At Pippin Hill Farm & Vineyards, our sustainable food philosophy is completely intertwined with the garden and the natural landscape. Our Certified Horticulturist Diane grows seasonal produce and herbs in our kitchen-garden, and these farm-grown products inspire and shape Executive Chef Ian Rynecki‘s Tasting Room menu. Garden vegetables are the perfect vehicle for Chef Ian’s roasted garlic hummus, and seasonal greens star in dishes like the chicory & kale caesar.
The chicken coop at Pippin Hill Farm is not just the cutest new addition to the our landscape – it is also strengthening the sustainable feedback loop between our kitchen and our garden. Our 12 hens produce around 60 eggs per week, which Chef Ian uses in the Pippin Hill kitchen. In turn, the chickens are fed vegetable scraps from the kitchen, creating a completely sustainable feedback loop. The chickens’ droppings are collected and then added to our compost bins along with vegetative kitchen scraps and once it has fully composted, used as natural fertilizer in the kitchen-garden, where Diane grows fruits, vegetables, and herbs to be used in the kitchen.
According to Chef Ian, the ability to supply our own eggs has increased the freshness and overall quality of our vineyard-to-table dishes. The eggs enhance staples on our menu; in classic dishes like our house-made gelato, where using high-quality ingredients really matters, you can taste the depth of flavor that our farm-fresh eggs contribute. The eggs themselves are also specifically highlighted in Tasting Room dishes, such as the Sous Vide Deviled Egg with Trout Caviar, Preserved Scallion, and Everything Spice.
Pippin Hill’s honeybees also play a very vital role in saving the bee population which has been declining due to urbanization, increased use of pesticides, mites, and CCD (Colony Collapse Disorder). Having bees here at Pippin Hill not only helps to rebuild the honeybee population, but they also pollinate our vegetable and cut flower gardens – we have even experienced larger yields in the vegetable garden as well as larger flowers! Our first honey harvest was in July of 2020 and approximately 80 pounds was extracted from honey filled frames. We consider the honey as just a nice by-product of beekeeping, a little reward for being good stewards of the land.
In buying and selling locally, Pippin Hill proudly supports Virginia’s thriving slow-growth agriculture community. For other specialty products, Pippin Hill turns to our network of local farm partners, who supply our kitchen with artisanal breads, cheeses, meats, and more. Caromont Farm‘s goat cheese is the base of our spring pea & goat cheese dip, and our charcuterie boards would not be complete without slow-cured meats from Olli Salumeria. Read more about our farm partners here, and be sure to come by Pippin for one of our #FeaturedFarmerFridays this summer.
To learn more about the sustainable vineyard-to-table system at Pippin Hill, visit us and grab a map for a self-guided garden tour. Don’t forget to greet the Pippin chickens, too!