Flannel Jammies Farm

...praising God on our 1/5 acre of suburbia

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Rappahannock Farm Tour

My husband and I had a wonderful early-Autumn adventure last week... we took part in the Rappahannock Farm Tour here in Virginia.  Once a year, several farms, vineyards, schools, and even a distillery open their doors to the public, sharing their knowledge and experience and passion for the land.  There are so many opportunities on the tour; we were blessed by our visits with the kind folks at Mt. Vernon Farm, Waterpenny Farm, a Montessori farm school, Copper Fox Distillery, and the Link Community Center...

First stop:  Mount Vernon Farm!  Totaling 830 acres, Mount Vernon Farm is nestled along the Blue Ridge Mountains in Rappahannock County, and has been farmed by the Miller family since 1827.
The barn at Mt. Vernon Farm was said to be the largest east of the Mississippi when it was built... it is an amazing structure!
Inside the barn loft is cavernous!
Mt. Vernon farm practices management-intensive rotational grazing. This is a complex management skill that ensures top quality health for the land, pastures, and animals by preventing the livestock from overgrazing the grass. This ensures that grazed pastures have enough time to recover before being grazed again. Using this technique allows the livestock to have access to high quality pastures and to fertilize the land. This eliminates the need for dietary supplements and synthetic fertilizers.  Llamas guard the flock of sheep in the photo above.

Next stop:  Waterpenny Farm, a 10-acre vegetable farm in Rappahannock County. Since their first growing season in 2000, they’ve been committed to running the farm in harmony with the environment, using sustainable farming methods, with no chemical pesticides or fertilizers.
What IS a waterpenny?  From the Waterpenny Farm website:
"Waterpennies are beetle larva that can only live in clean water. Their presence in a stream, along with a diversity of other macroinvertebrates, indicates that the water is healthy. Our farm is named for the waterpennies we find in the North Fork of the Thornton River, which borders our farm. We intend to run our farm in a sustainable way that allows the waterpennies, and our local ecosystem, to thrive."
On to Mountain Laurel Montessori Farm School for lunch and a tour.
We were served a fresh and delicious lunch by the culinary manager at the school:  a ninth grader!  This intelligent and engaging individual had planned and prepared BBQ from the farm school's pork, farm school egg quiche with spinach and feta, perfectly mashed potatoes, bright and tasty greens, and a sweet local-apple cobbler.  Our tour included the classroom space, the hoop barn and future hoop house (providing fresh food to the area's needy), the vegetable garden, the pond and games green, and chicken, pig, and sheep pens.  History, chemistry, biology, physics, literary and performing arts are all lived out in the landscape.  Truly inspiring!

Ah... the Copper Fox Distillery!
What an interesting place!  Copper Fox is the only distillery in North America to hand malt their own barley, and they use apple and cherry wood smoke to flavor the malted barley.  The entire operation is completed by a handful of dedicated folks, creating Wasmund's Single Malt and Rye Whiskys.

We're home now, continuing to praise God on our 1/5 acre of suburbia...
The farmer plants seed by taking God’s word to others.
Mark 4:14


Lorie said...

Donna Rae, you were in our neck of the woods when you attended the farm tour. We are in Fauquier County, which is just next door. It is just beautiful country. Happy you and hubby enjoyed the tour. Seems like a wonderful way to spend the day.

donna rae said...

Oh, Lorie, I wish I'd known! It was such a gorgeous tour, and with perfect weather to enjoy it!

Plain and Joyful Living said...

Oh, what a wonderful day!
That barn is amazing.

donna rae said...

Oh, the barn was amazing... it was so vast and awe-inspiring!