Greens Garage: The opposite of “Food, Inc.”


I’m sorry that we didn’t make it to FloydFest this year, but at least we made it to Floyd, to the home of our friends Rob Neukirch and his beautiful wife Michelle. When the former owners of your formerly favorite Floyd restaurant — Oddfella’s Cantina — invite you for Sunday brunch, it doesn’t matter how much packing you have to do. You go.

On our way home, they suggested we stop by the self-serve Greens Garage — a tiny organic “Farmstand and More” that operates solely on the honor system. It’s so out off the beaten path that it doesn’t even have a sign — not unless you count the peace sign and the pieces of cardboard announcing that the peaches were in.

We bought a beautiful and heaping bag of baby lettuces for $4, another bag of sugar snap peas for $2, along with a few other goodies. Amazingly, we resisted the temptation of Nastasha’s cookies, made by a former Oddfella’s chef — but only because we were already so full from Rob’s marvelous Belgian waffles. (When he admitted that he snuck a Tablespoon of flax seed into the buckwheat/white-flour blend — see most excellent recipe below — I tried to pawn off my flax-seed oil on the spot, but sadly he declined.)

Everything in the Garage was fresh and locally produced, including local honey, regional cheeses and grass-fed beef and pork. We helped ourselves to two of the patty pan squash, which were free for the taking from a box outside the door.

We wrote up our own receipt, consulting the sales tax chart on the wall — and stuffed the cash into the provided envelope. A tabby cat wandered in and out while we were there but dutifully filed out as we left. Everything was fresh, well-marked and tidily organized — in a cinderblock building no bigger than a doublewide. 

The flier says the Greens Garage was designed for “Friends and Neighbors,” but I’ve a hunch the operators wouldn’t mind a few “come heres” showing up — as long as they adhere to the honor system.

The garage is operated by local-food movement gurus Tenley Weaver and Dennis Dove, who own Full Circle Farm and do the marketing and distribution for a larger cooperative of growers called Good Food, Good People.

Between this place — I see now why Rob only buys his lettuce greens at the Garage — and the new farmer’s market on Grandin Road, I think I’m convinced, finally, to go see the movie “Food, INC,”  although I’ll admit it’s so much easier to remain uninformed.

Our teenager is even seeing the movie today, compliments of his employer, The Isaacs Restaurant. Manager Nicole Coleman is taking her entire staff there so they can learn more about the local foods they’re promoting at the restaurant.

I fully expect him to come home and declare our house a Tyson-free zone. As long as he empties the dishwasher, I’m down.

 From Roanoke, take 221 South. About six miles miles before you get to the town of Floyd, turn right onto Roger Road, which is immediately past Ingram’s Marathon gas station. Drive exactly one mile — it feels longer on the gravel road — and you’ll see it on the left. Open year-round every day from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. For more information or to place special orders, call 745-3182.

Rob’s Waffles

1  3/4 cups flour

1/4 cup buckwheat flour

2 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. baking soda

3 T sugar

Pinch salt

1 T flax seed, ground

Cinnamon to taste

2 eggs beaten

1 tsp. vanilla

3 T melted butter

3 cups buttermilk

Mix dry ingredients. Beat eggs, add vanilla and butter (slowly). Add to dry mixture. Add buttermilk. Mix together and let rest. Use cooking spray on waffle iron. Enjoy. Smack lips.

— Rob Neukirch

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1 Comment

  1. bethmacy

     /  August 1, 2009

    update: I met the Good Food, Good People folks at the Grandin Road market this morning — so glad to know I don’t have to drive all the way up to Floyd to get those greens again. They confirmed my hunch that the honor system does indeed work in their favor. They’ve never been ripped off, to their knowledge; in fact, more people have left tips!
    Thanks to Chris and Kelly for venturing up to the Garage this week and sharing their tales.

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