Charlottesville Breaking News

Growing trend: Zynodoa puts the farm on the table

There's a growing trend, literally, among chefs and restaurant owners to source food from their own gardens and small farms, but few seem to be embracing that idea quite like Zynodoa in Staunton.

Dish had a chance recently to chat with owner Jeff Goode, who founded the restaurant with his wife Susan about five years ago, and to meet and eat the food of their relatively new chef James Harris.

The Goodes own a 50-acre farm in nearby Swoope, where they have two large gardens and raise ducks and hens, which supplies Harris with fresh eggs, potatoes, squash, peppers, tomatoes, and an assortment of herbs and other produce that he uses to create unique farm-to-table cuisine.

"I've lived all over the country," says Harris, who grew up in San Diego and formerly served as kitchen manager at the word-class Inn at Little Washington, "and I'll put Virginia growers before anyone in the country."

The Goodes' farm and gardens represent about 10 percent of the 80 percent of locally-sourced food on the menu, so Harris knows his way around the local farm scene. And he's constantly impressed.

"You can tell they work themselves ragged," Harris says of Virginia growers, "but you can tell they are happy. There's really a special thing going on here."

Ironically, one of the area's most successful farm-to-table rest...

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American garden: Peter Hatch and the restoration of Jefferson's landscape

Peter Hatch is all over the place this month. He's in Washington to help First Lady Michelle Obama plant the White House vegetable garden, he's in San Francisco for a Gardening Conservancy symposium, and look, there he is in this month's Garden & Gun.

Hatch's popularity isn't sudden– for nearly 35 years he's run the gardens and grounds of Monticello. But with his new book and his impending retirement from the World Heritage site upon whose grounds he's put his own stamp, Hatch is even more in demand these days.

Hatch, who soon turns 63, has witnessed not only the origins of the American garden, but also the emergence of Monticello as a leading center for historic research.

"It's been fascinating to see it evolve from a mom-and-pop organization," says Hatch, settling in for yet another interview in the tiny pavilion in the middle of the thousand-foot stretch of terrace that Jefferson constructed and Hatch reconstructed.

For Michigan-born Hatch, who attended the same prep school as Mitt Romney and earned an English degree from the University of North Carolina, that path to the mountaintop was not obvious. After graduation, he assumed he'd be teaching high school English and coaching hockey.

"I was staying with a friend in Massachusetts who was talking about the joys of organic gardening," says Hatch who returned to Chapel Hill, tilled some soil, and studied landscape gardening at a...

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A time to sentence: Huguely fate to be finalized August 30

During a brief but at times testy 25-minute hearing in Charlottesville Circuit Court, convicted murderer George W. Huguely V, received a sentencing date of 1pm on August 30. Huguely, convicted in late-February for the 2010 beating death of former girlfriend Yeardley Love, was not present for the April 16 proceedings.

"I've got a three-week, multimillion-dollar civil case," exclaimed Judge Edward Hogshire, explaining why he was unavailable for most of July to hear arguments in motions to overturn the conviction. The motions, however, have not been filed, and led to further upset from the judge.

"Typically, these motions are filed the day after the trial," said Hogshire. "I haven't gotten a motion yet."

Defense counsel explained that part of the delay stemmed from the unavailability of a complete record of the February trial which stretched over parts of three weeks.

"Having a finished transcript," said co-counsel for the defense, Rhonda Quagliana, "is vital."

"You're very familiar with the case," the judge shot back. "You know what parts are vital."

The judge set dates in June and July to argue the to-be-filed defense motions. He also set a hearing for this Thursday the 19th of April to hear motions from Robert Yates, a lawyer representing several media o...

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FunStuff: Charlottesville events April 19 and beyond

From windows to wisteria
If you're a do-it-yourselfer, have a green thumb, or just get excited about home renovation projects, this three-day event is probably the most fun you can have without a hammer or spade in hand. For three years now, the Blue Ridge Home Builders Association's annual Home and Garden Festival, now in its 39th year, has been held on the floor of the jumbo-sized John Paul Jones Arena, with room for over 100 builders, suppliers, landscapers, and renovators. There will be workshops on energy-efficiency, activities in a special kid zone, and even wine tastings from local vineyards. And all for only five bucks. 
April 20-22, John Paul Jones Arena, 10am Sat and 1pm Fri/Sun, $5




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Belmont rocked: Neighborhood drug ring smashes stereotypes

With its trendy restaurants, remodeled houses, and close proximity to downtown, Belmont has enjoyed at least a decade as the hip district for Charlottesville's young professionals. It turns out that some of them were professional dealers in a substance not usually associated with a gentrifying part of town: crack cocaine.

The Belmont-based crack organization had its own dedicated telephone hotline for customers to place their orders, and some of the buyers earned six-figure incomes, says U.S. Attorney Timothy Heaphy.

"One of the members of this conspiracy went to an elite private high school in this area and came from a good family," says Heaphy.

Rebecca Lee "Becca" Brannock, a 2006 graduate of St. Anne's-Belfield, a private school with annual tuition topping $20,000, often sold crack at her residence and reserved in her own name the hotel rooms used to package the crack and to arrange sales, court papers note.

Her father is real estate broker Tommy Brannock, recently named by the Daily Progress as one of its "Distinguished Dozen" for his good works. He declined to comment.

Heaphy says that the kingpin was Reagan Richards, 31, who used his trusted nephew, Rashard Richards, 18, to run the enterprise that included the alleged kingpin's sister as well as Rashard's 38-year-old mother, Teresa Sims. In all, 11 peopl...

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