It’s very easy to remember how Auguste Fauchon began his Place de la Madeleine gourmet shop in Paris, France when you enter Gary Hall’s Brassicas Farm and Fresh Market & Café in Aldie, Virginia.  The sunny, pristine shop behind flower boxes filled with beautiful fresh herbs offers charming seating near the front windows and an assortment of delectable fare you may enjoy there or take with you.

Granted, it is a small shop, with every square inch of delightful space filled with deliciously aromatic and beautifully packaged products, but one must not forget that Monsieur Fauchon began as a street vendor, and, frankly, Mr. Hall’s place of business is leagues beyond that.

What is undeniable is that Gary Hall is as passionate about American food as M. Fauchon was about fine French food. There is little doubt that he is curating a group of growers and suppliers that will establish his shop and services as a haven for Northern Virginia gourmands.

Gary Hall’s considerable experience in the food business is amply evident in the dairy, wine, cheese, sweets, meat and vegetable selection at Brassicas.  How he is achieving his objective to grow ingredients locally will be quickly underscored if you stroll to the back of the shop to see his amazing garden and meet the brigade of chickens who guard and glean it.  Behind the towering hedge of Alabama Red Okra, there is ample evidence of Summer’s bounty and the current transition to root and Winter vegetables.

“I’ve always wanted my own market and café,” Gary said smiling, “…where the garden dictated the menu.  The response to what we offer has been wonderful.  I am so grateful to the patrons and customers who are confirming my instincts.”

“My mission is to prepare unique and interesting food….and to keep it simple,” he continued.

In addition to the diverse variety of local products, and everything on the menu, Brassicas offers delicious prepared first and main courses.

The Ricotta Rellenos with organic black beans and brown rice are spicy and scrumptious and need only ten minutes in a 400-degree oven to provide a delicious supper for three or four.  Priced at $10, this dish will definitely tempt those who love Southwestern fare.

Add some slices of melon or peach or fig to the proscuitto stuffed with sage ricotta and you have a highly refined and truly delectable first course that will please any dinner or cocktail guest.

The menu offers seasonal kale and pesto dishes, grilled cheese sandwiches with Asiago, white cheddar and tomatoes, an eggplant sandwich with feta, greens, tomato and tahini, roast pork with sour cherry jam, pulled turkey and much more.

An excellent wine and beer selection is also available, and you may check the menu of the day on the Brassicas Farm Fresh Market & Café Facebook page.

You’ll enjoy many gluten-free options as well as local honey and fair trade coffee.  Children will love Trickling Springs Creamery chocolate milk and you will thoroughly enjoy their selection of dairy products.

Many cheeses are sourced from Mountain View Farm and George’s Mill Farm, smoked bacon and chorizo from Spring House Farm and naturally grown produce from Quarter Branch Farm, many located in Lovettsville, Virginia.

Root vegetables are growing in the garden for a fall menu that will include acorn and butternut squash dishes, spinach, parsnip, carrot, chard and kale delicacies.

Brassicas just received approval for outdoor seating that will offer a delightful reverie for hot apple cider, mulled wine and cookies as the crispy Autumn days arrive.

“We hope customers will  enjoy our outdoor space and garden after their meal,” Gary said.  “We have grown our offerings tremendously since this time last year and we are thrilled that our catering services are becoming very popular as the holiday season approaches.”

Brassicas is located at 3933 John Mosby Highway or Route 50 in Aldie, Virginia.  Telephone 703 327 2006.  Hours are  9 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekdays, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekends until the shop closes for the Winter.