Easy Summer Pickles to Make

A picnic at Wolf Trap - DIY pickles are your star!

DIY Bread & Butter pickles, Pickled Mango and Pickled Jicama. Photo by Linda Wang.

DIY Bread & Butter pickles, Pickled Mango and Pickled Jicama. Photo by Linda Wang.

From the Edible DC Summer 2019 Issue- What’s in Season?

Sponsored by Wolf Trap | wolftrap.org | Photography by Linda Wang

Nothing heralds the peak of summer in the DMV more than an evening spent at Wolf Trap. Whether it’s a group of friends or just the two of you, is there anything better than finding a great spot, spreading out the blanket, opening the cooler to lay out a great spread, then just relaxing to hear the music under the stars?

Wolf Trap annually sponsors Edible DC’s “What’s in Season?” with delicious ideas for seasonal picnicking at the performance center. This summer, the Wolf Trap culinary team shares one of their most popular items at the OVATIONS restaurant: pickled fruits and vegetables that will help you make a beautiful cheese and fruit board with some zing. Simply add some sliced meats for a full charcuterie board experience, perhaps some candied or smoked nuts as well?

No time to pickle and pack you own? Order a gourmet picnic from Wolf Traps’ OVATIONS by America Eats for pickup before the show; order online at americaeatstavern.com/store/catering/or call 703-255-4017. Choose from a variety of options and your picnic will be ready when you arrive. Or try the OVATIONS restaurant, a full buffet served with beautiful views of the grounds and performance center. The buffet serves up classic American Eats dishes that honor seasonal, local and regional flavors starting two and a half  hours before the show. Make a reservation online at americaeatstavern.com/location/wolf-trap or call 703-255-4017.

Photo by Linda Wang.

Photo by Linda Wang.

Wolf Trap Overnight Pickles

From the chef at Wolf Trap, the pickles in these recipes are “quick pickles” and will not take much time to create an easy-to-pack and brag-worthy spread. Serves 4–6. For recipes for pickled peaches and bread and butter pickles, go to edibledc.com/wolf-trap-pickles

Pickled Jicama

1 small jicama, cubed

1 jalapeño, minced

½ cup white wine vinegar

½ cup white vinegar

1 tablespoon honey

1 teaspoon sea salt

½ teaspoon cracked black pepper

½ jalapeño pepper, minced

Peel the jicama with a knife and cut it into small cubes. Seed and mince the jalapeño, making sure to wash your hands after handling the pepper. In a small saucepan on medium heat, add the vinegars, honey, salt and pepper. Stir until combined.

Pour the hot vinegar over the jicama cubes, and add the minced ½ pepper.

Pack into a quart-sized Mason jar and refrigerate. Tastes best when it has marinated for at least 24 hours, but you can make a quick pickle out of it by letting it sit for about 30 minutes.

Pickled Mango
1 cinnamon stick
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
½ teaspoon black peppercorns
3 cardamom pods, crushed
¾ cup distilled white vinegar
¼ cup sugar
Juice of ½ lemon
Kosher salt
6 thin slices peeled ginger
2 dried chile de arbol
2 large firm mangos, peeled and cut into ½-inch-thick wedges

Heat the cinnamon stick, cumin seeds, peppercorns and cardamom in a small skillet over medium-low heat, stirring until toasted, about 4 minutes. Make the brine by combining the vinegar, ¾ cup water, the sugar, lemon juice, 1 tablespoon salt, the ginger, chiles and toasted spices in a medium saucepan.

Bring to a simmer over medium heat. Cook, stirring to dissolve the sugar, 5 minutes. Pack the mango wedges into a 1-quart jar, then pour in the hot brine; let cool completely. Cover and refrigerate overnight or up to 1 week.

Pickled Peaches

3½ cups sugar

1½ cups white vinegar

14–16 ripe medium peaches, peeled

8 whole cloves

2 sticks cinnamon

1-inch piece ginger, peeled and thinly sliced

Bring a canning pot of water to a boil. Submerge 2 (1-quart) canning jars and their lids and ring bands in boiling water; sterilize equipment for 10 minutes. Remove from boiling water with tongs, draining jars, and transfer to a clean dish towel.

Combine sugar, vinegar and 1½ cups water in a heavy medium­-size pot and bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring until sugar dissolves. Working in batches, slide peaches into the pickling liquid and cook, turning once or twice, until peaches soften but before they turn fuzzy, 4–5 minutes per batch. Transfer peaches to a bowl as done.

Divide cloves, cinnamon and ginger between the 2 jars. Cut any peaches with brown spots into halves or quarters, discarding pits, and trim away the brown spots. Spoon peaches into the jars, filling the gaps with the halves and quarters and packing the jars as tightly as possible.

Return pickling liquid to a boil, then pour boiling liquid into each jar, covering peaches and filling jar to ¼ from the rim. Let liquid settle in jars, then add more boiling liquid as necessary. Discard any remaining liquid. Wipe jar rims with a clean dish towel, place lids on jars and screw on ring band.

Bread and Butter Pickles

2½ pounds pickling cucumbers (fresh from the market)

1 pound white or yellow onions, thinly sliced

¼  cup pickling salt, or can use kosher salt (Regular table salt has additives in it that will turn the pickles dark and muddy the color of the pickle juice.)

1¼ cups white distilled vinegar (5% acidity)

1 cup apple cider vinegar (5% acidity)

2¼ cups sugar

1 tablespoon mustard seeds

1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

¾ teaspoon celery seeds

1 inch cinnamon stick

6 allspice berries plus a pinch of ground allspice

6 whole cloves plus a pinch of ground cloves

½ teaspoon turmeric

Carefully rinse the cucumber, cleaning all dirt away. Slice into ¼-inch-thick slices. Place in large bowl.

Add the sliced onions and pickling salt. Stir so the salt is well distributed among the cucumber slices. Cover with clean cheesecloth, and then cover that with a couple of inches of ice.

Put in the refrigerator and let chill for 4 hours. Discard ice. Rinse the cumber and onions slices thoroughly; drain. Rinse and drain again.

In a 4- or 6-quart pot, place the vinegar, sugar and all of the spices. Bring to a boil. Once the sugar has dissolved, add the sliced cucumbers and onions. Bring to a boil again. As soon as the sugar vinegar solution begins boiling again turn off heat and allow to cool. Keep in airtight jars in a refrigerator for 3 weeks.

Here's to Us! Memories of June's Eat Drink Local

A partnership event with FRESHFARM made for a lively evening

By EdibleDC Magazine | Photos by MMariah Miranda Photography

Cowbell Kitchen & Bri’s Brookland Creamery

Cowbell Kitchen & Bri’s Brookland Creamery

Last month, hundreds of Washingtonians descended on the Long View Gallery in Shaw to celebrate the 5th Annual Eat Drink Local presented by EdibleDC magazine and FRESHFARM, a nonprofit that producer-only farmers markets. The annual event gathers the regions best farmers, producers, chefs, artisans, wineries, breweries and distillers for a night of delicious bites and libations. This year EdibleDC Magazine and FRESHFARM co-presented the June 10th event, providing an even greater focus on local sourcing, food access and food education.

As guested entered they were greeted by Celebrity Cruises with Virginia sparkling Thibaut-Janisson

As guested entered they were greeted by Celebrity Cruises with Virginia sparkling Thibaut-Janisson

A huge thanks to our main sponsors Celebrity Cruises and CoStar for supporting the eat drink local movement and making this event a reality.

Cheesemonster display paired with Seylou Bakery.

Cheesemonster display paired with Seylou Bakery.

The FRESHFARM team with our LOCAL letters provided by BRIGHTLY EVER AFTER.

The FRESHFARM team with our LOCAL letters provided by BRIGHTLY EVER AFTER.

Chef Adam Greenberg serves Kalua Pork Sliders from Coconut Club.

Chef Adam Greenberg serves Kalua Pork Sliders from Coconut Club.

Kevin Cassidy debuts his CRISOL Record Club.

Kevin Cassidy debuts his CRISOL Record Club.

Guests were treated to Celebrity Cruises VIP experience at the Columbia Room.

Guests were treated to Celebrity Cruises VIP experience at the Columbia Room.

Heirloom Catering provided event planning and food at the Celebrity Cruises VIP experience at the Columbia Room.

Heirloom Catering provided event planning and food at the Celebrity Cruises VIP experience at the Columbia Room.

VIP guests were treated to cocktails stirred and shaken by the Columbia Room. Each drink was inspired by a Celebrity Cruises experience such as the Caribbean made with Maximo Mezcal, Europe made with Don Ciccio & Figli, and Galapagos made with Republic Restoratives Vodka.

VIP guests were treated to cocktails stirred and shaken by the Columbia Room. Each drink was inspired by a Celebrity Cruises experience such as the Caribbean made with Maximo Mezcal, Europe made with Don Ciccio & Figli, and Galapagos made with Republic Restoratives Vodka.

Many thanks to this year’s event partners. We couldn’t do it without the expert help of these supporters:

The Season of Stone Fruit


Sweet and savory recipes to capture summer’s gems

By Emily Connor, EdibleDC contributor, photography by Jennifer Chase, EdibleDC

My mind races at the first sight of stone fruit at my neighborhood farmers market. Peaches, plums, nectarines, apricots—they represent the peak of summer and, for a recipe developer, endless possibilities. Each weekend, I leave the market laden with as much fruit as I can carry, and then hurry back the next weekend to stock up anew.

I do this confidently: There are so many delicious, unexpected ways to enjoy stone fruit all season long—from peaches piled high in big, wooden crates week after week to the ephemeral season for apricots and plums. And what’s better than eating a fresh peach or plum out of hand, letting the sticky-sweet juices drip down your chin? Well, obviously nothing. However, I’m here to tell you that stone fruits are most exciting when brought to the plate. Each summer is an adventure for me; I can’t wait to explore market-fresh stone fruit’s potential in simple dishes that emphasize both its range and depth.

Here are four of my favorite recipes (two savory and two sweet) for showcasing summer’s stone fruit. As these recipes show, the orchard’s juicy orbs are equally suited for getting charred and deeply caramelized over an open flame for a hearty panzanella as they are for slicing and piling atop a rich, creamy labneh panna cotta. They’re equally at home in a spunky, no-cook, Thai-inspired salad as they are when baked inside a flaky, almond-shingled galette served warm at your next backyard barbecue.

This grilled peach salad is delicious for a summer lunch or dinner.

This grilled peach salad is delicious for a summer lunch or dinner.

Varied as they are, these recipes have one thing in common: They require minimal fuss for maximum reward—my guiding mantra for summertime cooking.

Better yet, there’s absolutely no need to worry about finding an elusive perfect peach, or waiting until your plums or apricots are at peak ripeness. In the spirit of the lazy days of summer, use stone fruit interchangeably (or in combination) in any of these recipes. Bottom line? Let their varying levels of sweetness, tartness and ripeness inspire you

Grilled Peach Panzanella

Serves 4

This peachy spin on panzanella, the Tuscan bread salad traditionally made with tomatoes and stale bread, is one of my summertime staples when it’s too hot and humid to even think about turning on the stove. Charred peaches, salty prosciutto, creamy mozzarella, crispy croutons and a spunky chopped pesto vinaigrette—what’s not to love? It’s tailor-made for eating al fresco, glass of rosé in hand.

Olive oil for grilling

4 slices (½-inch each) from a loaf of crusty bread (such as ciabatta or sourdough)

4 large peaches, halved (pits removed)

3 ounces prosciutto

6 to 8 ounces mozzarella, torn into bite-sized pieces

A big handful of basil and mint, roughly torn

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Chopped pesto vinaigrette

2 tablespoons pine nuts

2 tablespoons shaved or coarsely grated parmesan

1 cup fresh basil leaves, packed

5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons lemon juice, from 1 large lemon

Sea salt + freshly ground black pepper

To make the chopped pesto vinaigrette: Mound pine nuts and parmesan together on a cutting board and finely chop. Add the basil and continue chopping. Aim for a fine yet varied texture. Immediately transfer to a bowl and add extra-virgin olive oil so the basil doesn’t discolor. Add lemon juice, sea salt and black pepper, whisking to combine. Adjust seasoning and acidity, to taste.

Prepare a gas grill with all burners on medium, or a charcoal grill with hot coals. Brush the rack with olive oil.

Brush both sides of the bread with enough oil to thoroughly and evenly coat. Grill the bread a few minutes per side (checking frequently) or until charred in spots but still soft in the middle. Let the bread cool, then cut into ½-inch cubes.

After the bread comes off the grill, brush the peach halves lightly with oil and grill, flesh side down, until deeply caramelized.

On a large serving platter, arrange the grilled peaches, bread cubes, prosciutto, torn mozzarella and herbs, then drizzle with the chopped pesto vinaigrette and season, to taste, with salt and black pepper. Serve slightly warm or at room temperature.


Thai Salad with Apricots, Chiles and Cucumber

Serves 2 to 4

This savory, spicy, sweet Thai-inspired salad checks all of the flavor and texture boxes I want in a good salad. It’s great on its own as a light lunch, or as a side to grilled meat or fish. For a completely different, no less delicious take, chop all of the ingredients (versus slice) and serve more salsa-style. No matter which way you go, you’ll be very glad to have this no-cook gem in your summer repertoire.

3 apricots, thinly sliced

4 Persian cucumbers, thinly sliced on the diagonal

1 red chile, diced

3 tablespoons peanuts (I use roasted and salted), roughly chopped

A big handful of fresh mint and cilantro leaves, roughly chopped

Fish sauce vinaigrette

2 tablespoons fish sauce

1 tablespoon light brown sugar

1 tablespoon water

Finely grated lime zest

1 tablespoon lime juice

To make the fish sauce vinaigrette: Combine all ingredients in a jar with a tight-fitting lid. Shake until the sugar is dissolved. Adjust acidity, to taste.

In a bowl, combine apricots, cucumbers, chile and fish sauce vinaigrette. Marinate for 10 to 20 minutes. When ready to serve, add the peanuts and herbs. Serve the salad on a large platter or individual plates, using a slotted spoon to drain off the vinaigrette.


Labneh Panna Cotta with Peaches and Pistachios

This next-level panna cotta, adorned with peaches, crushed pistachios and a drizzle of good honey, is one of the simplest, most elegant desserts of summer. It’s impossibly tangy, rich and creamy from labneh, a thick, strained yogurt that’s used across many Middle Eastern cuisines. If you can’t find labneh, use an equal amount of Greek yogurt.

16 ounces labneh

3 tablespoons cold water

1 envelope unflavored gelatin (2¼ teaspoons)

1 cup heavy cream

⅓ cup granulated sugar

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

2 peaches, thinly sliced

2 tablespoons pistachios, roughly chopped or crushed

Honey, a good floral type, for drizzling

Place the labneh in a large bowl. Whisk several times until smooth and creamy. Set aside.

Place 3 tablespoons of cold water in a small bowl. Sprinkle gelatin on top and let soften for 5 minutes.

In a small saucepan over medium heat, warm the heavy cream and sugar, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Remove from heat just before the mixture reaches a simmer. Add the gelatin mixture immediately to the pan, whisking until the gelatin completely dissolves. Whisk in the vanilla.

Pour the warm cream mixture into the bowl containing the labneh. Whisk to evenly combine.


Divide the mixture evenly among 6 (6-ounce) jars or ramekins. Cover with plastic wrap and chill until firm, about 3 to 4 hours. 

Top each panna cotta with sliced peaches, pistachios and a generous drizzle of honey. Serve.

Plum Galette with a Rye-Almond Crust

To me, there’s no better way to showcase summer’s most beautiful plums than in a rustic galette. The crust is amazingly flaky and almost cookie-crisp from a fancy-sounding yet simple French technique called fraisage, which involves nothing more than smearing the dough on the counter a few times. The smearing process creates long layers of butter in the dough, which translates to long flaky layers in the cooked crust. To make a good thing even better, sprinkle the dough with finely ground almonds before adding the plum filling (the almonds absorb excess juice as the plums bake) and top the folded edges with sliced almonds for added flavor and texture.

For the rye-almond crust:

1 cup (120 grams) unbleached all-purpose flour

½ cup (60 grams) rye flour

¾ teaspoon kosher salt

10 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

3 to 6 tablespoons ice water

For assembly:

4 to 6 plums (about 1½ pounds), pitted and cut into wedges (no need to peel)

⅓ cup granulated sugar

Finely grated zest from 1 large lemon

2 tablespoons almond flour (or finely ground almonds, pulsed in a food processor)

3 tablespoons sliced almonds

1 tablespoon turbinado sugar

1 to 2 tablespoons heavy cream (or an egg white, lightly beaten)

Heat oven to 400°F.

To make the almond-rye crust, in a food processor pulse the flours and salt to combine. Scatter butter pieces over the flour mixture, then pulse until the butter is the size of large peas, about 6 to 8 pulses. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of water over mixture and pulse a few times, then repeat with 1 tablespoon of water at a time, or just until small curds start to form and dough holds together when pinched with fingers. (Alternatively, you can do this by hand.)

Empty dough onto clean counter or piece of parchment paper. Using bench scraper, gather dough into a rough rectangular mound about 12 inches long and 4 inches wide. Starting from the farthest end, use the heel of your hand to smear about one sixth of dough against your work surface away from you. Repeat until all of your dough has been smeared. Using bench scraper, gather the dough again into a 12-inch-long and 4-inch-wide mound and repeat smearing of dough with heel of hand. The dough should be smooth and cohesive at this point; if not, repeat smearing process again. Form dough into 4-inch disk, wrap in plastic and refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour.

To assemble the galette: In a large bowl, mix together plums, sugar and lemon zest; set aside.

Remove the dough from the refrigerator. Roll out dough into a 12-inch round. Transfer dough onto a large parchment-lined baking sheet. Sprinkle the almond flour evenly over the dough, then mound the plums in the middle, leaving a 2½-inch border around the edges. Fold the edges of the dough over the filling. (If your dough is getting too warm at any point and is difficult to manage, return it to the refrigerator for 10 to 15 minutes, then proceed.) Brush the folded edges with heavy cream (or egg wash), then sprinkle them with almonds (pressing to adhere as needed) and turbinado sugar.

Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, until fruit is bubbling and the crust is golden. Cool for at least 30 minutes on wire rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Great Eats Right Outside of Washington, DC in Montgomery County

brought to you by Visit Montgomery and EdibleDC Magazine

Montgomery County’s claim to fame is an authentic dining experience ranging in flavors from around the world, a community of hidden gems and tasty treasures. With over 1,000 restaurants across the county, there’s an outstanding dining option for every day of the week. Here are a few restaurants that should be on your summer “great eats” list this summer – right outside of Washington, DC.

City Perch Kitchen + Bar
North Bethesda


City Perch Kitchen + Bar offers seasonal American cuisine with an emphasis on unique, seasonal dishes, natural ingredients and contemporary comfort foods. The diverse range of flavors is complemented by a sophisticated beverage program specializing in hand-crafted farm-to-glass cocktails and boutique wines.

The Manor at Silo Falls

Located on 40 acres of rolling farmland, The Manor at Silo Falls is a historic mansion with a full-service kitchen and bar. The breathtaking property features a large lake, farm silo and many areas for beautiful photography.

Terrain Café


Using hand-selected local produce, meats and dairy products, the Cafe’s culinary team takes pride in crafting menus from the seasonal harvest of farmers they know and trust. Located in the Bethesda Row shopping district, Terrain Cafe is connected to the terrain and Anthropologie retail spaces and it features an interior dining space with bar seating plus additional exterior seating on the patio.

Fogo de Chão
North Bethesda


Leading Brazilian steakhouse Fogo de Chão recently opened its doors at Pike & Rose. The steakhouse offers guests an elevated experience at the reimagined, contemporary bar with lounge seating and dedicated bar staff. Guests may choose to add a single selection of fire-roasted meat or have the full churrasco experience. Brazilian-inspired seafood options are also available a-la-carte, including shrimp and lobster appetizers, mango Chilean sea bass and a seafood tower.

Copper Canyon Grill
Silver Spring & Gaithersburg

At Copper Canyon Grill in Silver Spring or Gaithersburg you will enjoy full-flavored, fresh American cuisine served in an upscale, yet casual and energetic atmosphere. Make sure to try their made-from-scratch iron skillet cornbread.

Our On The Farm

For those looking to take the idea of “farm-to-table” to a whole new level, spend the evening surrounded by abundant beauty in Montgomery County’s 93,000-acre Agricultural Reserve.

Calleva Farm’s Dirty Dinners


Experience the spring and summertime glory of Calleva’s 200-acre farm, featuring a meal comprised of local ingredients, local wines, and live music from local artists. Dirty Dinners give adults an opportunity to experience the relaxed joys of farm life, and the great outdoors in Montgomery County.

High Point Farm

Whether it’s spelled barbecue or BBQ, the flame-kissed goodness is the centerpiece of High Point Farm’s catering services. Their team will bring the grills to you or serve on-site at the farm.

Smokey Glen Farm

Known as “the company picnic place,” Smokey Glen Farm encourages guests to mix business with a hearty helping of their famous barbeque chicken. Throughout the summer, get a taste of Montgomery County’s rural side with Fridays on the Farm.

For more information visit http://www.visitmontgomery.com

Kicky Summer Punches for a Great 4th of July Celebration

Here’s to you! Batch up your cocktails for easy home entertaining

Mixologist members of Chocolate City’s Best bar guild gather on the roof of The Apollo on H Street to test Kapri Robinson’s summer drinks recipes.

Mixologist members of Chocolate City’s Best bar guild gather on the roof of The Apollo on H Street to test Kapri Robinson’s summer drinks recipes.

By Kapri Robinson, from the Edible DC Summer 2019 Issue

I was given the quintessential summer challenge from the Edible DC editorial team: What can a host make ahead of time, in a large format, and finish off easily—so that guests can serve themselves and the host can relax? Here are three punch or pitcher-format cocktails—bright, fresh, sparkling and citrusy. If you have a punch bowl, bring it out. Otherwise, now is the time to find a beautiful large pitcher and fun summer cocktail glasses.

All recipes serve 4–6 people.


The Old Cuban

This is one of my favorite rum drinks. My inspiration was drawn from Hank’s Oyster Bar on the Wharf who did an Old Cuban to share last year. It’s a great cocktail and just screams summer.

16 ounces lime juice

16 ounces simple syrup

32 ounces Santa Teresa 1796 or another dark rum*

8 dashes Angostura Bitters

Fresh mint leaves

1 bottle sparkling white wine

Pour all ingredients into a punch bowl. At party time, add ice and top with sparkling wine to your liking. Garnish with sprigs of mint.

*If you prefer a stronger punch, use 48 ounces of rum. In hotter months, the ice may melt more quickly, diluting the strength.

Sinners and Saints, garnished with grapefruit slices.

Sinners and Saints, garnished with grapefruit slices.

Sinners and Saints

Going away from sweet, I wanted to do a cocktail that was a tad bitter and not citrusy at all—but light and refreshing and, of course, great with food.

32 ounces Cynar

48 ounces St-Germain 

1 bottle sparkling white wine

Pour into the Cynar and St-Germain into a punch bowl. At party time, add ice and top with the sparkling wine to your liking. Garnish with grapefruit slices. 


Blackberry Cachaça Daquiri

My idea for this punch came from last year’s Chocolate City’s Best competition and The People’s Choice Award Winner, Chris Martino, currently at Taqueria del Barrio in Petworth. Berries and cachaça go so well together—it’s a drink that is easy on the eye and summery with a rum funkiness in the background.

32 ounces fresh lime juice

24 ounces blackberry syrup*

64 ounces Leblon cachaça

Add the ingredients to a punch bowl, add ice, stir, then enjoy! Garnish with lime slices and whole fresh blackberries. 

*To make blackberry syrup, put 2 cups of water, a cup of freshly puréed blackberries and 1 cup of sugar into a small saucepan. Stir and bring to a boil, then add a small jar of unsweetened blackberry jam. Stir well to incorporate. Take off the heat and let cool, straining to remove the seeds. Keep the extra syrup in a jar in your refrigerator for up to a week.

Kapri Robinson is founder of Chocolate City’s Best bar competition. Robinson is profiled in the Summer Issue of  Edible DC  in the feature story, “Cocktails of a Different Feather.”

Kapri Robinson is founder of Chocolate City’s Best bar competition. Robinson is profiled in the Summer Issue of Edible DC in the feature story, “Cocktails of a Different Feather.”






Maryland's First Natural Wine Festival Celebrates the Beginning of Summer

by Jessica Wolfrom and photos by Linda Wang

This weekend, Maryland was awash in natural wine. 

Winemakers from across the world gathered under a giant tent in Clarksburg, Maryland to celebrate Summer Solstice, a natural wine festival put on by Drew Baker and his sisters, Lisa Hinton, and Ashli Johnson of Old Westminster Winery.

The Burnt Hill Project. Photo by Linda Wang

The Burnt Hill Project. Photo by Linda Wang

Maryland isn't considered an epicenter for the natural wine movement, but this is starting to change.

“If you were to tell me that something like this would have happened when I moved here last year,” said Eric Moorer of Domestique, a natural wine shop in D.C., “I don’t know if I would have necessarily believed you.” 

Eric Moorer of Domestique. Photo by Linda Wang

Eric Moorer of Domestique. Photo by Linda Wang

But now, consumers and winemakers alike are reconsidering the way wine is made and the kinds of wine we are putting into our bodies. 

The festival took place at Baker’s newest vineyard, The Burnt Hill Project, which he planted just months ago. “Rather than sit back quietly and wait four years to release our first bottle of wine,” said Baker, who is farming Burnt Hill biodynamically, “we wanted to host Summer Solstice to celebrate folks who inspire the way that we farm and elevate the beauty of natural wine.” 

Drew Baker at Summer Solstice Festival. Photo by Linda Wang

Drew Baker at Summer Solstice Festival. Photo by Linda Wang

Baker was adamant that the people pouring the wines at the festival were the ones who made them. Producers like Laura Brennan Bissell of Inconnu, Todd Cavallo of Wild Arc Farm, Chris Brockway of Broc Cellars, Nate Ready of Hiyu Wine Farm, and, Old Westminster’s very own Lisa Hinton joined Baker on Burnt Hill to pop corks and spill wine into eager glasses on the year’s longest evening. 

Photo by Linda Wang

Photo by Linda Wang

“I heard from a lot of people that this festival is not like other festivals,” said Moorer. At larger festivals, he said, the rock stars of the natural wine world generally attract mobs, leaving lesser-known producers feeling passed over and dejected. 

“At Solstice, it felt like everyone in attendance was interested in each and every table,” said Moorer. 

Summer Solstice-JPEGS-0064.jpg

Although there is no official definition of natural wine, its overarching philosophy prescribes a kind of stripping away. Natural and low-intervention winemakers encourage fermentation without adding things like yeasts, bacterias, and acids to manipulate or enhance the wine’s flavor or balance. Baker describes these as “wines without makeup.” 

The DMV has seen a surge in natural wine recently, both in the retail and restaurant space. In D.C., places like Dio wine bar and Domestique are expanding Washingtonian’s palates for the natural stuff. Fadensonnen in Baltimore is a similarly popular pilgrimage for those seeking out low intervention wine across Maryland. Restaurants like Bad Saint, Komi, and Little Pearl have started pouring pet-nats (and other natural wines) with abandon. 

Photo by Linda Wang

Photo by Linda Wang

But as writer Jamie Goode points out, the natural wine world can feel a little like a cool kids club. For those unfamiliar with vins de soifs - wines that exist simply to quench thirst - or glou glou, literally ‘glug-glug’, which implies that the wine is so good you can’t help but drink it, it’s easy to feel left out of a world already oversaturated with nomenclature.

“Natural wines are definitely new to me,” said Baltimore-based food blogger, Linda Song. “But I really enjoyed the festival. The location was beautiful, and both the staff and attendees were enthusiastic about sharing their love of these wines.” 

Photo by Linda Wang

Photo by Linda Wang

Moorer agrees. “It does feel like the vibe is different here,” he said. “These producers don't have to be friends, but they are here to support each other, taste each other wines, and share ideas.”

Supporting each other, at least in Baker’s mind, was the whole point. Summer Solstice might be over, but the relationships forged on Baker’s hillsides will last far into the future.