Local producers celebrate the harvest
Smaller but sweeter fruits
It’s always something when your life depends on Mother Nature, said Sarah Henley of Henley Orchard: sometimes insects, sometimes frost, sometimes drought. Those last two challenges were definitely in play this year with a frost in mid-May and many weeks with days in the 90s and only a few minutes of rain. Like other growers, the Henleys have learned to diversify so that the reduction in one crop can be offset by the income of others. Diversity helps in the orchard itself, where planting early and late varieties of peaches or apples means that at least some will survive a bad frost. But then there was the drought in August: âThe fruit is smaller but it’s sweeter in times of drought,â said Henley.
Most of the little apples were made into cider made right in the orchard, and the family’s offerings now include both sweet and hard cider as well as peach wine. âWe did it early on and people were ready for it,â Henley said.
Good things have happened this year as well as the challenges. Meat Processors are back, allowing grass-fed beef and Henley Farm-raised pork lovers to scoop up meat along with their fruit and cider. “Henley Fest” will continue every weekend until October, with pumpkins, hay rides, music and demonstrations of fresh squeezed cider on an 1894 craft, so young people can see how it all comes together. was doing.
Expecting plenty of rain in early October, wine growers harvested sooner rather than later, said George Hodson of the Virginia Wine Board and Veritas and Flying Fox vineyards. But overall, dry, warm weather is ideal while the grapes are ripening. âAfter the 2020 vintage it’s hard to find someone who isn’t grateful for what we have in 2021.â He noted that every year is different, with drought and hurricanes popping up locally this year. âWe are just happy to have fruit on the vine and have guests in our tasting rooms. “
Farm artists create sculptures with hay
Instead of marble, clay, or bronze, amateur artists across the state are using what’s on hand to fashion giant, whimsical structures for the Farm Bureau’s Hay Bale Decorating Contest, which features is now in its seventh year.
Farmers in Virginia have imagined all kinds of fantastic shapes including tractors, pigs, and birds. The hay carvers take photos of their creations, and the winners in each of the five categories, including a student category, receive cash prizes. The competition continues until October. For more details and to request, call 804-290-1031 or visit bit.ly/3icRJqx.
Crozet Entreprises Open, Close, Move
Now closed: Greenwood Gardens, the garden and the gift shop at the old fruit stand on Rte. 250. Caroline Obando Beauty opened in the former Over the Moon Book Shop space in Piedmont Place. The space offers cosmetology training and a boutique as well as hair, skin and makeup services. Discovery School of Little Explorers hopes to move to a second location on Tabor Street in downtown Crozet by the end of the year; Pediatrics of Piedmont plans a move to its new location on Jarmans Gap Road around the same time; and the doctor’s office building in front of the Lodge at Old Trail is expected to be ready to welcome new tenants in early spring. Crozet Vape and Tobacco opened at the Crozet Market shopping center, with vaping products, tobacco, cigarettes, CBD preparations and other supplies. Owner Jacob Saleh said the company is waiting for their sign to be approved.
Susan Stanley Sprinkle moved her wholesale business to Crozet after years of operation Reprotic in Richmond. The building where she makes and markets her unique art reproductions is the former Women’s Club building on Carter Street, a property she owns. Sprinkle reproduces works of art from private collections, using production techniques and centuries-old designs from antiquity to create modern pieces marketed to high-end retailers as well as designers and architects. The workshop is not open to the public, but find examples of his work on www.reprotiqueart.com.
Waynesboro Welcomes New Retail Giants
In Waynesboro, there are new uses for buildings that have been vacant for a long time. At the former KMart location on West Main Street, Amazon is about to open a delivery station. City officials say when the station is fully operational, it will offer 100 new jobs. Ollie’s Bargain Outlet opens in the former Kroger Space (and before that, Harris Teeter) on Lew DeWitt Boulevard. Ollie’s is a retail chain that sells clearance merchandise and excess inventory.
Also on Lew Dewitt, The tractor supply company opened. The store specializes in products for rural living, including supplies for livestock and pets, gardening and farming equipment, and sturdy clothing. The Waynesboro store advertises early morning hours for those at risk. The company’s statement promises a commitment to local animal shelters, 4-H clubs and other agricultural education programs.
Local produce star in the North Garden store
Bakers, farmers, carpenters, potters, artists and designers of all kinds have a friend at Polly Davis Doig, who opened Polly’s Folly in the old Sprouse store in North Garden. It was a bit of a challenge, Doig said, with the renovation taking longer than expected and then delays imposed by the pandemic. The store opened in December 2020 and has already grown into a bit of a community gathering place. In the end, she was able to accomplish what she wanted: to showcase the creative geniuses of her community.
âIt kind of fell into place,â she said. Some artists, like carpenter Alex Pettigrew, stopped when they saw what she was doing. A local cook she calls “the soup whisperer” came to find a few quiet hours in Polly’s kitchen during lockdown while her entire family was at home. Doig looked for other people whose work she admired. There are herbal cosmetics, jewelry, home-grown teas, Albemarle County cheeses, vinegars and soaps, a selection of handmade PVC flutes and a great selection of beers, of regional wines and ciders, including Loving Cup, just down the road. If you abuse fermented products made from local grapes, fruits, or grains, you can buy herbal hangover remedy off Polly’s shelves.
Her mother gets involved with advanced skills in home cooking, baking fresh cinnamon buns, brownies or cookies. Albemarle Baking Company delivers fresh bread. The grill stays on most of the day and there are always a few quiches with the soups, as well as sandwiches, burritos, burgers and salads. Or take home a casserole of Mona Lisa Pasta frozen dinners.
To stay true to its intention to support local farmers, Doig offers the hill behind the store for a farmers market every Thursday from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m., and this will continue throughout the season. Currently there are a lot of baked goods and products.
Doig is a journalist and editor of the online news site Newser. When she got to the point where she could work from anywhere, she chose Virginia. She had gone to college in Washington and Lee, and now she lives a few miles from her store. Her two occupations are not that different, she says: âI hear great stories here, a lot of them.
Polly’s Folly is located at 2946 Monacan Trail and is open weekdays from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Sundays from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.