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Southern Foodways Alliance Brings its Appetite to Richmond, Virginia

By Elizabeth Roach

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Photo Above by Emilie Dayan: Belmont Butchery owner Tanya Cauthen with slow-roasted beef at The Virginia Housewife supper.

Homemade bread smeared with sorghum butter.  Sea Island peas with bacon and spring onions.  Moonshine punch. And this was just the beginning of a recent Southern Foodways Alliance (SFA) meal.  The non-profit organization’s annual Summer Symposium opened with a feast at the Whiskey Jar in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Attendees from across the Southeast and beyond gathered on June 20-22, 2013, to explore the food traditions of greater Richmond, Virginia, while also celebrating the theme of “Women at Work.” Farmers, winemakers, bakers, butchers and other food artisans shared their wares at a number of tasty events.

From a walking tour of the historic Jackson Ward neighborhood to a cocktail craft class to an heirloom seed exchange visit, attendees experienced a range of “experiential learning trips.” Other highlights included a Virginia wine lunch, a supper featuring recipes based on the 1824 classic The Virginia Housewife, and a film about Richmond’s beloved Sally Bell’s Kitchen (not to mention a chance to buy their famous boxed lunch).

Waking up to breakfasts such as chicken-fried croaker with buttermilk-chive cornbread, attendees weren’t shy about indulging their appetites.

If you’re not familiar with the SFA, words used to describe the membership often include “community” and “family.” These are the types of folks who offer you a stay at their North Carolina beach homes in exchange for a good cocktail recipe. No lie. (And Fern, if you’re reading this, I have every intention of making good on that offer.)

If you’re ready to make your own delicious memories, check out details for the SFA Fall Symposium at


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