Edible Blue Ridge Spring 2023

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BLUE RIDGE edible Celebrating the Food Culture of Central & Southwest Virginia ®


Issue 51 Spring 2023

Rise Jubilee Climate Farm Antwon Brinson House of Bread

Member of Edible Communities

edible blue ridge SPRING 2023 | 1

contents SPRING 2023


Departments 4 FOOD FOR THOUGHT 6 SHARING THE BOUNTY 8 MOVERS & SHAKERS Antwon Brinson 10 FROM THE LAND Breaking Ground & Rising Up 14 WHAT’S IN SEASON 18 LIQUID ASSETS Great Valley Farm Brewery & Winery 24 EDIBLE EXCURSIONS Crozet All Day 30 LIVING LOCAL (Re)thinking Green 35 FARMERS MARKET GUIDE

Recipes In This Issue 15 Wine Spritzers

28 Vegetarian Spring Rolls 32 Spring Chicken Quarters

On the cover: Spring Creek Blooms seedlings, photo by Lisa Archer This page: vegetarian spring rolls, photo by Sara Schober

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PUBLISHER+EDITOR Lisa Archer lisa@edibleblueridge.com BLUE RIDGE edible ®

FOOD FOR THOUGHT Editor’s Letter

T YPICALLY I WRITE this letter at the last moment, once all articles are turned in, photographs have been edited and we’ve begun to get the magazine into layout. It helps me to see the flow of articles as I write, to watch how one story might lead into the next or where we need a pause, a recipe or an image. Much like in reading sheet music, I read the rise and fall of notes/words and take my cues from what is on the page before me — finding where I can improvise a little as I describe what the next measure/article will reveal.

DESIGNER Jeremy Cohen

COPY EDITOR Michelle Acker

ADVERTISING DIRECTOR Jesse Feldberg ads@edibleblueridge.com

Pumpkin-Sage Sourdough is also means I write my letters before the season is in session. It’s February and I am attempting to write a letter to span all of spring until the summer issue arrives at your doorstep or at your favorite local establishment. Often this takes a little imagination and sifting through memories of seasons past. is February, I don’t have to imagine the arrival of spring because it feels as if it is already here. My daffodils have bloomed, I’ve been watching forsythia scatter their petals along greenways and roadsides and all week the temperature has risen past sixty degrees. e winter has been warm and decidedly wet and, though we may still have that last-minute frost or a random snowfall in March, it seems that we are steadily headed in a warmer direction. Climate change is an ongoing issue, reflected in our vineyards (such as the devastating frosts in spring of 2020), our fields (wet winters, dry summers) and our neighborhoods (it is February and the neighbor’s cherry tree is blossoming!). e facts have been before us for quite some time and we know changes must be made to our systems: agricultural, industrial, personal. In Harrisonburg, Jubilee Climate Farm experiments with a variety of growing practices in order to combat climate change. From silvopasture to carbon farming, discover how they strive to teach others the importance of carbon sequestration while, at the same time, learning from other cultures and past generations. Sometimes it takes a community rising together to meet a problem head on, while at other times change is instigated by an individual. Our resident columnist Christina Nifong is no stranger to implementing changes in order to preserve this world for future generations: often it is the small changes we make — such as choosing public transportation over driving our car every day, or saying no to styrofoam or plastic — that can strengthen our resolve and lead us to rise up and ask for widespread change at the local, state and national level. I saw this sentiment reflected when I visited House of Bread, a non-profit that teaches formerly incarcerated women new skills and helps them to start again, all the while championing the message that a person is more than a label assigned by society. When it comes to people in our communities who help others rise to their true potential, my mind turns to Antwon Brinson, founder of Culinary Concepts AB. ough he may be most famous for his appearance on the HBO hit e Big Brunch, his Charlottesville community knows him to be a born bridge-builder as he teaches cooking skills and partners with employers around the city to secure jobs for individuals who might otherwise have been overlooked. Spring, perhaps more than any other season, brings with it new beginnings. From seeds sprouting along the windowsill or garden row to new recipes, new practices, new relationships and adventures. I hope the articles in this issue inspire your own new beginnings this season. Happy Spring,

CONTRIBUTORS Janine Aquino Sarah Golibart Gorman Christina Nifong Sara Schober

Matthew Tolbert Jennifer Waldera

CONTACT US: Have a story you’d like to see featured in Edible Blue Ridge? Send us your ideas! info@edibleblueridge.com Edible Blue Ridge P.O. Box 3089 Roanoke, VA 24015 SUBSCRIBE Subscribe online at edibleblueridge.com or pay by check to the address above. Annual subscription rate (4 issues) is $28. No part of this publication may be used without written permission by the publisher. Every effort is made to avoid errors, misspellings and omissions. If, however, an error comes to your attention, please accept our sincere apologies and notify us. Thank you. © 2023 Edible Blue Ridge LLC. All rights reserved.


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Seed Libraries While most of us think of the library as the place to go for books, movies and the occasional event, did you know many of the branches in our region offer another resource — seeds? “I have to say, I enjoy talking about seeds and plants,” says librarian eresa Baga, who runs the seed library at the Salem County Public Library. In its sixth year of operation, the Salem seed library is a resource for both beginning and advanced gardeners. Unlike checking out books, you don’t need to have a library card to patronize the seed library; you simply go to a participating branch and ‘check out’ between 3-5 seed packets, recording what you take in a logbook – depending on the branch rules. At the end of the growing season, patrons of the program are encouraged to let some of their plants go to seed so that they can save the seeds and return them to the library for the following season.

Librarians across the state work hard to forge relationships when securing seeds for their programs — both within the community and with larger seed companies and organizations such as Louisa County-based Southern Exposure Seed Exchange, Seed Savers Exchange, and Eden Brothers, located in North Carolina. Unlike seed banks, which store seeds to preserve genetic diversity, seed libraries are about encouraging literal growth in a community, right in patrons’ backyards. In addition to seeds, the libraries highlight available books for gardeners to use as reference material when sowing, growing and harvesting. In partnership with Virginia Cooperative Extension and Allegheny Mountain Institute, libraries have created monthly gardening guides and programs throughout the region and some libraries even host seed swaps and invite guest speakers at the start and end of the growing season.

Seed Libraries in Our Region Augusta: Fishersville & Churchville Branches Buckingham Harrisonburg: Carrier Library at JMU, Massanutten Central Branch Pulaski Rockbridge: Bath Branch Salem Don’t see your library on the list? Become involved and start your own program!

Get growing and sowing this spring and remember to allow some of your plants to go to seed so you can continue the sharing cycle. Local Book Love

Veteran gardener and local (Floyd, VA) author Barbara Pleasant’s newest book is out on stands just in time to help you start your spring vegetable garden. Geared toward beginner gardeners, Starter Vegetable Gardens: 24 No-Fail Plans for Small Organic Gardens presents easy-to-follow steps for all kinds of backyard gardens. Whether you only have space for a few containers, or you want to turn your borders into a garden integrated with vegetables, herbs and flowers, Pleasant guides readers through selecting seeds and plants, building up your soil, harvesting, and preparing your beds for the following season. e book also contains detailed plot illustrations that show how to create both a bountiful and beautiful garden — for instance, dill makes a beautiful edging and sweet alyssum can serve as a bright and luscious ground cover. Pleasant also breaks down common varietals and gardening terms and recommends tools to purchase. Each type of garden presented has a one-to three-year layout, helping you plan your green thumb growth and reminding us all that gardening, like most things in life, is a process, and it helps to take it one step at a time.


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WORDS Jennifer Waldera

Eze Amos


If you tuned into HBO Max’s “The Big Brunch,” it may have been the first time you got a taste of what Chef Antwon Brinson brings to the table, in terms of both food and heart. But many in Charlottesville, Virginia were already familiar with Brinson through his ongoing work, which has touched the lives of countless individuals in the food industry as well as the community as a whole. Brinson took the long route to Charlottesville from his hometown near Niagara Falls, exploring, learning, and cooking his way through West Virginia, Kaua’i, Palm Springs, San Francisco, and the Virgin Islands. Along the way, he graduated from the Culinary Institute of America and completed a three-year apprenticeship at the prestigious Greenbrier Resort in West Virginia. After cooking at fine dining establishments throughout the country, Brinson made Charlottesville his home when he accepted the role of Executive Chef at Common House, which he helped to open. In time, though, Brinson felt compelled to marry his natural love of teaching with his talents and skills in the kitchen and launched his brainchild, which would eventually be known as Culinary Concepts AB.

In only a few months after departing from Common House, Brinson had established Culinary Concepts AB, an organization that offered focused programs to help culinary professionals quickly develop soft skills, like flexibility and discipline, alongside skills like cooking and goal-setting to propel them forward in the industry. Within a short period of time, eight classes of ambitious professionals graduated from Brinson’s five-week, boot camp-style program with the skills and certifications that put them in a position to be sought after and hired by restaurants both locally and beyond. Adhering to his principle that desire to affect change requires you to be a part of that change, Brinson expanded his reach in the community by speaking at local engagements, teaching in prisons, and educating at festivals. He also created partnerships with high schools and worked with the National Restaurant Association to form classes that offer micro-credentials and other certifications within the industry. Additionally, Brinson affects meaningful change by serving on the boards or committees of Piedmont Workforce Network, Charlottesville Area Community Foundation, Black Professional Network, CATEC Community College, and Wilson Workforce and Rehabilitation Center.

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When the pandemic hit, Brinson’s innate adaptability helped him to transform his business into a virtual one. His home kitchen became a studio set and he incorporated private cooking classes into his repertoire. Since then, Brinson has reopened his facility, continuing his dedication to providing in-person instruction and helping to build the bridges that passionate industry professionals need to grow and succeed. He also continues his work within the community — but he became a bit of a celebrity, too. Recently, Brinson participated in the production of Dan Levy’s brainchild, “The Big Brunch,” as one of 10 chefs vying for $300,000 to turn their community-focused aspirations into reality. The warm show was a definite departure from typical food competition shows, with its heartfelt emotional investment from the judges and an obvious high level of respect and admiration among the competitors, who all helped each other in the kitchen in a way that is nearly never seen in other competitive food programming. “We are all socially-minded people from the industry — that’s the silver lining that connected all of us. It’s through and through who we all are; we help people — that’s just who we are; we don’t think about the competition aspect.” Brinson says he responded with “100% blind faith” to a call from Dan Levy looking for food industry professionals to participate in the show. According to Brinson, Levy was looking to create a show that highlighted a social mission and showcased what chefs were doing in their communities. “I went into that with the mindset of what a great opportunity it would be to use that platform to talk about my city and my organization. We didn’t know what the prize was going to be, who the other contestants were … we didn’t know what kind of cooking show it was going to be.

My focal point was: HBO has given me an opportunity to highlight what I’m passionate about and I’m going to take advantage of that.”

Throughout the show, Brinson drew from vast experiences throughout his cooking career but especially leaned into Ethiopian cuisine, a nod to his roots from his father’s side of the family.

“I went on and cooked Ethiopian food for others for the first time. The growth gave me a chance to highlight what’s important to me.”

Brinson has returned to Charlottesville after filming and remains close with the other chefs from the show.

“We all keep in contact in an ongoing group chat. Every few days someone chimes in. I can definitely say I made some lifelong friends.”

As for what’s next for Brinson, we’re certainly not going to spoil the results of the show. However, he did share exclusively with Edible Blue Ridge that there’s an incredible pop-up partnership on the way in coming months between Culinary Concepts AB and what he described as a “local powerhouse.” Regardless of the show’s outcome, it’s clear that Brinson’s commitment to Charlottesville and the members of the food industry is strong and that he intends to continue building on his dedication to contributing to the community. “The one thing that makes Charlottesville so special is that I’ve never lived in a place where people care about so much — that they generally want to add value to the place where they live and [they] care about their neighbors. It’s such a niche pocket of the world.”

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Breaking Ground and Rising Up

Farmers combine indigenous farming techniques from around the world to combat carbon emissions

I “I don’t just work the soil to grow food. I work it because it helps me and heals me. It’s therapy for me,” says Maricruz Lopez, one of the co-coordinators of Jubilee Climate Farm. The six-acre farm, a mosaic of regenerative farming techniques, is less than ten minutes outside Harrisonburg’s city limits. Drawing on wisdom from around the world, Lopez and the other co-coordinators Tom Benevento and Irma Serrano Carballido strive to work the land in a way that also cares for the planet. Jubilee Climate Farm is entering its third season of carbon farming. This type of farming is designed to sequester carbon, encouraging plants’ natural process of absorbing carbon dioxide and storing it in the soil. When farmers use regenerative practices that don’t involve plowing or tilling, the carbon stays stored in the ground instead of in the atmosphere. One component of the farm is agroforestry. Considering that trees can store a significant amount of carbon in their roots, trunks, branches and leaves, integrating trees into crop and animal farming has the biggest impact in carbon farming. Benevento cites research stating that 35% of grazing land and cropland worldwide would WORDS




be suitable for agroforestry. Those converted farms could sequester about 3.4 billion tons of carbon dioxide a year, more than the an nual emissions of all of India, the third-largest producer of green house gasses. The team at Jubilee is not only farming for the planet, but to honor generations of farmers and earth caretakers who came before them. Lopez and Serrano grew up in Chiapas and Oaxaca, Mexico, respectively, farming crops like bananas, coffee and a variety of vegetables alongside their parents and grandparents. The techniques they learned as children are honored at Jubilee in conjunction with other global farming strategies. Elements of Jubilee’s silvopasture system have been adopted from their native Mexico. In the silvopasture, fruit, chestnut and black locust trees live in harmony with sheep who meander through the bands of pasture and trees, eating fallen nuts and fruit and in turn nourishing the soil. Metepantli, a drought-resilient Mexican terracing system dat ing back more than 2,000 years, captures rainwater and stores it in the soil. Combined with a Filipino erosion-prevention strategy called Sloping Agriculture Land Technology (SALT), a technique

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Opposite: Mari Lopez, Tom Benevento, Samuel Lasiti. Above, clockwise: Jubilee Climate Farm, Garden beds are prepared for planting, Garden plans, A hillside is prepared for next season. wherein a hilly area is planted with alternat ing bands of crops and soil-stabilizing trees and shrubs, Jubilee is able to transform the rolling Shenandoah Valley hills into fertile and productive farmland. The combination of these strategies il lustrates the first of Jubilee’s three objectives: to create a model for research, experimenta tion and implementation of the best carbon farming practices. The farm is a patchwork of indigenous agricultural systems practic ing resilience to extreme weather events such as excessive rainfall or severe drought, both current realities of climate change. Animals will be contained and farm boundaries established with hedgerows of Osage orange trees, a thick swath of living fence similar to the acacia hedgerows of Samuel Lasiti Moriaso’s home in Kenya. Lasiti is volunteering at Jubilee through Mennonite Central Committee’s (MCC) International Volunteer Experience Program (IVEP). At Jubilee he is able to teach Kenyan farming techniques while learning new car bon farming strategies to take home to his community, where chemical spray programs are typical. “I’m not just going into farming because I love farming; I want to change the way people farm and make people aware that quick solutions with chemicals are not the answer,” explains Lasiti. If you’re looking to implement a carbon farming strategy in your own farm or gar den, the Jubilee team recommends syntropic

cut trees back close to ground level to pre vent them from shading out vegetable beds, the biomass becomes your mulch, returning carbon to the soil. Benevento explains how this method mimics a healthy ecosystem: “Everything is grown right there. An ecosys tem doesn’t require hauling materials from another location, stealing nutrients from somewhere else. We want to grow a system that is self-sufficient.” Jubilee’s second objective is to pro vide land access to recent immigrants who wish to grow their own food. Participants from the Congo, Guatemala, El Salvador, Mexico, Eritrea, and other regions have

agriculture. David the Good’s informative and funny 2021 book Grocery Row Gar dening makes the precise and regimented syntropic system accessible “for normal people working in normal backyards with normal schedules.” Lasiti explains the name of Good’s method of planting trees and shrubs in the midst of annual garden beds: “The different rows and heights are like dif ferent shelves of things in a grocery store.” In a Grocery Row Gardening system, you can have the best of a food forest, kitchen garden and orchard all in one. The fruit and nut trees can act as trellises for beans and squash to grow up. When you coppice, or

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Above, clockwise: Early spring planting, Crops grow in integrated rows, Aerial photos of the farm, Harvest day.

found solace in Jubilee’s community garden space. Benevento reflects on the importance of creating a safe place to work the land and connect with others: “Because the farm is a little ways outside of town, once they get here they’re like, “Ah this is so nice.” They don’t want to leave. A lot of them say this feels like “I’m back home.” That’s an important thing to be able to provide. That reconnection to home.” The farm’s third and final objective is to build a regional and global alliance supporting and shifting to carbon farming and agroforestry. Jubilee cannot act alone to achieve the aforementioned goal of con verting 35% of global farms to an agrofor estry system. A recent case study suggests that “one hectare [2.471 acres] of a young agroforestry system annually takes 27 tons of CO2 equivalents out of the atmosphere. This balances out the emissions of 5 average world citizens. 1 ” With that equation, Jubilee is sequestering enough carbon to counteract the activity of about twelve humans. Jubilee’s impact is matched and mul tiplied in the work of other farms in their Small Farms Carbon Alliance. Just like a 1. Zilong Ma, Han Y. H. Chen, Edward W. Bork, Cameron N. Carlyle, Scott X. Chang. “Carbon accumulation in agroforestry systems is affected by tree species diversity, age and regional climate: A global meta-analysis.” Global Ecology and Biogeog raphy, vol. 29, no. 10, July 2020, pp. 1817-1828.

forest collaborates for the mutual health of its inhabitants, Jubilee depends on and supports others. The Deiner family donates the use of their land for Jubilee. The Farm at Willow Run, a 4-acre vegetable farm sup porting Harrisonburg’s Virginia Mennonite Retirement Community; Silver Run Forest Farm, a riparian nursery and folk school in Harrisonburg; and other farmers in central and southwest Virginia all collaborate in carbon drawdown. Students and faculty from James Madison University, Eastern Mennonite University, Bridgewater College, Virginia Tech, the Virginia Cooperative Extension and beyond volunteer and carry out research projects on the land. You can join in on the learning process, experience the therapeutic benefits of sling ing a pickaxe, or sway your hips to joyful, percussive Mexican music during Jubilee’s open volunteer hours on Mondays, Wednes days, and Fridays between 8:30 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. Benevento calls on us to “work as a human family to recreate food systems that are resilient, regenerative, abundant [and] that respect and honor indigenous traditions.”

Jubilee Climate Farm 1520 Muddy Creek Rd. Harrisonburg, VA 22802 jubileeclimatefarm.org

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Spring Is On It’s Way!

Spring has sprung at Eltzroth & Thompson Greenhouses, Inc.

Take a peek at our online catalog and place an order for spring pick up! info@EdibleLandscaping.com www.EdibleLandscaping.com Edible Landscaping 361 Spirit Ridge Ln Afton, Va 434.361.9134

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Twenty Greenhouses Homegerown plants Flowers and veggies of all kinds 100+ varieties of tomato plants 50+ varieties of pepper plants 100+ varieties of succulents & cacti Herbs Hanging baskets Perennials Tropicals Mother's Day gifts Visit this spring for all your planting needs! Open Daily - see our facebook page for details 540-387-4020 2306 W Riverside Dr, Salem VA


Apples (early spring) Arugula Asparagus Beets Blueberries* Broccoli*

Cabbage* Carrots Chard Cherries* Chickweed Chives Dandelion Fennel Garlic Scapes Greens Herbs Kale Kohlrabi Leeks

Lettuce Morels Mustard Greens New Potatoes Onions Peas Radishes Ramps Rhubarb Spinach Sprouts Stinging Nettles Strawberries Sweet Potatoes

Turnips Violets

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Wine Cocktails Are What’s Going On This Year!


Sangrias have always been wildly popular , especially as temperatures increase this season , but spritzers and wine - based cocktails are taking center stage this year . Spritzers are light , fizzy , refreshing and easy to drink . These drinks are low in alcohol , as they contain wine , soda water , and an endless array of other possibilities , including fresh fruit and herbs . Wine - based cocktails typically have a depth of flavor similar to spirit based cocktails . Wineries throughout the region are starting to offer these drinks more as additional options to their guests who may not always want a full glass of wine . Other benefits to wine cocktails are that they stretch your wine when you have low production years and that they can bring in a whole new clientele , thereby increasing your sales . Here are some local Virginia wineries offering lovely additions to their drink menus:

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Spring Spritzer Flying Fox - Afton Ingredients 3 ounces Spring Vermouth 2 ounces sparkling wine 1 slice lemon Ice Club soda Strawberry and thyme sprig to garnish

Wine Spritzer Firefly Cellars - Hamilton Ingredients Fruit ice cubes (strawberry, blueberry, lime)

Directions Pour vermouth and sparkling wine into a large wine or highball glass. Add lemon slice. Fill glass with ice, top with soda water and garnish with strawberry and thyme.

Directions Fill four large wine glasses with fruit ice cubes. Divide Firefly between glasses and add a splash of traminette to each glass. Top with club soda and garnish with mint.

1 bottle Firefly white blend Splash of sweet traminette wine Club soda Mint garnish

Other wineries to note: Fabbioli Cellars - Leesburg Offers wine-based cocktails that are changed monthly according to theme and season. Rosemont of Virginia Vineyards & Winery - La Crosse Offers a spritz on the weekends made with their vermouth and sparkling wine. Hilltop Berry Farm & Meadery – Nellysford Offers a bloody Mary made with their hickory-smoked hot pepper mead

Fruit Ice Cubes: Cut seasonal fruit and place in ice tray. You can use a single fruit or add multiple varieties to one tray. Fill with water and freeze for 12 hours before use.

Lemon Crush Brent Manor Vineyards - Fabor Makes enough for a party!

Directions Using a mortar and pestle, bruise mint and basil to release flavor, reserving a few sprigs of each. Add herbs to the bottom of a large pitcher. Add a few scoops of ice, wine and lemonade. Stir with a long handled spoon or spatula. Fill glasses with ice and pour drink into glasses. Garnish with mint, basil and lemon slices.

Ingredients 1 bunch mint 1 bunch basil 5 bottles 2021 Brent Manor Vineyards viognier 2 cups lemonade 1 bag ice Lemon slices to garnish


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Great Valley Farm Brewery & Winery

Jesse Feldberg


As we start the long-awaited transition into warmer months, the pace of life will inevitably pick up. Perhaps you’re not quite ready to get back to that pace yet, or you feel like the hustle never really let up in the first place. Thankfully, near the middle of EBR’s territory, one of the region’s gems sits upon a quiet hilltop overlooking the valley. Unpretentious small batches of beer and wine meet an unbeatable view at Great Valley Farm Brewery and Winery, where one can go to catch their breath, sit for a while, and take in the fruits of our region. Nathan and Irma Bailey, owners of Great Valley Farm, began their foray into the Virginia wine and beer scene in 2008 when they purchased the property just a couple of miles off of I-81, though, once there, you may never guess you were that close to the interstate. In 2012, they planted the first grapes in the six-acre vineyard — which today provides about half of the grapes used in their wines — and started selling them to other local wineries. 2016 saw the opening of the brewery side and tasting room, and in 2019, the in-house winemaking began in earnest. Four years later, the Baileys have earned multiple Governor’s Cup medals* for their wines and built a dedicated local following. The mood in the tasting room is always laid-back and friendly, and the quality is on full display in every glass.

We took an afternoon to sit down with Nathan, brewmaster and winemaker, and ask him a few questions about Great Valley Farm. Edible Blue Ridge : What does it mean to be a farm brewery and winery? Great Valley Farm : From Virginia’s definition, you have to be on a farm, zoned agricultural, and have to use some products from the farm in your beer. We don’t grow wheat and barley or hops, but we include specialty ingredients like grapes in a lot of our beers. We have one on tap — the white grape saison — which utilizes our grüner veltliner and vidal blanc juice during fermentation. So in the fall when we’re pressing [the grapes] we take a portion of that, make a beer with it; I always like the addition of the grape juice. [We] also have things like our lemongrass and basil saison — we pick those the day of brewing and throw them in the kettle fresh so you get a super clean and fresh pop of herbal goodness. As far as a farm winery, we do have to grow at least 50% of our own fruit. Right now in Virginia I think they realize that growing your own wheat, grain, hops is really difficult. EBR: What varietals of grapes are grown on the property? GVF: We have vidal blanc, cabernet franc, and a couple of Austrian varietals: grüner veltliner and lemberger, which is also called blaufränkisch. Cab franc and vidal [blanc] are tried and true in Virginia, you see them a lot; not so much with the grüner and lemberger, those are more experimental. We did about a quarter acre each of those and have gone on to plant another acre of grüner and one and a half of lemberger. EBR: How did you select those [Austrian varietals]? GVF: We did contact a few people growing — Ox-Eye grows both varietals; they were really positive about it. A few others [grow them] along the East Coast. We also looked at

*Gold - Petit Verdot. Silver - Shenandoah Red, Red Blend, Gruner Veltliner, White Blend, Panoramic, Vin Gris Rose.

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the climate in Austria, which is a continental climate, not like the south of France or Spain, which is totally different than here. So there’s more humidity in Austria, more similar growing conditions. EBR: Any other grapes on the experimental side? GVF: We’re working on some experimental plots with new disease-resistant varieties that are bred to be resistant, specifically to powdery and downy mildew — they’re actually Italian varietals. EBR: Where else do you source your grapes? GVF: We do a lot from Rainbow Hill Vineyard in Rockingham County, and Middleburg Vineyard in the Staunton area. Mainly those two. Sourced a little from Rockbridge Vineyards in the past. EBR: Have you ever felt limited in your winemaking with the varietals that you are able to grow and source in Virginia, or have you been pretty satisfied? GVF: We’ve been pretty satisfied so far. A lot of it’s just taking what the year gives you and making the best wine you can. Sometimes you have to do different things; maybe you have to pick a little early before things go south, make a different style of wine than you would have otherwise. 2019 was an exceptional year in the vineyard, so that helped out a lot. [It was our] first time making wine commercially, so not having to deal with those problems in the vineyard that first year was really good and we made some really nice wines. Then in 2020 we had a double frost year, so that was challenging especially after the previous year. Fortunately our grapes bounced back and produced a very good crop even with multiple rounds of frost. Diversifying, trying to keep other sources, helps out a lot too. Because we may have a frost here but 30 miles north in Staunton they may escape by a degree or two, or vice versa. We haven’t bought any grapes from outside [Virginia] — we like the terroir here. The Shenandoah Valley is an American Viticultural Area. EBR: What can you tell us about the beer side of the operation? GVF: We make a variety of styles; I do like Belgian-style beers, so at any one time you’ll see at least 2-3 that are somewhat Belgian-style. EBR: Where do you source your grain? GVF: We do try to source a lot from Virginia and North Carolina, so Riverbend Malt is a big supplier for us; we’re also starting to use Murphy & Rude over in Charlottesville. We really like those two sources for our grain. EBR: What specialty beers do you have scheduled for this year? GVF: We’ve got a barrel-aged dark saison that we used cab franc grapes in. We added those for secondary fermentation with Brettanomyces. [We first] made that beer back in 2017 and it was really really good, barreled it for 15 months and it was very popular. [We] used red wine barrels that had done their duty down in the winery. It’s one of my favorites. EBR: What do you enjoy most about the area? GVF: It’s just a real friendly community. Obviously, coming from Charlotte, we wanted to get out of the hustle bustle of the city and the traffic. This has been a perfect spot for us.

Above: The neighboring property is home to an alpaca farm, Inside the brewhouse at Great Valley Farm, Trellissed grapes grow thick and sweet.

Great Valley Farm Brewery and Winery is open Wednesday through Sunday starting at 12 each day. Please consider supporting them and other locally-owned Rockbridge County small businesses the next time you are looking for a quick trip! 60 Great Valley Ln, Natural Bridge, VA 24578 540.521.6163 greatvalleyfarmbrewery.com

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Grape photo: Great Valley Farm

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Baking Breaks Barriers

A Roanoke non-profit helps women gain new skills and build bonds



“I don’t have a lot of negative memories about the kitchen, you know? It’s the happy spot. The kitchen is where the heart is.” On a spring-like February morning I step into the LEAP commu nity kitchen in Roanoke and am met with a flurry and flour cloud of activity. If the smell of toasted oats, almonds and cinnamon hadn’t sig naled I was in the right place, the steady patter of voices and thwunks of bread being turned out of tins onto counters clues me in. I’ve come to observe the first bake day of the new House of Bread cohort. House of Bread is a faith-based non-profit designed to help for merly incarcerated women gain new skills and re-enter the workforce. Now in its sixth year, the ten-week program is held every spring and

fall. In addition to learning baking and kitchen skills, participants meet weekly to develop life skills such as resume writing, prepping for job interviews and reacclimating to civilian life. Why baking? It’s easy to establish a common environment when you’re elbow-deep in bread dough, kneading shoulder-to-shoulder. Co founded by Jen Brothers, Jordan Hertz and Lisa Goad, House of Bread (HoB) drew inspiration from a similar non-profit in Alexandria, To gether We Bake. Goad is the current program coordinator. In addition to the multitude of roles she fulfills at HoB, she’s also an avid baker and develops all of the recipes participants prepare. The program begins with a two-week ServSafe training class — a

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them for jobs and also provides spiritual and emotional support in the form of yoga classes, discussion groups or Bible study. The students are also paired with mentors, who meet with them for an hour each week. Mentors help stu dents see their own potential, establishing goals and developing a blueprint of how to build to wards each of those goals. Brooke, whose happy place is in the kitchen (opening quote), is currently in a twelve-step program. She and another participant, Christy, live at the same halfway house and Brooke has taken on the role of cooking meals for residents. “It’s gotten a lot better since she took over meal prep,” says Christy. “I raised my three nephews and my own kids; I like to take care of people,” says Brooke. “I taught them all how to cook. I’d put on music and we’d have a dance party in the kitchen.” Brooke dreams of one day having her own cafe. “Tea and coffee, jazzy vibes. Cool but unpretentious … I even know how to make crumpets!” she tells me as she mixes a sheet tray of granola. On the day of my kitchen visit, Goad teach es a lesson in problem-solving as they discover that a batch of their English muffin bread has had the wrong flour added to it, along with too much liquid. This makes the dough heavier than normal and it struggles to rise in the oven. With the pick-up time for customers rapidly approaching, two volunteers, Goad and a stu dent work quickly to bake off another batch. As Sarah pulls the dough together with her hands, she tells me she has three children at home and enjoys baking with them. She saw the program as an opportunity, both for help finding a job and also because it may help her find something she actually enjoys doing for a living. “I like to bake with my kids,” she says as she drops dough into bread tins. Although not all are experienced, many women in the room share a love for baking. That’s why Susan started volunteering six years ago. “I love to bake; I’m always baking. I knew Lisa from our church and I knew if she were in volved, it was going to be a program that made a difference. Here, barriers are dropped.” It’s true, too. When I entered the kitchen I spotted eleven women in HoB shirts and vary ing fades of jeans. I didn’t know who was a stu dent and who was a volunteer. Instead, I saw women laughing and chatting as they scooped

food and beverage safety training and certificate program that is required by many food service jobs. After the ServSafe training, the program moves into the baking and mentoring portions. Bake-offs happen every other week. The prod ucts made are sold to the public and the proceeds go towards purchasing ingredients, paying for the community kitchen space and other pro gram expenses. Goad has created recipes that cover a variety of baking basics. Participants learn how to scale recipes, weigh ingredients, use a large-format mixer, bake and package as they make granola, cookies, scones and breads. Occasionally they’ll get to work with a fun local ingredient, such as when Goad’s neighbor donated her fig harvest last fall. Though the program is small — only four to eight participants at a time — Goad notes that this allows them to focus on the individual; they can tailor the program to match the needs of the students. The students face many roadblocks as they prepare to re-enter the job market, perhaps the largest one being the stigma that having a record holds. Goad quotes one of the program’s early participants: “I need people like you to not be afraid to be seen with people like me.” In the kitchen, cultural, financial and spiritual differ ences aren’t at the forefront. Women bond over the sensation of tacky bread dough sticking in the webs of their hands. They laugh as they fold chocolate chips and dried cherries into still warm granola, chocolate melting onto food-safe gloves and fingerprinting parchment paper. “They just need community,” says Goad. Between 2010-2014 the incarceration rate of women in Virginia increased by 32%, accord ing to a study conducted by the Virginia ACLU. Women who are incarcerated tend to be young, plagued by poverty and lacking in job skills. Most who are parents are the sole or primary caregiver of their children prior to their incarcer ation. Often, what leads someone to be engaged with the criminal system is an attempt to cope with challenging aspects of their lives. Like many nonprofits, HoB relies on chari table donations from organizations such as local churches, businesses and individuals. Reacclima tion after incarceration can be difficult, which is why programs such as House of Bread are so vi tal. During the weeks that students don’t bake, HoB leads classes and workshops to prepare

cookie dough, washed dishes and watched timers. Goad points out that the greatest impact the program can have is to make its participants feel seen and heard, and not in a context of past offenses or mistakes. The program ends with students and men tors holding a mock job interview, followed by a graduation ceremony. After graduation, it’s up to the students if they’d like to stay in contact. Some students stay in touch, either with their mentors or with Goad and the program. A few graduates have even come back to volunteer in turn. As important as the program is for the stu dents, it may be just as beneficial to the men tors and volunteers. “I did not have any close relationship with anyone in jail or the prison system,” says Goad. “I have benefited tremen dously from this work, from these relationships. I believe when we remove some of the barriers these women face, we are changing Roanoke for the better.” Most of us want to feel seen and have our voices heard. To be acknowledged for who we are as a whole. To be seen as a person and not a label. House of Bread does just that. Want to become involved with House of Bread? Donate: You or your place of employment can donate to the program Volunteer: Volunteers are needed for kitchen days (no prior baking experience is required), to provide transportation for students and to deliver orders to various pick-up locations Mentor: Female-identifying mentors are needed to meet weekly with students for eight weeks Purchase House of Bread Baked Goods: houseofbreadroanoke.com/new-products

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121 S Lewis St Staunton, Virginia





J ust a twenty-minute drive from Charlottesville, thirty minutes from Staunton, and an hour from Harrisonburg, this cute little town has seen an influx of residents in the last ten years. This spring, get cozy in Crozet: spend a day (or weekend) exploring to see what’s drawing folks to the area. As many new residents to the area have young families, we’ve com piled a list of kid-friendly venues and activities. The beloved Crozet location Mudhouse Specialty Coffee Roasters is a town staple. Owners John and Lynette Lawerence have been in the coffee business for over twenty years, serving both Charlottesville and Crozet thoughtfully-roasted beans and brews and offering a gathering space for live music, open mic nights and author readings. Inside the historic shop you’ll find ample space for settling into a sofa with your latest read, or you can sit down and play a tune on the piano. They have a box of toys for the kids to play with as well as plenty of outdoor seating. Start your day at one of Crozet’s coffee shops

There are kid-friendly offerings on the drinks menu and you can enjoy a baked good or a variety of sandwich options. The newest addition to Crozet’s coffee shop scene, The Yellow Mug , is housed in the former Green House Coffee space. And, you guessed it, all drinks are served in a variety of yellow glass

Strawberry photo: Aaron Watson Chiles tree blossoming: Sanjay Suchak

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encouraging local female entrepreneurs to grow their own businesses by inviting them to host pop-ups, classes and events in the Bluebird space. These events have been so popular that they led Bluebird & Co. to acquire the former garage next store. The Annex is now the site for many of their classes. Every Thursday there is story time for the kids and every Monday is Art Club. For adults, you can find an array of class es such as floral arranging with Spring Creek Blooms, basics to beekeeping, public speaking workshops and, of course, author readings. Chiles Family Orchards Spring means the start of fruit season and, if you have your kids in tow, there’s no better place to appreciate it than Chiles Orchards. Straw berry-picking season runs late April-mid June, followed by cherry, peach, apple and pumpkin season in the fall. The orchards are stunning in the spring, with trees flinging themselves into full bloom and the mountains a towering pal ette of blues and purples in the background. In side the orchard store, there’s a selection of fresh produce, preserves and sundries, including an ice cream parlor for the whole family to enjoy.

and chinaware. A visit on a Friday morning found this place bustling with moms meet ing for coffee after dropping their children off at school, a small business owner meeting with a graphic designer, and several individu als working peacefully on their laptops. The decadent pastries are sourced from Albemarle Baking Co. Sip your oat milk cortado on their patio and rejoice in a quiet spring morning. What draws many to Crozet is the abun dance of outdoor activities. A short drive takes you to the edge of Shenandoah Park with its massive selection of trails, while closer to home you’ll find Claudius Crozet Park , famous for its biannual Arts & Crafts Festival (May 13th & 14th), as well as Mint Springs Valley Park and Sugar Hollow . Mint Springs’ 520 acres wel comes families with its array of easy hikes as well as its playground, volleyball court and three lakes where you can swim, fish, ca noe or just enjoy being close to water. A bit further out of town you’ll find Sugar Hol low, a reservoir that provides water to the city of Charlottesville. Each spring, the reser voir is stocked with brook and rainbow trout — boating isn’t allowed, but you can fish with your family and friends along its banks. Bluebird & Co. In less than a year, this women-owned busi ness has embedded itself in the Crozet com munity. The shop is a collaboration between Bluebird Bookstop and Fancy & Nell Cloth ing. Owners Flannery Buchanan and Chelsea Powers had a vision not only to open a retail space but to create a community that extends past its four walls. They are passionate about Out & About

Opposite page: Strawberry picking at Chiles Orchard, Peach blossoms, Mudhouse Coffee. This page, clockwise from top: Bluebird & Co., Greenwood Grocery cheese and meat selection.


With the many wineries, breweries and parks in Crozet, we suggest packing a picnic and lunching outdoors. Greenwood Grocery has you covered for your al fresco dining needs. Pick up a sandwich or prepared salad or browse their cheese and charcuterie case to create your own board. While you’re there, you can find a variety of locally made items such as towels, cut ting boards, spoons and other household items. Crozet is in the heart of Virginia wine country and almost any direction you head in will lead you to a winery or vineyard. For a family-friendly day, we encourage you to head over to King Family Vineyards. Famous for their Sunday polo matches, their season starts in April and extends until October. This is an event everyone can enjoy and you’ll always find a food truck present in case the kids need a snack between meals. King Family coined Crosé, their rose wine, and there’s no better way to celebrate the arrival of spring than sharing a bottle on their meadow. Off the beaten path you’ll find Knight’s Gambit , which may just have the best sunset views in town. Visit on a Saturday evening to listen to live music as you watch horses canter across the neighboring field while the sun goes down. The winery is kid- and dog-friendly and a favorite for those looking for a relaxed, nature filled atmosphere. Libations

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