Following up on her bestseller, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, author Barbara Kingsolver and family opened up a farm-to-table restaurant in Meadowview, Virginia, near her family home and farm. And it happened to be on the route of our southbound trip this fall.
Only a few miles off the highway, Meadowview is so small you could easily miss it. However on a small square by the railroad tracks sit a few buildings, about half empty and closed up. Harvest Table and the adjacent guild store, along with a furniture consignment and antique shop are about all that make up downtown Meadowview.
The meal was worth the visit. They advertise that all produce and products used are local, most coming from more than 50 small farmers, including their own farm. All meats are grass fed and finished; seafood Carolina and Virginia shores. The menu is seasonal and creative. I ordered pulled pork tacos on house made tortillas and Bob a chicken salad on a house made croissant.
I’m from Texas and am particular about my tortillas. These were flour tortillas and delicious. Not necessarily authentic Mexican, but that’s OK, they were very good and held the taco together. The meat was delicious as well as a generous amount and the toppings, again not authentic, were local lettuce and cabbage and a tasty sauce. I ordered as a side field peas with queso, with a sweet salsa on top.
Bob compares all chicken salad sandwiches to the one served at This Must be Heaven in Brenham, Texas. We haven’t been there in several years, but he still talks about that dish, which now has a rival. This one included diced apple, a light mayo and chopped nuts. For dessert, we split a cinnamon roll bread pudding, served with whipped cream. It was heavenly.
They advertise that the restaurant, now about 10 years old, has put some $2M into the local economy. The adjacent Guild sells local jellies and peanuts along with lots of crafts and arts.
What’s missing from this small town? A bookstore. I think of the one Larry McMurtry opened up in Archer City, Texas or Ann Patchett’s store in Nashville. OK, Nashville is a big city and can support an independent bookstore. But Archer City? It’s in the middle of nowhere and as become a destination for readers.
Speaking of books, they do have a little lending library. I love to find these and always look at the inventory. Here in this small southern town the little library included a title by Dan Brown, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, and a copy of the Quran. Go figure.