Farm Markets Archive

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)

Ample Agricultural & Conservation Funding Available in Central Virginia

If you are a landowner in central Virginia, whether you own farmland, conservation land, or a small plot, you’ll be happy to know that there is ample funding to provide support for maintaining and improving your land. Read on to find out more about specific programs.

Virginia Trees for Clean Water

Trees help remove common pollutants from stormwater, therefore improving the water quality of runoff that enters the drainage system. Virginia Trees for Clean Water provides funds on a reimbursement basis to support the planting of trees in the Commonwealth for this purpose. There is, however, a 50/50 match requirement. Funding is available to private citizens, as well as to educational institutions, non-profit organizations, civic organizations, and local government. The deadline to apply is approaching quickly (February 16, 2017). The application instructions specify, “Winning proposals will demonstrate the merit of the project and how the trees will be maintained in perpetuity.” The program is funded by the USFS Chesapeake Watershed Forestry Program and the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, and facilitated by the Virginia Department of Forestry.

Headwater Stream Initiative07 DSC_0016And2more

The Headwater Stream Initiative is a program facilitated by the Piedmont Environmental Council in partnership with Friends of the Rappahannock. If you own land in the upper Rappahannock River watershed—which includes all or parts of Madison, Culpeper, Rappahannock, Greene, Orange, and Fauquier counties—you may be eligible to receive free assistance and materials to plant native trees and shrubs along waterways on your property. This vegetation is known as a riparian buffer, which keeps the water cleaner, shades it from higher temperatures, reduces erosion, and improves the natural wildlife habitat. There is no deadline to participate. Simply sign up here.

RCPP Invasive Species Removal

In 2016, Blue Ridge PRISM (Partnership for Regional Invasive Species Management) announced that the RCPP (Regional Conservation Partnership Program) had made funds available to help landowners of “nonindustrial private forestland and agricultural producers” remove invasive plants. Blue Ridge PRISM serves Albemarle, Greene, Madison, Nelson, Augusta, Clarke, Page, Rappahannock, Rockingham, and Warren counties. Only land located within one of those counties is eligible for funding. Blue Ridge PRISM’s original announcement has more information about what kinds of invasive species are eligible for removal. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis, however, the NRCS (Natural Resources Conservation Service) may put deadlines in place to stagger applications according to “batching periods.” You can learn more here about eligibility and the application schedule.

USDA Farmers Market Promotion ProgramHiddenBarnDistance2_small

In September 2016, the U.S. Department of Agriculture awarded a grant of almost $250,000 to the Rappahannock-Rapidan Regional Commission through the Farmers Market Promotion Program in order to promote local agriculture in the northern Piedmont. The funds will be used in part to support marketing of the Madison County Farmers Market and Culpeper Farmers Market, as well as the Tween Rivers Trail—a self-guided tour that highlights the agricultural and artisanal goods of the area. You can read more about the locally awarded grant in The Daily Progress here.

Further Funding

You can also check out many other funding opportunities available through the Thomas Jefferson Soil & Water Conservation District.

 

 

Apples in Charlottesville Virginia

Buying an Apple OrchardIt’s been a summer for the books, but as fall approaches, we’re looking forward to some of the season’s finer qualities. Autumn in central Virginia is glorious, all breezy hikes, turning leaves, and a general sense of idyllic serenity….and also, apples. Carter Mountain Orchard is one of the top destinations during this time of year, whether you’re a seasoned local or a newcomer. The hiking is perfect for families, and the orchard is brimming with activities like hayrides and Pick-Your-Own-Apples. The orchard boasts a panoramic, 360 degree view of Charlottesville and the surrounding mountains in all their azure glory. There’s nothing that ushers in autumn quite like drinking fresh hot apple cider and eating donuts at sunset while the sky is streaked with warm hues of pink and orange. All through September Carter Mountain Orchard have a Thursday Evening Sunset Series with dinner and live music. And there really are so many things you can do with the apples you take home…pies, ciders, stewed apples, applesauce, apple butter, caramel apples, fritters, turnovers, the list is endless.

I could go on…indeed, apples are probably my favorite topic other than real estate…but I digress. Carter Mountain itself is located on land south of Charlottesville, a few miles past Monticello, but it’s owned by Crown Orchard Company out of Covesville. The Chiles family has been in the orchard business since 1912, a career spanning four generations, seven orchards in central Virginia, and a lot of people of varying ages getting their hands dirty. Crown Orchard Company provides wholesale quantities for much of the region, due in large part to a modernized, cutting-edge packing facility in Covesville augmented by a staff that works year-round. Land in central Virginia, with its rolling uplands and hilly pastures is a great candidate for orchard and vineyard cultivation anyway.

And it’s not a bad time to be in the apple business. The USDA is reporting a significant growth in U.S. fresh apple exports over the last few years, reflecting and responding to a shift in the levers of supply and demand. Most apples produced in the U.S. are used domestically, but demand for them is diminishing due to counter-seasonal competition which often comes in the form of imports. We’re talking grapes, berries, and stone-fruits which are in season around the same time as apples. At around the turn of the century, fruit production in the Southern Hemisphere (particularly Chile) began to expand, providing tropical fruits to American consumers whose choices were more limited in the winter months.

Domestic apple production outpaces domestic demand, and so there was an excess of product, particularly in Washington State, which churns out a significant chunk of U.S.-grown apples. This excess of supply has been leading to a huge amount of growth in annual export numbers…up from 607 million pounds in the 1980s to 2.3 billion pounds in 2014/2015. Half of the U.S. fresh apple exports go to Mexico, Canada, and India, with Mexico alone accounting for 25% of U.S. export market. The U.S. is now the third largest exporter of apples, behind Poland and China. Despite this, apples from the U.S. are ranked first globally overall, and reach a variety of markets in Southern Asia like Vietnam, Thailand, and the Philippines. Due to the changing markets, producers have focused their attention on new cultivars, such as Fuji, HoneyCrisp and Gala apples. It’s not a bad time to get into the business, especially if you have elevated land in central Virginia. (You will need to purchase propagated varieties as you cannot plant a seed and grow your own apple trees). Dwarfs and semidwarfs will start to bear fruit in 2-4 years, (around a bushel or two per year), and by the time you hit the 5-8 range, you could be reaping 4-5 bushels a year!

If you have longed to start your own orchard and are looking to buy a farm in Central Virginia, call or email Gayle, she’d love to talk with you!

 

 

Ferreira, Gustavo and Perez, Agnes. Fruit and Tree Nuts Outlook: March 2016. USDA, Economic Research Service, March 2016