A new winemaker celebrates with gratitude his community with a harvest dinner
Edible Staff, Photography by Alica Bruce
Thanksgiving is over and you’re probably ready to get out of the house for some fresh air and a drink ... or two. Why not bundle up your gang and head out to one of our local wineries?
30 miles from Washington, DC sits a community which many have slated as the burgeoning East Coast equivalent of Napa Valley. Western Loudoun County hosts beautifully bucolic small towns, a flourishing culinary scene, a farming community that supplies DC restaurants with much of their fresh meat and produce and a multitude of farm wineries.
A few weeks ago, Doukenie Winery, the largest of these farm wineries in Loudoun County, hosted a harvest dinner. James Phillips, Doukenie’s newly appointed Lead Winemaker, explained their field to glass method of making wines only from grapes personally cultivated and harvested on their lands. This style of operation means that this New York native’s job is not just making wine, but farming and growing from seed to fruit. “My work is as much farmer as it is winemaker,” says Phillips. At 28, Phillips is part of a younger generation of winemakers working in Virginia. Phillips and his colleagues, many coming here from different wine regions of the country have worked to build a sense of community with local farmers, chefs and other winemakers in the area.
Phillips planned this vineyard dinner to express his gratitude and break bread with his fellow farmers. He said, “I could not be more grateful to be living and working in this community, and supporting its agricultural evolution.”
One of these farmers is Molly Kroiz owner of Georges Mill Cheese. Her goat cheeses are featured at The Dabney and other DC restaurants, and pretty much everywhere throughout Loudoun County. Molly Kroiz is a former fishery scientist, who started making cheese with her husband Sam Kroiz as a hobby. As a now self-proclaimed owner/goat wrangler/cheesemaker at Georges Mill Farm, Molly and Sam now make cheese on their 150-acre farm, which has been in their family since around 1750. About 25 acres are used for goat farming, and Molly and Sam raise and milk their herd of Alpine Dairy Goats and make goat cheese using only what is harvested in their seasonal operation. You can stop by their farm store to buy farmstead cheeses pork, charcuterie and other local products.
Our chef for the dinner was Stefano Frigerio, the Michelin-starred Executive Chef at Petite Loulou Creperie. Originally a butcher by trade, it was the appreciation of agricultural ethic and lifestyle found in the farming community that drew Chef Stefano Frigerio and his family from DC to Loudoun. Frigerio was the Executive Chef at Washington, DC’s Fiola when he decided to move his family of six to the small town of Purcellville, Virginia. Falling in love with the community, he and his wife opened Petite Loulou Crêperie, a Parisian café with culinary forward French cuisine that feels like a trip to Paris.
The gorgeous flowers for the event were created by Morgan May from Petals & Hedges. Styling by Rebecca Gallop, A Daily Something. Photography by Alicia Bruce
Plan your visit to Loudoun County and gain inspiration from these makers:
Doukenie Winery, 14727 Mountain Road, Purcellville, VA, 20132; 540-668-6464. Doukénie Winery is a family run winery on a 400-acre farm in Loudoun County. www.doukeniewinery.com.
La Petite Loulou, 713 E Main St., Purcellville, VA, 20132;540-441-3135. Petite Loulou is a piece of Paris in Purcellville. Hot croissants every hour, largest crepe menu west of Paris, wine and cheese. www.lapetiteloulou.com
The Locke Store, 2049 Millwood Rd, Millwood, VA, 22646; 540-837-1275. www.lockestore.com. The Locke "Modern Country" Store provides a variety of local and regional products, supporting their neighbors in sustainable agricultural and cottage industry.
Whiffletree Farm, 8717 Springs Rd, Warrenton, VA, 20186; 540-229-5192. . Located in Warrenton, Virginia, Whiffletree Farm raises pastured chickens, laying hens, turkeys, pigs, and cattle. www.whiffletreefarmva.com
Georges Mill Farm Artisan Cheese, 11873 Georges Mill Rd., Lovettsville, VA, 20180; 571-442-7444. . Georges Mill Farm is an eighth generation family farm in Loudoun County, Virginia that produces farmstead cheeses, caramel, soaps, pastured pork and eggs. www.georgesmillcheese.com
Petals & Hedges, www.petalsandhedges.com Born and raised in a Loudoun greenhouse with her hands in the dirt, Morgan May is Loudoun’s native horticulturist. Her ability to grow beautiful things has been celebrated throughout the area, including plant instillations and floral design across the region. Her company, Petals and Hedges carries on a 50-year family traditional in evolving and pushing the boundaries of what can grow in Loudoun and how stunning they can be.
A Daily Something, www.adailysomething.com. Tucked away in a 1900’s farmhouse in the Loudoun town of Purcellville, Rebecca shares daily inspirations celebrating daily moments of beauty. Her slow and thoughtful way of honoring small-town life has been a voice for the community and a source of inspiration to residents and readers. Rebecca Gallop’s A Daily Something is a lifestyle destination that celebrates the simple “daily somethings” that make life beautiful.