I'm so serious about telling part of West Virginia's culinary story that I took a day off work to travel to a restaurant that is only open on weekdays.
Rainelle's Fruits of Labor Cafe & Bakery is only open for lunch on weekdays and works with folks in the community who may have struggled with addiction. Their connection to the community is strong, and not only are they nourishing the community nutritionally - but also in a wholesome way. That's commendable.
Fruits of Labor is where the fruit of the earth meets the fruit of the Spirit. The corporation comprises of six main areas: Fruits of Labor Café & Bakery, Wedding and Corporate Events, the Retreat Center, the Agriculture and Culinary Training, and speaking engagements for Author and President of Fruits of Labor, Inc., Tammy Jordan.
The vision all started with entrepreneur Tammy Jordan's dream at age five to have a show farm. She was formally educated in science, worked for over a decade in agricultural research with USDA, while growing Fruits of Labor simultaneously for over a decade. It is a corporation designed to marry her passion for agriculture and her love of the culinary industry, by growing much of the food for weddings and corporate events. Her and the staff at Fruits of Labor have truly experienced the fullness of that vision. Fruits of Labor Corporate Headquarters is located in Greenbrier County, Dawson, WV.This restaurant has a large space - which I'm sure helps with the other missions of this larger organization. The restaurant is just one component, but it's quite lovely. The open dining area has all new tables and chairs and an impressive display case full of goodies. After being affected by the flooding, it looks as it's brand new.
Develop a sustainable agricultural model to inspire small Appalachian farms to realize a profit in food production, while retaining the environmental integrity of the land for future generations. (Agricultural Mission)After I had a seat, I looked over the menu. It's quite large for just being a lunch menu - everything from salads and soups to sandwiches and burgers.
Develop an advanced culinary training facility for chefs and students in culinary programs where they will experience the complete cycle of food production (selection, planting, care, harvest, storage, and consumption) to then be challenged to develop recipes using seasonal produce from the farm. The training is an entrenchment into the philosophy of buying local and how as a chef, they can incorporate local foods into their future menus. (Culinary Mission)
Though it was a tough decision, I ordered the "Bacon & Blue Burger" because a good burger is an artform and pretty telling of a restaurant. It is made with 1/3 lb. ground beef brisket topped with Amish Blue Cheese, smoked bacon, and baby Swiss cheese served on a housemade bun. I got a side of pasta salad, too.
The burger was on this cool cheese bun, and everything was clearly homemade. It was tall and round - not wide and flat like you typically see. It also came with a side of peppers if you need to add a little spice. This was a good burger! I love that everything is clearly homemade, and they're using quality ingredients.
The pasta salad was creamier than I anticipated, but still very good. I loved the bits of fresh veggies, which gave some crunch.
And we all know I don't say no to dessert, so when I saw the display case, I knew I was in trouble. I ordered a cream pie, which came in a few different flavors. I wanted the peanut butter and chocolate one - even though it fell over a bit. The filling is piped into a pie crust, and it was SO GOOD. Light, but flavorful and I loved the tiny pie crust that pulled it all together.
Visiting Fruits of Labor Café & Bakery means far more than purchasing bakery products or a having a delicious meal – it is a personal, tangible investment in the growth and nurturing of people in our own community who demonstrate the daily courage it takes to overcome addiction. Seeds of Recovery Culinary and Agricultural Training Program is specially designed for recovering addicts. The program works with the whole person, and offers training in the culinary and agricultural industries with emphasis on the farm-to-table movement to help increase job opportunities at no cost to the student for women and men participating in Greenbrier County Drug Court Programs. Your purchases supports the cost of this program. Under the direction of Fruits of Labor’s training staff our Seeds of Recovery training program already sees significant results in the recovery and healing of our students, with many firmly prepared to reenter the workforce upon completion of our program. With drug addiction plaguing much of the state of West Virginia, we hope to inspire businesses and residents in our community to learn how they can play an active role in community healing. Please consider making a donation towards the training costs by sponsoring a student. Ask your wait staff how you can be a vital part of this program by contributing towards the cost. Read more about the program on the back of the table number at each table.This place is a great addition to the community. And, considering they have fallen on tough times with the flooding and other issues, I see this as a bright shining spot in the area.
And, if you haven't checked this place out yet, you should. It's a testament to the strong dedication to this place. And, the food is damn good.
What's your favorite item here?