Posts Tagged ‘Virginia fall farm crops’

On The Eastern Shore Of Virginia, If It’s Fall, It’s Farming

Friday, November 26th, 2010

If It's Fall, It's Farming On Virginia's Eastern Shore

Farming is one of the largest economic engines of Virginia’s Eastern Shore.   Last year the total farm product value  for the Eastern Shore was in the many hundreds of millions of dollars ,  which even by today’s standards is serious money and pretty big business.  But unlike the huge agri-businesses in other parts of the country,  farms on the Eastern Shore are  mostly family- run farms and  farming is as much a lifestyle as a business.    Potatoes,  tomatoes, soybeans and other grains are the main crops,  with secondary truck crops such as bell peppers, cabbage, cucumbers,  green beans and  wine grapes following close on their heels.  If you have ever eaten a Wise brand potato chip you likely have tasted an Eastern Shore potato.  In the summer,  if you’ve ever had the fresh salsa at Chipolte’s Mexican Grill,  home to some lip-smacking good burritoes  ( ),  you have  enjoyed our sweet Eastern Shore tomatoes  (in the winter,  fresh tomatoes primarily come from Florida).  Farming is evident here all year round  because basically the Eastern Shore of Virginia is  just one  big farm,  with our  lovely waterfront neighborhoods and our little towns interspersed into  the open landscapes.  Farms are not exactly part of the scenery– mostly,  they are  the scenery .  ( Although there are only a few,  we do sometimes have an Eastern Shore farm for sale. )

"Still Life On Earthen Canvas"

But at no time of year is farming more captivating to me than in the spring and fall.   The earthen tones of  the Eastern Shore’s  fall landscapes are very appealing, strong  golds and yellows,  all the shades of browns,  lots of deep greens,  here and there a little cotton ready to be picked,  looking for all the world  like a field of  white lollipops on brown sticks.  Soybeans are not an especially attractive plant individually but a big field of soybeans in October,  after the leaves have all turned yellow,  is a delightful sight– when the soybeans are  lit by the morning sun  it’s like a looking at a field of gold,  edible gold at that.  One of my favorite sights in the fall is a freshly prepared field,  the sweeping lines of  the rows,  so precise,  curving  around at corners,  gliding up little knolls,   designs  created by John Deere on a massive earthen canvas,  a study in rich browns.  Really quite beautiful,  with a deep, fresh aroma  all its own.   

Emerald Green, A Field Of New Rye

 By now,  late November,  the fields that were harvested early and planted with rye as a winter cover crop have all greened up,  the rye already a few inches tall.  Seen from a distance,  a big field of rye in November looks like a vast emerald green lawn,  like Ireland,  maybe even greener.   And as I drive to work each day this time of year,  I am always struck by the various of stages of the lands I pass—  harvested,  waiting for harvesting,  plowed,  waiting for plowing,  planted with the new crop,  waiting for planting,  each phase with its own special look,  and by the strong hues of those stages,  the  yellows, golds,  browns and greens,  the fascinating textures and colors of  fall farming on the Eastern Shore of Virginia.