Set on Main Street in the tiny town of Marshall, Va., Gentle Harvest opened in 2016 with the goal of showcasing local organic products. In addition to a cheese counter carefully stocked by assistant manager Brooklynne Kiley, the self-described “Grocer-Butcher-Café” offers up a variety of farm-fresh produce, local Ayrshire Farm meats, and housemade dishes and desserts. Gentle Harvest’s beautifully renovated, high-ceilinged building—a former bank—dates back to 1919. Today, its money vault has been converted into wine storage, while the second floor offers plentiful café seating on refurbished wood tables. Locals flock here throughout the year for wine-pairing dinners, cookie-decorating events, and vendor tastings.
culture: If you were stuck on a desert island, which cheese and accompaniment would you bring?
Brooklynne Kiley: A wheel of Parmigiano Reggiano, since it would last a long time and wouldn’t melt in the sun. I would eat the inside of the wheel, hollowing it out to make a small boat. Then I’d row myself back to the United States to be reunited with more cheese!
culture: What’s the strangest customer request you’ve ever received?
BK: To only carry local cheeses. We can’t limit ourselves to just local, think of all we’d miss out on.
culture: What’s your favorite booze-and-cheese pairing?
BK: Depends on my mood. If I’m having quality alone time, undoubtedly it would be Délice de Bourgogne and Optimal Wit, a local wheat beer from Port City. If I buy the Délice, I’m not sharing, so I have to be alone. However, if I’m with friends and feeling frisky, Saint Angel with Baileyana Pinot Noir—you can’t go wrong with a triple cream and a pinot noir!
culture: Are there any offbeat flavor combinations you adore?
BK: Not sure if it’s offbeat, but I love Red Dragon (a spicy, mustard seed–studded cheese) on a burger.
8372 W. Main St.
Daily 8 a.m.–9 p.m.