Goochland Farm Tour

From Hollywood, CA to Goochland County! Suri Downs Alpacas will be one stop on the Goochland Farm Tour on September 15th.

5th Annual Farm Tour to Showcase Goochland Farms

Are you looking for a fun, free educational outing that everyone in your family will enjoy?  If so, then come join us for the fifth annual Farm Tour.  This year’s Farm Tour will highlight local Goochland agri-businesses, including a dairy operation, a sustainably produced beef farm, specialized equestrian facilities, an alpaca farm as well as the Goochland Farmers Market.

The free, self-guided tour will be held from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 15, when six unique agribusiness sites will be open to the public. Operators will make presentations on the hour and the half-hour.

The following farms will be featured:

Alvis Farms, 1700 Alvis Road, Manakin Sabot

Alvis Farms is a family owned and operated dairy farm in eastern Goochland County. The dairy was started in 1965, and is now home to 750 milking cows, most of which are Registered Holsteins. The milking cows are housed on waterbeds, and are milked three times a day.  The family also farms roughly 4,000 acres, which is spread throughout 8 different counties. The crops grown are corn, wheat, soybeans, barley, and alfalfa.   The farm tour will showcase both the dairy and crop operations.  Additionally, representatives from Monacan Soil and Water Conservation District will be on hand providing educational information.

Photo by Debby Thomas. http://www.AnimalArtandPhotography.com

Applegarth Farm, 1225 Shallow Well Road, Manakin:  Applegarth Farm is a horse training and boarding operation established in 2001.  The farm currently boards over 25 horses, many of whom are trained in hunter-jumping.

Brookview Farm, 854 Dover Road, Manakin-Sabot:  The Fishers have been pioneers in organic, sustainable farming in the mid-Atlantic since establishing Brookview in 1981 as a grass-fed and finished- cattle commercial farming operation.  Family-owned and operated, Brookview comprises over 300 acres of pasture on which cattle roam and graze exclusively on grass and clover. Brookview epitomizes the highest standards of environmental stewardship, producing all organic products without the use of pesticides, hormones and commercial fertilizers

The Goochland Farmers Market

Goochland Farmer’s Market, 2955 River Road West (Grace Episcopal Church),

Goochland:   Every Saturday morning from May through October, Goochland’s only all volunteer and non-profit Farmer’s Market is open from 8 a.m. until noon. Each week, this genuine country market offers some of the finest produce, meats, breads, wines, cheeses, plants and farm crafts produced in Central Virginia.

Little Hawk Farm, 1625 Cardwell Road, Crozier:  Dr. Tom Newton and his wife Jennifer live and work at Little Hawk Farm, a regionally renowned equine reproduction center.  Dr. Newton has over thirty years of equine veterinary experience and offers a full range of equine reproductive services—including all three methods of breeding horses.  Little Hawk Farm has several barns to accommodate outside mares, stallions, foaling stalls as well as a reproductive lab.  There are also a number of award winning stallions on site, along with Sam-Mule, the friendly, resident Sicilian miniature donkey.

Suri Downs Alpacas, 2280 Camelback Road, Maidens:  In 2006, a chance encounter with a newspaper article extolling the joys of alpacas prompted the Finchers to consider trading their Hollywood, CA lifestyles for a more rural way of life.  Five years later, the couple moved to Maidens, VA and established Suri Downs Alpacas.   Together they raise over 30 friendly alpacas on their farm and currently have two crias (babies).

The Center for Rural Culture will offer grilled local, organic, grass-fed beef burgers provided by Brookview Farm as well hot dogs and veggie burgers with sides and a beverage.  The luncheon will be held from 11:30 – 1:30 at beautiful Brookview Farm, 854 Dover Road, Manakin-Sabot.  The cost is $7 for adults and $5 for children 6 and under.  All proceeds will benefit the Center for Rural Culture’s Education and Outreach Programs.  Lunch reservations are required.  Please call (804) 556-5841 or e-mail sgrayson@vt.edu with your meal preferences by Sep 13th.  Additionally, the Women of Grace Episcopal Church will have delicious homemade baked goods for sale separately.

A brochure that includes a map to the tour stops will shortly be available at county offices and retail locations in both Goochland and Powhatan counties later this month.  Details will also be available online at http://offices.ext.vt.edu/goochland and at http://www.centerforruralculture.org.  A map of the farms can be found at: http://goo.gl/maps/afkqU.

Tour sponsors include the Center for Rural Culture, the Goochland Office of Virginia Cooperative Extension, the Goochland County Farm Bureau, the Goochland Chamber of Commerce and the Monacan Soil and Water Conservation District.

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Spring on the Farm

For those of you who live in the Richmond, Virginia metro region, please join us Saturday, March 31st at Brookview Farm in Manakin-Sabot, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

In celebration of early spring on the farm, we will have cooking demos including how to make your own potato chips and how to cook grass-fed beef. As you may know, Brookview is an organic farm specializing in grass-fed beef.

Learn more about the Local Roots Online Food Co-op, an online year-round farmer’s market with Thursday pickups at Brookview.

We will be serving our famous Brookview Beef Barbecue for lunch. Bring the family for a special day on the farm!

Sponsored by the Center for Rural Culture (www.centerforruralculture.org) Visit www.brookviewfarm.com or wwwluluslocalfood.com

Colombia: Pictures and Stories Booksigning

Sandy and Rossie Fisher

Join Sandy Fisher for a special booksigning at the New Dominion Bookshop in Charlottesville Thursday, August 4th at 5:30 p.m. Sandy’s book Colombia: Pictures and Stories is a pictorial narrative, compiled from his time in the Peace Corps in Colombia during the 1960’s and coincides with the Peace Corps’ 50th anniversary.

Sandy will talk about his journey- both in the Peace Corps and in the creative process of writing his book.

During his time in Colombia, Sandy worked in community development in Tenjo, outside of Bogota. After a year there, he became a volunteer leader based in Barranquilla on the Caribbean coast overseeing 20 different sites.

Colombia: Pictures and Stories by Sandy Fisher

After finishing his Peace Corps tour, he graduated from Columbia University and then returned to Colombia, South America to run an
experimental cattle ranch in Los Llanos for eight years with his wife Rossie.  He then came back to the United States to become one of the first executive directors of a camp in Virginia for medically handicapped kids.

Sandy and Rossie returned to their farming roots which began in the Peace Corps and founded Brookview Farm in Manakin-Sabot which became one of central Virginia’s first certified organic farms. They raise grass-fed and grass-finished beef which can be purchased through Lulu’s Local Food

For more information, email bviewfarm@gmail.com or visit www.brookviewfarm.com .

New Dominion Bookshop
404 East Main Street
Charlottesville, VA  22902
(434)295-2552

Colombia, Pictures and Stories by Sandy Fisher- Booksigning Tomorrow!

Join us for a special event at the Page Bond Gallery for the release of Colombia, Pictures and Stories by Sandy Fisher. Wine reception and booksigning. Tuesday, June 21, 5:30 to 7:30 PM. Please RSVP to bviewfarm@gmail.com or 784-3131.

The book features photographs from Sandy’s time in Colombia while in the Peace Corps in the 1960s and afterwards. This year the Peace Corps celebrates their 50th anniversary.

Page Bond Gallery, 1625 West Main Street, Richmond, Virginia 23220 (804) 359-3633

The book will also be available for purchase at the Fountain Bookstore, 1312 East Cary Street, Richmond, Virginia (804) 788-1594

 

 

Discover Goochland’s 35 Mile Drive

 

 

 

Discover the 35 Mile Drive Wine Trail
 

What is 35 Mile Drive? Literally 35 Mile Drive is another name for River Road West, a scenic Virginia byway in the Richmond, Virginia area. The stretch of road in question runs 35 miles through Goochland County. Some highlights from the road….things to do, places to see, right in Richmond’s back yard.

Let’s start at the Henrico/Goochland county line and head west.

Tuckahoe Plantation- Thomas Jefferson’s boyhood home. He attended the one roomed school house still there and open to visitors. Could it be that  TJ’s appreciation for architecture and domes was inspired by the domed schoolhouse ceiling? Like many a historic property, Tuckahoe is believed to have a few supernatural residents. A popular destination for filmmakers, you could say that Tuckahoe is Goochland’s Little Hollywood. Today, Tuckahoe has a farmer’s market on Sunday afternoons during the summer, selling their grass-few beef, eggs and other seasonal items.

Mother Mary of the Church Abbey- Since 1994, it has been the home of fifteen monks living in the Benedictine tradition. It is also houses the Shroud of Turin Center, a workshop destination for scholars and the faithful. There is a gift shop with monk-made items like sweets, jams, honey, textiles and a bookshop. Also, it is home of Benedictine Academy and the Bobby Ross Field.  Ross (class of ’55) is a famed football coach and inductee into the Virginia Sports Hall of Fame.

Thistledown Alpacas- Goochland has a growing alpaca population. Several farms are open to the public.

Brookview Farm- A certified organic farm. 2007 Stewards of the Land, a national award by the American Farmland Trust! They sell their organic grass-fed beef through Lulu’s Local Food Co-op.

James River Work Center- The state farm. Home to the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation’s Greener Pastures Program. Rescued racehorses are given a second chance at life when their racing careers are over due to age, injury or performance. Horses are matched with offenders in a training program. Offenders graduate with a Groom Elite certification, giving them job skills to work in the horse industry. Many of the horses are available for adoption. It’s the only program of its kind in Virginia. Now home to 30 horses with 30 Groom Elite graduates! The TRF National President , Robin Williams, started the program and lives in Goochland.

You could say the state farm is Little Hollywood West. HBO’s John Adams was filmed here. Boston harbor and Braintree still sit waiting for a sequel perhaps on the Powhatan side.

Tanglewood Ordinary- A historic property family-dining Southern style! Fried chicken, anyone? Don’t miss their collection of Post magazines.

Tucker Park at Maiden’s Crossing- Goochland’s newest river park in development. Will be the site of a music ampitheater, birding platforms, trails, fields and primitive boat launch.

Brightly Bed & Breakfast- Historic B&B, one of only two in Goochland. Beautiful gardens.

Nadolski’s Butcher Shop- Specialty boutique butcher with locally sourced meats, specialty items, sausages, wine, beer and cheese. Home of many special events.

Goochland Courthouse- Built in 1826 by Cumberland builder Valentine Parrish and Dabney Cosby (a Staunton brickmason who had worked for Thomas Jefferson at UVA.) TJ’s influence is seen in the architectural details including the Tuscan portico, full Tuscan entablature, temple form and color scheme of red brick and white trim. Did you know, the brick wall was built around the complex to keep out wandering cattle!

White Hawk Music Cafe- Goochland’s musical metropolis! Combines music education (over 100 students in guitar, piano, voice, banjo, mandolin) with live performances and cafe food. A gathering spot with pickin’ parties every Thursday night, open mic on Tuesdays, and live music on the weekends.

Orapax- 700 acre hunting preserve for quail and pheasant. Customers come from over 39 states and six countries!!

Rapalee Taxidermy- Showroom open to the public, see dynamic mounts of over 100 animals from around the world.

Byrd Cellars Tasting Room- Sample wine from three local vineyards. Part of the 35 Mile Drive Wine Trail which includes Grayhaven Winery, Windsong Winery & Byrd Cellars.

Rassawek- Stunning property, home to the Spring Jubilee Heritage & Wine Festival May 21-22. Vineyard (Byrd Cellars) and village of reclaimed structures with historical value. Available for private rentals. Can see three counties and the James River corridor from the gazebo (formerly of 6th Street Marketplace!) Two restored log cabins, James Madison’s Montpelier greenhouse (now the wine tasting room,) music pavilion, ponds and trails. Named for the original Monacan Indian settlement along the river nearby.

Visit www.35miledrive.com

James River Experience As Told By Sandy Fisher

 

Rossie & Sandy Fisher with Annie at Brookview Farm in Manakin-Sabot, Virginia

The James River became personal when we came to manage Sabot Hill Farm in Goochland County, Virginia,  in June 1979. The first thing I saw was a washed out corn crop due to flooding in the lowgrounds from Stoney Pond down to the old Sabot Station. From then on, I decided we would try not to plow too much with the moldboard plow to not have so much erosion. We also put a drain tile to help eliminate big puddles. This helped, but was expensive. We continued to farm the Sabot Island which was two feet higher and the crops were good there.

Local lore on how often the river flooded varied depending on who you talked to. Joe Scales, the local soil and water expert, said about every two years. My partners, Freddie and Bill Reed pretty much agreed with him, so we planted accordingly. We were really interested in getting as much crop as possible off those rich beautiful lowgrounds. The yields on corn and beans were almost double our poorer upland soils. We couldn’t help but notice that there was a line of water along the road between Chastain and Brookview Farm. Chastain flooded more easily than Brookview. We later learned that Bosher’s Dam’s influence (downstream in Richmond, Virginia) had slowed farming for anything east of Brookview.

We bought Brookview in 1972. During the 1980s, we had an irrigation pump and reel and, with a permit from the DEQ, pumped out of the beautiful but unpredictable river. We noticed that in July and August when our corn crop needed the most water, the river was lowest so we had to lower the pump and disturb the bank.

Another thing that needed studying was to fine tune the incidence of flooding. It seemed the river was coming out its banks at least once a year. Some small floods, two-three feet, were not bad for corn, but would cover a soybean crop. We liked soybeans which are a good nitrogen fixer for corn. After a couple of years, we planted just corn and hay. This time, in 1992, I sent away for as much information from the U.S. Corps of Engineers. They had a good data bank going back to 1900. We used 18 inches as a flood mark which would be damaging to soybeans or wheat or corn when it is young. The study took almost a year.

The frequency of flood was once a year with much greater intensity since 1970. This date matches more infrastructure upstream. Also there was no flooding during July and August. This led us to think about things like green beans which are 70 days. We thought about how we could plant them with equipment we had, but not harvest and sell, so we decided not to plant them.

Around 1995, Bill Reed of Chastain, tired of flood losses, began to look at a wetland mitigation bank. At Brookview, we had lost 150acres of wheat crop so we were also candidates. The flood had come in May and came up just barely covering the young wheat plants. We didn’t know that if water gets over the stamen line in the plants, then they are infertile. We went down to combine what looked like a good wheat crop and all the seed heads were hollow. That’s when we decided to also put Brookview’s lowgrounds in a mitigation bank. For the banks to qualify, we had to plant thousands of trees.

Freddie Reed at Sabot Hill realized the river’s flooding potential at this time and he and Hunter McGuire got the easily flooded Sabot Hill and Brookview Farm lowgrounds into the James River Mitigation Landbank. It has been very successful and the 500 acres plus are a great wildlife area. We are happy we have created a good nature preserve of upland hardwoods.

By Alexander M. (Sandy) Fisher, Jr. 2010

Today, Brookview Farm raises and sells all-natural, grass-fed and finished beef. Customers can purchase whole or half steers and select the cuts. Visit their website for additional information at www.brookviewarm.com or email themarket@brookviewfarm.com

Brookview Farm is a member of the 35 Mile Drive Association and an original feature in the newspaper series “35 Mile Drive- A River Road Runs Through It” which appeared in the Goochland Courier/ Central Virginian.