Food News: Lewis Ginter = vegetable farm, hatch chiles = Kroger party, and Saison = Huck Finn

The State Fair of Virginia will host a wine dinner at Rappahannock, Travis Milton will pitch a tent and stay a while, and Saison wants us all to sail into the sunset together

Photo by: Lisa Haneberg


Did you know the State Fair has a scholarship program? YEAH, IT DOES. Apparently the State Fair of Virginia Scholarship Program offers up to $70,000 each year for kids who have made achievements in various competitions from horticulture to equestrian skills and including 4-H and FFA. There is, sadly, still no scholarship available for those of us who are inexplicably good at popping flaccid balloons with darts, but fortunately, there are giant SpongeBobs or Minions or Hello Kitties to appease us.

The State Fair of Virginia also gives awards to Virginia wines in their Virginia Commercial Wine Competition. Winners of this year’s competition include Barboursville Vineyard, First Colony Winery, Ingleside Vineyards, Maggie Malick Wine Caves, and Pearmund Cellars.

Put the two together, and voila: On August 31st, Rappahannock will host a four-course “Wine and Fare A-Fair” dinner, featuring some of the winning wines and supporting the Virginia State Fair scholarship fund. Tickets are $85/person, inclusive of wine. To reserve a seat, call 804.545.0565.


The greenest thumbs in Richmond undoubtedly belong to the hands at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden. Their lush grounds and greenhouses are teeming with all the flora and fauna you can find in our temperate zone, including fresh produce in the community kitchen garden. That produce, all 600 pounds per week of it, according to Style Weekly, is bound for RVA food bank FeedMore, where it will help fulfill FeedMore’s mission to provide meals to those in need. Volunteers are in high demand, as this garden is a huge undertaking and one that Lewis Ginter plans to grow (unavoidable gardening pun!) through the winter and in the coming year. If this sounds like a job for your own green thumbs, visit, or call 804.262.9887 to volunteer.


This weekend, scarcity drives demand all the way to…Short Pump! Hatch chiles may well be the “ramps” of seasonal chile peppers, available for only about two months each year, beloved and coveted by hatch-heads all over the country. The Hatch chile was developed by horticulturist Fabián Garcia in New Mexico in 1888, and it has since developed a devout following.

Melissa’s Produce will be teaming up with Short Pump Kroger Friday, August 21st from 11:00 to 6:00 PM and Saturday August 22nd from 9:00 to 4:00 PM for a big ol’ hatch roast. There will be roasted hatch chiles to hoard in your freezer and fresh peppers to do with what you please, plus the folks from Melissa’s will come to the party with storage tips and recipe ideas for the uninitiated. And, in case you need more ways to use your hatch stash, I found this recipe for Hatch Chile Margaritas for you.


As the saying goes, you can take the chef out of the kitchen, but you can’t take the kitchen out of the chef…Actually, I’m not sure that’s the saying now that I’ve said it, but it’s true enough anyway. And to that point, though Travis Milton is many months away from opening his restaurant, Shovel and Pick, the former Comfort chef just can’t stay out of the kitchen, any kitchen.

This week, Milton announced a series of Shovel and Pick pop-ups at Rappahannock. They’ll take place almost every Monday, starting August 24th. In a press release, the chef explained that the purpose of the pop-ups is to tell the story of the Appalachian food for which he’s become so well known: “I will be using this opportunity to show the folks in town what Shovel and Pick will be all about. We will open at 6:00 and have two seatings the first couple of times, limiting the seating to the bar only. That way we can create a more intimate setting and give me an opportunity to interact with both guests and staffto help tell the story of these heirloom ingredients and the plates.” Milton notes there will be no pop-ups on August 31st or September 21st or 28th.


First, Saison gave us a perfect fried chicken sandwich, then came a club for which boozin’ was the primary objective, and now the very good people at Saison are going to put us all ON A BOAT! Say bon voyage to summer with all your food-loving pals on a riverboat, which will cruise down the James on Sunday, August 30th, despite being loaded up with all the food and bevvies it can possibly hold. DJ Marty Key will spin tunes; chef Adam Hall will spin plates. Tickets are $60. Floaties not included.


This story, via NPR, brings together two of the things I love most in this world–family farms and pizza.

I’m making a lasagna….for one.

Turns out you’re not alone because we’re all alone.


Local cold-press juice maker Ginger Juice1 announced this week that they have secured a brick and mortar location. Their new retail space in the Village Shopping Center at Patterson and Three Chopt will serve as a production kitchen and storefront for cold-press juices and wellness shots (like wheatgrass and ginger). Currently, Ginger Juice is available at the St. Stephen’s and South of the James Farmers Markets as well as Stella’s Grocery and several fitness studios. Give their Giggle flavor a try. Not only is “giggle juice” a great thing to say, the combination of green apple, pineapple, and mint makes for easy, refreshing vitamin-packed drinkin’.


Yeah, you see how ridiculous that sounds? That’s because beer is not a food and should not be regulated as such. Please, Virginia Health Department, just stop it.


  1. Ginger Juice is a client of my business! 
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Stephanie Ganz

Stephanie Ganz thought there would be pizza.

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