A big-deal pig-deal is forged between Lockhart Family Farm and Ellwood Thompson’s, a Korean fast food place announces its intent to open in Jackson Ward, the Fan’s Martini Kitchen and Bubble Bar becomes another (live) thing, and Ardent and Patrick Henry Pub team up for a scrumptious beer dinner.
Lockhart Family Farm, photo by Cameron Charles Lewis
Ellwood Thompson’s will soon welcome a local provider of fresh sustainably-raised heritage-breed pork to their meat case. If all goes as scheduled, as early as the middle of next month, Lockhart Family Farm will start stocking Ellwood’s refrigerated shelves with a steady supply of their mulefoot and ossabaw pork. Previously, there was no such supply available on a large enough scale to meet demand in the state of Virginia.
“It’s still very difficult to find a supply of sustainably-grown meat, especially heritage meat. For Ellwoods, being a large retailer in Richmond, to find a supplier year-round is a big step forward for our supply chain,” says Lockhart Family Farm’s Josiah Lockhart.1 That’s because, due to the seasonal nature of animal husbandry and the long maturation time required for heritage breeds, small- to medium-sized producers rarely have a year-round supply of fresh meat available. Thus, the standard has become either a frozen product or one sourced from a national aggregator, such as Niman Ranch. Ellwoods’ Purchasing Director Tommy Langford agrees, “That’s been a big challenge for us for the last few years.”
Lockhart wants that to change. “The demand is there. The farms are there. The farms don’t necessarily have a year-round supply. It’s not hard to find local vegetables. The sustainable food movement has done very well with that. But to find local meat that’s sustainably raised is very difficult to do. I can count the number of producers in the state on my hand.” Over the past few months, Lockhart Family Farm has been increasing their stock, and now, Lockhart says, they’re ready to enter the market with traditional cuts like chops, ribs, and roasts, plus, eventually, cured bacon and hams.
Mulefoot and Ossabaw pork is unlike the pork you’ll find in big grocery stores. Raising this type of livestock requires more time and expertise than the commodity pork to which most of us have grown accustomed. To put it in perspective, the Mulefoot hog takes twice as long to mature as the Berkshire breed, a favorite among restaurant chefs; and the Ossabaw takes another two months beyond that. That time equals money–money the farmer has to spend to care for the animal and, thus, a higher retail cost. But the pay-off, and it’s a big one, is the taste. Both Lockhart and Langford agree the taste is unlike any other. After his visit to the farm yesterday, Langford remarked, “I’ve had a lot of sausage in my time, but what Jocelyn [Lockhart] made…it blew my mind.”
Langford looks forward, in the coming weeks, to telling the Lockhart Family Farm story to Ellwoods’ customers. He plans to create in-store tastings to introduce the product to consumers and educate them about the differences between it and conventionally-raised pork. He says it’s his hope that Ellwoods’ chef Patrick Carr will use the pork in some of the deli items to show shoppers how they can use the same cuts at home.
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New dining options are coming at us left and right this week. Korean! Noodles! Korean Noodles??? (No, but still.) In the former Carytown Yapple space, we’ll soon find Noodles Galore, and Jackson Ward is about to get a Korean spot with late-night hours for the midnight kimbap cravings you never knew existed.
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Muse Vineyards’ 2009 Clio, a Meritage that blends Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot and Petit Verdot grapes, took home top honors from the Governor’s Cup this week, and Richmond Magazine’s Bird Cox totally called it.
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Remember Martini Kitchen and Bubble Bar? ME NEITHER. The Fan bar, which lasted an impressive near-decade, closed this past fall. Off the Hookah and Southern Railway Taphouse owner Hani Atallah and partner Roland West have taken over the space and, according to Richmond Bizsense, they plan to upgrade the interior and to carry on the Fan bar vibe with a focus on craft beer and casual food.
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Looking for something fun for dinner TONIGHT? Ardent Craft Ale and Patrick Henry Pub have got you covered with a five-course, beer-paired dinner during which you can fully acquaint yourself with some of Ardent’s finest, including their Dark Rye and the Earl Grey Brown Ale. Peep the whole menu and other relevant details on Facebook.
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Over in Powhattan, farmer Paul Philip Meyer has a kooky plan to renovate former Tyson’s chicken coops to be used as high tunnels for growing organic produce year-round. He’s calling on Kickstarter backers to get him to his $10,000 goal, and with rewards like naming your own goat, he just might get there.
The Farm Bill, which went into effect last year, keeps on giving. This week, the USDA’s National Institute for Food and Agriculture announced the availability of an additional $9 million to support the Community Food Projects Program. The program is intended to help low-income communities take control of their own food systems, presumably transforming former food deserts into food oases, with the help of non-profit partners.
Eater DC has a peek at the new Ashburn location of Bryan Voltaggio’s Family Meal, and let’s hope it’s a preview of what we can expect at our own Willow Lawn location as well. I’m looking at you, clam chowder bites.
SIP OF THE WEEK: OCEAN VIEW
Close your eyes. Imagine the call of seagulls and the salty spray of the ocean. Take a sip of Pasture drink-slinger Beth Dixon’s dark rum and Cardarmaro cocktail with tiki bitters, pineapple, and lime; and you can almost, just for a second, feel as though you are somewhere other than this cursed arctic tundra we call home.
BITE OF THE WEEK: PAD THAI CREME BRULEE
I love almost any crème brûlée that’s not plain old vanilla creme brulee. One year I tested my love to its limits and presented my skeptical family with a sweet potato crème brûlée at Thanksgiving. It was a reluctant hit! Take that, classics!
The Urban Tavern’s chef Tim Bereika followed my lead (jk, he knew nothing of my sweet potatoes and likely followed his own lead!) and came up with a crazy brilliant recipe for Pad Thai Crème Brûlée with Kaffir Lime Whipped Cream and Candied Virginia Peanuts. The recipe takes the savory Thai staple and reimagines its sweeter side, pairing the traditional lemongrass and tamarind flavors with kaffir lime, ginger, and a hint of sugar.
OK, so maybe the idea of making pad thai crème brûlée at home intimidates you. It shouldn’t, but I get it. Either way, do not miss the candied peanut garnish. You’ll never want an un-candied peanut again!
‘GRAM OF THE WEEK: @CHEFIAB
The Shack’s chef Ian Boden is a quiet genius. The critically-acclaimed chef is known for bringing a high caliber of dining to the folks of Staunton, VA (having notably done so as chef at the Staunton Grocery from 2007-2011). Do yourself a favor, and plan a road trip to Staunton (the birthplace of Woodrow Wilson!), and, while you’re at it, follow Boden on instagram.