grassfed beef harmony hill farm

Here’s why grassfed beef is worth the money

Plus tips on how to cook it up — it’s different from grainfed beef

– By the Veggie Fairy Team

All our family farmers are transparent about the way they farm. They do it the old fashioned way: slow and natural.

harmony hill farm grassfed beef

That’s how Earl, his wife Robin, and son Jesse raise their animals (cows, pigs, chickens, and more) at Harmony Hill Farm in Scottsville, Va. We talked about it with Earl, and we’ve got the whole conversation below, plus info how to cook grassfed beef without ruining it!

The motto of Earl and his family is: “Farming in harmony with nature.” It’s not the cheapest way to farm. But here’s why it’s worth paying a little extra money to benefit from what they have to offer.

grassfed beef

Before the days of industrial corporate farming, the typical American family spent 30% of their income on food… about the same as what they spent (and still spend) on housing.

Nowadays, thanks to industrial agriculture, most Americans spend less than 10% of their family budget on food. But it’s true what they say: You get what you pay for. Treating plants and animals like widgets on an assembly line has made them cheaper in every sense of the word. Today’s food has fewer nutrients, less natural flavor, and more unhealthy stuff like pesticides, antibiotics, hormones, and bad fats.

To minimize cost while maximizing profit, industrial agriculture harvests produce before it’s ripe from soil full of chemicals, then ships it long distances. Industrial ag crams animals into confined spaces, stuffing them with unnatural feeds, antibiotics, and hormones to fatten them fast during their short, often miserable lives. The result is food that’s much less nutritious and flavorful than what your grandparents ate, and worse for the environment.

To get the food our bodies were meant to eat, you have to turn back the clock to the old ways of doing things. You have to take your time and grow your produce in soil that’s naturally rich and fertile, not chemically enhanced. And you have to leave your produce there until it has absorbed all the nutrients and flavor it was meant to absorb from the earth and the sun.

You have to raise your animals the way nature intended — out in the pastures and woodlands and sunshine, eating what they were meant to eat. For cows, that means grass. Grassfed beef contains more healthy things like vitamins, omega-3 fatty acids, and cancer-fighting fats.

Yes, it costs more to make food this way. But better health is worth it. The better flavor that comes with it is icing on the cake.

As a farmer, it’s not easy to go the unconventional all-natural route. The American industrial food system is designed to support conventional farmers. We asked Earl about it.

harmony hill farm


How long have you been farming?


We’ve been farming full-time here in Fluvanna County for two and a half years. Before that I was a landscape contractor for 30 years in Hanover County. We’d gotten a few cows and hens and broilers, raising them on the side as hobby. But our hearts became more involved with that than the landscaping. So we left the landscaping business, found a farm, and moved up here and started farming full-time.


That’s a big change! Any regrets?


None so far. We moved away from our family and friends, so we don’t have that everyday interaction anymore. We thought it would be more of an emotional strain. But it really hasn’t been. It was time for a new season in our life and where the Lord was leading. It doesn’t mean it hasn’t been difficult or we haven’t had our struggles. But any new venture you’re always going to have those things.

The other day I was talking with Sam (Seasonal Roots’ Farmer Connector) about mindset and emotional things. You’ve got to turn a profit and make a living and support your family. But for us it wasn’t all about the money. It was about a lifestyle change and the direction we wanted to head.

harmony hill farm grassfed beef


How’d you pick up the hobby and then turn it into a second career? Do you come from a farming family?


We’re first-generation full-time farmers. My grandfather always did it on the side. But he never did it full-time. We were the first to do it as a career. Some new farmers do their research early and get started really young. But financially it can be really hard. Getting in when we did later in life, we had a monetary base we could fall back on because of the landscaping business.


Why did you get into all-natural farming? Was that your grandfather’s influence?


No, my grandfather’s methods were more conventional. We call our type farming unconventional because we’re out of the mainstream, unlike industrial farming. My wife was the driving force. Robin started the research to learn about healthy food and healthy eating, where we bought our foods from and how it was raised. She wanted our family to have healthier food. As we started doing it on the side for ourselves, we thought we might be able to make a go of this.

harmony hill farm


Healthier eating motivates a lot of us. What else motivated you?


Our faith — our belief that things are created a certain way, and they need to be allowed to perform in a manner in which they were created. Cows were created to be herbivores and eat grass, not meat byproducts and grain. Our society has changed that, wanting to get away from how something was designed to live, and that’s how we cause a lot of our problems. No animal was designed to live in an industrial situation, crammed in together.


So how did you learn how to farm unconventionally, as you call it?


Our learning has been schooling with folks who have been in our type of farming. We were reading Wendell Berry and Greg Judy. We’ve been to classes with Polyface Farms, falling back on their wisdom and experience. And of course trial and error — you learn by doing.

grassfed beef


What’s been the biggest challenge of becoming an all-natural farmer?


That hardest part is that here in America, because of the industrial, commercial way that we do things, the food is so cheap. Our food is cheaper than anywhere else in the world. That’s hard to overcome. The food we grow is more expensive because our animals are so much more healthy and better for you. It’s more work and takes longer to grow a quality product.

But still, it has to turn a profit. So it’s been hard because that’s the biggest thing you hear: “Why is your meat so much more expensive?” We have to do a lot of educating. It’s better for you and tastes better. We do what we can to be transparent. We invite folks to come out and see how we do it. Our customers visit our farm and they can see our animals out on pasture or in the woods. With a local family farmer like us, you know where your food comes from. You’ve got no clue when you pick something up from one of the big box stores.


So what kind of response do you get?


Usually folks, if they want to eat healthier, once they get it, they’re sold for life. And those folks are everywhere. You’ve just got to be able to find them. That’s where Seasonal Roots fits in — you help us connect with those families who want to eat healthier food.


We’ve mentioned already why grassfed meat is healthier for people. Is eating grass healthier for cows, too?


Grassfed is so much better. Because our herd is out on pasture, like nature intended, they stay healthier. They don’t get sick as often as they would crammed into a crowded, dirty feedlot eating grain. And their ruminant stomach can’t digest grain, so if you feed them grain, well then they need antibiotics. The meat we provide has no antibiotics and no GMOs.


Grassfed vs grass finished

Not only is the beef from Harmony Hill Farm grassfed — it’s grass finished, too. Many farmers who claim to be grassfed actually switch their cows to grain at the end to fatten them up faster. The cows of Harmony Hill eat grass their whole lives.

grassfed beef grass finished beef

There’s more on that, plus the environmental benefits of grassfed on Harmony Hill Farm’s website.

Their site is full of great information, including their favorite books on these subjects, so be sure to check it out. You can also visit them on Facebook.

How to cook grassfed beef

To get the full benefit of lean, healthy, grassfed beef, you have to cook it right. Fortunately, it’s easy to cook right. You just have to know how. So don’t let anyone tell you grassfed beef is tougher than grainfed.

The biggest culprit is overcooking. Grassfed is made for rare to medium-rare cooking. If you prefer beef well-done, first sear it over high heat to seal in the juices, then cook it at very low temps in a sauce to add moisture, like in our beef bourguignon recipe. The reason: grassfed is high in protein and extremely low in fat.

However you like your beef, be sure to take it out of the fridge 30 minutes to an hour before you cook it, so it’s closer to room temperature. Like your muscles, it’s more relaxed (and tender) when it’s warmer. As it warms, it also releases moisture that you can pat dry ahead of time. That prevents the meat from steaming itself into a gray lump instead of searing nice and brown. Rub it with extra virgin olive oil, salt it, and if you like, coat it with your favorite dry rub seasoning.

For grassfed steaks cooked indoors:
1. Preheat your broiler to 450 and place a heavy, oven-proof skillet in the oven to preheat along with it.
2. When the skillet is sizzling hot, turn a burner on high, grab an oven mitt and move the hot skillet from the oven to the burner. Turn the fan over your stovetop on high and place the steaks in the skillet. They will smoke like crazy! But be strong and let them sear for a minute, then flip them to sear on the other side for another minute.
3. Put the skillet back in the oven. One-inch steaks will take 4-6 minutes to hit medium rare (120-130 degrees inside). Since it will continue to cook even after it’s removed from the heat, take it off when the internal temp is still 10 degrees below the target temperature. Using tongs (not a fork — don’t poke holes for the juices to escape), place the steaks on a cutting board and loosely tent them under foil for 10 minutes. This allows the juices to redistribute throughout the meat while it finishes cooking, making for juicier steak.

More tips for grassfed cooking, plus recipes, are on our Pinterest beef page.


Since 2011, Seasonal Roots’ online farmers market has connected Virginia families with local family farmers who use sustainable, humane practices. Our veggie fairies – mostly moms who believe in living better through scrumptious, healthy eating, being kind to animals, protecting the environment, and spreading joy – home-deliver freshly harvested produce, pastured eggs, grassfed dairy and meat, plus artisan fare. We empower our members to eat better and live better with more nutritious, flavorful food that’s good for us and good for the planet. More info at

SeasonalRootsMenu main image resized new basket names updated

Shopping How-to

Shopping your home-delivered farmers market is quick & easy

By the Veggie Fairy Team:

Here’s a step-by-step shopping how-to that will help you place the order you want (or skip a week):

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1. Choose a basket size

When your online farmers market is open, the first thing you see is the Market Page. Go to the top and choose a basket size. Each basket comes prefilled with seasonal produce – 5 choices in the Easy Basket, 8 choices in the Family Basket, 11 choices in the Veggie Lover Basket.

2. Customize

Next, make any changes you want by swapping items or filling a customized basket from scratch. You do it like this:

  • SWAP: After you choose the best basket for you, check out what’s in it. Let’s say you don’t want green tomatoes. Click on the “Swap Item” button below the tomatoes and the picture will start rotating through several other popular items. Keep clicking till you see what you want.

swap button

  • START FROM SCRATCH: But say you want even more choices. In that case, just fill your basket from scratch. Scroll down to the “Fancy a change?” line, and at the end of that line, click on “Customize it here.”

customize cu

  • CLICK (+) OR (-): That takes you to the full range of everything our farmers have ready for harvest. Click the plus sign (+) below the items you want until all the photo slots in the upper left are filled. Again, that’s 5 choices for the Easy Basket, 8 for the Family Basket, and 11 for the Veggie Lover Basket.
  • UPDATE ORDER: Once all the choices are filled, the “Update Order” button will appear in the upper right. Click on it and you’re done! (Unless you want to order Extras – read the rest of this post for more on that.)
  • MAKE CHANGES ALL WEEKEND: You can keep changing your mind and adding and subtracting from your basket all weekend.

3. More info on items & farmers

Need more info about an item? Click on the tiny round photo of it under its name. Want to know who grew it or made it? Click on the other tiny logo/people pic.

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4. Choose “Extras”

Once you’re done filling your Easy, Family, or Veggie Lover basket, you can also add Extras – just scroll down the Market Page. There are a number of category tabs in the Extras section, including Bakery, Produce, Dairy, Artisan Goods, Gluten Free, Meats, and Prepared Foods. To see what’s available in each category, click on its tab.

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  • TO ADD AN EXTRA ITEM: Click on the plus sign (+) below the item. As you add new items, a purple counter appears on the tab to help you keep track.
  • howaboutextra updated price

    • TO ADD MORE OR LESS OF THAT ITEM: To add more, keep clicking the +. If the + doesn’t light up, that means there’s only enough of that item for you to order one. If you change your mind and want to remove an item, click the minus sign (-) below that item.

    5. Enter a promo code

    When you’re all done filling your basket and adding Extras, scroll further down the Market Page. If you have a promo code, a.k.a. veggie fairy code, enter it and click “Apply”.

    6. Save and review!

    Then scroll down again to the very bottom of the Market Page and click the big green “Save And Review My Order” button. YOU MUST CLICK “SAVE AND REVIEW” TO PLACE YOUR ORDER. If you don’t, your carefully filled basket will go POOF and your veggie fairies will never know it existed. Instead, they’ll deliver the original pre-filled basket, which will leave you disappointed, and that will make your fairies very sad. And there’s nothing sadder than a sad veggie fairy.

    • FYI – YOU’LL GET A CONFIRMATION EMAIL: When you save your order, you will receive a confirmation email. If you receive a confirmation, we got your order. If you don’t receive a confirmation, we didn’t get your order.

    save and review updated w arrow 600

    7. Want to change your order?

    So let’s say you click “Save And Review My Order”… and then you change your mind. That’s okay! You can still make as many changes as you want until 11:59pm when the clock strikes midnight on Sunday night. To make changes, scroll down to the bottom of the Summary Page and CLICK ON THE PURPLE “EDIT MY ORDER” BUTTON. That will re-open your order, taking you back to the Market Page.

    8. Always click “Save And Review”!

    Just remember: Each time you re-open your order, always click the “Save And Review My Order” button AGAIN at the bottom of the Market Page. Otherwise your basket reverts back to the previous saved order.

    • FYI – YOU’LL GET ANOTHER CONFIRMATION EMAIL: Every time you click “Save and Review”, you’ll receive another confirmation email. If you don’t receive another email, that means your latest order change wasn’t entered. So be sure to click “Save and Review” every time you change your order.


    9. Skip a week

    Then again, maybe you don’t want to place any order at all. You can skip or pause your deliveries at any time.

    • WHEN THE MARKET IS CLOSED: Sign in and hover over the purple gear icon in the upper right corner. In the drop down menu, click on “Delivery Preferences” and follow the directions. Be sure to click the “Save” button at the bottom!
    • WHEN THE MARKET IS OPEN: Go to the very bottom of the Market Page. Underneath the “Save And Review My Order”, there’s a red “Skip This Week” button. Click it.

    save and review - skip resized

    • YOU CAN CHANGE YOUR MIND ABOUT SKIPPING, TOO: On the You Skipped This Week Page, just click the green “On second thought, I’d like to place an order” button to re-open your order and go back to the Market Page.
    • YOU CAN CHANGE YOUR MIND MORE THAN ONCE: But if, on third thought, you decide you really do need to skip this week after all, YOU MUST CLICK “Skip This Week” AGAIN.
    • FYI – YOU’LL GET YET ANOTHER CONFIRMATION EMAIL: Every time you click “Skip This Week” or “Save And Review”, you’ll receive another confirmation email.

    10. The bottom line

    Basically, every time you open the Market Page, click either “Save And Review My Order” or “Skip This Week” to make sure you get what you want! ON MONDAY MORNING, YOU’LL RECEIVE A FINAL CONFIRMATION EMAIL THAT YOUR LAST CONFIRMED ORDER WENT THROUGH.


    Since 2011, Seasonal Roots’ home-delivered farmers market has connected Virginia families with local family farmers who use sustainable, humane practices. Our veggie fairies – mostly moms who believe in living better through scrumptious, healthy eating, being kind to animals, protecting the environment, and spreading joy – home-deliver freshly harvested produce, pastured eggs, grassfed dairy and meat, plus artisan fare. We empower our members to eat better and live better with more nutritious, flavorful food that’s good for us and good for the planet. More info at

    wreath welcome dominion harvest

    Welcome, Oberweis Dairy customers!

    Everything you need to know to get started

    By the Veggie Fairy Team

    Seasonal Roots is Virginia’s oldest and biggest home-delivered farmers market, specializing in locally sourced, sustainably grown produce. When Oberweis Dairy asked us to help make sure you can enjoy the convenience of the freshest, best-tasting, healthiest home-delivered dairy, we said sure!

    Seasonal Roots members order a weekly home-delivered produce basket, and can add on Extras like pastured eggs, grassfed meats, and artisan fare. To help you out, we’re now making it possible for you to also add on your favorite Oberweis items.

    So for all our new Oberweis customers who join and become Seasonal Roots members, here’s a step-by-step introduction to your new community of fresh local food lovers:

    When to place your order

    You can place your order all weekend long. Your online farmers market is open from Friday at 2pm until Sunday at 11:59pm. We’ll send you an email on Friday to remind you that the market is open. During that time you can browse and shop all you want. When the market’s not open, you can take an offline tour of the ordering process by clicking here.

    How to order your basket

    When you sign in while the market is open, you’ll see that each order is fully customizable. It starts with a basket of fresh local produce that you can swap items in and out of. Then in the Extras section you can choose to buy bakery items, meats, artisan goods, more produce, and Oberweis dairy products.

    First, the basket. There are three basket sizes to choose from:

    basket assortments prices

    Whichever basket you choose, it will come pre-filled with a selection of produce. You’re free to change that — just swap out items to get exactly what you want.

    How to order Extras

    Browse the tabs in the Extras section and add to your order whatever items strike your fancy. You can change your order as often as you like until the market closes on Sunday at 11:59pm. If you do make changes, only your most recent save will be processed, so you can disregard the email confirmations you’ll receive for the earlier saves.

    Need to skip a week or more? You can schedule skips anytime before the market closes, up to 12 weeks in advance. If you don’t skip or customize, the default order that was in the Friday email will be processed when the market closes.

    The money stuff

    Here’s what you need to know, in no particular order:

  • After each weekend that you order, your credit card will be charged on Monday morning.
  • We don’t charge a bottle deposit. We just ask that you return your bottles so Oberweis can sanitize and reuse them.
  • Seasonal Roots has a small annual membership fee of $50 the first year, and $35 every year after that.
  • Delivery

    If you live in Northern Virginia, Wednesday will be your delivery day. If you live anywhere from Richmond to Virginia Beach, Thursday will be your delivery day. If you’re unsure about your delivery day, drop us an email.

    On your delivery day, your box of local food will be delivered to your doorstep — hand-delivered by a neighborhood Market Manager who lives near you. She or he will send you an email reminder the night before that will give you a delivery window of just a couple hours so you’ll know when to expect it. Your Market Manager is there to help, so feel free to send an email if you ever have any questions or concerns.

    On delivery day, you’ll also receive a “Field Notes” email from Sam, your Farmer Connector – he’ll update you on the harvest. Sometimes Mother Nature has plans for our crops that we can’t foresee. If something foils the harvest of a basket item, we’ll substitute the closest item we can find – for example, yellow squash instead of zucchini. If it’s an Extra item that you ordered, we’ll credit it to your account.

    By the way, we check and double check each item before it reaches you, but if something falls through the cracks, like a bruised apple or a missing item, we want to know! It’s easy to report an issue — visit our FAQs and scroll down to “Quality Control” for instructions.

    Each week on delivery day, please leave out a cooler, along with an ice pack if you have one. That way your fresh local food will stay fresh and safe from hungry critters.

    Next to your cooler, please leave out your empty Seasonal Roots delivery box and glass milk bottles from the week before to help us reduce our carbon footprint. Your Market Manager will whisk it all away so it can be reused. That will save energy and, in the case of the boxes, trees!

    Last but not least: Enjoy!

    Once you receive your order, all you have to do is enjoy it! If you ever find yourself with more fresh local produce than you can eat right away, here’s how you can preserve the nutrients and flavor until you’re ready to use it.

    To get to know us better, please visit our Web site where we’ve got FAQs, the story of how we got started, and more. We also hope you’ll join us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest for recipes!


    Since 2011, Seasonal Roots’ home-delivered farmers market has connected Virginia families with local family farmers who use sustainable, humane practices. Our veggie fairies – mostly moms who believe in living better through scrumptious, healthy eating, being kind to animals, protecting the environment, and spreading joy – home-deliver freshly harvested produce, pastured eggs, grassfed dairy and meat, plus artisan fare. We empower our members to eat better and live better with more nutritious, flavorful food that’s good for us and good for the planet. More info at

    rooted delights vegan mac and cheese

    This local food beats food allergies 5 ways

    No gluten. No tree nuts. No soy. No dairy. No eggs. Pure comfort.

    – By the Veggie Fairy Team

    Food allergies are on the rise. Researchers estimate that up to 15 million Americans have food allergies. That includes 5.9 million children under the age of 18. That’s 1 in 13 kids, or just about two in every classroom. And 30 percent or so of those kids are allergic to more than one food.

    Others don’t suffer from a full blown allergy, but just feel better when they don’t eat gluten, soy, tree nuts, dairy, or eggs. Still, just because you or someone you love can’t eat those things, doesn’t mean you have to miss out on a yummy comfort food like macaroni and cheese…

    rooted delights vegan cheese

    …or even an entire wheel of cheese! Not when Rooted Delights is handcrafting artisanal, plant-based cheese using ingredients you can pronounce.

    Rooted Delights is one of the new locally prepared foods we’re welcoming into our home-delivered farmers market this year — part of our goal of making it easy for you to eat the healthiest food available: local food!

    rooted delights vegan allergen-free local food

    Rooted Delights was co-founded in 2016 in Alexandria, Va., by Janay, a fellow sufferer of food intolerances… until she realized that, lo and behold, she felt so much better when she cut things like gluten, dairy, and soy out of her diet.

    We veggie fairies were curious about Janay’s journey from food sufferer to food artisan. We also love, love, love her cheddarliscious vegan cheese and mac and cheese. And so, as usual, we just had to her a bunch of our usual nosy questions.

    Veggie Fairy:

    For you veganism was the cure, right? How did you discover that?


    My vegan journey started with meatless Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays. During that short period, I noticed amazing changes in weight loss, fewer cravings, improved sleeping habits, and overall more energy. I was convinced that my new diet was a positive lifestyle change that could easily and permanently be done.

    Veggie Fairy:

    What made you jump from cooking vegan food for yourself to cooking for others?


    I couldn’t wait to share my experience with others and provide plant-based alternatives to help with transitioning! I was determined to create vegan comfort food for my loved ones to enjoy without compromising its taste. While doing research, I found that a high percentage of people have allergies to soy, gluten, and tree nuts. I knew then that I had to be particular with the foods I decided to use and buy so everyone could enjoy it. My co-founder Alexander and I started out with a vegan food truck/catering venture, and I just fell in love with how our food made others feel — that feel-good feeling we all crave. I quickly realized the need for more plant-based cheese alternatives.

    Veggie Fairy:

    So you graduated from the food truck to creating artisanal cheese. What was the hardest part of getting the cheese business off the ground?


    The hardest part was finding a cheese type to start the Rooted Delights product line. At the time, I was making different vegan cheeses at home as a hobby.

    rooted delights vegan allergen-free local food

    Veggie Fairy:

    How did you learn to make vegan allergen-free cheese?


    Lots of trial and error, haha! It took almost a year to get it right. I tried many different ingredients and quantities. But I kept at it because I believe plant-based foods have the ability to be flavorful and make you feel good. As I experimented with those different vegan cheeses, that’s when the cheddar-style cheese was born! I figured a cheddar-style taste has so much diversity and can be used in so many dishes, which in my opinion, makes it a perfect transitioning cheese.

    Veggie Fairy:

    What do you love most about making artisanal food?


    I’m so excited that Rooted Delights can provide delicious meals for all! I love that one by one, we are changing people’s perspective of what plant-based food tastes like.

    Veggie Fairy:

    What makes Rooted Delights different from other vegan food makers?


    For me, veganism is a movement based on love and positivity. So Rooted Delights is about more than just food making — we are a feeling! We want to provide our customers with the same great feeling as non-vegan foods, but with a plant-based product. That’s how we give our customers something to enjoy with their nachos, burgers, pastas, and mac and cheese… pretty much all the amazing foods we thought we had to give up!

    rooted delights allergen-free mac and cheese

    Veggie Fairy:

    Well, we’re super excited to welcome you and Alexander and Rooted Delights to our home-delivered farmers market! Is there anything else you want to tell our members about Rooted Delights?


    Yes, one last thing! Rooted Delights is also part of a group called ‘Less Media More Social”. We visit different cities and we provide four-course vegan cuisines, poetry, and great vibes. We also take away our guests’ phones for a small session of the night. Yes, we take their phones. We do give them back! But in the process, we all educate and learn. We are so grateful for the opportunity to partner with Seasonal Roots and look forward to sharing more cuisines and cheeses in the near future.


    Learn more about Rooted Delights on their website and on Facebook.


    Since 2011, Seasonal Roots’ online farmers market has connected Virginia families with local family farmers who use sustainable, humane practices. Our veggie fairies – mostly moms who believe in living better through scrumptious, healthy eating, being kind to animals, protecting the environment, and spreading joy – home-deliver freshly harvested produce, pastured eggs, grassfed dairy and meat, plus artisan fare. We empower our members to eat better and live better with more nutritious, flavorful food that’s good for us and good for the planet. More info at

    Birdies Pimento Cheese healthy eating

    Healthy eating starts with local pimento cheese. Seriously!

    With pimento cheese, even picky eaters eat their veggies

    – By the Veggie Fairy Team

    Pimento cheese may have been invented in New York, but it became a southern staple long ago. South of the Mason-Dixon, everybody’s got a favorite — a cherished family recipe, a potluck tradition, a beloved deli.

    Now, it’s true that dairy products do provide lots of nutritional value. And pimento cheese is gluten free! But admit it: With all that cheddar and mayo, you eat pimento cheese for the fabulous creamy comfort it provides, not to achieve excrutiatingly correct nutrition.

    Which is what makes Virginia-made Birdie’s Pimento Cheese such a great secret weapon for getting picky eaters to eat their veggies. You can transform veggies into pimento cheese delivery vehicles by dipping it up with sticks of raw carrots or celery, wrapping it in collard greens, and adding it to tomato sandwiches. It’s quick, it’s easy, it’s addictively delicious, and on a busy day it’s a lot better for you and your family than fast-food take-out.

    birdies pimento cheese healthy eating

    We’ve got some how-to’s on that at the end of this post. Because figuring out how to eat healthy meals even when you’re pressed for time can be a real challenge.

    Bad news about kids’ restaurant meals

    It’s especially hard to find convenient kids’ meals that are also healthy. Ninety-seven percent of the children’s restaurant meals studied by the Center for Science in the Public Interest did not meet expert nutrition standards for children’s meals. Even at home, less than one-fourth of family dinners include a full serving of vegetables, according to a recent survey by Birds Eye.

    Good news about convenient home-cooked meals

    Yes, they CAN be convenient! That’s why we’re including prepared foods like Birdie’s Pimento Cheese alongside the vegetables and fruits in our home-delivered farmers market — to equip you with the tasty tools you need to eat healthy, even when you’re in a hurry or faced with a picky eater.

    birdies pimento cheese healthy eating

    Birdie’s story

    Birdie’s is our fave because it’s locally made, its ingredients are sourced locally whenever possible, and we’ve got it in five — count ’em FIVE — fun flavors: Classic, Cream Cheese & Black Pepper, Garlic Parmesan, Smoked Gouda with Roasted Red Pepper, and Jalapeno.

    Birdie’s is co-owned by Robin and Glenn, affectionately known as Birdie and Bubba. Robin grew up in North Carolina, and there was always some pimento cheese in the fridge. Since it was easier to eat a spoonful of pimento cheese than to make a sandwich, she chose it for her go-to after school snack. She didn’t think much about it, other than sneaking a few bites between playing outside and maybe doing some homework. (Let that be a lesson to all you parents out there — always stash those celery sticks next to the tub of pimento cheese to encourage sneaky kiddos to use veggies instead of spoons!)

    birdies pimento cheese picky eaters

    So Robin grew up, got married, and she and Glenn ran their own printing business. When Robin’s niece got pregnant, everybody in the family was picking out their grandma name or family nickname.

    “I think my niece thought I was going to feel left out and she pondered what to call me,” Robin recalls. “You have to be careful letting others nickname you, you could end up as Fruit Loops. So I jumped in with an offer: With a bird as my first name, I thought how about Birdie!”

    After that, Robin was once asked if her pimento cheese recipe was hers or her Aunt Birdie’s. She said, “I’m Aunt Birdie!” It was only in July of 2014, as Robin was about to turn 50, that she saw an opportunity to make and sell her own pimento cheese. “My great niece thinks it’s very fine that she’s the catalyst for the name of our pimento cheese. She’s a super fan!”

    It happened like this. A revitalization grant brought a farmers market to the Allen’s home of South Hill, Virginia. Eventually, Glenn caught the market bug and figured he’d try his hand at growing and selling cabbages.

    “He planted about 24 cabbages in our little garden,” Robin remembers. “As the cabbages started to grow, like good little cabbages do, our hound dog, Day-z, would nip the tender heads right off. Glenn was beside himself. Every afternoon, there was another dead cabbage in the driveway. I suggested I could make pimento cheese.”

    So Robin and Glenn came up with a plan to sell three flavors of pimento cheese at the market — just for one day, just to see what it was like.

    birdies pimento cheese farmers market

    Turns out, they loved everything about it. The town of South Hill cleared the way for Robin and Glenn to get their pimento cheese inspected and their business established, and after that first day — making new friends over pimento cheese, feeling the thrill of the sale, and selling out all 30 tubs of cheese they had in stock — Robin and Glenn launched the next phase of their lives together. They sold the printing business and started making pimento cheese full-time.

    birdies pimento cheese farmers market

    Why we love pimento cheese

    Robin, a.k.a. Birdie, explains what she loves about it all:
    “When I would take my pimento cheese to people’s parties, people would say, ‘Oh, well, I put a little onion in mine,’ and that’s when I realized that people are really doing things with it. That’s why we have five flavors. Familiar and exotic at the same time, we’re wildly curious about this Southern tradition. Store-brand pimento cheese has become blander, a please-all attempt that has just left it flavorless. People will taste ours and then they start talking about their aunt’s recipe or the way their mom would make it. That’s one of the beautiful things we’ve experienced with having this business — we get to share everybody’s memories.”

    We veggie fairies love that about it, too… almost as much as we just love eating it. It’s so fresh! You’ll find Birdie’s Pimento Cheese in the market’s Extras section.

    birdies pimento cheese healthy eating

    How to cook with pimento cheese

    Watch Robin demonstrate how to make chicken breasts and collards stuffed with Birdie’s Pimento Cheese. To max out the flavor and nutrients, use the healthiest possible ingredients: local pasture-raised chicken and bacon and local sustainably grown collards. They’re available in our home-delivered farmers market. Serve it up with a salad of veggies and/or fruits and you’ve got a complete meal full of fresh nutrition, especially if you double up on the collards.

    Watch Robin demo how to make grilled pimento cheese and tomato sandwiches. Be sure to use fresh local tomatoes and fresh-baked local bread. She’s also got other suggestions like sandwiching the pimento cheese between cucumber slices.

    Visit Birdie’s Pimento Cheese on Facebook or on her website.


    Since 2011, Seasonal Roots’ online farmers market has connected Virginia families with local family farmers who use sustainable, humane practices. Our veggie fairies – mostly moms who believe in living better through scrumptious, healthy eating, being kind to animals, protecting the environment, and spreading joy – home-deliver freshly harvested produce, pastured eggs, grassfed dairy and meat, plus artisan fare. We empower our members to eat better and live better with more nutritious, flavorful food that’s good for us and good for the planet. More info at