Summer and fall are typical times of year for harvesting and preserving fruit and vegetables. But there’s still more of the year left for another kind of harvest as the weather turns cold. Late fall and early winter are the traditional season for butchering animals. There are several reasons for this seasonal rhythm. First of all, it makes more sense for farmers to butcher meat animals in the fall, rather than providing them with food and water through the harsh temperatures of another winter. In addition, in the ages before refrigeration, butchering animals in cold weather (40 degrees and below) reduced the risk of meat spoiling during processing. Without modern freezing and refrigeration, butchered meat was commonly preserved in many of the ways we now choose primarily for their flavor such as curing (think bacon and hams!), smoking, or drying (jerky).
Of course, with modern refrigeration and freezing devices, butchery isn’t primarily confined to the cooler months of the year as it once was. Nevertheless, fall is a great time to shine a light on local, humane meat production and some of the delicious meat products you can find around Front Royal. Read on to discover Front Royal’s local meats.
Front Royal’s Local Meat Farms
Grass is a healthy cow’s natural diet, and grass-fed beef is a healthy and delicious food for humans. In the Front Royal area, you can find local, grass-fed beef at Cottonwood Ranch, a family-owned and operated farm just a few miles from town. Cottonwood’s cows receive humane treatment throughout their lives, graze happily on pasture, and have their diet supplemented by high protein beer mash from local breweries. Manor Line Ranch in nearby Browntown, VA is another great source of local grass-fed beef. You’ll find the same high standards of humane treatment, environmental stewardship, and delicious food here too. Manor Line Ranch also produces high quality pork, lamb, and goat.
Head to their websites to purchase meat from both farms directly. Save some money and stock the freezer by placing a bulk order. You can purchase a whole, half, or quarter cow and enjoy a variety of healthy, grass-fed steaks, roasts, and hamburger, while having your freezer stocked so you’re never caught off guard.
Restaurants Serving Local Meats in Front Royal
If you want someone else to cook your local meat for your, check out you can find some great farm-to-table restaurants in the Front Royal area. Head to PaveMint Smokin’ Tap House to find delicious, local, smoked meats, burgers from local farms, and more. You’ll even find some meat from Manor Line Ranch on the menu. The made-over gas station provides a fun and unique atmosphere for enjoying your food.
For another local food experience, try Region’s 117 at Lake Frederick. This local fine dining option boasts a menu of “regionally inspired” dishes, with most of their ingredients sourced within 117 miles of the restaurant. Head here for beautiful views, delicious cuisine, and a fine dining experience you won’t forget!
Pick up more Meats and Local Products
In search of even more local products? Stop by Dusty’s Country Store and explore a wide variety of local, Virginia-produced food. Check out their jerky for meat preserved the old-fashioned way. The Apple House in Linden is another local favorite; find Virginia hams in the gift shop, as well as a range of other local products, or grab a bite in the restaurant or Bushel Pub.
Celebrate fall by bringing home some delicious local meats to enjoy with your family. Whether it’s Thanksgiving Dinner, another special occasion, or a simple weeknight meal with the family, local meat is a great addition to any table.
There’s a seasonal rhythm to human eating that comes with making an effort to eat local and produce some of your own food. Summer and early fall are a natural time of year to be outdoors, growing and harvesting fresh produce. But as the weather cools and the days shorten, there’s a lot less growing happening in the great outdoors. Many of us feel an urge to get cozy inside instead. It’s a great time to enjoy the tastes and scents of home-baked goods or preserved produce.
If you’re feeling a craving for cozy baked goods and preserved local produce as fall turns to winter, you’ll find plenty to satisfy you in Front Royal. Read on for the best local places to pick up baked treats or stock up on local preserves.
Front Royal’s Baked Goods
Down Home Comfort Bakery is Front Royal’s number one stop for freshly baked goods all year round. But in the fall, there’s something particularly appealing about cozying up with one of their tantalizing treats. You’ll even find seasonal produce in your treats here. Try out the Pumpkin Moonshine Cake or Apple Caramel Cake for melt-in-your-mouth flavors of fall. Their cinnamon rolls and pecan sticky buns are favorites all year round. Need a hand with your Thanksgiving dinner? Down Home Comfort Bakery has you covered with a huge selection of delicious pies available for preorder now!
Head to Manor Line's Back 40 for a cozy coffee shop with many local products on the menu. Enjoy delicious coffee and seasonal baked goods. Couches, a stash of board games, and toys for kids make it a great place to spend a cozy few hours.
Or explore a few blocks north of Main Street to find Garcia and Gavino, a friendly family bakery. You can enjoy cupcakes and other sweet treats, as well as a selection of empanadas and breakfast burritos.
In the mood for warming up with a cup of coffee and a baked treat on the side? Front Royal’s Daily Grind is another great option. This cozy coffee shop on Main Street is a long time local favorite. With fresh scones, muffins, turnovers, Danishes, and more, you’re sure to find the perfect sweet treat to pair with that warming mug of coffee or hot chocolate.
Let us not leave out DOUGHNUTS, wonderful doughnuts! And anyone knows that the most memorable doughnuts around are Strites Doughnuts! You can get your fill at 50 Water Street in Front Royal, open Friday and Saturday's from 7am to sold out or Noon. (Note they accept cash only).
Local Pickles and Preserves in Front Royal
For many years, preserving food to last through the winter has been one of the major tasks of human life. During the summer and fall, people would “put up” a supply of canned and preserved goods, such as pickles, jams, sauces, pie fillings, dried fruits, and more. The colder moths were a time to rest from the labor of growing and harvesting, and enjoy the food prepared earlier in the year.
With grocery stores now bringing fresh food into our hands from all corners of the earth, preserving food is no longer a necessity for many. Nevertheless it can be a fun and money-saving hobby, and the results are still delicious. If you’re not interested in preserving your own food, shop for local preserves in Front Royal. The Apple House has a wide range of local products such as chutneys, jams, jellies, and pickles. Dusty’s Country Store is another great place to stock up on preserved Virginia produce including peanut butter and traditional chutneys. Pick out some unique gifts at either location to get a jump start on your holiday shopping.
It’s the season for cozy fires, candlelight, spicy baked goods, and delicious jams and jellies. Look no further than Front Royal to stock up on all your edible supplies for a cozy and delicious winter.
The fertile soils of the Shenandoah Valley have been farmland since the distant days of Native American settlements. Today, the Shenandoah Valley is still an area that produces plentiful delicious food. Earlier in the year we highlighted some locally produced Front Royal summer treats. But in this amazing area, nature’s bounty keeps on coming right through the fall. Today, we’re beginning a tour of Front Royal’s fall fare, and we’re starting with a classic fall fruit that everybody likes. This fruit…
Front Royal Apples
Virginia is the sixth highest apple-producing state in the U.S. With its location in the northern Shenandoah Valley, Front Royal sits squarely in Virginia apple country. It’s also one of the most conveniently located apple country towns for residents of the D.C. metro area. You’ll find loads of delicious apples in Front Royal’s orchards, where you can purchase pre-picked apples, or enjoy a family apple picking outing.
Stribling Orchard is one of our top picks for its secluded location and stunning mountain views. This historic farm has been producing fruit for 200 hundred years. Check out the farm store for local products and baked goods. Plan your visit for a weekend to find several of Front Royal’s favorite local vendors on site.
For another fantastic apple orchard experience, head to Valley View Farm’s pick your own orchard, or visit the locavore farm market on site to purchase local foods and apple products such as butters, jellies, and more.
Hollin Farms and Hartland Orchard are two other popular local apple picking options, both conveniently located near Interstate 66.
Front Royal Apple Cider
Wherever apples are growing, you’ll find apple cider brewing, and Front Royal is no exception. You’ll want to make sure you enjoy a glass (or two!) of this delicious, locally produced beverage on your visit to Front Royal. Of course, sweet cider is a favorite for kids, while hard cider is a great option for adults. Naturally gluten free, apple cider is a great alternative for those who can’t tolerate the gluten in beer.
If you’re on an apple cider hunt in Front Royal, Valley View Farm is a great place to start. Enjoy tasting their oak aged ciders made with 100% locally sourced apples. The tasting area is gorgeous, and it’s a great way to relax after some apple-picking.
For a full day’s adventure, head to Cobbler Mountain Cider, where you can explore the beautiful 90 acre property with hiking trails, creekside fun, fire pits, and more. Enjoy a huge variety of flavored ciders while you’re there. You’ll need to make plenty of visits before you discover your favorite!
Or if you’re looking for cider without heading out into the countryside, try stopping by PaveMint Taphouse in Front Royal. You’ll find a small selection of craft ciders at this fantastic micro-brewery.
Apples Every Way at Front Royal’s Apple House
From butters to jellies, pies, and more, there’s loads you can do with Virginia apples as an ingredient. A Front Royal top stop for apple-themed goods of all kinds is The Apple House. It’s conveniently located right off I-66, and it’s a great place to enjoy honest country fare. Stop in for breakfast, lunch, or dinner, and check out the gift shop for more Virginia products. Don’t miss the famous Apple Butter Cinnamon Donuts. You’ll want to enjoy one on the spot, and bring some with you for the road!
It’s wisely been said: an apple a day keeps the doctor away. With numerous health benefits and delicious flavor, apples are yet another gift that Mother Nature has to offer residents and visitors of Front Royal. Whether you plan a full day of apple fun with picking and cider tasting, or make a quick stop off I-66 to pick up donuts at The Apple House, make sure you find a way to enjoy Front Royal apples this fall.
Heading out to a farm and picking your own produce is a great summer activity with kids. They’ll love the chance to pick (and eat!) their favorite fruits and vegetables, and they’ll learn a bit about where their food comes from in the process. Plus it’s a great chance to get everybody outside and enjoying the summer weather. Read on for our top five tips on making your pick-your-own experience a success, plus recommendations of pick your own farms to love in the Front Royal area.
1. Pick What You’ll Eat
This one might seem obvious, but when you’re faced with a field full of delicious looking fruit, it’s easy to get carried away. Focus on planning your outing around fruit you know you’ll still enjoy when you get it home. Your kids will probably enjoy the outing more if they’re picking a favorite food too.
As well as picking what you like, it’s also a good idea to keep in mind how much you’ll be able to eat when you get it home. It’s easy to pick a lot in the field and feel overwhelmed when it’s in your kitchen. We have some more tips below on using up excess, but it’s good to plan ahead too to minimize waste.
2. Call or Check Social Media before Heading Out
Farming (and public fruit picking!) are not completely predictable, and supply at a pick-your-own farm varies from day to day. It’s a good idea to call the farm before you get there to make sure they have fruit available for picking. Many pick your own farms will also post updates on their social media pages so you can make sure there’s fruit available and avoid disappointment. The good news is that there are so many pick your own farms in Front Royal you should be able to find another one if your first choice is picked out.
3. Pack a Picnic
Farms are beautiful places, especially around Front Royal, with views of the Blue Ridge Mountains all around. Plan for being able to take it slow and enjoy your surroundings when you get there. Most pick-your-own farms welcome visitors to bring picnics and enjoy their time in the fields. Bring foods that’ll tasted good with whatever you’re picking for maximum picnic success! Pair whipped cream and shortcake cookies with strawberries or peaches, or bring cheese and crackers on your apple picking expedition.
4. Be Prepared for the Heat
It’s hard for kids to remember to take care of themselves when they’re outdoors in the sun and busy having fun. But summer’s heat in Virginia is something to take seriously. There’s nothing fun about starting to feel sick in the middle of an outing. To help prevent heat-related problems, make sure everyone wears hats. Be sure to pack water bottles or electrolyte drinks such as Gatorade or coconut water and hydrate frequently.
4. Get Creative with Your Haul
Even if you limit yourself when you’re out picking, it’s still likely you’ll get home and find that what you’ve brought looks like a lot more on your kitchen table than it did in the field. Don’t give in to overwhelm and let it go bad before you can eat it. Having surplus fruit can be a great learning experience for everyone. Trying baking up a fruit dessert together. Cobblers and crisps are classic favorites that are both simple and healthy. You can even eat the leftovers with yogurt for a yummy and nutritious breakfast. Or take the chance to teach kids about fruit preservation (and enjoy your pickings for much longer!) You can preserve fruit by making jams and jellies and canning them, or for a super easy solution freeze your haul and save it for smoothies and more!
Where to Pick Your Own in Front Royal
If you’re ready to get started picking your own produce, Front Royal is a great place to be! Hartland Orchard is a popular option that’s easy to access (and find!) from I-66, although it can be crowded. Hollins Farm is a slightly further drive, but it’s great option with lots of variety, including pick your own veggies as well as fruits, and even dig-your-own peanuts! And Valley View Farm is a great place to spend a whole day with opportunities for farm tours, local cider and wine tasting, and more! For peaches and apples in a scenic setting that’s a bit more removed from the hustle and bustle, try Stribling Orchard. It’s a beautiful place to pick your own and enjoy a picnic.
Flowers aren’t (usually) edible, but they’re still fun to pick. Head to Clover Hill Farm to enjoy pick your own a different way, with gorgeous blooms available to pick spring through fall. Sign up for a kids class too, and you can pick flowers and learn more about gardening all at the same time.
Picking your own fruit and flowers is a great activity for kids and adults in the warmer weather. If you’re around the Front Royal area, you’re in a great place to take the family out and pick, with loads of options to find the farm that’s perfect for you. Follow our tips and head on out there for a day of delicious, educational fun!
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