Charlottesvillians can rest easy in their sleeping bags knowing that they don’t have to leave their locavore scruples or their taste buds behind on the next camping trip. Several area farmers and retailers offer artisanal wieners and wrappers worthy of your best mess kit.
At the Charlottesville City Market, Double H Farm owner Richard Bean puts his butchering experience to delicious use in his franks, which are made from pastured, hormone-free hogs raised on his Nelson County farm. They’re super-juicy and perfectly seasoned.
A few stalls away, Buckingham County beef farmer Sam Goin usually sells an all-beef hot dog, though the kitchen where he pre-cooks them is currently undergoing remodeling. No matter, though, because his spicy, Cajun-style “andouille grillers” and bratwurst—classic or seasoned with cheese, onions and peppers—will sway even a fervent frankfurter purist. Goin’s cows receive no hormones or antibiotics and are finished on corn for rich flavor.
For spur-of-the-moment camping plans, hit up the Organic Butcher in the Main Street Market for all-natural, smoked Big City Reds by the pound or packages of uncured Niman Ranch Fearless Franks.
The charcuterie whizzes at Nelson County’s Rock Barn offer local, handmade dogs through their CSA-style “Porkshare” program and will also sell individual orders if extras are available. E-mail them at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thick slices of Albemarle Baking Company’s eggy challah or buttery brioche add flair to your fancy franks, while Alvarado Street Bakery sprouted wheat hot dog buns from Integral Yoga are substantial, perfectly sized and don’t taste like health food at all.—Meredith Barnes
While it might be tempting to go gourmet with your s’more ingredients, we think this is just one of those times where it’s best to keep it old-school. Remember: You’re camping, and food that falls in the dark stays in the dark, so save your Gearhart’s treats for home.
We recommend Jet-Puffed ’mallows, Honey Maid graham crackers and good ol’ fashioned Hershey’s chocolate bars (Special Dark for added sophistication). Light a fire, grab a stick and have at it.—Christy Baker
HOW TO MAKE ‘EM
For the uninitiated, here’s the play by play. Skewer one or two marshmallows onto a stick. Avoiding flames, aim for an orangey region of toasty coals. Rotate the ’mallows slowly until browned or blackened—it’s all a matter of taste. Have two squares of graham cracker and two squares of chocolate ready and accessible. Remove stick from the coal region and sandwich marshmallows between grahams. Pinch whilst sliding the ’mallow off of the end of the stick. Lift the top graham enough to insert the two chocolate squares and lower the graham back in place on top of the marshmallow. Eat, enjoy, repeat.
BRING YOUR OWN STICKS
In the foolishness of youth, we thought nothing of grabbing any old stick off the forest floor to use as a marshmallow rotisserie. We’re wiser (and more germaphobic now), so it comes as no surprise that marshmallow sticks are made and sold in every shape and finish from forked to chrome-plated. Our stick pick? A set of two wood-handled telescoping forked sticks from Plow & Hearth for $19.99. That’ll keep your s’mores clean.