Roots 657 is proud to work with local farms and other small businesses in the area. In the coming weeks we will be highlighting some of them, to share their story and important role in our community.
Empty Bowl Queso
Jeff Fugate and his family moved from Dayton Ohio to Albuquerque New Mexico in 1979, where he spent his formative years. There are many unique things about New Mexico, the most being the Hatch NM Green Chile (HGC). Green Chile is everywhere. You can get a Green Chile Cheeseburger at McDonald's, or HGC added to your pizza anywhere. This is something Jeff says he took for granted until moving back East after Graduating from New Mexico State University in Las Cruces NM, just South of Hatch.
Jeff found himself craving HGC and it was not easy to obtain. He started by transporting it back from visits home and occasionally ordering it shipped frozen. Eventually, he started making a queso dip as the primary method of getting his HGC fix.
For more than 20 years Jeff has been making Empty Bowl Queso, and does not recall exactly when he came up with the name. He just knows when sharing the queso, the bowl always ends up empty. Empty Bowl Queso has been all over the world, from Europe, China, Japan, Canada, to Mexico. People always say, "This is the best queso I’ve ever had, you should package this and sell it." Not as easy as people think.
A half dozen years ago or so, something amazing happened. Wegmans, a NY based grocery chain that had moved into the DC area, started doing a HGC festival every August after the annual harvest. They brought in a truckload and a roaster and Jeff was able to obtain large quantities of HGC... He was buying 300 pounds a year and freezing them for future use. This enabled him to make and share more queso with more people all over the world. Being in the events business Jeff traveled heavily and if you were a perspective client of his, you were going to experience the joy of the HGC!
In 2017, Jeff's daughter's marching band was raising money to make a trip to Disney, to march in the Veteran's Day Parade. On Superbowl Sunday, he made a big batch of queso and put a note out on Facebook, targeted at the neighborhood to let people know he was taking donations for the band in exchange for queso. Jeff ended up making 6 gallons of queso that day, and was blown away by the messages he received from people outside of Virginia wanting him to ship it to them.
Since that time, Jeff has produced and delivered more than 3,000 pints of queso to people from Leesburg VA to Shanghai China, all in an effort to provide continued support to the Loudoun County High School Marching Raider Band.
2018 and 2019 US Bands National Champions, powered by Empty Bowl Queso!
Jeff is now producing Empty Bowl Queso at the Chefscape Commercial Kitchen in Leesburg Virginia.
Mission: To Share the Joy of the Hatch NM Green Chile Pepper with the World
Vision: To Give Everyone the Opportunity to Experience Good Queso
Empty Bowl Queso is available for purchase in the Roots 657 Local Market.
The Woodpotter's Shoppe
Justin Clayton began turning vessels decades ago. First from woodturner publications and now the internet, he hones skills with instruction from woodturners around the world.
The Woodpotter's Shoppe turns only naturally felled, local woods to make food safe, long lasting bowls and vessels for everyday use.
The Woodpotter's Shoppe is located in Warrenton, Virginia, in South-Central Fauquier County, nestled in the woods and farmlands, halfway between the homes of George Washington and Thomas Jefferson near US 29. Local weather conditions provide a wide variety and supply of wood with unique spalting and design, different in every piece of maple, walnut, cherry, oak and other local species.
All pieces may be cleaned with a sponge or soft cloth dampened with water and mild soap for heavy cleaning. Otherwise, a very small amount of light, food safe oils such as walnut oil, available at the grocery store, should be used to occasionally wipe clean bowls used for holding foods.
Justin's pieces are available for purchase in our Local Market.
Laura Nichols has been making pots for over 40 years. Laura creates stoneware lamps, foundations, masks and functional stoneware pieces, created with the kitchen and table in mind. While she typically creates using a reduction gas kiln, Laura also seasonally works with other pottery techniques like Raku, pit firing, saggar firing and alcohol reduction.
As a self taught potter, Laura works from her home studio, Pig Pen Pottery, on her family farm, Hidden Springs Farm, in Great Falls, VA. Her ultimate goal is to make a pot that is pleasing to the eye, to the hands and to the purpose for which it is intended.
Laura’s pieces are available for purchase in the Roots 657 Local Market.
Fabbioli Cellars is a business and a concept that has been in the making for over 30 years. In 1987 Doug Fabbioli and Colleen Berg moved to California with the notion of finding land and growing grapes. Family, careers, and land prices steered them back to the east coast 10 years later. Even though their plan wouldn’t come to fruition in California, the Fabbioli’s time was well spent, gaining the knowledge, skills and confidence to make their dream happen in Virginia.
In early 2000, Doug and Colleen purchased a 25-acre parcel in the southern Lucketts area, ideal for growing grapes and creating a home. In 2001 the house was built and the vines were put in the ground. The first planting consisted of Merlot with a little Petit Verdot for blending, making over 200 cases of wine. Now, the vineyard grows 8 varietals of grapes and produces over 6000 cases of award-winning white, red, specialty, and port-style desert wines. Fabbioli Cellars wines are showcased at the vineyard’s tasting room in Lucketts along with wine boutiques, retail outlets, and fine restaurants throughout the Mid-Atlantic area.
Fabbioli’s mission stayed true over the years, as they continually focus on the three “E”s: environment, education, and economics. Environment encompasses the efforts made to use sustainable agriculture practices, investing in vineyard’s geothermal climate control system, and following good practices that will help find the balance between Earth and man. Education focuses on increasing the knowledge base through wine education programs for fellow vineyards, industry staffing, and wine lovers. Economics looks at making Fabbioli Cellars grow and be profitable, cultivating the local wine industry, and keeping Loudon County’s precious farm land in balance with surrounding development.
Doug Fabbioli extends his passion for the three “E” to civic, government, and rural organizations in the Loudoun community and state of Virginia. Since 2003 he has invested significant time and energy, working with the Loudoun County Rural Economic Development Council. He is also the Director and one of the original architects of Loudoun’s Rural Economic Business Development Strategy, a ground floor working plan to help develop more productive farms and businesses in rural Loudoun. In 2014 Doug was appointed for a four-year term to the Virginia Wine Board, which promotes the interests of vineyards and wineries in the Commonwealth through research, education and marketing. But most important and dearest to his heart is being a leader of Boy Scout Troop 1910 with his 2 sons earning rank of Eagle Scout.
When time allows, Doug works with the organization he co-founded, The New Ag School, previously known as Piedmont Epicurean and Agricultural Center (PEAC). PEAC is a collaborative effort of stewards to further education and knowledge for those who want to preserve, cultivate, and savor all aspects of Virginia’s rural economy. Doug’s overriding theme is to encourage all facets of the wine industry to work together, referencing one of his favorite quotes by John F. Kennedy, “A rising tide lifts all boats.”
Mike Smith has been sustainably farming vegetables since graduating from William and Mary in 2014. Mike grows over fifty varieties of vegetables, including the sweet potatoes we use here at Roots. Mike is dedicated to growing nutrient dense-chemical-free produce that helps people get healthier while also helping the environment. He is a passionate farmer dedicated to growing some of the healthiest food in the valley through his sustainable agriculture practices.