Read up and drink it up:
For many, many reasons—for the good of our communities, our environment, our bodies—our food intake should start with the local produce, meats and products available from our very own food shed. But we’re not here to preach about it today. Call it the “local food” movement or the “anti-industrialized food” movement or, simply, the “U.S. agricultural-world-has-been-turned-upside-down-and-sideways-and-we need-to-right-it” movement, the issues are complex and the players varied. We’ve reported on the fight for our farmers and farmland early and often and we’re sure to do it again. But our point in this, our Food & Drink Annual, is not to be overly idealistic, hopeful or indignant. We want simply to pause and let the local bounty and the people successful at growing and producing it speak for themselves in all their visual glory. Because the bottom line is, no matter what the state of your politics or paycheck or on which side of the “certified organic” coin you fall, the stuff that comes right here from the depths of our own soil and isn’t shipped from thousands of miles away looks better. And it tastes better. Thanks to the men and women we feature here, tomatoes look and taste like tomatoes! Peppers look and taste like peppers! And the goats that make the milk for CaroMont Farm Chevre are just the cutest (and loudest) girls you ever will meet. Here’s to them and here’s to the farmers who not only get up every morning (very early!) to make good food for us, but actually make a living doing it. We’re not sure what’s more impressive, that you can grow microgreens or that you can support yourself doing so.
And speaking of impressive, how’s the fact that in two years time, we have doubled the number of award-winning microbreweries in the area, some of which are using hops grown right here in the Virginia clay? And Virginia wine, well, like a fine Burgundy, it continues to get better with age. Ten years ago—hell, four years ago—who’d of thought we could name, five, yes, five Virginia wines that we’d buy today with our hard-earned even in the midst of this recession (maybe because of the recession). But we do it here. Life is good. The food here is good.