Grazing EatLoCo (eatloco.org) doesn’t end with the Autumnal Equinox. If anything, its farm-grown fare and sumptuous prepared meals get heartier and more artisanal. Here are some prime examples of why your trip to One Loudoun, Brambleton, Loudoun Station or MetPark can continue year-round.
Start with Smith’s of Mecklenburg (https://smithsofmecklenburg.com/). Ed Smith is a retired tobacco farmer who always thought the four-generation family business would continue far into the future. Instead, as he puts it, “I live in one of the poorest counties in the state and I come to one of the richest counties in the country to work.” Technically, most of the work occurs on the family farm where they make hand-tied sausage (sweet or hot Italian, Polish, El Diablo, Andouille, brats, garlic parmesan, Jalapeno, and Old Bay), country sausage (mild, hot, brown sugar maple and Chorizo, sausage stuffed mushrooms, Carolina Style BBQ and BBQ sauce, hot stews, pickled cayenne peppers, cayenne pepper sauce, salsa and pickled okra (a.k.a. “Hawaiian Cowgirl Candy”)). Picture your next cold, wet Saturday morning as an opportunity to load up on fare that will keep your own range bubbling with think, savory sauces, hot brats and the makings of the penultimate country brunch.
In search of a great breakfast sandwich? Look no further than Good As Deli. Owner Wilhelmina Cahir says, “We believe in the simplicity of great quality ingredients, the importance of supporting local communities and providing the best experience to our customers.” The female, student-owned and operated business relies on students and alumni from Virginia Tech, the University of Virginia, University of Tennessee and Rock Ridge, James Madison and Independence High Schools, giving all an opportunity to experience a small business from the ground up. Eggs come from Chestnut Hill Farm in Smithsburg, Maryland; Smiths of Mecklenburg, in South Hill, Virginia provides all the pork products, and Baguette Republic supplies the buns. Every bite is that good.
Crave something sweeter? Try Bagel Joy, culinary creation of David Picard with the help of his son, then University of Mary Washington senior Caleb. Together they’ve developed a consistently dependable recipe based on hundreds of tweaks and crowd-sourced tastings. They launched at EatLoco One Loudoun one windy February in 2021 and have expanded to include Brambleton and Loudoun Station. This year, the 20-member team has baked more than twenty-five thousand fresh bagels, with every unsold bagel finding its way to the United Methodist Community of Faith Food Bank. The team produces out of Frontier Kitchen, a restaurant incubator in Chantilly, and actively plans to open their own NOVA bricks and mortar space before year end.
Wagyu beef and eggs raised using regenerative and humane farming practices comprise the “pasture to plate” experience offered by Villacaro Farms. Kat Zajac, a former personal trainer and fitness studio owner, is a first-generation farmer in the small town of Toms Brook in the Shenandoah Valley. Kat tends to her land with the same care she gives her animals, including establishing two wildlife conservation areas. Her focus on fitness frames all her farming, gleaned from the Virginia Forage & Grassland Council, online animal nutrition courses and hands-on experience. Healthy, happy livestock produce the highest quality food, available from EatLoCo One Loudoun and MetPark or online for shipping or farm pick-up. See https://www.villacarofarms.com/.
Jerk Wingz & Tings often sells out of its spicy chicken wings – 1,000 or more every Saturday and Sunday – and its “Jerk Crab Mac & Cheese," so you might want to visit them early. Kamal, born in Oklahoma and raised in Sterling, and his wife Patti Thomas, from Antigua British West Indies, man the tent in more than one market per week. While a purist might take exception to the “jerk” description (the Thomas’ fare lacks some of the sweetness of more traditional Caribbean fare of that description), it does pack a certain zing. Also on hand: Jerk lamb chops, cabbage, rice and peas, “rasta pasta” and Antigua lemonade, which you might need after a hefty helping of wings.