Thomas Jefferson? You probably think of him as part of the genius behind the Declaration of Independence. Or maybe as the third president of our then-fledgling nation.
But in September, a festival at his central Virginia home will offer another perspective: He was America’s founding foodie.
Visitors to Monticello, Jefferson’s estate just outside Charlottesville, learn that Jefferson’s accomplishments — quite apart from his formation of the precepts of our democracy -- included skills as a gardener. He grew 330 varieties of vegetables on the terraces just west of his mountaintop home.
Just ask the Fabulous Beekman Boys about living in both worlds. They'll be on hand too.
But first, Monticello’s west lawn will be the setting for the Heritage Harvest Festival on Sept. 12. Guests can visit with 90 vendors and exhibitors, interact with livestock and sample food from local farms and restaurants from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. The setting is adjacent to Jefferson’s gardens, which continue to be cultivated.
Adult tickets are $15 if purchased in advance or $20 at the gate. Children 5-11 will be admitted for $8.
Sept. 11 will feature a full day of food-related workshops at various locations on the estate. Each is individually priced.
The owners of Beekman Farm in upstate New York will speak on the “10 Things We Learned About Life by Becoming Goat Farmers: How Two Manhattan City Slickers Learned a Thing…or Two!”
Tickets cost $55.
Besides growing vegetables, Jefferson in 1807 planted a small vineyard containing 24 varieties of grapes. His attempts to produce wines similar to those he had enjoyed in France failed.
Monticello, about 115 miles southwest of Washington, is both a National Historic Landmark and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
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