Posted by The Editorial Desk / Wednesday, January 26th, 2011
When we last crossed paths with chef Chris Carey, he was hard at work making Leesburg’s The Wine Kitchen a household name.
But an unspecified family commitment required him to cut ties with the restaurant early last year.
So, what’s a farm-to-table devotee supposed to do when free time rears its ugly/rarely-seen head?
Put nature’s bounty to work for you, of course.
A value added-style vendor, Carey said he takes ingredients from local purveyors–including: Windmill Meadows Farms, Quarter Branch Farm, Angelic Beef, Singing Frog Farm, Lothar Erbe‘s gourmet sausages, Steve Baker pork–and incorporates them into his own, seasonally inspired creations.
“Each week I call them up and say, ‘What have you got for me … and I go from there,’” Carey said of his on-the-fly business model. The fruits of his labor (to date) have included: sunchoke soup, shaved Brussels sprouts-Manchego salad, chicken legs braised in spicy tomato sauce, gourmet mac and cheese, and Thai-style shrimp with pomelo, cilantro and bean sprouts.
Meanwhile, Carey said he’s developed an insta-following from the food allergy set due to his commitment to culinary transparency and apparent flexibility.
Vegetarians and vegans appreciate his ability to modify recipes to fit their dietary needs (case in point: he makes a butter- and cream-free mushroom soup for dairy deniers). And just about everybody enjoys knowing that Carey can identify where each of his ingredients comes from, down to those available in the very same farmers market.
If pre-packaged foods feel too much like cheating to you, fear not.
Carey plans to share his passion for locavore-centric cooking via a series of classes poised to happen later this year. First up will be a course on French cooking scheduled for May, followed by a “farmers markets of the world” cohort (tentative focal points include New York City and Genoa) set to debut in June, all to be done through Fairfax County. He’s also working on stepping behind the instructional burners at the Pentagon Row Sur La Table (dates/times TBD).
NoVA’s Winter Farmers Markets
Old Town Alexandria Farmers Market • 301 King St., Alexandria – Sat, 5:30-11 a.m.
Arlington Farmers Market • N. 14th St. & N. Courthouse Road, Arlington – Sat, 8-noon
Clarendon Farmers Market • 3100 Wilson Blvd., Arlington – Wed, 3-7 p.m.
Columbia Pike Farmers Market • S. Walter Reed Drive & Columbia Pike – Sun, 9-1 p.m., (summer); Sun, 10-1 p.m. (winter).
Del Ray Farmers Market • E. Oxford & Mount Vernon Ave., Alexandria – Sat, 8-noon
Falls Church Farmers Market • 300 Park Ave., Falls Church – Sat, 9-noon (Jan-Mar); Sat, 8-noon (Apr-Dec)
Farmer Girls • 8769 Old Dumfries Road, Catlett; 540-272-7839
Fredericksburg Farmers Market • George and Prince Edward Streets, Fredericksburg – Mon-Sat, 7-6 p.m.; Sun, 12:30-4 p.m.
Leesburg Farmers Market • 20 Catoctin Circle S.E., Leesburg – Sat, 8-noon (May-Oct); Sat, 9-noon (Nov-Apr)
Loudoun Flavor • 39363 Stevens Road, Lovettsville; 703-350-2790
Old Town Manassas Farmers Market •9431 West St., Manassas – Sat, 10-2 p.m.
Smart Markets • 2854 Hunter Mill Road, Oakton – Sat, 10-2 p.m.
Smart Markets • 13297 Gateway Center Drive, Gainesville – Sun, 10:30-1:30 p.m.
Winchester Freight Station Farmers Market • 315 W. Boscawen St., Winchester; Tue, Sat, 10-2 p.m. (Jan-Apr); Tue, Fri, Sat, 8-1 p.m. (May-Dec)
Or click here for our full list of local farmers markets.