast Farm – Albemarle County, Virginia

Meat | Matthew Greene + James Lum III, JM Stock Provisions – Charlottesville, Virginia

Cider | Courtney Mailey, Blue Bee Cider – Richmond, Virginia

INDUSTRY VETERANS AND SPECIALISTS

Wine | Gabriele Rausse, Gabriele Rausse Vineyard + Monticello – Charlottesville, Virginia

Cheese | Dany Schutte, Southern Season – Richmond, Virginia

Beer | Chris Gordon and Gordon Giuliano, Charlottesville Hops LLC – Charlottesville, Virginia

Grain | Will Brockenbrough, Woodson’s Mill – Lowesville, Virginia

Meat | John Whiteside, Wolf Creek Farm – Madison, Virginia

Cider | Diane Flynt, Foggy Ridge Cider – Dugspur, Virginia

RECIPES + PAIRINGS

Wine: Executive Chef Dylan Allwood, ROCKSALT – Charlottesville, Virginia

Cheese: Chef + Owner Jason Alley, pasture – Richmond, Virginia

Beer: Chef + Owner Ian Boden, The Shack – Staunton, Virginia

Grain: Chef Matt Adams + Chef Becca Norris, The Red Hen – Lexington, Virginia

Meat: Chef + Co-Owner Harrison Keevil, Brookville Restaurant – Charlottesville, Virginia

Cider: Chef + Cofounder Megan Kiernan + Cofounder Justin Stone, Forage – Free Union, Virginia

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