Our family blogger Jenn asked if she could tell you about a restaurant that’s local to her in Luray, Virginia so she and I are going to trade blog posts. Look for me on her blog next week. Here’s Jenn.
What’s better than a restaurant that serves local produce and meats?  One that gives a portion of each “Farmers Market” dinner back to local schools to promote garden projects and a culinary nutrition program. 
That’s the idea behind the new bi-weekly Farmer’s Mark dinners at Circa ’31, the elegant restaurant in Virginia’s Mimslyn Inn. This historic jewel is located right in my hometown of Luray, Virginia, and with a special that promotes local eating and healthy food for schools, you know I just had to go check it out.
I was not disappointed.
The $25 set menu included Fried Green Tomatoes Napoleon (friends green tomatoes stacked with sautéed heirloom eggplant), cucumber and tomato salad, and London Broil served with corn and yukon rosti and roasted yellow squash.  Each course was as stunning to look at as it was scrumptious to consume. 
It felt great to actually know where the food on my restaurant plate came from: the veggies came from Public House Produce, a family-owned and operated produce farm located one mile from downtown Luray; while the meat came from Skyline Meats, a coalition of three Virginia cattle farmers that strive to provide quality, all-natural beef.  And the fact that $5 from every one of these local meals goes towards health and nutrition at my local schools only added to my delight.
School nutrition is a big deal to me, because it directly affects the health and wellness of my own child as well as all of the children in my community.  Even if my child doesn’t eat the meals provided for her at school on a given day, she is influenced by the unspoken lessons of each plastic-wrapped cinnamon roll or flavored milk that sits on her classmate’s tray.  I’m thrilled that Circa ‘31’s Farmers Market dinners will sponsor local school gardens and a culinary program that will improve nutrition for kids county-wide.
The next Farmer’s Market dinner will be available this Friday, July 16th, with a menu that’s sure to include the gorgeous sweet corn, tomatoes, zucchini, and eggplant that graced our most recent local farmer’s market.  Can’t make it this week?  Don’t worry!  Future Farmer’s Market dinners are scheduled for July 30th and August 6th and 30th.

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