Tastes of the Season
October 27, 2020
Maybe it’s all the exercise you’re getting raking leaves, taking hikes, or playing touch football. Perhaps it’s the intoxicating scent of pumpkin spice infusing, well, everything. Whatever the cause, there’s something about the crisp autumn air that makes you hungry. This is why you need to visit the Shenandoah Valley for peak-of-the-season harvest freshness. We’ve rounded up some of the best places all around the Valley to light up your tastebuds with meals, drinks, and treats this season.
Autumn Delights in Rockbridge, Augusta, and Rockingham Counties
Southern Inn Restaurant
Lexington’s Southern Inn Restaurant creates contemporary American cuisine from scratch, emphasizing local and organic products whenever possible. For a seasonal treat try local braised pork shoulder with roasted Yukon gold potatoes, root vegetables and pine nut gremolata. Accompany that with VA gold Asian pear salad made from pears grown at local Virginia Gold Pear Orchard. Since it will be hard to skip dessert, may we suggest pumpkin chocolate chip bread pudding topped with cinnamon-cream cheese ice cream?
Basic City Beer Co. and Blue Ridge Bucha
Visit Waynesboro for a drink that tastes of fall. Try a new release like Myth of Lithia at Basic City Beer Co. This Imperial IPA is “big and juicy and hazy with Mosaic and Cashmere hops bringing naughty notes of pineapple, mango and melon.” While you’re tasting it, ask about the origin of the name! If it’s not a beer kind of day, head down the street to Blue Ridge Bucha for some craft kombucha. These purveyors of sweetened and fermented tea are ushering in fall with cherry root bucha, a special seasonal flavor that blends the flavors of black cherry and sarsaparilla root into one flavor of effervescent goodness.
Blue Ridge Bucha
Firkin Pie Company
A few years ago the only way you could get pie from Staunton’s Firkin Pie Company was
to get up early and catch them at the farmers’ market. You can now get your pastry fix at their 310 Kalorama Street storefront. Choose a sweet or savory pie from the seasonal menu. Pie is served by the slice and in 5” or 9” whole pies. How about a chicken and thyme or steak and potato hand pie or a slice of plum custard pie? Or a caramel nut tart! Or all of the above!
Valley Pike Farm Market
Valley Pike Farm Market in Weyers Cave supports small business and local agribusinesses by stocking a wide variety of Virginia-made goods, wares, foods, and craft beers and wines. Grab a cup of something hot and locally roasted at Rumor Mill coffee, or a cone of Homestead Creamery ice Cream at Sweet Creations. If you’re really hungry, head out to Old School Burgers. Operating out of a classic school bus, this food truck serves up burgers and fries. The menu includes classics, innovations like the PB&J burger, vegetarian burgers, or-build-your-own options. Keep an eye out for specials, which in the past have included seasonal ingredients like pumpkin spice!
Rocktown Kitchen is Harrisonburg’s answer to farm-to-table dining in a casual atmosphere. Seasonal ingredients take center stage on their ever-changing menu and add up to elevated American cuisine. You can also get local craft beer and choose wine from an extensive list. You won’t want to miss the wild mushroom and sweet vermouth linguini with baby greens, roasted garlic cloves, sun-dried tomatoes, and parmesan. Save room for a big slice of apple or peanut butter pie! This restaurant offers child-friendly, gluten-free, vegetarian, and vegan options.
Showalter’s Orchard, home of Old Hill Cider offers a variety of seasonal ciders, apple cider donuts and fresh picked apples. The more than ten different types of sweet and hard ciders have been cultivated every step of the process from the orchard to the bottle. Along with perennial favorites, the cider making team tries out new flavors in small-batches, and you can sample what’s available. There’s plenty of outdoor seating with views of the grounds and the orchard that seems to stretch for miles.The orchard has supported trees since the early 1900s and this family-owned business has operated since 1965.
Showalter’s Orchard & Greenhouse
Delicious Fall Food in Page, Warren, Shenandoah, Clarke, and Frederick Counties
Moonshadows on Main
Luray’s Moonshadows on Main is a magical place to get a meal. The historic building has been renovated with modern comfort in mind and has resulted in a stellar setting for a meal. Look closely at the art – every picture has the moon in it! This restaurant earns rave reviews from locals and travelers alike, and the menu, created by Chef John Moss changes seasonally and emphasizes fresh ingredients that have been sourced locally whenever possible. On the fall menu you’ll find choices like pork loin steak with an apple cider and stone ground mustard reduction served with roasted roots and other seasonal vegetables. Alternately you could have roasted roots and orecchiette pasta with a savory butternut squash sauce, or a pan fried potato cake filled with risotto, served with red and black lentils, apple chutney, seasonal vegetables and red beet coulis.
Blue Wing Frog
Blue Wing Frog in Front Royal offers an unique and fun menu full of locally sourced foods and punctuated by mouth wateringly good seasonal specials like pork schnitzel with sautéed apples and onions, sauerkraut, and mashed potatoes and gravy. Another delicious choice is cod puttanesca with buttery polenta pakes and a rich tomato and olive sauce served with a green salad and sheep’s milk feta. The Blue Wing Frog is locally owned, and its menu offers gluten-free, vegetarian, and vegan options.
Woodstock Garden Café
Located in the Fort Valley Nursery, the Woodstock Garden Café has served amazing food making use of fresh, local products for six years, including food from Mowery Orchard, J&W Farms, Dayton Produce and more. The Café supports Virginia’s Buy Fresh, Buy Local initiative, which focuses on food sustainability and helping Americans get to know their food and how it is produced. The menu changes each season to reflect what’s freshest. Stop in for a fall harvest salad, where mixed greens are topped with winter squash, candied pecans and cranberries, apples, bleu cheese, bacon, and balsamic. Another good bet is the Thai Squash Bowl that incorporates greens, cabbage, cilantro lime rice, winter quash, pumpkin seeds, and spicy peanut dressing. Winter squash makes an additional debut in the La Calabaza chipotle sandwich.
Reviewers of The Buttery at Locke Store in Millwood claim they’re tempted to lick the plates after dinner. The Buttery serves a delicious and seasonal prix-fixe three-course meal on their airy and spacious outdoor terrace on Thursday and Friday nights. Choices on the menu include a first-course selection of caramelized pear salad with candied hazelnuts, d’ambert, and bacon vinaigrette. A tasty second-course option is duck confit with lentils, lardons, bitter greens with a cherry balsamic sauce. A dessert to die for is frangipane tart with poached pear, almonds, and cinnamon ice cream.
Woodbine Farm Market
Strasburg’s Woodbine Farm Market is a part of a Virginia Century Farm, which means it has been run by the same family for over 100 years. The market opened in 2006 to allow the public direct access to all the fresh grown goodness the farm offers like 25 varieties of apples ripening all through the fall season. In addition to apples, the market sells fresh fruit and vegetables all throughout the season. The market also offers fresh baked goods, honey, maple syrup, preserves as well as wine, cheese, and meat from local producers. You can also buy made-to-order sandwiches to take with you or eat on site at the picnic pavilion. Stay awhile and admire the views. There are play areas for both children and dogs.
Caramel Apple Nut Pie from Woodbine Market