Sperryville column for Feb. 23

Sperryville writer Monica Worth is filling in for Barbara Adolfi this week and next. If you have news for the column, email Monica at monicaworth@mindspring.com.

The subject for this week’s Sperryville column is: food.

It’s that time of year when, normally, some of us would be aching for the frozen ground to thaw so we could plant in it something to eat. This year at my place, a leafy thing that looks like Brussels sprouts (without the sprouts) as well as little curly combs of kale are still growing at the top of last fall’s stalks, completely unprotected – and I suspect the broccoli would be if a certain rabbit had not figured out that the batteries were dead on the wire that runs around the garden close to the ground to discourage his sort.

It’s about time to get the next round of cold weather greens in and to finally get around to making a cold frame so I can eat from the garden through the winter next year, too, pretty much regardless of how the temperature behaves.

Hiker’s meals and picnic lunches

Neighbors Brooke Parkhurst, pastry chef and owner of Triple Oak Bakery (TripleOakBakery.com), and Sylvie Rowand, personal chef and owner of Laughing Duck Gardens & Cookery (LaughingDuckGardens.com), are teaming up to introduce some ready-to-go food options in the county. They’ll offer carryout hiker’s baskets and picnic baskets to locals and visitors alike, starting within the month.

The menu changes according to the season but includes vegetables and salads, grain, meat or vegetable proteins, and sweets . . . and all are gluten-free (although no one is likely to notice that “bread” is missing).

Offerings may include chilled soup, roasted chicken, spanakopeta, pastries, quinoa salad, marinated carrots with mint, green salads, lentil/feta/spinach salad and a number of sweets such as Triple Oak Bakery’s famous chocolate chip cookies and triple-chocolate brownies.

The hiker’s meals are suitable for backpacking. The picnic lunches (offered in a real basket or in a shopping bag with handles) are perfect for a day at the races, winery-hopping or even a day when you have extra company or just do not feel like cooking.

As a matter of fact, the baskets will be available for the Thornton Hill point-to-point races on March 3 (order no later than noon Feb. 29). The fixed-price meals start at $20 and include appetizers, a main dish with sides, dessert, and bottled water. Vegetarian options are also available.  

You do have to reserve in advance. To order or for more information, call Triple Oak Bakery at 540-987-9122 or send an e-mail to TripleOakBakery@gmail.com.

A matter of taste

I heard an “expert” on public radio say recently that he thought science would eventually solve the nutrition crisis in America by creating food that was healthy for us and tasted good. Clearly he’s not shopping around here.

And who decided to sit such a swell thinker in front of a microphone? Remember, this radio guy wasn’t talking about solving world hunger. He was talking about healthy food that just tastes good.

Healthy, delicious food for all was the topic of conversation among friends on the porch not too long ago – here on a modest, once self-supporting sliver of farmland pretty deep in a Sperryville hollow, on which I now barely manage to keep up with a couple of 10-foot garden rows and a few borrowed cows.

I know that freshly made takeout meals are a real luxury for many. But a peach right off the branch? It can be done, say on a weekend outing, with a little effort. And a juicy chicken in the crock pot? Hopefully, on its way to being comparable to McDonald’s on the “how to do it all in a given day” scale of convenience, even for a city dweller, what with some of the big-box stores now making an effort to offer fresh food options in downtown locations.

Whatever you eat this week, I hope it’s delicious and downed after a moment of thanks, plus a sincere thought for those whose budgets can’t stretch far enough even for the fixings in the pot, much less the gas or electricity to fix them.

Send your news to . . .

I’m your substitute columnist for one more week, so please send any updates or information you want to share to monicaworth@mindspring.com. Then we’ll welcome Barbara back – and she’ll be all over Sperryville as usual, gathering news for everyone to enjoy.

– Monica Worth