Farm Bell Kitchen honors its historic roots

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Farm Bell Kitchen’s owner, Ryan Hubbard, and executive chef, Jabari Wadlington, in their West Main Street eatery, which serves new Southern cuisine and is housed in a brick building constructed by Thomas Jefferson’s master carpenter. Photo by Stephen Barling Farm Bell Kitchen’s owner, Ryan Hubbard, and executive chef, Jabari Wadlington, in their West Main Street eatery, which serves new Southern cuisine and is housed in a brick building constructed by Thomas Jefferson’s master carpenter. Photo by Stephen Barling

By Sam Padgett and Erin O’Hare

The weathered farm bell stationed outside the restaurant is a bellwether for what you’ll find inside: farm-to-table Southern cuisine. Ryan Hubbard, co-owner of Red Hub Food Co. and the Dinsmore Boutique Inn, has combined his love of preserving the past with his passion for new Southern cuisine into Farm Bell Kitchen.

The restaurant is located in the brick building (constructed by Thomas Jefferson’s master carpenter, James Dinsmore) across from UVA Children’s Hospital on West Main Street. According to Hubbard, the very same bricks that were used in the Rotunda form the walls of Farm Bell Kitchen (Dinsmore also helped build several buildings at UVA and James Madison’s Montpelier).

Beyond maintaining its historical legacy, Farm Bell Kitchen is dedicated to serving Southern cuisine with ingredients from local producers. The name came to Hubbard from the farm bell now outside the restaurant that he found in a Southwest Virginia salvage yard.

“It’s emblematic of our new Southern cuisine and our farm-to-table approach,” he says.

Farm Bell Kitchen will be open for lunch and breakfast daily, and periodically serve supper (note: not dinner), and brunch on the weekends. If you find yourself in the area, remember for whom the bell tolls: it tolls for those who are hungry.

Roast to success

Mudhouse Coffee Roasters won a 2018 Good Food Award for one of its roasted coffees, the organic Limu Dabsessa ($24 for 12 ounces of beans). The beans, which are roasted in the Charlottesville area, come from Yidnekachew Dabessa’s eponymous coffee plantation in the Oromia region of Ethiopia, where Dabessa, an experienced coffee farmer and entrepreneur, has expanded his small coffee farm into a large-scale operation over the course of a decade.

According to the Good Food Award’s website, “to qualify for entry, roasters and coffee farmers must emphasize fairness and transparency from seed to cup. Acknowledging the difficulties of verifying farm-level sustainability efforts across continents, the Good Food Foundation again turns to third-party certification bodies for assistance in identifying beans eligible for consideration.” Mudhouse is one of 15 roasteries to receive an award in the coffee category.

Last year, Mudhouse was named Micro Roaster of the Year in Roast magazine’s 14th annual Roaster of the Year competition, and possible additional accolades are on the horizon: After making it through the qualifying round earlier this month, Mudhouse will compete in the Specialty Coffee Association U.S. Coffee Championship in Seattle later this year.

Final push

Blue Ridge Bucha, formerly known as Barefoot Bucha, is competing in SCORE’s 2018 America Small Business Championship. Three grand-prize winners will each win $15,000, and two businesses from every state will score trips to the organization’s national networking and training conference in April. The public voting period ends February 14: Go to championship.score.org to record your vote.

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