Fall Farm Adventures in the Blue Ridge Mountains

Seasonal Cooking with Rita Calvert~The Local Cook

Our mountains, predominantly the Blue Ridge, beckon this time of year with glorious sunshine, harvested apples, wine harvests and farm festivals. Let me show you a few highlights from the Rappahannock County Farm Tour which was self-guided and offered a selection of farms, the high school and restaurants showcasing local farming. Madison County adjoins and is loaded with equal fall beauty. Here are some of the prizes of the Shenandoah Valley:

Adults and kids loved the sheep herding with Doc and master.
An engaging and unique event was the sheep herding at Mount Vernon Farm. Doc, the Border Collie hails from a sheep farm up the road yet, when just meeting the sheep of Mount Vernon Farm, directed them as the professional he is. The sheep were quite blown away, normally not having to deal with a bossy dog. I asked Doc’s master what goes on in the sheep mind and he told us that the sheep view Doc (or any herding dog) comparable to a predator.  RUN!

Sunnyside Organic Farm

Sunnyside Organic Farm is doing their share towards building a durable Local Foods economy where owner, Nicholas Lapham, states that this kind of farm offers a path back to food sanity. (love that statement!)

We always must make our Fall stop at Jenkins Orchard

Apples are the big crop of the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. A plethora of apple varieties hug the roadside while local markets offer cider, apple butter, pies and apple barbecue sauce.
One can’t overlook the many wineries of the Shenandoah Valley many of which held open houses during the farm tour. DuCard Vineyards of Etlan, VA, is Virginia’s first solar winery and concocts creative events to draw the neighborhood together. They held a Saturday eve Full Moon Howling Gathering which encouraged folks to howl at the full moon when it occasionally peeked from behind the clouds.

Do check out Scott Ellif ‘s “green winery”. “We have expanded production and are opening to the public, with a gorgeous new tasting room at our vineyard site. In all of our operations, we strive to respect the environment and to support local businesses. We invite you to read a full description of our Stewardship practices.”

The Madison [County] Eagle newspaper has dubbed DuCard as “Madison’s Hidden Gem.”

Then there are just my normal outings in the Old Rag Mountain vicinity-
LOST AND ON THE RUN? This white cow gal was having nothing to do with me. …found out she was just taking her own initiative to move to her new pasture! They seem to have their own mind in Madison County, VA[/caption]



Madison County meat goats




…gotta get my goat fix!