FOOD- THE DISH- Scratch and sniff: <i>Flavor</i> arrives, Stafford returns

"People seem to like its timeliness with regard to the growth of the local food movement," says Flavor magazine publisher Melissa Harris.
"People seem to like its timeliness with regard to the growth of the local food movement," says Flavor magazine publisher Melissa Harris.

Yes, there's a new flavor in town, but it won't be stimulating your taste buds as much as your brain. It arrived a little later than she planned, but publisher Melissa Harris' new magazine, Flavor, hit the stands last month, and it already has local foodies talking. 

Glossy, about 55 pages, and packed with information about the Piedmont region's local food scene, Flavor, Harris hopes, will be "the place where you look for all things about sustainable agriculture and the local food movement." 

That would include a regular column by Polyface Farms owner Joel Salatin, called Rebel with a Cause, musings on Malt Whiskey and fresh tomatoes, a feature on Charlottesville's own Carpe Donuts, wine reviews, lots of recipes, a winning essay from an eighth-grader on why we shouldn't take food for granted, and much more. 

In the Fall, Harris says, she plans to put together a 36-page wine section, and although the magazine is quarterly now, she says she'll go monthly in 2009. In Charlottesville, the mag's available at places like Whole Foods, IY, Rev Soup, at any of the area's wineries and B&Bs; info is also available on the updated website,

What's the reaction been so far?

"We're already been getting letters to the editor," she says. "People seem to like its timeliness with regard to the growth of the local food movement."

Indeed, we're chock-a-block with farmers markets, CSAs, wineries, and restaurants and stores committed to offering locally grown and raised food. And what better place than the Dish to get the skinny on the goodies that make us plump? Still, our food scene is big enough for a little more flavor, even the monthly glossy kind. 

Custom crush: Winemaker returns to his roots

On August 2, famous local foodie Philip Stafford and his business partner, Michael Shaps of VA Vino fame, unveiled their new winery, Virginia Wineworks. 

"The winery opening is a return of sorts to my Charlottesville roots," says Stafford, whose wife, Martha, recently opened the Charlottesville Cooking School in the Meadowbrook Shopping Center. 

Stafford and Sandy McAdams (Daedalus Bookshop founder and resident genius) opened the C & O Restaurant in 1976, and in 1979 Stafford opened the Market Street Wine Shop. Eventually, Stafford moved to New York City to operate a wine import and distribution company. Stafford says he met with Shaps at C'ville Coffee about a year ago, and that's where the idea for Virginia Wineworks was born.

"Must have been strong coffee," he quips.

Why a winery?

"They relate to my ties to Charlottesville," says Stafford. "I think grape growing and winemaking have a great local benefit to a community, to my family– I have two young children, and I want them to see something being made." 

And his own ambition?

"I think I can make a good wine at a good, affordable price," he says. "It's like cooking, which I also love– good ingredients and attention to detail."

The winery will be unique in at least one aspect, as Stafford and Shaps plan to be Virginia's first and finest "custom crush" facility. 

"This means that if you wanted to make wine, we would either do it for you or instruct you in the process," explains Stafford. "We plan to do custom crush for individuals who want to experience winemaking in a hands-on way, and also for other grape-growers who don't have the facilities or equipment to make their own wine."

 Visit the Winework's website at, call 434-923-8314, or email for information about tastings and tours.

Tapas alert!

The owners of Si Tapas, the trendy tapas restaurant in Richmond's Fan District, say they hope to open their Charlottesville location in the old Starr Hill Restaurant & Brewery space on West Main the first or second week of September. Stay tuned!

 All this food news was first reported online. Check it out at