The Charlottesville 29

If there were just 29 restaurants in Charlottesville, what would be the ideal 29?

Tag: Free Union Grass Farm

Five Finds on Friday: Erica Hellen & Joel Slezak

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Photo by Brianna LaRocco.

Today’s Five Finds on Friday come from Erica Hellen and Joel Slezak, of Free Union Grass Farm. Tomorrow marks the opening of the 2017 Charlottesville City Market, where Free Union Grass Farm is a longtime fixture and one of our favorite sources of meat, poultry, eggs, chicken liver pate, and duck fat caramels. This fall, the farm is hosting a special Outstanding in the Field feast with James Beard semifinalist chef Tarver King of The Restaurant at Patowmack FarmDetails and tickets here. Hellen’s and Slezak’s picks:

1) Potter’s Craft Cider. “Any of them, all of them. In a region dominated by wine and beer, their perfectly dry libations pair with everything and work year-round. The Farmhouse Dry is such a crowd-pleaser that we went through five pony kegs at our wedding!”

2) Ham Biscuit at JM Stock Provisions. “Seriously, it’s perfect. It’s moist and flaky and lofty, and sticks to your ribs without sticking to the roof of your mouth. Add a little peppery honey and a pile of their Tasso ham and baby, buckle up. We like to buy them in twos – one for now, and one for pretty much right after that.”

3) Chicken Salad at Feast!. “You know it, we know it: Feast is the OG. They’ve been sourcing locally since before it was even a thing, and they’ve been using our chickens for their chicken salad for years now. It’s our go-to lunch on delivery day and is perfect hot or cold.”

4) Baguette at MarieBette. “It’s hard to nail something so seemingly simple, but Marie Bette has done it. Who knew bread could be so elegant? #westilllovegluten”

5) Al Fresco Lunch at Greenwood Gourmet Grocery. “It’s the perfect pit stop on the way to Seven Oaks Farm, our satellite duck operation. We grab one of the aforementioned baguettes, a stick of salami, and a soft-ripened cheese. We spread it all out at a table under the trees, eat every last crumb, and wash it down with a ginger beer so potent you can feel it up in your nose.”

Five Finds on Friday: Jeff Deloff

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Today’s Five Finds on Friday come from Jeff Deloff, chef of Threepenny Cafe, which has recently partnered with the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch, assuring that all seafood it serves is approved for sustainability by Seafood Watch. Deloff’s picks:

1) Berkabaw from Autumn Olive Farms. “With an excellent ratio of meat to fat, it offers meat with lots of intramuscular fat. The fat is a meal in itself, either render it down for cooking or leaving it on to give the pork a succulent flavor.”

2) Beef from Wolf Creek Farm. “What more is there to say about grass fed beef that’s raised humanely, and sustainably? Nothing. Wolf Creek is an excellent example of farm stewardship, which offers a superior product to corn fed beef.”

3) Ducks from Free Union Grass Farm. “Pastured raised ducks that offer crispy skin and beautifully rendered fat, as well as hearty breast meat and flavorful leg meat.”

4) Bone Marrow from The Alley Light. “With everyone’s desire for high priced steaks it’s nice to see a place offer bone marrow. And to top it off, it comes with braised snails! A rarity in itself to see on a menu, but prepared beautifully.” (Note: this was the 2014 Dish of the Year.)

5) Skate Wing from Fleurie. “It’s not everyday you see skate. So when I read it was on their menu, I was more than excited to have it!”

Five Finds on Friday: Rachel Stinson Vrooman

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On Fridays, we feature five food and drink finds from local chefs and personalities.  In celebration of Virginia Wine Month, which begins next week, today’s picks come from Rachel Stinson Vrooman of Stinson Vineyards.  On October 1, Stinson is releasing its 2013 Meritage, which for the first time will include Stinson’s own estate grapes. Vrooman’s picks:

1) La Petite Frog Boxed Picpoul de Pinet from The Wine Guild.  “Boxed Picpoul has changed my entire summer! It doesn’t seem possible that this little gem from the Languedoc could actually cost only $20 for a 3 liter box (member price). Trust me, you need this in your life.”

2) Crozet Lemonade at Crozet Pizza Pourhouse.  “Crozet’s answer to the Long Island Iced Tea will have you feeling like a local in no time. Old Grand Dad 114 bourbon, orange liqueur, simple syrup and lime juice topped with Sprite and layered with maraschino cherry juice. This is also a great spot to watch football if you can coax your friends out of Cville.”

3) Chicken Liver Pate from Free Union Grass Farm.  “Chicken liver, bacon, onions, shallots, garlic, cream, whiskey, cloves, coriander and herbs sealed in pork fat. Put this on a piece of toast for breakfast and you won’t need anything else. Call or email to make sure it’s available before you swing by their farm stand (open Wednesday & Friday from 1pm to 6pm). We try to stock it in the tasting room if we can keep from buying it ourselves!”

4) Fried Chicken Skin Tacos at Yearbook Taco.  “The perfect combination of crunch and flavor. Recipes vary but the buffalo sauce version is my all time favorite. These are a daily special so its wise to obsessively stalk their Facebook page until they post and then head over immediately before they run out.”

5) CrabFest at Restoration.  “I’m originally a Maryland girl so I’m always on the hunt for steamed blue crabs. This happens once a year in late August – put it on your radar for next summer! $35 gets you all you can eat blue crabs and sides like mac n’ cheese and sweet potato/bacon hush puppies.”