I get to hang out with some other siblings every now and then. It's something that I've been trying to do to be a better/ more social person and to keep up a connection to people who share partial DNA. It helps that they are awesome people. Hyperactive, but awesome.
(For instance, first time... I was WAY more nervous about the encounter. They were completely cool and eager to see me. Thank goodness that my crazy self-consciousness comes from the Chinese side of my family and missed them by two oceans and a continent. That would have been a really awkward Chik-Fil-A dinner if they were all as socially handicapped as me.)
Anyway, last month we wanted to meet up. My area was too far, they had activities and they were signed up to go to a harvest festival in Charlottesville.
"Charlottesville?" Nothing gets my heart palpitating more than the opportunity to go to Charlottesville's outdoor mall and peer awkwardly through 'The Needle Lady' windows. "Alpha and I love it there. What is this harvest festival you speak of?"
Monticello's Annual Heritage Harvest Festival. (Try saying it 10 times fast... I dare ya.)
So we go, meet up, wander away from each other, meet up again, wander... listen to bluegrass music and wonder where the heck the 'South Terrace' is because it isn't listed on the map. We then realize 'South Terrace' meant 'Back Porch', and felt like the stupid tourist-y people we were. Anyway, you don't care about that! You care about the Farm 5, my top 5 picks of that festival...
Admittedly, it was all pretty cool. If I had walked in with more cash, I would have still walked out with zero monies.
Honorable Mention: Southern Exposure Seed Exchange
They were the stars of the event. No question about it. Harvest festival goes hand and hand with seeds and gardening. Since my most successful garden was located in a windowsill, I don't think I'm qualified to talk too much on this subject. From their tasting tent I learned that I don't actually like tomatoes. I want to like them and that is a VERY different thing. Now onto the COOL stuff.
5. Monticello Festival Chocolate
Monticello only sells this chocolate at hosted festivals. They demonstrate how cacao is processed and how the Founding Fathers and the Continental Army drank hot chocolate. Frothy little samples were dark, rich, bitter and amazing, definitely not your everyday Swiss Miss. Hit up a festival sometime and pick it up. Maybe you'll see me. Walk away slowly if you do...
4. Caromont Cheese
Alpha and I have a problem. We are definitely food people. This causes problems when there are a million food vendors and only a tiny stomach to contain all the deliciousness. The Bloomsbury was such a good sample of cheese that it walked away with us, despite the warm walk to the parking lot and long ride home.
3. LFN Textiles
My family has a dish towel... fetish. I think that's the word best used to describe the way we handle dish towels. Dishes much be very clean, pre-dried with something we don't love as much and possibly, just maybe, we need to wear archival gloves to handle said dish towel. Let's just say walking into this booth was not the most brilliant idea if we want to keep money. Momar took the hit for me and walked out with a set of dish towels that had Jeffersonian sayings on them.
2. Java Bags
My families feelings about dish towels are pretty much my feelings about bags. I saw these beautiful bags (made from painted coffee sack bags) and nearly cried when my cash came up short. news for Alpha (and my wallet) she accepts custom orders.
1. Oakencroft Farm Grape Juice
Given my liberal use of the words "amazing, awesome, etc" I don't think there are words to describe my excitement over this stuff. It's a vineyard making a high class grape juice. As a teetotaler, I've always felt like the one drinking koolaid in a sippy cup at the kid's table when it came to fancy parties. (Or eating paste in the corner.) Now I feel I can enter the conversation in a limited way! YAY! This was far and away my favorite, but that might come from the natural feelings of inferiority bred by koolaid.