We’re blessed in Loudoun to be surrounded by superb wineries and breweries, a bounty of fresh farm produce and a subculture of creative artisans designing everything from ceramic wine cups to floral centerpieces. There’s no better time to take advantage of this epicurean abundance and crafting talent than when planning your upcoming Thanksgiving dinner feast.
Pick up these local products for the perfect holiday table.
Pre-order a gorgeous Thanksgiving flower arrangement of roses, berries, mums, foraged materials and other blooms from Holly Chapple’s wonderful Hope Flower Farm in Waterford. She also offers garlands and wreaths for mantles and doors. Over in Purcellville Designing Flowers will custom tailor a floral arrangement to your specifications using anything from dahlias and lilies to tulips and rare orchids.
Loudoun produce always tastes good, but it’s more complete when prepared with – or served on – locally made kitchen or dinnerware. Stir your gravy or dish out that mash and green beans with Drew Lauten’s heirloom wooden serving spoons, ladles and spatulas made from cherry and walnut. Pick them up at Muz & Rose, Leesburg. At the Gateway Gallery in Round Hill, you can buy a variety of functional dinner pieces including glass artist Liz Cresap’s exquisite kiln-blown dishes, cups and cheese plates. At the Clay & Metal Loft in Leesburg potter Amy Manson makes fire-glazed vases, bowls, plates and mugs. We particularly like a set of turquoise-colored resist floral decoration wine mugs.
Let’s talk turkey. Multiple farms in Loudoun raise and sell tasty big birds, the unquestionable stars of Thanksgiving. Day Spring Farm in Middleburg specializes in pasture-raised, organically fed turkeys while North Fork Fields in Hillsboro raises delicious heritage-breed White Holland birds. Nearby Dawson Gap Farm sells Broad Breasted turkeys raised without artificial additives, chemicals or GMOs – what they call “Family Based Freedom Farming”. You can order online or call the farms directly to book, usually picking up your bird on the Monday or Tuesday before Thanksgiving.
No Thanksgiving dinner is complete without fresh local produce to accompany that turkey. Leesburg, Middleburg, Purcellville and Ashburn all host weekend farmers markets but Farmer John’s Market on Route 15 north of Leesburg is open all week and is a go-to destination for potatoes, greens, cranberries, purslane and Chris Pretro’s Misty Meadows Mushrooms. On Route 9 near Hamilton, rustic Paige’s Pit Stop sells fresh greens and fruit alongside more regular items such as eggs, milk and ice cream.
Whether as an appetizer or post dinner with wine, cheese is an essential accompaniment to Thanksgiving dinner. At Georges Mill Farm in Lovettsville pick up a range of goat cheeses – chevre, feta, blue and more – produced with milk from their own goats. At the tasting room of Chrysalis Vineyards at the Ag District in Middleburg you can find no less than eight cheeses produced by the farm’s Locksley Farmstead Cheese Co. We swear by the cheddar, gouda, fromage blanc, camembert and washed rind.
Loudoun is wine country of course and there’s no shortage of superb vintages with which to impress your guests. Why not pick up a winner from the recent Loudoun Wine Awards, which took place at Lansdowne Resort in October. Maggie Malick Wine Caves took home no less than eight golds (we love the 2019 Fortissimo), while Willowcroft Farm Vineyard’s 2020 Traminette is sublime. Bonnie Archer, owner of much-loved Zephaniah Farm Vineyard won the Loudoun Wine Ambassador of the Year. Toast her with a bottle of the winery’s 2017 Three Captains Red Blend.
Leesburg’s Black Hoof Brewing Company specializes in authentic European ales and lagers that pair perfectly with turkey. Try the Full Quiver Märzen. Lost Rhino Brewing Company’s Dark Czech-Style Tmavy Lager is the perfect pre-dinner winter warmer. Lost Barrel Brewing’s Pumpkin Ale with hints of cinnamon and nutmeg is a great accompaniment to apple or pumpkin pie.
Mom’s Apple Pie with outposts in Leesburg and at Hill High Marketplace in Round Hill is the go-to stop for fresh apple, pecan, pumpkin pies and more. Order well in advance though because they get busy. Dana’s Cake Shoppe at the Village at Leesburg custom makes special occasion cakes and gourmet desserts. The tiramisu is out of this world. Over in Middleburg, Upper Crust bakery on Pendleton Street has been baking superb fresh bread, pastries, cookies and pies for a generation. In Sterling, pick up hand-crafted gourmet chocolates from local favorite Sweet Signatures, which also makes lava cake, tiramisu and all manner of pastries.
If you’re being treated to Thanksgiving dinner this year, why not bring the host a gift? The newly opened Lazy Daisy Gift Store in the Village at Leesburg sells locally made arts and crafts by the likes of Dawn Craig and Julia Heagy of Sunrise Jules. Pick up Craig’s gorgeous decorative wooden trays and Christmas tree ornaments or Heagy’s delicate hand-painted miniature sleighs and glass vases. Your delighted host will be sure to give you extra dessert.
And finally, the cherry on top: music. For the perfect Thanksgiving ambience before and after dinner, tune in to the Songs of Loudoun Playlist on Spotify: songs by 25 Loudoun artists curated by local music impresario Todd Wright.