A few summers back, I tried my hand at growing peppers on my condo’s patio — shishitos, to be exact. That ambitious little plant gave me such plentiful peppers that I was incorporating them into meals every day for weeks. While I’m not a culinary expert (or even a good plant mom) by any means, my “patio-to-plate” experiment piqued my interest in farm-to-table cuisine, particularly, what restaurants can conceive when they’ve cultivated many of their own ingredients just steps from their front door.
NoVA is full of restaurants leveraging the land to create locally sourced, sustainable fare. But there are a handful of farms throughout the region that have become destinations for epicureans and locavores alike.
The Restaurant at Patowmack Farm
As one of the first farm restaurants in the U.S., this Loudoun County destination consistently delivers a culinary experience that showcases its passion for (and expertise in) “earth-to-table” cuisine. Chef Vincent Badiee, who was raised on a Virginia farm, uses Patowmack’s fields as his pantry to create an imaginative nine-course dinner menu Thursday through Saturday, along with a weekend brunch and monthly “Sunday Suppers.” 42461 Lovettsville Rd., Lovettsville
Great Country Farms
This 400-acre working farm at the base of the Blue Ridge Mountains is the perfect spot for a casual yet picturesque picnic featuring the farm’s seasonal bounty. The on-site market and bakery have a variety of produce, baked goods, honey, jams, and cheese, while various pick-your-own opportunities throughout the year let visitors enjoy strawberries, cherries, black raspberries, peaches, apples, and more. And if Great Country Farms wasn’t already making the most of its land, check out its sister sites just up the road: Henway Hard Cider Company, Bluemont Vineyard, and Dirt Farm Brewing, all featuring homegrown boozy beverages. 18780 Foggy Bottom Rd., Bluemont
The Farmhouse at Veritas
Nestled in the heart of the Monticello Wine Trail, this six-room B&B has a restaurant that serves a four-course — and, naturally, wine-paired — dinner featuring homegrown and house-made fare. Farmhouse dinners are offered Tuesday through Sunday evenings at 6:30 p.m. and Sunday brunch, which runs from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., features a chef-prepared, three-course menu with OJ, French press coffee, and unlimited sparkling wine. 72 Saddleback Farm, Afton
Clyde’s Willow Creek Farm
You read that right: Clyde’s. The local chain has several restaurants throughout NoVA, including in Alexandria and Reston, but this location is the only one operating on a working farm. Clyde’s Willow Creek Farm is housed in not one, but four historic buildings that were originally located in Vermont and Virginia and saved from demolition to create this unique destination. Guests can enjoy the Clyde’s menu they’ve come to know and love but with some fresh-from-the-farm touches. 42920 Broadlands Blvd., Broadlands
Pippin Hill Farm & Vineyards
At Pippin, a certified horticulturalist grows much of the produce on the property, which includes over 100 varieties of plants and herbs. It’s also home to a chicken coop and apiary with more than 300,000 bees. Before sitting down to enjoy your meal, take a stroll through the grounds where you’ll likely see the culinary team harvesting ingredients for the day’s menu for an authentic “vineyard-to-table” experience that pairs perfectly with Pippin’s wines. 5022 Plank Rd., North Garden
Here, fresh cuts of beef and pork come direct from the Airlie’s pastures, where 75 acres are dedicated to raising Berkshire pigs and Angus cattle. Another 20 acres yields 20,000 pounds of farm-fresh produce annually. The farm is also home to a colony of bees that pollenate crops and produce delicious, local honey. There are two dining options: the pile-your-plate buffet in the Airlie Dining Room and the more traditional à la carte menu at the property’s restaurant, Harry’s. 6809 Airlie Rd., Warrenton
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