Kate Collier and Eric Gertner are the arbiters of excellence at Feast!
Photo Courtesy of Feast!
Farm to table may be the foodie buzzword right now, but it only works if you know where to find the best farms. Enter Kate Collier and Eric Gertner, who recognize good food when they taste it.
For the past 11 years, the husband-and-wife team has been carefully curating meats, cheeses and other gourmet products from near and far, then serving their finds to customers at their Charlottesville specialty food shop and café, Feast! “I went to UVA and knew that in Charlottesville there was an open niche for artisan cheese and perfectly sliced cured meat,” says Collier. And she was right, as the line of people looking to peruse Collier and Gertner’s selection of approximately 75 cheeses and 60 meats regularly wends its way out the door.
Collier, Gertner and their full-time staff of 12 select the best Virginia products, like chicken from Polyface Farms, prosciutto from S. Wallace Edwards & Sons and goat cheese from Caromont Farm, and then either sell the products to customers in-store—off the shelf or in gift baskets like the Virginia Feast in a Box—or serve them up at the Feast! café via a menu of soups, salads and sandwiches created by Chef Megan Kiernan. They even have a Feast! label for food they buy in bulk and repackage. “Feast! brands are things we think are phenomenal,” says Collier. “We buy from great producers, so customers know if it has the Feast! brand ... it’s our signature of approval.”
But Feast! goes beyond the borders of the Commonwealth. “We also have some great products not from here,” says Collier. Sacrilege, we say! But we give her a chance to explain: “For our olive oil, we have a connection to an olive grove in Italy. There’s no olive oil in Virginia, so we’ve gone and found things that are farm to table. Not only local, but the best the world has to offer.” It’s not farm to table, it’s farm to Feast! to table, and that’s how you know it’s good. FeastVirginia.com