Sample fresh, local produce at TasteFest

The Museum of the Shenandoah Valley in Winchester will hold its annual TasteFest this Saturday.

The seventh annual event will be held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the museum, located at 901 Amherst St., Winchester.

Julie Armel, deputy director of community relations for the Museum of the Shenandoah Valley, said over 1,000 attend the event annually, with 1,065 attending last year’s event “and it’s growing each year.”

“The TasteFest is a great way to experience the history and culture of the valley’s agriculture tradition, both past and present. The event offers activities for all ages and interests,” she said. “From a veggie-painting activity and barrel rides for kids to an expert cooking demonstration of summer vegetable ceviche, there really is something for everyone. We hope that attendees of the event will leave having had a good time at the MSV and with a greater knowledge about food that is grown and produced locally. For those who have never visited the museum before, the day is a great opportunity to check out the MSV for free.”

Armel said that due to corporate sponsorship from Trilogy at Lake Frederick, the event is free to the public, and free admission will also be given to those visiting the museum’s galleries, Glen Burnie House and 7-acres of gardens.

“It is appropriate for the museum to celebrate agriculture as the 214-acre property is the largest green space in the City of Winchester and the only working farm remaining in city limits,” Armel added.

TasteFest activities include cooking demonstrations, fresh seasonal produce samples, edible flower discussion, guided gallery and garden tours, the selling of locally produced artisan foods, garden products and kitchen gadgets, children’s games and barrel rides, and a display of antique tractors. A contest to win a museum family membership by guessing the number of vegetables in a jar will also be held.

Armel said that each year the produce that is ready to sample differs, depending on what is ripe and in season, so the samplings may differ from year to year. Several new vendors will be on site this year, including the Winchester Cider Works, Willow Grove Farm CSA, Main Street Farmstead, J & W Farm and Shawnee Canning Company.

A crowd favorite, the talk on edible flowers, was added to the event this year, she added.

From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., guided tours of the gardens will be given, focusing on the life-size recreations of a valley kitchen from the 1830s to 1930s and detailing the culinary practices of that era.

At 10 a.m., Blair Dolinar, co-owner of Nibblins, will demonstrate how to make peanut soup.

At 10:30 a.m., Perry Mathewes, the museum’s director of gardens, will lead a guided garden tour.

At 11 a.m., Ed Matthews, chef and owner of Winchester’s One Block West restaurant, will demonstrate how to make summer vegetable ceviche, pan-roasted fish with Mediterranean chopped salad and cantaloupe carpaccio.

At 1 p.m., Sheryl Campbell, of Middletown’s Bouquet Banquet, will hold a discussion on edible flowers.

For the kids, barrel-pull rides will be offered from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. by the Massanutten Antique Tractor & Gasoline Engine Club. Garlic hunts and vegetable gardens games will be held from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. And throughout the day, a children’s vegetable painting craft will be offered in the garden Carriage House.

Bluegrass music will also be played throughout the event. From 11 a.m. to noon, Southern Brand, with members Red Henry, Mary Beth Schuweiler and Rob Schuweiler, will perform, and from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Joe and Sam Hermann, David McLaughlin and Marshall Wilborn will perform.

Lunch from Jack Knuckle Gourmet will be available for purchase as well.

For more information, visit the museum’s website at

Contact staff writer Kaley Toy at 540-465-5137 ext. 176, or

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