Gist: Vinegars made with ingredients from Virginia farms
Who: Daniel Liberson, who turns 28 this month, is a former chef and self-proclaimed vinegar geek.
Started: Liberson’s family bought Lindera Farms in Delaplane in 2006 as an environmental restoration project and began repairing the land by planting herbs, berries and flowers, all perfect ingredients for vinegars.
Inspiration: While working in restaurants, Liberson saw the easy access chefs had to raw ingredients, like produce and meats, but couldn’t find local options for pantry staples like vinegar. Most chefs source vinegars from abroad. When buying vinegars from unknown suppliers, says Liberson, “quality assurance, sustainable sourcing, fair labor standards are all leaps of faith for a chef.”
Details: Vinegar is typically made using machines that speed up the process with heat and oxygenation, resulting in “acidic and usually far from palatable” vinegar, says Liberson. Liberson starts his vinegar with base ingredients of water, honey, yeast and foraged botanicals, slowly making a wine that will take up to a year to convert into vinegar.
Next: Liberson turned into a full-time vinegar-maker last fall and plans to experiment with savory flavors like ramp and wild carrot; his signature flavors include mulberry, elderflower and honey. Lindera Farms Vinegar is available in markets locally (Alexandria’s Society Fair, The Plains’ The Whole Ox), and Liberson plans to expand throughout the East Coast. / linderafarms.com —Susannah Black