When you think of fall, you probably think of colorful leaves, expansive pumpkin patches, and cool autumn weather. But what may not come to mind is the abundance of fresh food that is gathered at local farms and vineyards. Autumn marks the arrival of harvest season in Virginia, bringing an array of flavorful, recently-picked produce straight to your plate. Dine at one of Virginia’s most notable farm-to-table restaurants, or if you want to get the full harvest experience, attend some of the following harvest celebrations, held at wineries, distilleries, cideries, and even in the scenic farm fields themselves.
—HARVEST PARTIES ACROSS THE COMMONWEALTH—
Coyote Hole Ciderworks Fall Festival Harvest Party—Mineral
When: October 11-14, 2019
Join Coyote Hole Ciderworks for their Fall Festival Harvest Party, with family-friendly autumn activities happening all weekend long. Savor cider donuts, non-alcoholic fresh-pressed sparkling ciders, seasonal hard ciders made from Virginia-grown fruit, and all your favorite fall foods and beverages. The festival also features an escape room, psychic readings, live music performances, a car show, trivia contest, and a pie-eating contest for those not full from all the previously mentioned fall goodies.
Annual Harvest Fest at The Virginia Distillery Company—Lovingston
When: October 12, 2019
Take in the beauty of Virginia’s harvest season at The Virginia Distillery Company’s Annual Harvest Fest, a Saturday event filled with seasonal fare from local food trucks, live music from the Jason Burke Band, and tastings of the distillery’s award-winning whiskeys. Don’t miss sampling the featured October cocktail, the Great Ginger Pumpkin, a drink that tastes just like fall in a glass!
Spring House Farm Root to Table Dinner—Hamilton
When: October 27, 2019
Dine on top of a mountain overlooking Loudoun County’s stunning Wine Country during the Spring House Farm Harvest Dinner. Part of the 2019 Taste of the Blue Ridge Root to Table Series, this harvest event is led by farmer Andrew Crush, Chef Erik Foxx-Nettnin of Magnolia’s at the Mill, Chef Justin Garrison of Justin Thyme Catering, and guest Chef Britt Shyrene (who formerly worked in a Florida Michelin-starred restaurant). Filled with elegant dishes and a warm, autumnal atmosphere, the dinner begins with fresh Virginia oysters and drinks as you compete in classic yard games, followed by dinner at the main house. The menu is a culinary dream, boasting Braised Goat Cassoulet, a Char-roasted Porchetta and Beet Salad, Springhouse Pork and Aberdeen Angus Roulades, and for dessert, a local Peach & Pork Foster–salty bacon-wrapped peaches topped with bourbon-burnt sugar ice cream, homemade granola, and smoked Springhouse fall honey. These events sell out fast, so get your tickets ASAP for this once-in-a-lifetime harvest dinner!
Red Pump Kitchen Harvest Dinner—Charlottesville
When: October 17-18, 2019
Photo Credit: Eric Kelley
Two-time winner of Food Network‘s “Chopped” and “Chopped Champions,” Chef Vinson Petrillo takes over Red Pump Kitchen on October 17th and 18th to create a from-scratch, Tuscan-inspired menu. Petrillo will put his own sophisticated spin on traditional southern fare during the harvest dinner, working with Red Pump Kitchen’s Chef Brandon Ripberger (who previously trained under Petrillo). This culinary reunion will bring hyper-local ingredients to the table, from seafood to game, in a six-course tasting menu that features carefully-selected Virginia wine pairings.
Muse Vineyards Harvest Day Event—Woodstock
When: October 19, 2019
Head to Muse Vineyards on October 19th for their Harvest Day event. From 2:30-4:00pm, the winery will be open to the public, with the owner taking visitors on a guided tour of the vineyard as he discusses the 2019 harvest. Afterwards, join the winery owners for a private event at the tasting room, which will include a special release of their newest vintage wine, live music by Zachary Funkhouser, and an array of hor d’oeuvres to enjoy with the wines. Tickets for this evening event are available at the tasting room or can be purchased the day of for $12 per person.
Meet at the Table—Painter
When: October 19, 2019
Virginia’s Eastern Shore hosts Meet at the Table on October 19th, a unique dining experience where you can sample the best farm-to-table food from the waters of the Atlantic Ocean and the Chesapeake Bay as well as small farms located along the shore. Local farmers, watermen, chefs, brewers, distillers, vineyards and artists come together during this harvest celebration, which benefits the Delmarva Farmers Union, the Eastern Shore Artisans Guild, and The Eastern Shore Spay Organization. In addition to lots of delicious food and drink, the event will have music from both live bands and a DJ, a silent auction, and a live auction to add to the excitement.
Harvest Party at Paradise Springs Winery—Clifton
When: October 19, 2019
Attend the Paradise Springs Winery’s Harvest Party on October 19th, an autumnal event that brings visitors together to celebrate the harvest season and to appreciate the bounty of Northern Virginia’s famed wine region. The festival has a full day of autumn activities, including grape stomping, lawn games, harvest tours, a Brew Garden sponsored by Solace Brewing Co., locally-made apple cider donuts as well as a variety of other fall-themed treats from food trucks, and of course, lots of Virginia wines!
Harvest Party at Varia—Norfolk
When: October 24, 2019
Varia, located inside The Main Hilton Norfolk Hotel, will host a special Harvest Party celebration on October 24th, featuring a Virginia wine tasting and small bites prepared by the restaurant’s chef for only $15. During the event, in-house Sommelier Matthew Emborski will take you on an educational tasting journey while you enjoy a selection of wines paired with traditional charcuterie offerings.
Effingham Manor Heritage Festival—Nokesville
When: November 1-3, 2019
Part of the American Evolution 2019 Commemoration, the Effingham Manor Heritage Festival pays tribute to the best of Virginia’s customs and cuisine, with local orchards, farmers, watermen, musicians, and craftspeople offering samples and selling their new products. The highlight of the festival is Virginia-made wines, and a selection of wineries from the area join Effingham Manor to serve their vintages at the event. This harvest celebration provides a traditional glimpse into Virginia’s heritage and culinary history, from the historic Old-Time musical stylings of the Commonwealth to locally-sourced foods, including oysters from the Chesapeake Bay, farm-raised meats, and artisanal cheese from nearby farms and markets.
Can’t make it to any of these special harvest events? Consider throwing your own harvest party with friends and family to celebrate the bounty of Virginia’s rich landscape!