Chefs, Farmers, and Foodies Kick Off Taste of Blue Ridge in Loudoun County’s Magnolia’s at the Mill

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Advocates for expanding the availability of local sourced foods here in the Shenandoah Valley will gather at Magnolias at the Mill in Purcellville, Virginia on Wednesday, March 28th to kick off the 2018 Taste of Blue Ridge Root to Table culinary series.

Newest Culinary Destination in the Blue Ridge

Advocates for expanding the availability of local sourced foods here in the Shenandoah Valley will gather at Magnolias at the Mill in Purcellville, Virginia on Wednesday, March 28th to kick off the 2018 Taste of Blue Ridge Root to Table culinary series.

“The Taste of Blue Ridge community's mission is to educate the consumer on how to take products from their farmer markets and backyard gardens hence “root origin” and turn them into award winning dishes and beverage cocktails. That is why Taste uses "root to table” to describe this foodie experience,” said Nancy Craun, Owner and Founder of Taste of Blue Ridge.

In 2016, ten food businesses including luxury lodging, distillery, chefs, brewery, and farmers began meeting to discuss the possibility of developing a food community here in the northern Shenandoah Valley. Six months of hard work resulted in the launch of a website to test a mission to develop a human interest website centered on the people behind the food scene here in the Blue Ridge Mountains. These partners also put together a grant, which was awarded by Virginia Tourism to create a culinary event series called “Root to Table”.

“Over the past year, we tested two events and evaluated the first website to see what the public was interested in reading. It was evident from the pages most popular on the website that our efforts should center on Taste’s community members behind the food produced and served here in the valley,” said Craun

A new website “TasteofBlueRidge.com” launched on March 1st.

“The reaction to the Taste of Blue Ridge community has been phenomenal. Our first 2018 Root to Table event will be this Wednesday, March 28th. It is a private party by invitation only. We are have had over 130 RSVP’s including chefs, farmers, breweries, to luxury accommodations. We also have representatives from eight counties as well as state organizations in economic development, agriculture, and tourism,” said Craun.

Taste of Blue Ridge is an umbrella-marketing hub for like businesses to collaborate together. It is very similar to the Virginia Kids Trail community celebrating its fifth year. “Our ultimate goal is to put the Blue Ridge Mountain region on the map as a culinary destination, like Charleston, South Carolina has achieved,” said Craun. The hub is governed by an action board, which includes:

  • Magnolia’s at the Mill - Chef Erik Foxx-Nettnin
  • Hillbrook Inn and Spa – Owner Carissa Zannella
  • Schenck Foods - Abby D’Arcangelis, Natural Food and Farm to Table Specialist
  • Shady Knoll Mushroom Farm – Farmer Kim Herbstritt.

“Working for a company that values what our local producers have to offer and their well-being, it is rewarding to be working in tandem with an organization that holds the same values and lifts our local food and hospitality industry up and links it together,” said Abby D’Arcangelis, Schenck Foods Co.

“We have twenty partners (20) now and hope to be at fifty (50) by mid-Summer. We have had interest from as far away as Lexington and Charlottesville, Virginia, from restaurants, farmers, beverage companies living and breathing local resourcing,” said Craun.

“One of the issues that faces farmers is a lack of guarantee they can sell their crops. Or can they sell the entire side of beef not just the prime cuts,” said Craun. Schenck Foods, our signature sponsor is one solution. Covering over 100 plus miles from Washington DC to Cumberland, Maryland down to Woodstock, Virginia, Schenck offers a direct connection between the farmer and the chef.

With over 90 years experience and a trained sales force, Schenck’s new CEO, Jason Huntsberry, is committed to growing our farm community. This includes the kick off the end of April of a monthly regional farmers market on the Schenck Foods property in Winchester, Virginia. The market will include farmers from 100+ mile radius as well as a kids activity area hosted by the Virginia Kids Trail.

Chef Erik Foxx-Nettnin, Head Chef at Magnolia’s at the Mill will feature five locally sourced food products at the Wednesday night Premier Soiree. This will include:

  • Virginia scallops from War Shore Oysters Company*
  • Randall Lineback* Beef Tartar from Chapel Hill Farm
  • Preserved “Tomolive and Beef Canape” and Fried Green Tomatoes with Tasso Ham from Tranco Farms*.
  • Spring House and Sweet Fern Farm Pork Belly

*Bronze Sponsor and Farmer Member

Chef Erik said, “As a member of the action board for Taste of Blue Ridge, I want to share our story, giving chefs the opportunity to find local farmers on one website and to help everyone realize how strong of a destination we are to anyone that eats food and enjoys things of substance.” Check our latest blog on Chef Erik!

“I am not sure people realize that the largest industry in the state of Virginia both in the past and present is Agriculture. I was not aware of this until we were doing research for Taste of Blue Ridge’s launch,” said Craun.

Upcoming Root to Table events for the 2018 Taste of Blue Ridge culinary series includes a July Celebration of the History of American Food and a Fall Salute to our Harvest. December will feature a Celebration of American beverage from our breweries, wineries, and distilleries. February will be centered on a Cooking Class featuring collaboration between our chefs.

Keep your eyes peeled for our stamp of approval at locations throughout the valley ensuring quality product and service.

About TasteofBlueRidge.com

Launched in April 2016, Taste of Blue Ridge is a marketing umbrella managed by Encore Event Partners, LLC, a marketing consulting firm based in Shepherdtown, West Virginia. Taste’s mission is two fold -

For the consumer – B to C:
Create amazing food experiences thru itineraries connecting restaurant owners, chef, farmers, breweries, wineries, cooking schools, shops and lodging partners.

For the food member – B - B:
Taste of Blue Ridge strives be a food community of excellence that delivers support solutions to community members, meets our customers' needs of a food experience, offers development opportunities for our community members, provides growing value for the contributes to our community.

Contact: Nancy Craun Founder and Owner
Phone: 540.533.1853
Email: nancy(at)TasteofBlueRidge(dot)com

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Nancy Craun
@tasteblueridge
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