One only needs look back to within the lifetime of our eldest living relatives to find an understanding of food that carried with it an inherent relationship with the land. Today, this relationship is subverted, misappropriated and often not even recognized as the eating public remains separated from the sources of their food. Even set in the wonderfully rich agricultural landscape in the Virginia countryside, one is struck by how food produced here is shipped out of state while in the name of convenience and consistency food is shipped in from all corners of the globe.
At The Ashby, we are committed to our local food producers. We have structured our menu to be able to change with the variations in season and the realities of small scale food production. Serving only beef tenderloin is not a sustainable option as a steer is not made up solely of tenderloins. So The Ashby serves the whole animal and uses fruits and vegetables when they are in season, preserving some for when they are not. This method is not new, but ironically requires a new approach to successfully implement. The days of the butcher, baker and candlestick maker have elapsed, which requires that we forge a patchwork of relationships with farmers and artisans to reap the bounty of our local fields, forests and waterways.
Some may find this approach limiting, for us it is inspiring. There is a great satisfaction found in serving food that is flavorful, wholesome and from someone you know. The quality is greater, the activity is more sustainable and the result is more satisfying on all levels. By dining this way, one’s patronage supports mind, body, nature and community.