Downtown Berryville was the place to be in Clarke County last Saturday morning. While bargain hunters perused unbeatable prices on name-brand food storage products near Enders Fire Station, organic food shoppers were treated to a delicious cooking demonstration featuring local delicacies from Farmer’s Market merchants.
Farmer’s Market shoppers who may have been feeling a twinge of mid-morning hunger on Saturday were soon relieved of between-meal-pangs thanks to Berryville Grille’s chef extraordinaire Heidi McClemens. McClemens offered up a delicious summer snack that delighted the taste buds of young and old alike with a combination of thinly sliced medium rare London broil perched on a delicious bed of summer relish and bruschetta, all from local farms and vendors.
The result was love at first bite.
“This is fantastic! Delicious!” exclaimed Dot Rohde of Berryville while savoring the tastes of her sample. “The flavors are really fresh. There’s nothing better than vegetables picked fresh.”
“This relish is a mixture of roasted black beans, cucumbers, fresh basil, cilantro, red spring onions and tomatoes” McClemens described while carefully placing a spoonful of the mix on a slice of prime rib and bruschetta for a waiting shopper. “Everything that you need to make this you can buy today here at the market.”
As shoppers lined up for samples McClemens said that the London broil she was serving was donated by Roxley Farms of Purcellville, the bruschetta was provided by Carl’s Bread with vegetables from MacIntosh Farms. Herbs used in the mix were provided by the Herb Lady, Diana Curry, grown on her Tadpole Acres Farm in Frogtown.
“Heidi’s really something!” said Curry as she observed the long line of people waiting to sample the food. “She does wonders with my herbs. Somehow she makes everything taste so fresh!”
Across town, bargain seekers were busy carrying away armfuls of low-priced and must-have merchandise from tables piled high with Rubbermaid products being offered through a United Way – Salvation Army a partnership. Money from the sales will be used to fund the two group’s priority programs in the Winchester, Frederick, Clarke and Shenandoah County area.
“We’ve had a partnership with Rubbermaid since 2001” said Joe Shtulman, president of the United Way of the Northern Shenandoah Valley. “Rubbermaid regularly donates trailers full of merchandise to us that has been returned or discontinued. We sell the merchandise as a way to generate funding for our programs.”
Shtulman said that the group had never held a sale in Clarke County before but decided to try the area after receiving a larger than normal supply of merchandise.
As Shtulman and his volunteer sales clerks stood ready to ring up sales, Clarke County shoppers examined items ranging from Rubbermaid recycling bins, to sandwich containers, to bowls and plates.
“These are excellent prices” said Berryville resident Geneva Jackson who said that she had hurried to the sale before its noon closing after finishing her own bakery sale at the Farmer’s Market earlier that morning.
“I usually have to go to Winchester for this sale so it’s nice to have it here in Berryville” Jackson said.
Shtulman said that the excess merchandise fundraiser offerings are so popular that the United Way’s sale events are booked through 2012. Even so, Shtulman said that he hoped to be back in Clarke County with another sale soon.
But regardless of the United Way’s retail fundraising efforts, Shtulman said that his volunteers will be back in Clarke County on September 14th in support of the United Way’s “National Day of Caring”, a full day of volunteer support to help elderly, disabled or needy people with projects of all sorts.
“We’ll have 500 volunteers throughout the Northern Shenandoah Valley region helping people with things like home repairs, cleaning out basements, painting – you name it.”
Shtulman said that his group often works closely with other Clarke County support groups, including Help with Housing and the Shenandoah Area Agency on Aging, to identify area citizens who need assistance.
According to Shtulman the United Way is still looking for both volunteers and projects for the National Day of Caring. If you would like to volunteer, or know of a worthy project for the group to consider, please contact Joe Shtulman at UWay@VisualLink.com or visit UnitedWayNSV.org for more information.
The Clarke County Farmer’s Market is open every Saturday morning from 8am to noon thru October in Berryville, Virginia.