This week’s Buzz Bites offer shortcuts to homegrown goodness, some liquid courage and a farm-fresh baking contest where you can show off your mad skills.

Garden in a DayFace it: You’ve been salivating over your friends’ Facebook feeds all summer. You’ve coveted the greens they grew, and the salads they tossed; the cucumbers they picked, and the pickles they canned; and all those fresh herbs they snipped right before dinner to sprinkle over fajitas, casseroles and cocktails.

Yes, I feel your pain, and your hunger pangs. As food editor, I spent a good chunk of this summer picking my jaw up off the floor after watching my colleagues slay the summer produce game. I think I gained a couple of pounds just looking at our foodie sportswriter Ron Counts’ photos of delectable peppers, and our photographer Zack Wajsgras may well be the king of crisp homegrown cucumbers.

Fifth Season Gardening Company offers the rest of us an elegant way to get even.

What if you could have organic veggies and herbs without toiling with the tiller? Fifth Season’s Garden in a Day program will send gardeners to your house — or your office, if you really mean it when you tell your employees to ease up on the fast-food lunches — to build and plant raised garden beds of organic seasonal goodies in a single day.

A typical fall garden may include lettuces, cabbage, broccoli, peas, kale and a virtual spice cabinet of fall-friendly herbs. The instant garden can be yours — or a gift for someone whose cooking you love — for $379. And if you hate weeding, Fifth Season even has garden gurus who will spruce up your space and put in new plantings. No late-season sunburns required. Get all the particulars online at

Fall Fruit FestivalApples are amazing, but if you love autumn’s other fruits, too — think pawpaws, persimmons and figs — you probably wish that these treasures were as plentiful and easy to find.

Edible Landscaping in Afton offers a practical solution at its Fall Fruit Festival, set for 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday. Plant your favorites at home, and you’ll be able to enjoy them year after year without all the, shall we say, fruitless searching.

Get all the details online at edible, or dial (434) 361-9134.

Bake it ’til you make itSpeaking of fresh fruits, Saunders Brothers Farm Market in Piney River offers you an opportunity to put all that sweetness to good use.

The 11th annual Baking Contest has categories for apple dessert, apple pie, peach dessert, peach pie and savory — plus a healthy snack category for cooks ages 12 and younger — while the farm market is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday.

Get details online at saunder or call (434) 277-5455.

9/11: Never Forget eventMission BBQ will honor fire, police and first responder personnel on Wednesday by serving them free barbecue sandwiches. If you time your lunch for noon, you’ll be able to hear a live rendition of the national anthem in their honor.

If you order your drink in a Hometown Hero Cup, $2 of the purchase price will be donated to local fire and police charities. As the proud aunt of a fire captain, I’ll toast you from here.

Previews in CourageVirginia Distillery Company is planning the release of its first American single-malt whisky, and a limited-edition preview — Prelude: Courage & Conviction — is available for $69.99 at the distillery’s visitor center and at Virginia ABC stores.

Prelude: Courage & Conviction is aged for at least three years and matured in former bourbon, sherry and cuvee casks. It is described as having “notes of caramel and butterscotch and evolves on the palate with hints of dark dried fruit, raspberry, barrel spice and vanilla.”

The September preview will give fans of the Lovingston distillery a sneak peek at Courage & Conviction, which will have a national release in the spring.

March of Dimes campaignsweetFrog Premium Frozen Yogurt is making giving to the March of Dimes a little sweeter by offering buy-one-get-one coupons to customers who make donations during September.

For details, go to And to learn more about the March of Dimes and its efforts to help prevent premature births and keep mothers and babies healthy, visit

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