Charlottesville is absolutely a destination for local food lovers! Vibrant farmers markets, fun agritourism spots, and a host of restaurants serving up locally sourced ingredients.
Our foodie road trips always start at a farmers market. This is where we find the best in handcrafted and locally grown products. We also find we get excellent tips and recommendations from vendors and market managers for restaurants and other fun foodie excursions.
This spring, we visited the Charlottesville City Market – the city’s oldest open-air market. There we asked Justin McKenzie, Market Manager of the Charlottesville City Market, to share his recommended excursions and restaurants. He delivered! All of those details are below!
Charlottesville City Market
100 Water Street, Charlottesville, VA 22902
April - September - Saturdays, 8:00 AM - 12:00 PM
October - November - Saturdays, 8:00 AM - 1:00 PM
Stay up-to-date through the Market's Facebook Page
Charlottesville’s oldest open-air market offers a little bit of everything: fresh fruits and veggies, handmade crafts, homemade baked goods, fresh roasted coffee, doughnuts, organic bagels, authentic cultural foods made on location, fresh artisan breads, and much more. Ranked Virginia's #1 farmers market five years running, it is truly a taste of Charlottesville.
See what treasures you can find from over 100 vendors at the Charlottes City Market.
Photos by by Daniel James
Area Excursions for Local Food Lovers
Details provided by the venues.
Carter Mountain Orchard – Fruit, Wine, Music, and Good Times!
Just minutes from downtown Charlottesville and Monticello, visitors overlook lush groves and breathtaking views of the valley below. Against this stunning backdrop, families and friends pick sun-ripened peaches and crisp apples while breathing in the fresh mountain air. From season to season, there’s always something fun!
In spring, apple blossoms cover the orchard—a gorgeous backdrop for unwinding with a glass of wine.
In early summer, their Country Store features sun-ripened peaches, nectarines, and local veggies, as well as fresh peach cider donuts and plenty of ice cream and cider slushies! Thursday evenings, the mountain is hopping with live music, food, wine, hard cider, and good times.
From mid-August until mid-December, you can pick your own apples or buy ready-picked apples, fresh-pressed apple cider, apple cider donuts (a runaway hit year after year), and their scrumptious apple pies.
As fall festivities approach, the orchard brims with pumpkins, gourds, and harvest decor. Topping off the day are hayrides around the orchard—all in all, a perfect way to enjoy the beautiful Virginia countryside.
Their hours and offerings vary seasonally so visit their website for the latest info.
Caromont Farm - Goat Snuggles & Cheese!
Caromont Farm is located 23 miles South of Charlottesville, Virginia, in the heart of Virginia’s Monticello Wine Region.
Chef and cheesemaker Gail Hobbs-Page has produced award winning goat’s milk and cow’s milk cheeses since 2007. Her food and farming philosophy is time honored --- delicious and nutritious food comes from animals that eat and live well. Gail’s goats are raised on the sustainable principles of grass-based holistic management. This practice creates vibrant full flavored cheeses of place.
Caromont Farm and their cheeses have been featured in The Washington Post, Food and Wine Magazine, and Culture Magazine, as well as on PBS, the CBS Evening News, and international cooking shows. Gail’s proudest moment was being selected as one of Virginia’s “Women in Food” for the Southern Foodways Alliance in 2013. She continues to live and work on her farm making cheese, teaching “Authentic Food” culinary classes, and spending time with her goats.
Visit the farm for Goat Snuggle Sessions – these events are hosted beginning in March of each year and focus on spending time with Caromont Farm’s sweet, goofy, very snuggly baby goats. Schedule a slot to unwind, explore the farm, and eat some farmstead cheese. Bring the whole family! Kids 5 and under are free - tickets are required for all others in your party.
Bellair Farm - Barn Store, Classes & Special Events
Bellair Farm grows certified organic vegetables and raises pastured cattle, hogs, and laying hens. They also partner with trusted local vendors to bring their customers a wide variety of local products. Bellair Farm strives to be your one-stop-shop for all things local in Southern Albemarle!
They have something for everyone: CSA program, Barn Store, Pick-Your-Own veggies & flowers, online ordering & local market pick ups, volunteer opportunities, seasonal events, and more.
Visit their website for news on seasonal events and classes.
Saunder's Brothers - Fruit, Plants & Farm Antiques Museum
Nestled in the foothills on the 'Sunrise Side' of Virginia's Blue Ridge Mountains, Saunders Brothers began as a partnership between five brothers in 1915. Today, third generation brothers, Tom, Bennett, Jim, and Robert operate the wholesale nursery, orchard, and farm market.
Their Farm Market offers a fun place for the whole family to enjoy. You can find a variety of plants, peaches, nectarines, Asian pears, apples, and vegetables, as well as ciders, jams, relishes, salsas, wreaths, and other unique items in the Farm Market from May through November. While you are there, visit the on-site museum; one of the largest privately-owned collections of farm antiques in the state of Virginia.
Modesto Farms - Open Greenhouse
Modesto Farm located in Fluvanna County Virginia is a 5th generation family owned and operated farm. The Goins farm over 600 acres of pasture land and raise grass-fed beef, offer farm fresh chicken eggs, quality hay, and a variety of vegetables, flowers and herb plants from their greenhouse. They are committed to raising their plants and animals in an environmentally friendly way while simultaneously supporting sustainable agriculture.
The Modesto Farms Greenhouse offers a large variety of vegetables, flowers and herb plants. They are open April through June from 10 until 6 Monday through Saturday. July and August closed, reopening September and October for fall vegetables, mums and pansies.
Charlottesville’s Local Food Restaurants
Classic Virginian dishes. French culinary techniques. Multicultural interpretations.
Offering our a la carte menu in our bistro, mezzanine, and upstairs dining rooms
Citizen Burger https://www.citizenburgerbarcville.com/
Local grass finished beef, local buns, cheeses, veggies, and more. Food farmed and created the way it was meant to be
Specialty food store and local lunch cafe in Charlottesville, Virginia
Lampo is an authentic Neapolitan pizzeria located in Belmont just over the bridge from Charlottesville's historic Downtown Mall.
Paradox Pastry https://www.paradoxpastry.com/
Urban vibed café and artisan bakery located in the Warehouse District of Charlottesville, serving espresso and house made sweet and savory items.
Petit Pois https://www.petitpoisrestaurant.com/
Authentic bistro dishes, locally-sourced ingredients, affordable wines, local beers, excellent patio seating, great value.
Playful Southern cuisine: locally sourced ingredients presented in approachable, regionally-inspired dishes.
Red Pump https://www.redpumpkitchen.com/
Brings modern, regional Italian food to the heart of Charlottesville's pedestrian mall.
Revolutionary Soup https://revolutionarysoup.com/
Soups, sandwiches, salads & wraps made from sustainably raised, local ingredients
Shenandoah Joe https://shenandoahjoe.com/
Small batch coffee roaster offering over 25 varieties of specialty/boutique/gourmet coffee
Tavern & Grocery https://www.tavernandgrocery.com/
Local fresh cuisine. Tavern & Grocery is about authenticity... of flavors, ingredients, service, and atmosphere.
Inspired rustic Italian fostered by a staff passionate about food, wine, craft cocktails & personal service
The Local https://thelocal-cville.com/
The Local has experienced a happy journey into the hearts and minds of local diners, University of Virginia students and staff, as well as Charlottesville visitors
The Whiskey Jar https://www.thewhiskeyjarcville.com/
Locally sourced, sustainably cultivated, ingredients, simply prepared and served to you at a reasonable price
Photos by Daniel James
The Virginia is for Farmers Market Lovers Trail
If you love shopping at your local farmers market and eating with the season, this trail is for you. The Virginia is for Farmers Market Lovers Trail connects local food lovers with Virginia’s farmers markets, farms, and farm-to-table restaurants.
Start planning your local food centered road trip today. Use our map to find a Virginia farmers market.