Wednesday, October 29, 2014

A Look Inside the Blue Ribbon Market in the Town of Halifax, Opening Tomorrow!

I don't even have to ask if Halifax County is ready for this. I hear people regularly ask where to buy various items, from school safe peanut butter, to organic foods, to local produce, local meats, fresh eggs, gluten-free cake and cookie mixes, vegan items, and everything in between. After my "Halifax County Field Trip" this afternoon, I feel certain that there will be many happy grocery shoppers in Halifax County who are pleasantly surprised to now be able to purchase these products, plus your everyday staple items right here in Halifax.  
I had the pleasure of taking a look inside the new Blue Ribbon Market Farm To Table Store in Halifax, Virginia today, and I was nothing short of impressed. I have often driven an hour or more to shop for certain items I could not find nearby, but I am pleased to say that those out-of-town shopping trips will be much fewer and farther between from now on. Here's why:
Immediately following a 3:30pm ribbon cutting tomorrow afternoon, the Blue Ribbon Market will open its doors to the public for the first time. At 4:00pm, the store will open for business, and will have tastings, samplings, and local farmers will be on hand grilling various meats for shoppers to try.  The store looks rustic inside, with raw wood beams and shelving (built by my brother-in-law Michael Thackston, by the way, who is an excellent craftsman and builder). Make sure to take note of the rustic decor and Michael's craftsmanship.  On the shelves are products that are new to me, as well as some old favorites that our family has enjoyed for years. See the shelf second from the right? There's no mistaking those Annie's Organics boxes. I see my husband's favorite salad dressings, as well as Rothschild dips, which we love. Then there are items that are new to me. I've heard about this, but have never seen it in the stores until today:
Every once in a while, school students understandably cannot take peanut butter to school due to severe peanut allergies present in the class. Wowbutter is safe for school and is peanut and gluten free. It's at Blue Ribbon Market. 
My husband loves the Garden of Eatin' chips made with organic blue and yellow corn. The last time we were in Lexington, Virginia, we stocked up on these chips. They're now at Blue Ribbon Market.
Cornmeal from a historic plantation of Virginia's Eastern Shore? It is available at Blue Ribbon Market in Halifax, Virginia. 
A variety of wines from different areas, including Virginia's own Barboursville Vineyards.  
Virginia Chardonnay, my very favorite.

Vegan and vegetarian foods are available in freezers, as are local meats. I have not been a practicing vegetarian for ten years, but I still enjoy many of the foods I used to eat, such as these garden burgers The black bean burgers are my favorites!
I took photos of the front and back of the soap pictured above. That was really more for me than for you. I'm trying to remember which one I liked the best. I tried to buy it today, but since inventory was being added into the computer, I had to wait until tomorrow to shop just like everyone else. Tomorrow I'm going back for this soap! It smells heavenly. I am also going back for the Homestead Creamery fresh, wholesome milk. The many Halifax County residents who do not eat gluten or wheat will be thrilled to see all of the many gluten-free products. Gluten-free cake mixes, cookie mixes, cereal bars, cereals, chips, and more are all available at the Blue Ribbon Market. 

Oh, I added this wasabi mayonnaise to my list of things to buy tomorrow, too. I'm not quite sure how I'll use this, but I'll think of something. I like to serve horseradish and roast beef pinwheels around the holidays, and I wonder if the wasabi mayonnaise would work in place of the horseradish mixture. I'll keep you posted.

The Blue Ribbon Market Farm to Table store in Halifax, Virginia has its ribbon cutting at 3:30 pm, October 30, 2014. Following the ribbon-cutting, enjoy sample tastings and shopping. Blue Ribbon Market is open Monday-Friday 10am-6pm, and Saturdays from 9am-2pm. It is located in the brick building by the Halifax County Courthouse directly across the street from Molasses Grill, and has a blue awning above the entrance.
Let me know if you find something awesome you've been looking for, something you previously had to go out of town to buy, or something new that you just wanted to try. When I was there today, I saw these dark chocolate dogwoods for the first time. Dogwoods are special and symbolic to me, so I was pleased to make this little find. I'm putting that on my list right now.
Named for the former Blue Ribbon Dairy, which was owned by Paul Edmunds and located at what is currently Edmunds Park, Blue Ribbon Market is owned by Mr. Edmunds' grandson, James Edmunds and his wife Jennifer Edmunds. Please come out and support our friends, neighbors, local farmers, and Delegate James and Jennifer Edmunds in this venture. See you tomorrow at Blue Ribbon Market!     xoxo, Erin

The Wishing Well Gift Shop is Having a 25% Off Sale

I have been searching for pretty black tops that the narrators in Charlotte's Web can wear on stage. My friend Sharon called me last week and told me that she had seen some at the The Wishing Well. Possibly the best kept shopping secret in the area, The Wishing Well is the hospital gift shop, a non-profit retail store to benefit the hospital auxiliary.  Melissa Bates is the buyer and manager of The Wishing Well. I was so glad to see her yesterday when I went in. She helped me find exactly what I needed. I found three black tops with a black lace front that can be worn over a camisole or tank, all in the sized I need.  Not only did I find what I wanted, but they were on sale! Score!  Here are a few things I saw that I loved at the gift shop yesterday.

Possibly on the best kept shopping secrets around is having a sale, and they aren't allowed to advertise, so I thought I would help get the word out about the shop and the sale. I believe that all of the necklace and earring sets pictured above are in the below $20 range, (the leopard print set is $14) plus an additional 25% off this week (through October 31, 2014). I purchased a blue and silver shimmer infinity scarf for my mother-in-law, regularly  priced $12, which was on sale for a very reasonable $9.  
The Wishing Well gift shop is located on the main level of Halifax Regional Healthcare Center (Halifax Hospital at the intersection of 501 and Wilborn Avenue across from Hupps Mill Plaza). Enter through the main doors, and go past the information desk. The gift shop is just past the elevators on the right. If you need assistance, the lobby volunteers are very helpful. If you go this week, you will see this sign just outside the door.
And if you're very lucky, you may very well see this beautiful smile when you walk through the door. Melissa is as sweet and professional as she is beautiful. Please tell her I said hello. If you feel inclined, please feel free to share the word about this non-profit. It's an asset to the hospital and to the community.  If you happen to make it over to The Wishing Well, let me know what struck your fancy. Until then, enjoy shopping local!
xoxo, Erin

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

A Day on the Southern Virginia Wild Blueway

My friend Rebecca and I have been planning for several weeks to spend the day in kayaks on the Banister Lake or River, both of which are part of the region's Southern Virginia Wild Blueway. I almost cancelled yesterday, because I have been battling a cold this week. I decided at the last minute to go for it, though, and I am so glad I did! The weather was warm for an October day, the colors on the trees were vibrant, the clear water sparkled. It was perfect. We spent four hours on the placid water paddling, taking pictures, birdwatching, talking, and enjoying Rebecca's homemade gluten-free apple pie. It was autumn bliss. When we finished, I felt better than I have in a week. There is something about  sunshine, fresh air, and a Southern Virginia October sky that does a body, mind, and spirit very, very good. Here's a glimpse of the blueway from my seat in the kayak.
xoxo, Erin

Friday, October 17, 2014

Garnier-Thiebaut Warehouse Sale-Take Three

Guess where I am again? I know, it's almost comical. Three trips in three days. I went back to the Garnier-Thiebaut Warehouse Sale yesterday because I could not get this beautiful, oversized, and super soft beach towel off of my mind. It was the only one left like it, and I decided it was time for me to splurge on a nice beach towel for myself. It was still there when I arrived yesterday, but was the last one. Whew! Close call.
I got home from shopping yesterday, and Courtland asked, "Did you get me one?" She loved the beach towel.  You can't tell from the picture, but it's huge! Then my sister Mary Katherine messaged me and said that she would love some new queen size sheets. So today I voyaged to the warehouse on Commerce Lane for a set of sheets and a little more browsing.
Guess what I found! More beach towels! I was able to buy one similar to mine for Miss Courtie, and bought Mark and Carrington beautiful yellow and white striped towels, too, all to be given as Christmas gifts. I also bought Mary Katherine's sheets, which I'm sure she will love.  I saw many friends at the sale today, all of whom ribbed me a little bit for being here three days in a row. On the way out the door, two of the employees said to me, "See you tomorrow." Very funny. (If I do go back, I'm going incognito so I won't get ribbed anymore!) Tomorrow Steven Schopen, the chef and owner of Molasses Grill will be there to give a cooking demonstration at 10am. There were still lots of sheet sets left, towel sets, linen napkins, and tablecloths, so if you're worried about everything being gone, there's no need to worry. Some of the hot items have been picked over, but there are still plenty of great buys.  Tell them I sent you!
Well, I have some Christmas gifts to hide in the attic, a date night with my husband tonight to see Dixie Swim Club at the Prizery, and a trip with the family to Virginia Military Institute in Lexington, Virginia tomorrow, so I had better get packing. Hope you enjoy your shopping and your weekend!
xoxo, Erin
Southern Virginia Mom
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