middleburg

Seven Loaves Services: Fighting Food Insecurity For 28 Years

Written by Victoria Peace

Photos by Gracie Withers 

If there is one thing that Tami Erickson, the pantry manager of Seven Loaves Services, wishes Hunt Country residents would keep in mind, it’s that despite living in one of the richest counties in America, surrounded by wealth and opportunity, there are still people in the community who struggle with food insecurity on a daily basis. “It’s hard in our area to remember that the need still exists,” Erickson emphasizes. “I wish people recognized how quickly any of us could be food insecure.”

 In Loudoun County, over 15,000 people experience food insecurity on an annual basis. Unfortunately, this number only increased as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Seven Loaves Services was established in 1994 in order to help combat food insecurity by supplying nutritious food to those in need in Middleburg and the surrounding area. Today, the pantry provides approximately 90 families per week with shelf-stable goods, dairy items, meat, breads, and pastries, in addition to special snack packs for households with children.

The food is primarily donated from four local, Loudoun County grocery stores that Seven Loaves has formed partnerships with. The stores donate items to the pantry which would otherwise go to waste including deli items, frozen foods, and meat. Seven Loaves also purchases some canned goods and fresh fruits and vegetables wholesale and receives large quantities of donated vegetables from local farmers. In fact, the day of this interview with Middleburg Life, Erickson received 300 pounds of fresh produce from the Oak Spring Garden Foundation.

About 50 percent of the families that the pantry serves live in Loudoun County. The other 50 percent come from 15 other surrounding counties. According to Erickson, this sets Seven Loaves apart from many of the Loudoun-based pantries that exclusively serve local households. The majority of patrons travel to Seven Loaves each week to pick up groceries from the pantry located in the basement of the Middleburg United Methodist Church. However, Seven Loaves volunteers also do weekly home deliveries to a small group of Middleburg-based at-risk seniors.

Currently there are around 50 to 60 Seven Loaves volunteers. According to Erickson, they do everything from food distribution, to repackaging food, to sorting grocery store donations, and driving to pick up food from local stores.

If you’re looking to get involved, the best way to find opportunities is through the volunteer tab of the Seven Loaves website. The biggest volunteer need that the pantry currently has is for drivers. However, they can always use people to help out with assembly and organization on distribution days.

If you can’t volunteer but you are still looking for a way to support Seven Loaves, the pantry also accepts both food and monetary donations. Monetary donations can be made through Paypal on Seven Loaves’ website, and shelf-stable food donations can be dropped off at the pantry on Tuesdays from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. and on Thursdays from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.

Right now, the Seven Loaves team has already started gearing up for the holiday season. “It sounds crazy to say this but we are beginning our holiday food collection,” Erickson says. “Every year we give our families a special bag around Thanksgiving and the winter holidays that includes everything for a holiday meal.” Seven Loaves is specifically looking for donations of boxed mashed potatoes, stuffing, gravy, canned yams, cranberries, green beans, oil, chicken broth, and canned pumpkin. People can reach out to the pantry at sevenloavesservices@gmail.com if they are interested in dropping off one or more of these items. 

Erickson has been the pantry manager at Seven Loaves for almost a year now. For her, the most fulfilling aspect of her job is “providing for families what they wouldn’t otherwise be able to have.” With the rising costs of fruits, vegetables, and meats, it has never been more important to have an organization that ensures that all members of the community can have access to healthy, nutritious meals. 

If you are looking for a way to have a direct impact on the lives of your fellow community members, consider donating to or volunteering with Seven Loaves this fall. Even here in Hunt Country, “There are still families in need,” Erickson says. “Don’t forget about your local food pantries.” ML 

For more information about donation and volunteer opportunities, please visit sevenloavesmiddleburg.org.

This article first appeared in the September 2022 issue.

Wakefield Names Academic Building in Honor of Trustee Emeritus General John Fairfield

Contact:        Ms. Tutt Stapp-McKiernan, Communications Associate for Wakefield School
(working from home) 540-987-9061
  tmckiernan@wakefieldschool.org

Wakefield’s Middle and Upper School building now bears the name of one of the school’s most devoted, beloved, and respected community members.

The Plains, VA, September 8, 2022—In an announcement timed to coincide with both the opening of school and the launching of Wakefield School’s year-long celebration of its 50th anniversary, Head of School Ashley Harper unveiled on the first day of school a portrait of Lieutenant General John Fairfield, USAF Ret., commemorating the naming of the campus’s Middle and Upper School building in his honor.

The announcement came at the new school year’s first All-School  Assembly and was part of a festive surprise celebration for the General, who had been invited as the assembly’s keynote speaker but who had no idea he and his wife Donna were also the event’s honorees. The festivities featured the posting of the colors by a JROTC Color Guard commanded by Wakefield senior Kate Laing, remarks from Mrs. Harper and others, and the presence of many invited guests, including alumni, alumni parents, former faculty, and Trustees past and present, there to honor General and Mrs. Fairfield’s 20-plus years of devoted service to Wakefield School.  

Among the alumni guests were several in uniform, former students inspired by Fairfield’s example to choose military careers—though he has equally ardent admirers among students, faculty, and alumni who have chosen aviation, engineering, art, biology, theater, photography, or education as their passion. When Mrs. Harper asked for each student, faculty and staff member, and parent who had “had the privilege of being read to, championed, mentored, or encouraged by General or Mrs. Fairfield” to please stand, the entire gymnasium full of people rose to their feet.

Fairfield served a storied 34-year-long career in the US Air Force, during which he logged over 4,000 flight hours and 180 combat missions during the Vietnam War, as well as holding command positions in the Strategic Air Command and at the Pentagon, at times commanding more than 85,000 personnel worldwide. 

In addition to his 18 years as a Trustee and Trustee Emeritus of Wakefield’s Board, and his role with Mrs. Fairfield as grandparents of a Wakefield alumna and “lifer,” General Fairfield has, according to Mrs. Harper, “chaperoned over 15 Senior beach weeks, joined countless Senior kayak trips, co-taught Dr. Daryanani’s leadership class, read weekly to the Junior Kindergarten classes, including virtually during the pandemic, and served literally thousands of hours helping on campus…The servant leadership demonstrated by John and Donna Fairfield goes farther than one can begin to describe.”

Gatherings for Good: Local Events Impacting Important Causes

Written by Lia Hobel

As summer cools off, charitable giving is just heating up for Hunt Country residents. From signature polo matches to exceptional galas boasting fine dining and entertainment, September is the start of sizzling fun and fundraising for notable causes. Read on to learn more about the biggest local benefits and the organizations they support.

2022 NSLM Polo Classic

Sunday, September 11 | 10 a.m.

Great Meadow, The Plains, VA

The National Sporting Library & Museum (NSLM) will host its largest fundraising event of the year — the NSLM Polo Classic presented by MARS EQUESTRIAN™ — the second Sunday of September at Great Meadow. The renowned research library and fine art museum is dedicated to highlighting the rich heritage and tradition of country pursuits. 

Gates will open at 10 a.m. with two exciting matches taking place. First up is the Founders Cup at 11 a.m. followed by the Mars Cup at 2 p.m. The event will feature all the favorite NSLM Polo Classic traditions with the Dog Divot Stomp sponsored by NUTRO,™ a parade of the Middleburg Hunt hounds, and more.

Proceeds from the NSLM Polo Classic benefit the NSLM in its mission to “preserve, promote, and share the literature, art, and culture of equestrian, angling, and field sports,” as well as helping to fund dynamic exhibitions, programs, and community events throughout the year.

According to Elizabeth von Hassell, executive director of the NSLM, “Not only does the event benefit the library and museum, but it is also a fun way for people to experience our mission first-hand and to enjoy an exciting day of polo at the beautiful Great Meadow.”

Visit nationalsporting.org for more information. 

Cloverleaf (Formerly NVTRP) Polo Classic

Saturday, September 24 | 12 p.m.

Great Meadow, The Plains, VA

This year’s Polo Classic is a chance to celebrate the new name of Northern Virginia Therapeutic Riding Program (NVTRP). The Cloverleaf Polo Classic is the nonprofit’s largest annual fundraiser. It will include live and silent auctions and a rider demonstration by military riders and students of the therapeutic riding program. 

Executive director of Cloverleaf, Kelsey Gallagher, notes that the new name reflects the growing range of services the organization offers to the community. 

“This event is the perfect opportunity to celebrate the power of equine-based services to improve lives,” Gallagher says.

Cloverleaf focuses on helping individuals realize their highest potential by providing equine-assisted activities to people with disabilities, youth-at-risk, recovering military personnel, and others in need of an inclusive, community setting. Founded in 1980, Cloverleaf operates out of a 17-acre farm in Clifton, Virginia, with the help of 15 dedicated staff members and 20 equine partners.

“It [has] become a cherished tradition for hundreds of people who return year after year for a dazzling day of polo, food, and wine to support Cloverleaf Equine Center,” says Will Thomas, Polo Classic co-chair and Cloverleaf board member. 

Thomas notes that the fundraising as a result of this event allows Cloverleaf to serve more than a hundred weekly clients from the D.C. Metro region.

Visit nvtrp.org/polo for more information.

Sprout Therapeutic Riding Gallop Gala

September 17 | 6 p.m.

Sprout Center, Aldie, VA

Get ready for a whimsical evening at Sprout’s Therapeutic Riding Gallop Gala. According to founder and Executive Director Brooke Waldron, the 2022 gala will “celebrate the magic of Sprout in honor of the barn’s ‘King of Hearts’— Peter, a Dartmoor x Thoroughbred, Middleburg-bred horse.” 

Guests are invited to dress to impress and embrace the magic of Sprout. The gala includes drinks and dinner, a professional magician, auctions, and live music that will have attendees dancing all night long. 

Sprout’s mission is to provide hope, healing, empowerment, and recovery through equestrian-assisted activities and therapies. The organization serves individuals with disabilities and provides life-changing opportunities and treatment in a farm environment. 

“Together, with Middleburg’s support, we will pursue the ‘impossible’ and make magic for those needing hope, healing, empowerment, and community,” Waldron says. 

Visit sproutcenter.org/events/gala/ for more information.

Loudoun Therapeutic Riding Dining in the Dark Gala 

Thursday, October 13 | 6 p.m.

Bourbon Bayou Kitchen, Ashburn, VA 

Snag a seat at a truly unique culinary adventure in October while supporting Loudoun Therapeutic Riding. On October 13 (don’t worry, it’s a Thursday), put your taste buds to the test with an opportunity to dine while wearing eye shades in low light conditions — and raise awareness and resources for Loudoun Therapeutic Riding. 

“Dining in the Dark will be an exercise in ‘experiential empathy,’” explains Executive Director Paul Shane. “For one night only, our guests will have a unique opportunity to experience what it means to have a disability by having their vision taken from them and will gain a small level of understanding into what our clients struggle with on a daily basis.”

Located in Lovettsville, Loudoun Therapeutic Riding “embraces the power of horse-assisted services to promote well-being and community inclusion for people with physical, cognitive, and mental health challenges.” The foundation has been serving the community for 47 years. 

The Dining in the Dark Gala will bring together community leaders, industry professionals, and caring citizens for an evening of fine dining and entertainment. Celebrity chefs will be part of the fun including Chef Christine Ha, “MasterChef” season 3 winner, who is visually impaired. Guests of honor from the visually impaired community will include musician Scott Macintyre and YouTuber Tommy Edison, known for his channel, Blind Film Critic.Visit dininginthedark.net for more informationML

2022 Cloverleaf Polo Classic

The 2022 Cloverleaf Polo Classic will feature:

Halftime Demo

Cloverleaf clients Andrew, Angelica, Joyce and Zoe will soon be hard at work prepping for their 2022 Polo Classic halftime performance.

Guests will be treated to an unforgettable quadrille – a choreographed drill pattern on horseback set to music – that you won’t want to miss!

The performance features skills that the clients are currently working on during their therapeutic riding or physical therapy sessions; demonstrating some of the patterns and use of props that they would use in weekly lessons.

NFL’s Vernon Davis to serve as Hat Contest Judge

A special thank you to this year’s Hat Contest Judge, Vernon Davis.

Vernon is a retired NFL superstar, successful businessman and trained actor and producer. He attended the University of Maryland and played nine seasons with the 49ers, one season with the Denver Broncos and four seasons with his hometown team, the Washington Commanders (formerly Redskins).

He was selected to the NFL Pro Bowl twice and won a Super Bowl with Payton Manning and the Denver Broncos in 2016.

After a successful NFL career, Vernon transitioned into business acquiring an impressive investment portfolio in real estate and started his own production company “Reel 85 Productions” in 2020. 

Vernon has been recognized for his film credits including starring alongside notable actors such as Bruce Willis, John Malkovich and Morgan Freeman. His television credits include Dancing With The Stars, Going Home, MTVChallenge, The ESPYS, Name That Tune, Domino Masters, Cooking With The Stars, Inside Amy Schumer and The League.

Most recently, Vernon joined the ownership group of the Brisbane Bullets of the Australian National Basketball League (NBL) as one of their newest minority owners.

Live Music by 2MB

When best friends get together to make music and perform classic jams you get 2MB!

Kendall, Chris and Dave are all locals that grew up in the Northern Virginia area. They are all NoVa professionals, parents, and freaking awesome multi-talented musicians.

Their vibe is fun, smooth and easy; playing everything from 90s alt faves, classics from the 70s, to country covers that everyone knows the words to.

These three came together just a year ago and their momentum continues to grow while playing consistently at favorite local spots, events, vineyards, and breweries. Pop, rock, alt, country…you’ll be entertained by it all when you chill with 2MB.

Diane Roberts Returns as Emcee

We are honored to have Diane Roberts return as the emcee for the 2022 Polo Classic!

With more than 25 years of experience in various communications platforms, including television, radio, and social media, Diane has compiled industry insights from experience in reporting and anchoring for both news and sports on a national and local level. She also coaches clients on the ins and outs of public speaking and being ready for all facets of the media.

Thank you to…

Cloverleaf Equine Center is once again beyond grateful for our Polo Classic co-chairs Will Thomas and Sherrie Beckstead, joined again this year by honorary chair Sheila Johnson. 

This group works tirelessly year round to make the Polo Classic such a fun and successful event.

Will Thomas is a Vice President at TTR Sotheby’s International Realty and veteran TV anchor.

Sherrie Beckstead is President of The Lockkeepers Collection Group, and a Principal at Liljenquist & Beckstead, co-founded by the Beckstead family.

Both are also members of Cloverleaf’s Board of Directors.

Sheila Johnson has been involved in the equestrian community for many years including serving as President of the Washington International Horse Show. 

In addition to her efforts to support equestrian interests and among her many business endeavors, Johnson is the Founder and CEO of Salamander Hotels & Resorts, which operates a collection of luxury properties including the equestrian-inspired Salamander Resort & Spa in Middleburg, VA.

About Cloverleaf Equine Center

The Northern Virginia Therapeutic Riding Program recently completed an extensive rebrand effort in response to organizational growth and future expansion. At the heart of the rebrand is a change of the program name to Cloverleaf Equine Center – representing that services offered now extend beyond the Northern Virginia area – and an update to the center’s logo. 

Founded in 1980, the organization began as a small operation in Clifton, Virginia with a couple borrowed horses and a handful of clients and volunteers. Today, Cloverleaf Equine Center serves over 100 weekly clients from the DC Metro area with the help of more than 250 active volunteers and a herd of 18 horses on a 17-acre farm in Fairfax County. In addition to therapeutic riding, Cloverleaf’s services include physical therapy incorporating horses, equine-assisted learning and psychotherapy incorporating horses. 

MISSION:   Cloverleaf Equine Center, at O’Shaughnessy Farm, is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) that helps each individual realize their highest potential by providing equine-assisted activities to people with disabilities, youth-at-risk, recovering military personnel, and others in need in an inclusive, community setting.

​VISION: To inspire and enrich people, families and communities through the power of the horse.

Local Singer and Songwriter Celebrates Her Return to Music 

Written by Will Thompson
Photos by Callie Broaddus 

“Performing, especially when you’re performing your own music, is getting to connect with people and getting to feel the difference that  [your music] makes in another person,” says Juliet Lloyd, singer-songwriter and frequent Middleburg-area performer, while discussing her jam-packed schedule of local shows.

Lloyd has been busy propelling the resurgence of her music career after finding initial success as a celebrated independent artist in the mid and late 2000’s. This July she released a new album titled “High Road.” She was recently named the winner of the 2022 Bernard/Ebb Songwriting Competition which recognizes the best songwriting talent in the Capital region, and her live performance schedule shows no signs of slowing down with upcoming gigs across Hunt Country including Lost Barrel Brewing and 50 West Vineyards.

At her performances, Lloyd’s spot-on cover tracks get the crowd moving while her original tracks afford audiences the opportunity to connect with her through heartfelt melodies and lyrics plucked from relatable moments in her own life. 

“High Road,” the title track on Lloyd’s new album, is a wistful pondering of why doing the right thing can sometimes feel so wrong. Delivered by Lloyd’s considerable vocal power over a melancholic piano and guitar accompaniment, “High Road” leaves listeners with a reflective mix of empowerment and regret. The track effortlessly weaves in drums and a rousing electric guitar solo to build to a crescendo of self-vindication that candidly laments the lost opportunity to indulge in conflict. “Over You” lightens the mood with a fun, melodic breakup song that’s a flippant attempt at assuring the world of being over a partner while being anything but. And from Llyod’s previous full-length album, “Come Tomorrow”is a sincere, hopeful song that highlights  the eventuality of gaining optimism through pain. It’s like a warm hug from a friend on a bad day. 

It was “Come Tomorrow,” from Lloyd’s 2007 album, “Leave the Light On,” that led the Boston Globe to proclaim that Lloyd was on “on the cusp of stardom” after the song was featured on television shows including “The Real World” and “The Hills” in addition to being added into rotation at more than 175 radio stations across the country. 

Juliet Lloyd, guitarist Steve Quintilian (left), and percussionist Oscar Mulford (right).

Lloyds success can be attributed to her lifelong passion for singing and performing. “I learned by singing along with Mariah Carey in my basement every day after school,” laughs Lloyd, recalling her earliest days as a self-taught singer. Though Lloyd went on to work through an undergraduate degree in economics, she kept singing as a hobby. Her first professional foray into music came after college when she resolutely set out to be a singer-songwriter. “Thankfully when I sat down to actually try to write, my first songs weren’t the worst in the world,” Lloyd jokes. As she ventured deeper into music and songwriting, Lloyd began to make her mark as an independent artist with original albums and songs such as “Leave the Light On.”

Even with modest musical success, Lloyd still  had the desire to exercise her degree in economics and find success in a corporate ecosystem. Lloyd took a step back from music professionally just over a decade ago to begin a career in communications consulting. But she never lost her love for music, her flair for songwriting, or her passion for performing.

Things changed for Lloyd at the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic. The difficult experience of the pandemic and lockdowns reawakened her drive to put emotions into words and melodies. As venues slowly reopened, Lloyd began to perform and write again, eventually making the decision to concentrate on music full-time. “Even though it’s the second time around, it feels like a huge leap of faith,” says Lloyd, recounting this decision.

Left: Juliet Lloyd jams out on the keyboard during a recent performance at Farm Brew LIVE in Manassas. Middle: Lloyd and the band play covers, old favorites, and new originals. Right: Lloyd’s merchandise.

That leap of faith has resulted in numerous live shows andthe release of “High Road,” her first original content after a more than ten-year hiatus from songwriting. The album is unique for Llyod because of its distinct country music influence, stylistic growth that she credits to performing in the Middleburg area, taking requests for country cover songs, and becoming part of the community. “Because I perform so consistently in Loudoun County, I recognize a lot of people now. Every time I play, a few more people have come back to see [me] again. I’ve gotten to know so many people in the community, and they’ve been such amazing supporters of my music,” Lloyd says. 

As her reputation expands and her audiences grow, belief in the power of music will always be at the heart of what Lloyd does. “My favorite performances, whether there’s a lot of people or there’s two people, are when somebody says ‘Oh my gosh, that song really speaks to me,’ or ‘I went through something similar.’” ML

More information about Juliet Lloyd along with samples of her music and performance schedule can be found at julietlloyd.com.

This article first appeared in the August 2022 Issue

Changing of the Guard:
Morison and Price Pass the Gavel Again

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE         Contact: Alexander Nance, 540-687-6681
Price and Morison celebrate a successful event at historic Pelham as the sun sets over the Blue Ridge Mountains. Courtesy of VPHA.

Middleburg, Virginia, August 22nd, 2022 – The Virginia Piedmont Heritage Area Association (VPHA) is pleased to announce that its Board of Directors has elected Stephen C. Price to become the new Chair after C. Dulany Morison’s Director term limit finishes in August. Morison has served as Chair for three years, guiding the organization through a series of unprecedented challenges and expanding its footprint as a principal force in preservation. “It has been a distinct honor to serve the Heritage Area and although there have been a few long nights, it has been an incredibly rewarding experience and I could not be more grateful to have worked alongside such a dedicated staff and Board of Directors,” said Morison, who has agreed to continue leading the Preservation Committee in his capacity as Chair Emeritus with Ashton Cole.

Morison worked with the Bondi family to establish the “Bondi Family Land Conservation and Battlefield Preservation Fund,” which has contributed to the protection of several historic properties in the Unison Battlefield Study Area. He has been a driving force in the battle to protect Aldie from inappropriate development which recently celebrated a great victory at the Aldie Assemblage. He oversaw the republishing of Profiting Through Preservation, which details the economic benefit for open space conservation, agriculture, heritage tourism, and historic structure preservation. Last year the organization celebrated its postponed 25th Anniversary and recorded its most successful fundraising year to date.

Price has a long history with the organization and served as Chair from 2018-2019.  Morison remarked, “Steve has been devoted to our mission since he joined the Board in 2010 and we were thrilled when he agreed to step back in. He has been a pillar of leadership and we could not be in more capable hands.” Price has been instrumental in developing new VPHA programs and directed the successful “Year of John Marshall,” which brought guests to Llangollen, Oak Hill, The Hollow, and the John Marshall House in Richmond to study the Chief Justice.  

In addition to being a partner in the Northern Virginia law firm of McCandlish & Lillard, Price holds a bachelor’s degree in history from Virginia Military Institute, a law degree from the University of Virginia, and a master’s degree from the University of Cambridge (Queens’ College). He served as president of the George Marshall International Center at Dodona Manor during the restoration of the General’s home, and he was a member of the Loudoun County Sesquicentennial Committee and Commissioner in Chancery for the Loudoun County Circuit Court. He also serves as general counsel for the Land Trust of Virginia.

VPHA has significantly increased their focus on special events and following up on their recent programs on Patsy Cline and F. Scott Fitzgerald, Price aims to continue featuring Heritage Area artists. He also has plans to focus on the history of our endangered historic villages, and programs are underway for Paris, Lucketts, and Browntown. Looking ahead to 2024, preparations have already begun to recognize the 200-year Anniversary of the Marquis de Lafayette’s reunion tour through the United States, which will include a series of events highlighting the sites he visited in the Heritage Area.  

The organization will continue its focus on preservation advocacy and student education. Threats to the Heritage Area landscape are on the rise, and VPHA remains committed to working diligently with local government and preservation partners to protect the integrity of our extraordinary countryside. VPHA’s classroom programs, which have educated more than 55,000 students, resumed this spring and they hope to reach 75,000 students by 2025. Price is optimistic for the future and looks forward to building VPHA membership across the Heritage Area through a variety of offerings that connect citizens with our vast historic resources.  

The mission of the Virginia Piedmont Heritage Area Association is preservation through education — to educate about the history of, and advocate for, the preservation of the extraordinary historic landscape, culture, and scenery in the Northern Virginia Piedmont for future generations to enjoy.

For more information, visit www.piedmontheritage.org

Summer Sips: Locally Inspired “Foxtails” at The Red Fox Inn & Tavern

Written by Victoria Peace
Photos by Michael Butcher 

The Red Fox Inn & Tavern located in Middleburg, Virginia, is the longest continuously run inn and tavern in the country. Established in 1728, the property is steeped in tradition and features historic touches throughout the interior that transport visitors back in time. However, the libations that the inn offers are far from stuck in the past. Tavern Manager Anna Adams enjoys keeping things fresh and inventive behind the bar through an ever-changing variety of seasonal “Foxtails” – unique, elevated cocktails that use local Virginia ingredients and liquors. These cocktails with “a foxy charm” have become favorites of locals and out-of-towners alike.

There are currently four Foxtails on the menu – Sky Meadows, The Thoroughbred, The Spicy Mare, and The First Lady – all the perfect sip on a hot summer day.

Red Fox Inn & Tavern’s locally inspired “Foxtails.” 

Sky Meadows

Named after a popular state park just 20 minutes from Middleburg, Sky Meadows elegantly juxtaposes delicate flavors and a bold presentation.  A combination of gin and housemade cucumber water creates a refreshing, light-green base which is topped off with a white elderflower foam. Adams notes that the base layer represents the lush grasses of the meadows while the foam symbolizes the clouds and mist that frequently cover the rolling hills of the park. Adams sources the gin in Sky Meadows from Catoctin Creek Distillery in Purcellville, Virginia. She appreciates how their Catoctin Creek Watershed Gin® has nice floral notes and a light juniper flavor.

The Thoroughbred

The Thoroughbred, a quintessential symbol of Hunt Country, features John J. Bowman bourbon paired with fresh lemon juice, pineapple, and bitters. Adams describes it as a drink that both bourbon lovers and “entry-level” bourbon drinkers can enjoy because of the beautiful balance between the citrus and the bourbon. John J. Bowman bourbon is produced by A. Smith Bowman Distillery located in Fredericksburg, Virginia. The oldest distillery in Virginia, it brought home the World’s Best Bourbon award in 2016 among other accolades.

The Spicy Mare

True to its name, the Spicy Mare packs a punch. The spicy notes in the drink come from Adams’ house-made jalapeno-infused tequila. However, the heat is balanced out with a hibiscus honey syrup made from fresh local honey and hibiscus leaves.

The First Lady

“The First Lady [is named so because] the drink is sophisticated but also dainty,” Adams says. “Because it’s not a super heavy spirit drink, it has to stand alone, and I think that kind of describes what our first ladies have to do.” Inspired by a Clover Club cocktail, The First Lady features a house-made raspberry syrup and puree, Flying Fox peach vermouth, and cointreau. Adams loves using Flying Fox vermouth in her cocktails because Flying Fox never puts a definitive flavor profile on their vermouths – they are always seasonal. The peach vermouth in The First Lady perfectly speaks to the sweetness of warm Virginia summers. 

Adams takes great pride in the innovative flavor profiles and creative names of all of the Foxtails. However, if she had to recommend just one, she would suggest ordering The Thoroughbred. The Spicy Mare is a close second, but she says that it’s hard to beat the smoothness of the bourbon-citrus blend.

Left: Anna Adams Middle: Red Fox Inn on a sunny summer’s day. Right: Adam’s adds a final flourish to a refreshing cocktail. 

Looking ahead to the fall, Adams is already brainstorming ideas for new, seasonal Foxtails. Last year she made an apple carrot drink which was very popular. She anticipates a version of this drink will make a comeback this year. She’s also playing around with autumnal flavor profiles such as honey, cinnamon, and figs, and sweet potato and cranberry.

Foxtails have always been part of The Red Fox’s history. However, since taking the helm just over five months ago, Adams has revamped all of the Foxtails on the menu to put her own spin on them

Before taking over the bar, Adams managed The Red Fox Inn & Tavern’s front desk. Adams grew up in Front Royal and attended Johnson & Wales University in Charlotte, North Carolina, where she obtained a bachelor’s degree in hospitality and culinary arts. Though she loved her time there, she felt herself longing to go back to Virginia. The very first application she submitted was to The Red Fox Inn & Tavern. Before she had even returned from North Carolina, she was hired.

After touring the property, she knew she had made the right decision. She loved the “heart and hearth” feel of the establishment and just wanted to “be in the atmosphere” of the historic inn. Within a few months of joining the staff, a position happened to open up in the tavern leading her to where she is today.

Adams strives to offer guests a fine dining experience in a friendly, welcoming atmosphere. She takes pride in the fact that while the space appears quaint and cozy, people are always wowed by the upscale food and outstanding service The Red Fox provides.

“We’re a small bar but we have a lot to offer,” Adams says. “We have some really great bourbons, and our list is curated with some wonderful spirits that would 100% be worth coming out and trying.” She suggests stopping by the bar around thirty minutes before your dinner reservation to savor an aperitif that gives you a true taste of the flavors, spirits, and history of Hunt Country. ML 

The Red Fox Inn and Tavern is open from Monday through Friday from 5 to 8:30 p.m. (with the exception of Wednesday) and Saturday and Sunday from 4:30 to 8:30 p.m. For reservations, please call 540-687-6301. 

This article first appeared in the August 2022 Issue

Summer Foraging with Clay Morris

Story by Victoria Peace

In January 2022, I took one of Clay Morris’ winter foraging classes at the Salamander Resort & Spa. I came away from the experience amazed at how much the natural world had to offer during a time of year that I usually consider to be extremely barren. You can read the article I wrote about my experience and about Morris’ background here.

Six months later when I was invited to participate in one of Morris’ summer foraging classes, I jumped at the opportunity. I couldn’t wait to see what new and exciting foods and flavors came along with the changing of the seasons.

Morris starts each one of his foraging classes with a walk through the grounds of the Salamander Resort & Spa. He likes to teach his classes there because it’s a very diverse habitat in a small area. Morris explained that the months of June and July are what he calls “the vegetable stage” of the year. All of the plants that emerged in the spring have started producing flowers, berries, pods, and vegetables.

The Walk 

On our summer foraging walk, we discovered a wide variety of plants and trees including black locust, milkweed, chicory, wild grapes, wild berries, overcup, poke, walnut trees, sumac, coneflowers, cattails, juniper, and heirloom pear trees. Their qualities ranged from utilitarian to delicious  — and often, encompassed both the same time.

One plant that Morris identified as seamlessly blending utility and culinary value is overcup. Its large leaves curl in such a way that they create a cup which acts as a condenser for any mist in the air. When water collects in these cups, it provides a place for hummingbirds, bees, butterflies, and other pollinators to stay hydrated. Morris likes to blanch overcup leaves and use them to make a roulade, which he proudly calls “his version of sushi.”

Cattails are another plant Morris pointed out which serves a wide variety of functions. Native Americans used their fluff to stuff diapers and their leaves to make mats. However, the stem of the cattail can also be eaten —  it tastes similar to a cucumber. After our walk, we were able to sample both raw cattail stem and a cattail root and tomato relish that Morris prepared.

On our walk, Morris underscored the importance of being in tune with seasonal and environmental changes in order to know the right time to harvest different plants. Windows of opportunities can be small, and once you miss them, they’re gone. For example, every bit of the milkweed plant can be eaten if prepared properly. However, it has to be harvested within a very specific timeframe. When the plant first starts to emerge in the spring, the stems can be eaten like asparagus. Before it flowers, it looks a bit like broccoli rabe, and can be sautéed or dried and stored for later use. The pods can be blanched and taste similar to okra, however, you have to make sure you catch them when they are very small or else they are poisonous. And finally, when the flower opens, it can be made into a cordial for a refreshing summer drink.

The Tasting

After our walk, we had the chance to sample a milkweed flower cordial along with a variety of other dishes made with foraged ingredients. Morris prepares these dishes in advance so participants can better understand how the flavors and textures of foraged food can fit into our typical everyday diet. His goal is not just to make foraged food edible, but delicious.

The menu that I sampled included lots of picked items, which are traditional for both the season and the region we live in. There were pickled, spice keeper pears, pickled wild onion flowers, and pickled mini pine cones. The pickled mini pine cones were probably my favorite bite of the day because their flavor was unlike anything I had ever tasted before. It was simultaneously, tangy, minty, and spicy, with just a hint of sweetness.

For more savory offerings, Morris prepared fermented grape leaves filled with creole rice and a lambs quarters callaloo. The callaloo, a traditional Caribbean dish, was inspired by one of Chef Kwame Onwuachi’s recipes. Onwuachi will be hosting The Family Reunion at Salamander later this month. Lambs quarters is a fast-growing weed which can be used as a spinach substitute and has a significantly less slimy texture when cooked. 

As discussed previously, every part of the milkweed plant can be eaten at the right time of year. During our class, the pods were in season. Morris prepared them by lightly frying them in a tempura batter. They tasted similar to okra and had a fascinating texture — the inside was almost like mozzarella cheese. 

While the milkweed pods were a more adventurous snack, Morris also created a beautiful charcuterie spread so that guests could make their own canapés using mix of familiar and foreign ingredients. Garlic mustard pesto, cattail root relish, wild greens aioli, and fermented elderberry capers could all be paired with more typical meats and cheeses to create unique bites. “Play with it, there’s no wrong way to do it,” Morris encouraged.

I am already looking forward to seeing what Morris has in store for his fall classes — the focus will be on roots and nuts. To sign up, please visit Salamander Resort & Spa’s website. To be put on Morris’ mailing list, please reach out to jclaymorris@hotmail.com. ML

Foxcroft School Earns Prestigious VAIS Accreditation

MIDDLEBURG, VA — Foxcroft School, an independent college-preparatory boarding and day school for girls in grades 9-12 and post-graduate in Middleburg, VA, has earned full reaccreditation from the Virginia Association of Independent Schools (VAIS). Founded in 1973, VAIS is the leader in advancing and advocating for independent school education in Virginia. The VAIS accreditation program is one of the select few recognized at the international level through the International Council Advancing Independent School Accreditation (ICAISA). VAIS also is recognized and approved by the Virginia Board of Education through the Virginia Council for Private Education (VCPE).

Foxcroft received the highest report a school can receive in addition to meeting or exceeding all standards for accreditation. A visiting team comprised of the VAIS Director of Accreditation and administrators and faculty from five VAIS member schools also commended Foxcroft in several key areas, including Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging (DEIB); Curriculum and Pedagogy; Wellness; and Financial Well-Being.

“Parents can be sure that when choosing a VAIS-accredited school for their children, the school has been through an intense period of self-reflection and evaluation, which strengthens the entire institution,” said Betsy Hunroe, Executive Director of VAIS.

The voluntary accreditation process is a rigorous undertaking involving a comprehensive self-study, including input from all school constituents. A team of peer evaluators from VAIS member schools spends several days on campus reviewing the self-study report, documentation, and curriculum; meeting with administrators, trustees, students, parents, and teachers; and observing campus life. The team concludes the in-depth visit with a detailed written assessment. The finalized report is then submitted for accreditation approval by the VAIS Board of Directors.

“As a School community, we have much to celebrate and the success of this process engenders a sense of pride,” shared Head of School Cathy McGehee. “At the same time, this important procedure encourages us to keep working to make sure Foxcroft stays strong for the future.”

To learn more about Foxcroft School, visit www.foxcroft.org. To learn more about VAIS accreditation, visit vais.org.

Photo Courtesy of Foxcroft School.

XXX

About Foxcroft School Founded in 1914, Foxcroft School is a college-preparatory boarding and day school for girls in grades 9-12 and PG with a mission of helping every girl explore her unique voice and develop the skills, confidence, and courage to share it with the world. Foxcroft offers 72-76 courses, including 16+ AP classes and 5+ post-AP offerings, and a STEM program that inspires girls to pursue studies in fields where women are underrepresented. Foxcroft fields athletic teams in 11 sports and has a nationally known riding program. For more information about the School, please explore our website at www.foxcroft.org or call 540.687.5555.

Town of Middleburg to Host Oktoberfest Celebration on September 17

Contact: Marcia Massenberg
 540-687-8990

MIDDLEBURG, Va. Aug. 10, 2022 – Visit the Town of Middleburg on September 17 from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. for the town’s Oktoberfest celebration. The festivities will take place on South Madison St. and Federal St., which will be closed to vehicular traffic. This fun-filled event will feature two German biergartens, German inspired food, a stein holding contest, local artist showcase, live music, interactive activities for children and much more!

Artist’s Alley, a local artist showcase, opens at 10 a.m. The two biergartens at the event will open at 11 a.m. The first Oktoberfest beer keg will be delivered to the festival by horse-drawn wagon. The wagon is pulled by four Belgian horses Harmon’s Carriages.

Local bands will provide the soundtrack for the day. Feats of Strength will be held throughout the day including stein raising and musical chairs. Attendees can also join the Button Challenge for a chance to win Oktoberfest memorabilia, by collecting eight Oktoberfest buttons from participating merchants around town.

Traditional Oktoberfest food will be available for purchase from local food vendors. Oktoberfest beer from Old Ox Brewery and Lost Barrel Brewing, wine from Greenhill, Cana Vineyards, and Boxwood wineries, and cider from Mt. Defiance Cidery and Distillery will also be available for purchase. Regional artisans will also be present throughout the day with exhibits of fine art, pottery, jewelry, photography, wearable art and more.

Artist’s Alley will feature artwork from local and regional artists on Federal Street. Visitors are encouraged to connect with artists and discuss their creative process. Art-lovers will also get a rare opportunity to purchase original works of art without gallery fees.

Oktoberfest is free to attend and features a number of family-friendly activities. Traditional Bavarian attire is encouraged, but not required. Visit www.facebook.com/MiddleburgOktoberfest for event updates. For additional information, please contact the Middleburg Town Office at 540-687-5152.

X