Sure, the label on that roaster at your supermarket says free-roaming, but how can you be sure your chick lived 100 percent uncooped? By going straight to the source -- and we don't mean a roadside stand. Less than an hour outside the District, you'll find small farms that will sell you eggs from hens pecking at the grass by your feet, berries only yards from where they grew, or even fresh, exotic meats such as bison. Just one caveat before you hit the road: Farmers don't keep the same hours as Wal-Mart, so call ahead.

The Chile Man. 35796 Milligan's Run Lane, Purcellville, Va. 540-668-7160. www.thechileman.com. Visit Robert Farr's 10-acre organic farm and you may find the Chile Man himself cooking up one of his 22 products, including hot sauces, marinades and mustards, each for $5 to $7 a bottle. You can also buy pepper plants if you want to cultivate your own.

Cibola Farms. 10075 Stone Bridge Rd., Culpeper, Va. 540-727-8590. www.cibolafarms.com. This is the home where the grass-fed, growth-hormone-free buffalo roam -- along with similarly fed chickens, pigs, rabbits and goats. Ribeye bison steaks cost $12.98 per pound; ground patties are $4.81 per pound.

Holy Cross Abbey. 901 Cool Spring Lane, Berryville, Va. 540-955-9494. www.holycrossabbeybrryvlle.org. The Trappist monks at this monastery support themselves in part through their apiary's honey ($5 for 10 ounces) and a bakery that churns out fruitcakes ($25) and chocolate-covered "fraters" ($22 for six).

Jehovah-Jireh Farm. 19815 Martinsburg Rd., Dickerson, Md. 301-349-4721. www.jehovahjirehfarm.com. Just outside Poolesville, the Horst family offers pasture-raised chickens and fresh brown eggs. Call ahead for fresh chicken -- it's available only on preset processing days. Eggs can be found in the refrigerator behind the white building to the right of the main house; pay on the honor system, $2.50 a dozen.

Patowmack Farm. 42461 Lovettsville Rd., Lovettsville, Va. 540-822-9017. www.patowmackfarm.com. Beverly Billand's certified organic acreage sits north of Leesburg on a hillside with a gorgeous Potomac River view. In addition to berries and assorted vegetables, her store sells herbs, flowers and Billand's own jams, pesto and salsa. Can't wait for a taste? Stop by Dinner in the Garden, the open-air restaurant.

Smith Meadows. 568 Smithfield Lane, Berryville, Va. 877-955-4389. www.smithmeadows.com. The Pritchard family sells pasture-raised beef, pork, lamb and eggs from their 1824 Federal-style manor house, which also serves as a bed-and-breakfast to Blue Ridge Mountain vacationers. Steaks average $10 a pound; sausages range from $5 to $7 a pound.

South Mountain Creamery. 8305 Bolivar Rd., Middletown, Md. 301-371-8565. www.southmountaincreamery.com. Just west of Frederick, the Sowers family sells all-natural milk ($2.19 per half-gallon), yogurt, cheese, smoothies and, of course, ice cream, straight from the dairy. For their immediate neighbors, they've even revived an old-fashioned staple: milk delivery!

Emily Kaiser

Moo, moo good: Among the fresh dairy treats at South Mountain Creamery are a rainbow of fruit-flavored milks.