The Bloomingdales of Local Foods
Ayrshire Farms of Middleburg, Virginia is an extensive enterprise. It is a livestock farm, butchering & catering company, a restaurant, the Hunters Head Tavern, and an upscale farm store, the Home Farm Store.
The Home Farm Store is on the main street in the tiny little town of Middleburg, which is only about 4 blocks long. Middleburg is hunt country, and where the landed gentry of Northern Virginia have their large estates. Middleburg main street is lined with wonderful boutiques, home decor shops and eateries, and is home to the Thomas and Talbot real estate company, where my husband got his start in the real estate business. The Home Farm store is located at the main intersection, in a historic, stone bank building.
Ayrshire Farms, which specializes in raising heritage breed livestock showcases its pasture raised meat from the meat counter in the store. The farm also has done a series of single panel brochures which do an excellent job of explaining sustainable farm foods to the uninitiated. The brochures on such topics as, Dairy Products, Rare Breed Pork, Pasture Raised Lamb, Certified Humane Turkey, Humanely Raised Chicken and Eggs, generously share links to such websites as realmilk.com, sierraclub.com, certifiedhumane.com, and organicconsumers.org. What a tremendous role Ayrshire Farms is playing, in taking our message to the elite Washingtonians!
The Home Farm Store is managed by Justin Severino, who was recruited from California to the position as head butcher, charcuterie artisan and store manager. His wife, Hilary also works with him at the store. Justin is a former executive chef, who fell in love with the idea of humanely raised meats and left the restaurant industry to start his own butcher shop. He was wooed to the Home Farm Store by one key feature–the bank’s vault.
Justin’s grandfather was a butcher and charcuterie artisan. Justin not only inherited his talent, but some of his family recipes. Justin saw the bank vault in the basement of the Home Farm Store as an ideal “charcuterie locker,” and that was a deciding factor to make the move east.
He took my husband and I down to see his vault on our most recent trip out to Middleburg. We ohhed and ahhed at the variety of fermenting meats hanging on the rack. Justin allowed as how it was all spoken for and that none of it was available for sale. The art of traditionally fermenting meats is nearly a lost art in our industrial age, so it is easy to understand why his entire inventory was already snatched up by fine dining chefs and store patrons.
We were, however, able to purchase some pancetta when we went back upstairs. I have never cooked with pancetta, although I have had it in restaurant cuisine and really love it. It was exciting to buy some to stock our home larder!
We also purchased some delightful locally grown micro-greens, chicken and pork sausage, mushrooms. Learn more about the Home Farm Store here.
This post is part of the Real Food Wednesday’s blog carnival, see more articles at Kelly the Kitchen Kop blog.
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