Fall 2016

This little piggy....

Say hello to four little pigs from Grazelen Farm.  What is now known as Grazelen Farm  was originally established by Crawford Simms in Augusta County, Virginia in 1900.  Current owner, former Senator Frank W. Nolen purchased the farm in 1967.  The name Grazelen combines the word graze and the last 3 letters of his last name Nolen, meaning "grazing farm."  Their farm house is believed to be the only one in Virginia to have unrelated state legislators as its two owners. Mr. Simms served in the Virginia House of Delegates and Mr. Nolen served in the Virginia Senate.   

Mr. Nolen, son Will, and grandson Lee operate the farm today raising beef cattle, hogs, corn, barley, wheat, soybeans and all kinds of hay. They have for sale straw, hay, soybeans, wheat, market hogs and feeder cattle. They are also a dealer for Newmart Buildings. 

For more information visit: www.grazelenfarm.com.

To have your own "fence photo" featured in our newsletter, along with information about your agribusiness, email photos and information to tracey@cspdc.org.
Fields of Gold Loop at the Fall Foliage Bike Festival

We were excited to have a Fields of Gold Loop as one of this year's Shenandoah Valley Fall Foliage Bike Fest routes. This year's two-day bike festival on October 15-16, brought in over 800 cyclists from around the state, as well as from DC and Maryland. 

The Fields of Gold route was offered on Sunday and traveled through Augusta County.   Our loop was a 20 mile "fatter" tire ride which included stops at Sunrise Orchards, Meadowcroft Farm and a rest stop at Polyface Farm. We were more than happy to be able to show off a few of our amazing farm businesses and they definitely made us proud. This route ended up being Sunday's most popular ride, and the cyclists kept our farmers quite busy! A shuttle was provided for riders who wanted to shop and have their items transported to the end of the route.  We were pleasantly surprised to discover that a great deal of the riders had backpacks and side panniers, so they were prepared to shop and to transport their items back themselves! 
Many of the cyclists that chose to ride another route ended up stopping by the farms in their vehicles once they were done with their rides. Such a fun day! 

As the loop was such a big hit, we are planning to do it again next year and expect to expand it by another farm or two. We would also love to have even more bike-to-farm routes in other areas of the Fields of Gold region. Stay tuned!
Fields of Gold Attends State Fair of Virginia

Fields of Gold Agritourism Coordinator, Tracey Coltrain, attended the State Fair of Virginia on September 30th. The goal was to share with potential visitors the many opportunities along the Fields of Gold Farm Trail, particularly during fall leaf season. 

Tracey provided information about how to use fieldsofgold.org as a "one stop" resource for farm events, listings and web links to farm-to-table restaurants, wineries, breweries, orchards, pumpkin patches, "on farm" lodging, and mapping tools for step-by-step driving directions. Over 40 people signed up for the Adventure Awaits visitor e-newsletter and Tracey handed out more than 200 brochures.
Grow Your Agribusiness
Market Ready Farm-to-Restaurant Training

Virginia Cooperative Extension announces Market Ready Training program for local farmers looking to sell their products to restaurants.

Whether you supply produce, meats, eggs, dairy, or value added products this training will teach you the best practices for supplying to larger volume markets.

Topic areas to be covered include:
  • Explore current food policy legislation
  • Build relationships and communicate with managers and chefs
  • Design effective packaging and labeling
  • Develop marketing strategies
  • Craft alternative pricing structures
  • Address regulatory concerns
  • Use Virginia's Market Maker portal to conduct market research and connect with buyers
This 6-hour course is designed to help growers navigate marketing to meet the buyer's expectations, overcome obstacles, and build networks with other growers and extension experts in the Shenandoah Valley. Completion of this course will serve to prepare you and your managers for profitable conversations with restaurant chefs and owners at future events!

The program is being held on two dates and two locations, 1)  November 10th at The Gathering Place in Harrisonburg, and 2)  November 17th at MidAtlantic Farm Credit in Winchester.

The cost is $15 per person which includes lunch and training materials. 

Please contact French Price at the Northern District Extension Office 540-432-6029 Ext. 117 or frenchprice@vt.edu or register online at http://tinyurl.com/h7w5zhb.
Blue Ridge Community College
Continuing Education Courses

Join the growing interest in local farming or hone your business skills with BRCC's Continuing Education courses in Agribusiness.  Look at these terrific classes coming up:

$75, Wednesday, Nov 2, 8:30am - 12pm
T & E Meats, 256 Charles St, Harrisonburg; Instructor: Joe Cloud

Marketing & Social Media for Agribusinesses
$79, Wednesdays, Nov 8-Nov15, 6-8pm
Instructor: Karen Lawrence

Sustainable Livestock Production
$119, Tuesdays Nov 29-Dec 20, 6:30-8:30pm
Instructor: Travis Reich

Farm to Plate: Organic Vegetable Production
$129, Wednesdays, Nov 30-Dec 21, 6-8pm
Instructor: Ryan Blosser

Farmers' Market(ing)
$79, Wednesdays, Jan 11-Jan 18, 6-8pm
Instructor: Karen Lawrence

$139, Tuesdays, Nov 15-Dec 20, 6:30-9pm; Instructor: Fred Hollen

2016 VAFMA Conference
"Sow Stories, Harvest Success"

The Virginia's Farmers Market Conference has at the core of its mission to support farmers markets through education initiatives, while building opportunities for collaboration, networking, advocacy, and innovation that supports the growth and sustainability of farmers markets statewide. They strive to connect you to one another and provide the resources and opportunities necessary to build strong and sustainable farmers markets in the Commonwealth. 

Fields of Gold Agritourism Coordinator, Tracey Coltrain is this year's closing presenter!

Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2016 at 9am through
Thursday, November 10, 2016 at 4pm.
Colonial Plaza Hotel
3032 Richmond Rd.
Williamsburg, VA 23185

For more information and to register click here: www.vafma.org.
Virginia Farm to Table Conference
"Cultivating Healthy Farms and Resilient Communities"

December 7-8, 2016
Blue Ridge Community College
Plecker Workforce Center
One College Lane
Weyers Cave, VA 24486

This year's conference will start with an optional pre-conference tour of farms and food businesses in Staunton and Augusta County on Tuesday, December 6th.

The formal conference will be held at Blue Ridge Community College's Plecker Workforce Development Center in Weyers Cave, Virginia on Wednesday and Thursday.

This year's conference will again feature a time for producers and buyers to network and a Young/Young at Heart and Emerging Farmer and Rancher Networking Mixer on Wednesday evening.

The conference will also provide in-depth training on soil health, whole-farm budgeting, and strategic food system planning.

Meet the Locals
Valley Star Farm

Valley Star Farm, located in Luray, Virginia, is open for Christmas Trees & Holiday Decorations from November 25, 2016 until December 22, 2016.

Monday - Friday: 12 noon until dark
Saturday & Sunday: 10am until dark

Valley Star Farm has a wonderful selection of trees to choose from including; White Pine, Norway Spruce, Colorado Blue Spruce,Canaan Fir, Concolor Fir, and Douglas Fir.

Visit their website at www.valleystarfarm.com.

We know you will enjoy your visit to their farm to find your special tree and greenery! 
Long Roots Farm

Long Roots Farm is a small family farm owned by Charles and Anna Long, located in scenic Middlebrook, Virginia. 

Their focus is multi-species rotational grazing to produce high quality, nutrient dense grass-fed meats. They rotate cows, sheep, turkeys, and chickens over the land to regenerate and increase fertility of the pasture and ensure the health of the animals. Their animals and pastures are free of any GMO, hormones, or chemicals. 

Customers are invited to be connected to their food, to see how it is raised, and to be a part of the farm. Make Long Roots Farm your farm.

Visit their website at: www.longrootsfarm.com.
Signature Events
Victory Chef Cook-Off

November 6, 2016 at 2-5pm
Virginia Military Institute
Marshall Hall  
Lexington, VA

This "Chopped" style cook-off features three area chefs in competition for prizes and bragging rights as the winner of the inaugural Victory Chef Cook-Off. 

Each chef will be given a mystery basket of food items that were readily available in the US during WWII. Chefs will create an entree using every item in the basket, including SPAM.

Local Executive Chefs: Jenny Elmes, Full Circle Catering, Nathan Fountain, Mano Taqueria, and George Huger, Southern Inn

Limited seating - tickets available in advance for $15 for adults. $5 students and under 12. Purchase online or call Kathy Garvin, 540-463-7103 x 124.

For more info visit: www.lexingtonvirginia.com 
Holiday Farmers Markets

December 3rd, 10th, and 17th from 9am-1pm
228 South Liberty St.
Harrisonburg, VA

The Harrisonburg Farmers Market is open all season on Saturdays from 9am-1pm. For December they will have three holiday markets - December 3rd, 10th, and 17th.  There will be lots of great holiday gift choices, decorative greenery, and plenty of edibles for all of those holiday gatherings!

For more information visit: www.harrisonburgfarmersmarket.com.

Fields of Gold Toolkit
Social Media Marketing

Be sure to follow or "Like" us on our Fields of Gold Facebook page. The more followers we have the more successful we will be in getting the word out to potential visitors about the many authentic and memorable experiences we have waiting for them on the Farm Trail. Regularly inviting your own followers to check out the Fields of Gold Facebook page will also go a long way in helping us to increase our visibility! We do not have direct customers so we rely on you to help us spread the word, especially on your websites and social media outlets. It takes a village to promote a Farm Trail.

Share your farm and agritourism snapshots, as well as photos of your member signage on display, on our Instagram page using hashtag  #shenvalleyfarmtrail on your photos. If you have an Instagram account be sure to follow us at fieldsofgold_farmtrail We cannot wait to start seeing your photos!
Free Marketing For Your Business!

Be sure to take advantage of the FREE marketing opportunities that the Fields of Gold offers for your agritourism business. Promoting your upcoming events is easy with Fields of Gold! Send Tracey an email (or call) with your event information.  Include the event name, a brief description, the date and the time. If you have a picture you would like us to use, include that in the email also.  

We have various ways to spread the word about your event or upcoming specials and sales. We keep an updated monthly event calendar on our website.  We send out a monthly visitor e-newsletter, Adventure Awaits, and we post regularly on Facebook & Instagram. This helps make things much more convenient for the Farm Trail visitor. Thank you for keeping us in the loop!
For More Information Contact: 
Tracey Coltrain, Agritourism Coordinator 
Funding for this program provided by: