Sunday, May 15, 2011

Teacher Appreciation, Locavore Style

In honor of teacher appreciation week at the beginning of May, the McLean High School PTSA (of McLean, VA) had the excellent idea to host a local lunch for their teachers. Produce was donated by Maple Avenue Farm and Bigg Riggs Farm; "time and talent" was donated by Maple Avenue Restaurant Chef Tim Ma, Joey Hernandez and crew, to prepare the lunch. PTSA volunteers braved a rainy morning on May 4, to harvest lettuce at Maple Avenue Farm in Great Falls, and I had the chance to document this portion of the event. (I didn't make it to the lunch the next day, as I was working at a farmers market, but I hear it was a huge success.) Here's to more events like this one that bring together local, sustainable, delicious resources!

Maple Avenue Farm is one of several projects run by Chris & Sara Guerre. Their produce is sold at two Farmers Markets in Northern Virginia and at their store in Vienna, VA: Maple Avenue Market, "a small, family-owned local foods store that is committed to supporting area farmers and producers and serving as a community resource for all of us who want to learn more about where our food comes from, and more importantly...where it should come from." They also work with Arlington County Public Schools, to provide local produce for students.

Incidentally, though the name is similar, Maple Avenue Restaurant is a separate entity, begun right around the same time as the Maple Avenue Market, in 2009. The two businesses are located just down the street from each other (as their names indicate). The restaurant uses local ingredients in its dishes, including chicken from the renowned Polyface Farm located further south in Virginia.

The volunteers harvest lettuce:

Chris (center) and Sara (red rain jacket) talk with the PTSA volunteers as the morning task of harvesting lettuce comes to an end.

The sun came out just after all the lettuce had been picked (of course!).

The farm has brand new chickens this year! (I've purchased a few dozen eggs from the Market and they've resulted in some delicious omelets!)

Find out additional information at the Maple Avenue Market website and Facebook page. And if you're a local, you definitely need to check it out!

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