We are a town of locavores. Not even a torrential downpour on treacherously winding Route 20 could keep a crowd of 110 from venturing out to Palladio Restaurant at Barboursville Vineyards last night to celebrate and enjoy our local wine and foodstuffs at the second annual “Meet the Farmer Dinner.”
A fundraiser and outreach program for the Piedmont Environmental Council’s Buy Fresh Buy Local campaign, the event featured a five-course meal prepared by Palladio Executive Chef Melissa Close and guest chef Jonathan Hayward, formerly of the Toliver House and now of the Gordonsville Deli, paired with wines from Barboursville.
In addressing the diners prior to the meal, Chef Close explained that over 80 percent of the ingredients—from the vegetables and meats for the main courses to the eggs, milk and flour for the bread in the bread basket—came within 70 miles of the restaurant.
Melissa Wiley started the Buy Fresh Buy Local program, which now includes a website, a printed guide and a network for local farmers and businesses. Last night’s dinner at Palladio benefitted that program.
Even the table centerpieces came from flowers grown locally by Roundabout Farms. Among the crowded dining room of PEC supporters were a few of the producers themselves, including Michael Clark, whose Planet Earth Diversified supplied the microgreens for the herb salad that accompanied a colorful plate of roasted red and yellow beets from Roundabout Farm topped with a sweet and creamy chevre from Caromont Farm.
Other local bounty in the meal included Green Fence Farm rabbit and quail, Everona Dairy pecorino, Wade’s Mill grits and Perfect Flavor vanilla ice-cream. Melissa Wiley, who spearheads the Buy Fresh, Buy Local campaign for the PEC, said the dinner raised about $8,000 for the program.