Locally Sourced Ingredients: The Key to Locke Store

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Locally Sourced Ingredients: The Key to Locke Store
Blue Ridge, Culinary Trail, Go Blue Ridge Travel, Piedmont - Hunt Country, Shenandoah Valley
Locke Store

If you’ve lived in the Shenandoah Valley for any amount of time, chances are you’ve heard about the amazing Locke Store. Hunkered down in the historic town of Millwood, Virginia, you’ll find Locke Store in a charmingly restored circa 1836 building, directly across from the renowned Burwell-Morgan Merchant Mill. What began as one man’s (James Clarke, to be exact) way of serving locals and passerby alike in an honest manner became a tradition of hospitality for the area. Nowadays when you go into the Locke Store, you’ll find that you are welcomed by an incredibly kind set of staff and probably even the owner herself, Juliet Mackay-Smith. So come on in, order from their locally farmed menu of soups, sandwiches, and baked goods, and grab a bottle of wine while you’re at it!

Locke Store front

Detailed drawing of Locke Store’s front helps to capture the historical charm

We got a chance to interview Kelly McGrath, the marketing manager, wine assistant, and integral part of Locke Store’s team, to figure out what it’s like to be involved in such a community-celebrated location. Enjoy!

Q: Customer favorite store item?

A: “I would probably say our chicken potpie – it is definitely something that people come from all over or even when they’re visiting the area.”

It is so good that people from across the country are begging for them to ship it to them!

“We have this women who was actually here, and she lived out in L.A., she was here for three days and she came in and bought so much of it! She was begging us to actually make it and ship it! She was like “I don’t even order on the menu anywhere else!” Our chicken potpie is a handmade crust and baked with local, organic chicken, and we’ve been making it for years. That’s probably our number one customer favorite item in the store.”


Q: What’s your favorite item sold at Locke Store?

Locke Store Pork

2″ thick, pasture-raised heritage pork chops from Cerdonia Farms

A: “That’s hard for me, because I actually do a lot of my grocery shopping here as well! Probably the two items that I buy the most here would be any of our locally sourced meat – it’s the best meat that you can buy. We have beef, pork, chicken; a little bit of everything – lamb… it’s just our meat selection is fantastic and it’s kinda hard to find good meat around here in the grocery store.”

A lot of the meat is sourced from Gum Tree Farm and Autumn Hill. Gum Tree is famous for their lamb-sage sausage, of which Kelly claims is to die for. Autumn Hill has a special curry pork sausage that is just as tasty. These sound amazing for breakfast, lunch, and dinner (please!). If you want to try some, you know where to go!

“And then to complement that, would be a bottle of wine. That’s really what I buy most here. I taste all of the wines with Juliet before we bring the vendors in, so I’m able to taste a lot of it before I buy it, which is helpful. So I’ll grab a really nice bottle and pair it with the meat and make a meal out of that!”

Sounds delicious, if we do say so ourselves!

A New InstallmentLocke Store wine club

 As if you needed more of a reason to fall head-over-heels for this little market shop, Locke Store recently created The Cora-Vin Club, “the perfect gift for your favorite wine-lover…or yourself!” It’s been quite successful since its 2018 launch, with members gaining access to exclusive backroom tastings of their vast collection of wines, four special evening events, early bird opportunities, and great discounts! All you have to do is fill out an application!

You really can’t go wrong with Locke Store‘s wine selection, as they have almost as many different kinds of wine as there are types of people. If you like a nice, dark smoky red, a sweet white dessert wine, or maybe even a crisp, fruit-based bottle of chardonnay, The Cora-Vin Club will have what you’re looking for, plus more. Discover your new favorite or a classic without having to think about it. Join the club, you won’t regret it.

Locke Store wine selection

Owner Juliet Mackay-Smith arranges Locke Store’s massive wine selection

To attest to Locke Store’s magnetizing presence, Kelly explained that she initially was only working weekends there while balancing her full time job in graphic design. She was eventually pulled away from her full-time position due to her love of Locke Store and it’s community. From small-time farmers who live and breathe local sourcing to wine makers who tenderly pack their livelihoods into a charming bottle – these elements all help contribute to Locke Store’s personality. This is a place that captures the essence of a good homemade meal, a wine expert’s rustic cellar, a farmers pride in producing the best produce, cheese, and meat in the Valley, all rolled into one.

We’d even go so far as to call this little location one of the Shenandoah Valley’s best! You will feel right at home, your stomach will thank you for it, and your conscience will appreciate the store’s take on sustainability. Try them out if you haven’t, but beware – Locke Store is going to become your new go-to for everything!

We’d like to thank Kelly for sparing time out of her busy schedule to chat with us. We loved learning about all the things Locke Store has to offer, and hope our readers will too! I personally have become a huge fan of Locke Store. As far as I’m concerned, you could “Locke” me up there and throw away the key, and I’d be all the happier for it!