Bath County, in the mountains of Virginia west of the Shenandoah Valley, is having a love affair with the Farm-to-Table concept. Family farming has experienced a renewal here in recent years. Local chefs enjoy being creative with whatever fresh products are in season. That’s just the beginning of this delicious story.
In 2020, a few local farms worked together to launch a special program that local residents and visitors fell in love with. Foodlore Fridays is a weekly event between July and October. It’s a celebration of food, farmers and community. The offerings vary slightly from week to week, but usually include a local market where people can buy fresh products; a visiting chef prepares specialties in the custom-designed airstream trailer turned mobile kitchen; a wine and cider bar; and occasionally live entertainment. It all takes place on the grounds of Oakley Farm in Warm Springs, Virginia. Guests bring a blanket or chairs and enjoy food, fun and conversation in a beautiful mountain setting.
Oakley Farm, which hosts Foodlore Fridays, is home to two bustling businesses — Troddenvale Cidery and Fireside at Oakley Farms. Troddenvale is committed to using simple methods to produce cider with complex flavors. Tours are available by appointment. Fireside at Oakley Farms is a pastured poultry operation managed by Jim and Catie King. Their chickens can usually be seen foraging around Troddenvale’s orchard rows.
Their scratching aerates the soil. While Fireside is not generally open to the public, their products can be found all around the county, including eggs, whole chickens, processed chicken and soon grass-fed lamb.
Bath County is home to several special occasion restaurants where chefs frequently work their magic with local products. In Hot Springs, chef Kyle Krieger has developed a loyal following of foodies who consider Les Cochons D’Or one of the finest restaurants in Virginia. Sneads 1912 is an institution in Bath County, serving amazing steaks, barbecue and other specialties. The chefs at The Omni Homestead dazzle diners with exquisite dishes. Just down the road in Warm Springs, Chef John Loeffler has built The Waterwheel Restaurant into an award-winning restaurant that is a favorite among visitors and Bath County residents. The Tavern at the Inn at Warm Springs features European specialties in keeping with the owner’s heritage. In nearby Millboro, Fort Lewis Lodge and Farm serves guests delicious food featuring products grown on site. All of these locally-owned establishments provide a culinary experience that visitors will remember forever.
Bath County is quickly becoming a favorite destination for foodies. Visitors can enjoy tours and tastings at a local winery, brewery, cidery and a variety of family farms and see where the food is grown before sitting down to an exceptional meal. Bath is a genuine farm-to-table county.
Plan a visit at discoverbath.com