Archive for the ‘farming’ Category

Autumn on Virginia’s Eastern Shore

Tuesday, December 4th, 2018

DSC_3317I love Frank Sinatra’s rendition of “Autumn in New York”. I’m especially intrigued by his question “Why does it seem so inviting?” which question applies equally to Autumn on the Eastern Shore. Why does it indeed seem so inviting? To me, Autumn is one of our most beautiful times of year, offering common yet timeless scenes of crops being harvested, fields newly tilled for winter grains, myriad yards with fall azaleas and camilias blooming in gorgeous shades of rosy pinks and fuscias. Along blue waters, marsh grasses slowly fade from brilliant green to butterscotch to winter’s brown. Halloween pumpkins come and go, Fall events like the Agricultural Fair, Birding Festival and Thanksgiving Artisan Tour are exciting but really, the main event is color, the amazing colors of the season taking center stage, everywhere – – leaves with near infinite shades of tangerines and ambers, crimsons and scarlets, rustle on trees from seaside to bayside, acres of cotton transform brown fields to snow-white, late soybean leaves gleam like bright yellow mustard, open landscapes of tender green blades of newly sprouted rye crops lend a pastoral feel. And the Air, the breezes blow fresh, cool, crisp. But best of all, clear cerulean skies frosted with billowing white clouds that float boldly above the cobalt blue waters of creeks and bays. All of which is why the Eastern Shore in Autumn seems so inviting to me!

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JUST ONE MORE CHANCE THIS YEAR !

Tuesday, November 27th, 2018

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It was a beautiful Fall day last Saturday, blue skies, wispy white clouds, golden sunshine, perfect for the next-to-last Cape Charles Farmer’s Market session of the year. Attendees enjoyed a leisurely stroll around the grounds in the near 60 degree weather, stocking up for the weeks ahead. For the many aficionados of the Farmer’s Market, it’s a fact, sad but true, that there is only one more chance this year to meander through the Market, picking up special goodies as you go ! So mark it on your calendar, Saturday December 15th from 1-4 pm, the very last market of the year, after that it’s farewell till May to all your favorite vendors.

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SMALL COUNTY- BIG FAIR ! 3rd Annual Northampton County Agricultural Fair

Tuesday, November 13th, 2018

3075There was something for almost everyone to love at the 3rd Annual Northampton County Fair in Machipongo last weekend. Although no deep fried Oreo cookies or pork chops on a stick appeared on any menu, the Cape Charles Lion’s Club booth, Gordos Taco Truck, Country Kitchen, etc. offered plenty of other goodies to keep help the munchies at bay while browsing the various exhibits and activities. Plus the luscious pies, pecan, apple, sweet potato, entries in the ever-popular Baking Contest were for sale after the judging by the slice or even the whole pie, super yum ! ( I’ll never tell who took home half a sweet potato pie topped with pecan cinnamon streusel ! )

ANEC, one of the Fair’s main sponsors, offered some impressive pole climbing presentations by Tyson Arnold and George Floyd, both 2 years into their 4 year lineman apprenticeships. Interestingly, apparently it isn’t until the 10 year mark that most linemen have had extensive enough experience to be able to handle just about any situation. (Guessing employee retention is pretty important to A & N. ) The audience gained a new appreciation for A&N linemen who have to struggle up a pole in every sort of condition, wearing heavy cleats and a 45 pound tool belt. Sort of like the post office – – neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night nor heavy wind shall keep these critical linemen from shinnying up 40 ft poles to keep lights on for the customers. And thank heavens for that !

A huge favorite again was the Antique Tractor Show & Parade, this year featuring a few young drivers who I assume will be the future farmers of Northampton. Ancient but shiny and well cared for tractors of numerous makes and models paraded around what used to be the huge athletic field of the old Middle School, to much audience interest and appreciation. Antique machinery demonstrations of corn shelling and grinding showed just how it was done back in the “good old days”. And for kids, so much to see and do, including face painting, hay rides, pumpkin painting, a colorful bouncy house, balloon animal creations, duck calling contests, etc. Any County Fair worth its salt includes farm animals, in this case a little petting zoo with super cute sheep and a friendly brown goat. Plus a sweet and very patient cow, totally engrossed in munching her hay.

Once again a big turnout for the annual Skillet Throw, my favorite. Those cast iron skillets are heavier than they look and many a hefty heave only sailed the skillet a short distance from the starting line. The winners of the Ladies Throw were: 1st Place Helene Doughty, 2nd Debbie Mears and 3rd Emily Norwall. Men’s Throw winners: 1st Place Sands Gayle, a 2nd place tie between Brandon Parks and Will Russell and 3rd Carl Willke. Congrats to all, lots of fun for audience and participants alike !

A big thanks owed to the Side Porch Pickers and Thelma Peterson. It was a pleasure to listen to them, their bluegrass and county music added to much to the entire event. Wouldn’t have been the same without it ! And to the many, many volunteers who staffed the booths, the Kid’s Corner, ran the contests, brought their tractors, supervised hayrides, cooked the food, answered questions, etc., etc., bravo, you really pulled off a wonderful event, already looking forward to the 2019 Northampton County Agricultural Fair !

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DISCOVER THIS HISTORIC EASTERN SHORE VIRGINIA HOME ON 36 ACRES +/- WITH HORSE BARN & FENCED PASTURE.

Wednesday, August 22nd, 2018

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Located in a peaceful, natural setting near Cape Charles, VA, and surrounded by 36 acres +/- of open areas and woodlands, this 4 bedroom, 2 bath Victorian style home circa 1935 is beautifully landscaped with mature hardwoods, large boxwoods and a small formal garden. Priced at $489,900 and offering total 1st floor living, the interior architectural detail work is quite intricate, rooms are large with high ceilings. Beautifully preserved hardwood floors. This home has been lovingly cared for and maintained. Includes detached garage, a 3 stall barn and 5 acres of fenced pastureland. Great place to embrace your Inner Equestrian and live life in the Shore’s relaxed, coastal ambiance. Only a short drive to beaches, marinas, boat ramps and Palmer & Nicklaus Signature golf. Call for your appointment to see this wonderful property.

 

The 1st Annual Honey Fest At Quail Cove Farms

Monday, July 16th, 2018

IMG_1320Lots of rhythm-keeping, toe-tapping and goody-munching happening over at Quail Cove Farms in Machipongo last Saturday at its 1st Annual Honey Fest. As the talented Side Porch Pickers picked away, wowing the crowd with bluegrass favorites, folks circulated up and down Quail Cove’s attractive new porch, checking out all the goings-on. Plenty of goodies were on offer including lovely little tea & honey flavored Parisian-style macaroons, honey butter, honey flan cakes, honey peanut butter, tasty honey mini-donuts and more. Plus some unique bars of honey and milk soap, very soothing ! And of course, jars and jars and jars of sunshine in a jar, pure golden honey in all sizes. The “Honey Guy” we see at the Cape Charles Farmer’s Market was even there with a little sampling jar of his delectable local Eastville honey. Yum !

Pony rides, a little petting zoo with curious, friendly sheep and a goat plus a bucket of corn to hand-feed them, aDSC_1954 Bouncy House plus an Activities Tent all kept kids involved in the fun. For those who got the serious munchies, Gordo’s Taqueria Truck could definitely satisfy cravings for spicy and delicious. And of course, Quail Cove was doing a brisk business at the inside store featuring the organic and natural foods and produce its famous for, especially their Amish Country cheeses, etc. Thanks Quail Cove Farms, a great idea, a very pleasant afternoon, looking forward to a 2nd Annual Honey Fest next year.

 

 

 

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DISCOVER THIS HISTORIC EASTERN SHORE VIRGINIA HOME ON A 38 ACRE COMPOUND WITH 2 GUEST COTTAGES AND HORSE BARN

Monday, May 14th, 2018

DSC_9657Located in a peaceful, natural setting near Cape Charles, VA, and surrounded by 38 acres of open areas and woodlands, this 4 bedroom, 2 bath Victorian style home circa 1935 is beautifully landscaped with mature hardwoods, large boxwoods and a small formal garden. Priced at $599,000 and offering total 1st floor living, the interior architectural detail work is quite intricate, rooms are large with high ceilings. Beautifully preserved hardwood floors this home has been lovingly cared for and maintained. Includes 2 small guest cottages, detached garage, a 3 stall barn and 5 acres of fenced pasturelands. Great place to embrace your Inner Equestrian and live life in the Shore’s relaxed coastal ambiance. Only a short drive to beaches, marinas, boat ramps and Palmer & Nicklaus Signature golf. Call for your appointment to see this wonderful property.

 

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OPENING DAY ! SEASON 3 !

Friday, May 4th, 2018

DSC_9774It’s official ! As of Tuesday afternoon , Season 3 of the Cape Charles Farmer’s Market has kicked off – 3 to 6 pm every Tuesday, rain or shine, hot or cold, from now until October. Lots of our favorite venders from last year were there including Shore Beef and BBQ whose motto is – – Dinner’s Ready ! Mattawoman Farms had a big display of organic bedding plants for sale plus multiple varieties of beautiful lettuce, carrots, kolorabi, baby spinach. Copper Cricket Farms, Perennial Roots Farms, Hopeton Farm, all were back again with all kinds of veggies, meats, aromatic herbs, preserves and more, all from their Eastern Shore farms. From Pickett’s Harbor Farm, succulent spring asparagus was on offer. Fresh brown eggs were in abundance at many stands. W T Wilkins, aka The Honey Guy, from Old Town Neck was back with his jars of golden nectar. We stopped to talk to him about his bees- – turns out he tends between 12-15 hives with up to 30,000 bees per hive at peak population ! That’s a lot of Eastville busy, busy, buzzy bees making pots of local honey, lucky for those of us who love it. Master Gardeners of the Eastern Shore were on hand with information and advice on how to acquire a Green Thumb and GIY, grow it yourself !

Parisian Sweets was back with lovely homemade French style macaroons in several flavors including a colorful aqua shaded “Birthday” flavor. Birthday in a DSC_9794Cookie- don’t leave the Market without it ! Had hoped for a loaf of flavorful sourdough from Riverside Farms Bakery but they won’t be there till next week, can hardly wait, so wonderful warm, dunked into an olive oil-balsamic dip ! Kitchen Sync, headquartered at the Eastville Inn, returned, some savory soups, salads and a beautiful emerald green pesto for sale. They have a special weekly menu and take orders that customers can pick up every Tuesday at the Market. New this year were Edward’s Seafood, here come the crabs, clams and other tasty items from local waters! Also new, Umm Yummies offering delicious and beautifully decorated cupcakes and cookies. Ummm… Yummy !

DSC_9802So…. don’t forget to mark your calendar. Next Tuesday, when the clock strikes 3, it’s time to grab your market basket and head on over to the Cape Charles Farmers Market at the Museum on Randolph Avenue and fill it with some of the Shore’s amazing bounty. How fantastic is it to have this farm-to-table Market, the opportunity, all season long, to buy everything fresh, fresh, fresh and local ! We love it !

 

 

 

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SHINE ON, SHINE ON, SUPER MOON SO WAY UP HIGH… OVER VIRGINIA’S EASTERN SHORE ! AND IT DID ! SUPER MOON RISE/SET JANUARY 2nd/3rd, 2018

Tuesday, January 9th, 2018

DSC_8077Not only did the Super Moon shine brightly on the night of January 2nd, there is still a second 2018 Super Moon coming on January 31st. The 2018 calendar year boasted 2 Super Moons- – the January 2nd and the upcoming January 31st, a moon which will not only be a Super Moon, where the moon is closest in its orbit to Earth, but also a “Blue Moon”, a second full moon falling within a given calendar month. Chronicling the January 2nd event from the harbor’s viewing stand overlooking Parting Creek in Willis Wharf sounded like fun. Moon rise was indicated for 5:56 pm, more than an hour past sunset so full darkness which unfortunately, for me, increases the difficulty of getting good photo takes which include surrounding landscape. Even more unfortunately, it was well after 6 when we rolled up, the moon already above the horizon, disappointing, because seeing the moon as it just peeks over is always special. And it was really cold, dare we say Super Cold – – but the night was crystal clear, the stars were like brilliant twinkling diamonds flung across the sky and the moon glowed a deep, lovely gold, an incredible sight as it began its journey westward. Only a few boats were tied up in the marina, the harbor’s street lights creating a rather erie feel, water sluggish, new ice everywhere, little chunks and ice pans undulating around the empty boats, the super-bright Super Moon above, all the while my shutter finger screaming Frostbite Alert ! Frostbite Alert !

Up early on January 3rd, hoping for some good photos of Super Moon Set on my way to an appointment across the Bay. By the crack of dawn, as the moon was rapidly DSC_8067cruising West and the sun was rising slowly in the East, I was heading down Bayside Road. Although it was barely 6 am, an early gathering of Franktown farmers was already out in the field, pick-up taillights glowing red, bright spotlights illuminating a big piece of machinery, the Moon now pearly white and huge overhead, moonbeams falling softly on wide fields and clattering diesel motors below. Farming by moonlight, that’s dedication! Moon Set was indicated for 7:31 am on the 3rd but an early appointment in Virginia Beach kept exploration for a variety of moon-set photo locations to a minimum. Luckily, still bright and still Super, the moon yielded some interesting shots near The Colony, the Oyster Farm Marina and the Outlook pull-off on the Bridge. So, Super Moon 2018 # 1 over, looking forward to Super Moon # 2/Blue Moon on the 31st ! And then – – that’s it until January 21, 2019.

 

 

 

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The 2nd Annual Northampton Agricultural Fair Was A Resounding Success!

Friday, November 3rd, 2017

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Put together oyster speed shucking, antique tractors, a petting zoo, the Side Porch Pickers band, Lion’s Club burgers and some guys and gals throwing cast iron skillets with all their might and what do you get ? The Annual Northampton County Agricultural Fair, of course ! Bigger and better than last year, The Fair Season 2 featured something for everyone and everyone was clearly enjoying the Fair. So many organizations and sponsors contributed to making this a wonderful event including ANEC, whose big bright yellow rig flew the flag at the entrance, the U.S. Coast Guard, The Nature Conservancy, Farm Bureau, VIMS, U.S. Fish and Wildlife, Shore Beekeepers Guild, Virginia Cooperative Extension, ES Community College and the Eastern Shore Library , to mention just a few. And a number of local artists and artisans came and set up shop for the day, with numerous unique creations for sale. ( We came away with an interesting Robert Bridges yard decoration, a very colorfully painted wooden rooster – – that doesn’t sound very exciting but I’m pretty sure the friend who is going to get it for her birthday is going to absolutely love it ! )

A lot of effort was expended to create numerous kid-friendly activities including face painting, a big bouncy house, pumpkin painting, sand box, hay rides, etc.DSC_5745 The little petting zoo was also very popular, and featured some very relaxed sheep who just kept on grazing midst the rough and tumble of being hugged, poked and petted by small and noisy strangers. Nearby, two sweet, patient cows just kept looking at folks with “what the heck is up with all this commotion ” expressions, letting out a soft moo or two every once in a while just to join the conversation.

DSC_5755Special events included an impressive antique tractor parade, a baking contest with some luscious looking pies and sweet potato biscuits to be judged, an oyster shucking contest and my personal favorite, the cast iron skillet throwing contest. Congrats to the oyster shucking champion, Buck Doughty, and lady’s skillet toss blue ribbon winner, Helene Doughty and Patrick Long, men’s skillet toss winner. Long shall they reign- – or until the 3rd Annual Northampton Ag Fair next October anyway !

 

 

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Second Season Underway For The Cape Charles, VA Farmer’s Market

Friday, July 7th, 2017

DSC_1671The long awaited second season for the brand-new-last-year Cape Charles Farmer’s Market finally rolled around in May and now the vendors are getting into high gear with loads of summer goodies. ( Hours this year will be from 3-6 pm, rain or shine, from now till October.)  So if it’s Tuesday afternoon, whether you’re a local or a visitor, it’s time for foodies and farm-to-table enthusiasts to break out the walking shoes, a wicker market basket and head out to the spacious, grassy Museum grounds on Stone Road in the little Eastern Shore of Virginia coastal town of Cape Charles to shop for the fine local farm produce… and much more.

 

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I found last year that the best way to tackle the cornucopia of goodies on offer was to take a stroll, making a circuit around the whole Market, to preview all the little vendor tents and the tempting items on offer, then circle back around again to make selections. This proved to be the right strategy again this year. Starting on the north end across from the handsome brick Museum building was Shore Beef and BBQ, where owner Ron was fielding multiple customers drawn by deep smoky aromas and intent on securing some of his delicious beef brisket and vinegar- dressing cole slaw.

 

Mattawoman Creek FarmMoving counter-clockwise, Mattawoman Farms CSA’s counter was heaped high with loads of fresh organic veggies including the most beautiful red and green lettuces, soft yet crisp, just gorgeous. And kohlrabi, which after some indecision I decided I would finally try this year, as well as some tatsoi, a deep green plant similar to bok choi. Mattawoman had tall racks of healthy looking plants, perfect to pop immediately into a home garden. Across the way, the honey guy’s wares were shining golden, the sun glinting off the jars, you could almost savor lush sticky sweetness on the tongue merely by looking at it. At our house, local honey is the go-to sweetener for tea, especially green teas, it just smooths out every cuppa.

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Moving down the line, waving to the Bread Lady from The Bakery at Riverside Farm who had sold out in the first hour. And no wonder, she has fab sour dough breads and at my house we are addicted to her cinnamon raisin bread (which we often buy on Thursdays year-round at the Gull Hummock gourmet shop on Mason Avenue.) Toasted, spread lightly with peanut butter, so divine with morning coffee ! Next door to Bread Lady, a new vendor this year, the cleverly named Kitchen Sync Catering, whose chef, Louise Oliver, is offering a scrumptious menu of prepared foods that can be ordered on-line and picked up at their kitchen at the Eastville Inn on Friday or purchased at the Farmer’s Market on Tuesday. Their samples looked delish, especially the colorful layered salad with a side of cilantro avocado dressing and the chopped broccoli salad with cranberries and almonds with a honey yogurt dressing. Just around the corner, Copper Cricket Farm’s table was piled high with totally gorgeous veggies including crispy fresh spring onions, arugula and Swiss chard.

DSC_1715Further down the line, another new vendor, Lauren Gardner of Parisian Sweets, was offering French style macaroons. Or rather, not offering, since, unfortunately for me, but nice for them, she was also sold out.  But lucky early birds to the Market were able to indulge in her lemon, raspberry cheesecake or mocha flavors. Going to go earlier next week ! Did manage to snag some of Pickett’s Harbor Farm’s just-picked-this-morning peaches though, a favorite of my husband’s, but do peaches compare to lemon or mocha French macaroons ?  A tough decision but one I didn’t have to make since there were no macaroons !  Too many other great vendors to mention here, offering everything from The Flying Pig’s traditionally fermented organic sauerkrauts to organic veggies, local seafood as well as organic eggs and meats from several different local farms. The Cape Charles Farmer’s Market will not disappoint, check it out, 3-6 pm, rain or shine, every Tuesday, May through October

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