Growing The Growers Filming Trip 2010

Diary with pictures of our trip to the USA and England to meet with people that have successfully encouraged more people to garden and farm organically

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Meadowview VA

It is an old Virginian country town not very touristy and a bit run down, however two spruced up old buildings were of great interest to us and well worth a visit if you are in this area.

The Meadowview Farmers Guild on the left and the Harvest Table Restaurant on the right are part of the same complex. These two beautifully refurbished buildings house a shop that sells work from local artisans and a restaurant that only uses locally grown produce. What a treat, a place to buy some really good quality presents and also somewhere to eat  fresh locally grown and well prepared, unpretentious and absolutely delicious food.

Inside the shop there is a wonderful selection of locally handcrafted items.

In one corner there is a small gardening section in keeping with the local food ethic.

The tools included a couple of old favourites of ours. The professional quality oscillating stirrup hoes are in daily use on our farm and the winged weeder in front is a tool that I had been given by an American friend but had never seen in any gardening shops in Australia.

Mike and I had to try these beautifully made rocking chairs!

These fold down baby changing tables that were in both the ladies' and men's loos did make us smile. 

And downstairs is the restaurant.

So why did we make the journey to this little restaurant in southern Virginia?  It started with the frontispiece of the book 'Animal Vegetable Miracle - A Year of Food life' by Barbara Kingsolver, with Steven L. Hopp and Camille Kingsolver.  

When Mike finished reading this inspirational book he really wanted a copy of the drawing of 'The Vegetannual'
"Take a minute to study this creation – an imaginary plant that bears over the course of one growing season a cornucopia of all the different vegetable products we can harvest.  We’ll call it a vegetannual ..."
It didn't take us that long to track down the artist Richard Houser and he very generously offered to run us off a number of southern hemisphere versions. It was the start of a number of entertaining late night emails in which he told us about his new venture as chef at this small restaurant in his home town. Jokingly I said that I would have to come and visit and have a cup of coffee. Who would have believed it, here we are enjoying a lunch that he and Philip Newton had prepared.

Out the back the baker is hard at work.

And here is Philip.

Locally grown strawberries were of course centre stage on the desert menu.

Round the corner adjacent to the outdoor eating area was a large bed of neatly tended herbs.

Behind the tables and chairs the walls have been decorated by Richard.

Mike and Richard discuss the difficulties inherent in sourcing local produce from small organic farmers.

What is it about sunflowers? No matter how difficult things get these golden blooms can always make me smile they just radiate optimism and should always have a place in a summer garden.

No comments:

Post a Comment