We spent our Independence Day chilling out at home but not after hitting the Old Beach Farmers Market at the Oceanfront. Blue crabs are in season so I was hoping I'd score some and, as you can see, I did! A dozen #1 jimmies and a few females. I grabbed some Hashi was while I was there and headed over to Back Bay Brewing to try the new TideWater Melon Wheat they were tapping. Very refreshing.
The local chapter of Buy Fresh Buy Local is holding its annual Farm to Fork extravaganza September 21, 2014. I went last year and had a great time checking out what the area had to offer in the way of fresh foods straight from the fields, waters and land. There was a ton of food and live entertainment. They did a good job of letting people know what was being produced right here in Hampton Roads.
In addition to food there will be regional Chatham Vineyards wine and local craft beers from Beach Brewing Co., Back Bay Brewing and Smarthmouth. A silent auction will be held too. Check out the photos from last year and please click the link to purchase tickets today! The event is a lot of fun and you'll be helping out our local farmers, makers and culture.
Farm to Fork Evenbrite page for tickets HERE!
Virginia Beach's Verticle Acres uses a hydroponic growing system that produces vegetables, fruits, and herbs petrochemical fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides, or fungicides. Under the label Heads Up Hydrogreens, they provide local CSAs and markets with what they grow in their new facility. I've had their lettuce before and it tastes great, I like getting by their table to see what's new. At the last Old Beach Farmer's Market we stopped by the booth to say "Hi" and ended bringing home a few of their salads. This was new—at least to me—and I was excited to try them out.
The salads were package to stay fresh and included nice, sweet beets and cheery tomatoes. We were given three dressings to use, one being a Green Goddess that I liked. We ate two the night we brought them home and later that week I used one to make myself a nice BLT.
They'll be at the Old Beach Farmer's Market this weekend, Saturday 15 March. Please go down and support our local producers. Buy Fresh Buy Local too!
Today I headed to the Buy Fresh Buy Local Hampton Roads' Annual Meeting. They cover the organization's budget, positions and general business. Afterwards, there is a potluck!
Board members and supporters bring in dishes made with local ingredients. When I found out I was going, I busted out a couple of local cookbooks we have in the house: Dishing Up Virginia by the local godfather of food Patrick Evans-Hylton and Tidewater Table by Lorraine Eaton.
While I was looking through the recipes, I made note of a few I could possible swing for the event. Then Shelby came up with a great idea--why not make beer bread? This was perfect, I was already tight on time and local beer was readily available throughout the city. If you didn't know it, I'm also going to be writing for the Pilot's new local craft beer magazine HR Growler. Anything related to local beer is something I want to be involved in.
After I made the decision to make the bread I just had to pick a beer to use. The next day was Cheap and Cheery at Grape and Gourmet, a great local shop for beer and wine; I figured I grab something when we were there. I think the stars were aligned because when we went to the shop, John Newell of Two Fathers Beer Co. was there pouring his beer. It turns out he had one bottle of King Neptune IPA left in his cooler so I snagged it. The IPA would be perfect for the beer bread I was going to make. Great opportunity to give a little exposure to the area's newest craft brew outfit.
Now on to the beer bread.
I've never made beer bread before, but we've had it. I went online to find a good recipe to make the bread and after reading through several put together my own. The one I found at Dine & Dish is what I based mine off of, only making a few modifications. I pretty much followed the instructions word-for-word, the only difference was I used unsalted butter and I added aged Gouda from Richmond's Belmont Butchery. I'm going to copy and paste the recipe here for your convenience, but I please visit the original by clicking the following link. Thanks for the inspiration Kristen.
Tip: Place a catch tray beneath your bread pan, there could possibly be a little overflow. Especially with the butter in a loaf pan that was just big enough to fit the ingredients.
King Neptune Beer Bread
- 3 cups flour (I used Ellison, VA's Big Spring Mill All-Purpose Flour)
- 3 teaspoons Baking Powder
- 1 1/4 teaspoons Kosher salt
- 1/4 cup Sugar
- 12 ounces of King Neptune IPA (any beer you like actually)
- 1 stick Unsalted butter, melted
- 1 tbsp grated Gouda
- Preheat oven to 375°F
- Sift all the dry ingredients together.
- Add beer and stir with a wooden spoon until well incorporated.
- Spray a loaf pan with cooking spray and pour beer bread batter into pan.
- Pour melted butter over the top of the beer bread batter.
- Bake for 1 hour.
- Remove from oven and grate Gouda on top of bread as it rests
- Kristen says let it rest in the pan for 15 minutes before you attempt to remove it. I did as instructed.
First, I would like to thank Rex Sr., Lisa and Rex Jr. Hamaker of Taste Tidewater Tours for inviting me to the event. We had a great time!
Buy Fresh Buy Local Hampton Roads (BFBL) in conjunction with Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF) and Lynnhaven River Now (LRN) hosted an oyster habitat tour through Lynnhaven Inlet. There were two boat runs, one in the morning and another in the afternoon, taking approximately 50 passengers around Broad Bay Island. Between boat trips there was a reception where we were given information about the history of Lynnhaven oysters, the science behind increasing the population, and how oysters help our waterways.
The Back Deck was our rendezvous point for our group; we lucked out with beautiful weather, sunny and warm. We check in with Rachel Burns from BFBL who gave us our wristbands and drink tickets. At the pier we saw our ride and most of the patrons already on the boat. We jumped on and said our hellos and recognized some faces. I was happy to see Cappy Sinclair on board, also with BFBL, who was getting the wine uncorked and ready to pour once we were underway. We were introduced to Karen Forget of LRN, we also met Chris Moore and Kate Wilson of CBF; they would guide us on our tour.
Our ship’s captain—Jimmy Sollner—took the helm of the Bea Hayman Clark and talked to us a little bit about the boat, safety procedures and how we are all responsible for clean water and what grows in it. Ready and secure we left the pier, Karen began to point out a few things in the inlet. The first small island we passed (Fish Island I believe) was stacked with old concrete from the first Lesner bridge tore down in the 1950s. She showed us oyster castles that are used to help them cluster and grow. Along the bulkheads that protected people’s yards along the channel you could see little oysters glistening in the sun. Some people who have property on the water volunteer to help grow oysters with cages submerged just a few feet from their backyard.
We made our way down the north side of Broad Bay and passed by First Landing State Park—formerly Seashore State Park if you haven’t been here in a while. We saw several other spots where preservation efforts have taken place. Seeing the park from the water, people walking/jogging along the trails was very interesting. We made our way to the southern side of Broad Bay and headed back to our point of departure.
Back on land the event reception was ready and the next group to go out on the boat were there waiting for us to return. We were served rockfish bites, a buttery clam chowder, huge shrimp, and oysters. More information was given about the Chesapeake Bay and the tributaries that flow to it. CBF, LNR, and BFBL gave examples of the effort they go through to increase the health of the oyster population, and the Bay in general, for everyone to enjoy.
Chris Ludford from Pleasure House Oysters was on deck with some help from Cam Chalmers of Lynnhaven Oyster Company shucking oysters. Chris had a little talk with us about the oysters and showed off some monsters he pulled out of the water just hours earlier. These are the same oysters we had the pleasure of eating—so good, a little salty and meaty. There was a line for these things while the reception was in play. I also need to mention that they had great local beers on tap and Virginian wine available. I had a couple pints of Young Veterans Brewing Co.'s award winning Pineapple Grenade Hefeweizen.
We mingled for a bit and started to make our way home when group two stepped on board the Bea Hayman Clark. It was a great day with good people and food. The day was a great learning experience chased with delicious food and drinks.
Please check out the photos of the inlet and the rest of the trip here.
The Buy Fresh, Buy Local Hampton Roads had it’s annual Farm to Fork festival highlighting local area food, drinks, and crafts to the public. Many well known eateries and artisans were present to share chef inspired treats. Copies of Dishing Up Virginia were available to be signed by the the author Patrick Evans-Hylton and tickets could be bought for pours of regional wine. Live animals, honey bees, and music were spread out among the tents and between the bites.
More photos at i<3food fb