Manakintowne Specialty Growers in Powhatan, VA and Sorrel Soup with Toasted Croutons
The list of their produce and specialty ingredients is quite long, but they are probably best known for their greens which range from salad greens and lettuces to braising greens. (We had a salad with some of their delightful lettuces at Lemaire in Richmond.)
A short list of some of the other produce they grow includes Easter Egg Radishes, Pea Shoots, Baby Turnips, Broccoli Rabe, Cardoons, Sorrel, Peppers and all types of specialty herbs (French Tarragon, Summer Savory, Mountain Mint, Lemon Verbena, Pineapple Sage and ParCel) and beautiful edible flowers. You might remember the Lavender Honey Ice Cream that I made a few weeks ago. It was made with fresh lavender that was sent to us from Jo.
Chef Sean Brock told us about Manakintowne when we interviewed him at McCrady’s in Charleston, SC. He was familiar with their produce when he worked as an Executive Sous Chef with Walter Bundy at Lemaire in Richmond. He told us they were way ahead of their time in that they were growing Micro Greens and other specialty ingredients when he worked in Richmond about ten years ago.
Jo and Rob have eight to ten part-time employees (depending on the season) that help them each day with the harvesting, washing and delivery of their produce. Many of them started working with them in their teens and are now still there at 24 years of age. If they get to take home some of these goodies every day, I would be working there for that many years, too. 🙂
Their soil may be one of the reasons that everything grows so prolifically. They were fortunate to be able to purchase land that had at one time been a cow pasture. Jo said that this area of Virginia tends to have a good bit of red clay, however, they have been very successful by adding compost and other organic matter back into the soil along with crop rotation.