Shop Local (Farmers’ Markets)!

beets-1584454_640Central Virginia has a thriving agricultural community with enthusiastic support for the farm-to-table, local foods movement that shows no signs of waning. In Charlottesville and the surrounding counties you will find restaurants of varying style and cuisine that proudly site their locally-sourced ingredients. The best visual representation of such a vibrant local economy that supports its homegrown foods and locally raised livestock is perhaps most evident at the many bustling farmers’ markets in the area. For your easy reference, we’ve pulled together a list of those in and around Charlottesville. At the markets listed below, you’ll be able to peruse fruits, vegetables, and cut flowers grown in local fields, taste homemade baked goods made with fresh ingredients such as local honey, and admire the handiwork of local artisans.

Charlottesville

There are a couple options in Charlottesville to get fresh, local produce along with the farmers’ market experience.

City Market

Saturdays, 7 a.m.-12 p.m. | April-December

In the lot between Water St. and South St. | Charlottesville, VA

Farmers in the Park

Wednesdays, 3-7 p.m. | May-September

300 Meade Ave. | Charlottesville, VA

Crozet Farmers Market green-1283756_640

Saturdays, 8 a.m.-12 p.m. | May-October

1156 Crozet Ave. | Crozet United Methodist Church (CUMC)

What makes the Crozet Market unique is that market sales go to support the CUMC food pantry. Additionally, every second and fourth Saturday, the Horticulture Help Desk is open for any questions you might have for the Piedmont Master Gardeners who staff the desk. Common questions range from pest control to plant health and environmental impact.

Nelson Farmers Market Cooperative

Saturdays, 8 a.m.-12 p.m. | May-October

3079 Rockfish Valley Hwy. | Nellysford, VA

This year the Nelson Farmers Market Cooperative celebrates twenty years in operation supporting the local farming community.

Madison Farmers’ Market 

Saturdays, 8 a.m.-12 p.m. | May-October

1110 Fairground Rd. | Madison, VA

 pexels-photo-73640Fluvanna Farmer’s Market at Pleasant Grove

Saturdays, 9 a.m.-1 p.m. | Tuesdays, 2-6 p.m.

1730 Thomas Jefferson Pkwy. | Palmyra, VA

Greene Farmers Market

Saturdays, 8 a.m.-12 p.m. | May-September

Tractor Supply on Route 33 | Ruckersville, VA

 

Mineral Farmer’s Market

Saturdays, 8 a.m.-1 p.m. | Mini Market Tuesdays, 5-7 p.m., June-August

81 Louisa Ave. | Mineral, VA (Louisa County)

Estimating the Cost of Fence Construction

Every few years the Virginia Cooperative Extension creates a cost analysis of various livestock fencing materials. This helpful tool includes budgets for construction materials in order to help farmers accurately calculate the expense of fence construction. You can now access the 2017 Fence Budget here.

45FenceFieldStable

 

It was created by Eric Eberly and Tom Stanley on behalf of Virginia Cooperative Extension, Virginia Tech, and Virginia State University.

How to Plan Your Dream Vineyard

As evidenced by the many wineries that dot the area, the land in central Virginia has great potential for farming wine grapes. Virginia Wine writes on their website that “The eastern slopes of the Blue Ridge and the rolling countryside to the east offer excellent topography, fertile granite-based clay soil and a growing season of over 200 days.” There are 72 vineyards and wineries in this area alone. Yet ample land for sale in central Virginia simply awaits the establishment of the next great vineyard. At 726 square miles, Albemarle County is just a bit short of Napa Valley’s 748 square miles, which is home to over 500 wineries.

Vineyard 2

So if you’ve ever dreamt of starting your own vineyard in central Virginia, you’re in luck. This year the Virginia Cooperative Extension (VCE) released a Vineyard Financial Calculator. The VCE writes, “This tool’s intended user is an individual or organization exploring the financial requirements of vineyard establishment and operation in Virginia.” This very helpful tool, created by Tremain Hatch, Peter Callan, and Tony Wolf, is exactly what you need to calculate the expenses involved in establishing a vineyard in central Virginia.

How It Works

The Excel spreadsheet contains a “Calculator” tab that prompts the user to input information specific to their business plan, such as the number of planted acres, the width of the rows of grape vines, the crop produced per foot, the hours of labor per acre, and the cost of capital. The spreadsheet is already equipped with formulas which will then calculate your cash flow. Within the “Trellis” tab you can calculate the cost of installing a trellis and fencing to protect your crop from wildlife, such as deer. Don’t know what equipment you’ll need? No problem. In the “Equipment” tab you’ll find an informative table with detailed information regarding equipment necessary to maintain a vineyard. Here you will need to again consider the size vineyard you’re imagining. Then decide on the appropriate equipment for your intended acreage and enter the corresponding pricing in the prepared calculator. The “hours of use” graph at the bottom of the page helps estimate the expected lifespan of your equipment. The carefully crafted formulas will then calculate both your capital expenditures for equipment and your annual fixed cost for equipment based on industry standards of maintenance and wear and tear.

Finally, once you’ve outlined your dream vineyard, tailoring the tool to work for you, you have the satisfaction of seeing how your vineyard will turn out. The “Budget” tab includes fields linked to information you have entered in other tabs and calculates your revenue and cash flow. The “Net Present Value” tab peers ahead into the future and calculates when you would begin to see a profit. And the “Sensitivity Analysis” tab illustrates how your profit might vary based on fluctuations in crop yield and price.

Vineyard 3

If you’ve long dreamed of owning a vineyard in central Virginia, now you have the means to begin seriously planning the logistics. And when you’re ready to consider properties in the area where you might like to establish your dream and plant those first few seeds, contact Gayle Harvey Real Estate and we’ll be happy to help.

To learn more about what is entailed in establishing a winery in central Virginia, read our blog post here. For information on business license requirements in central Virginia, click here.