Guests began to arrive on Broadfork Farm around 10:30AM for Real Local RVA’s second annual Farm Tour & Cookout. At 11AM the guests gathered their homemade, boxed lunches provided by Ellwood Thompson’s and cookie provided by Libbie Market and boarded the buses.
The first stop on the tour was Tricycle Urban Ag located in Richmond. Tricycle is Richmond’s leading urban agriculture nonprofit organization, and they are on a mission to grow a healthy future through urban agriculture. Since breaking grown on their first garden, they have engaged thousands of neighbors and show that the simple act of growing food is an incredibly powerful way to impact the overall health of our community.
“On Saturday, Tricycle was proud to showcase our beautiful urban farm and share its success in training new farmers and putting sustainably grown local food all over Richmond. Tricycle is on a mission to grow a healthy future through urban agriculture and the farm tour is a great time for us to connect with old neighbors and meet new friends who might not have been on an urban farm before.” – Amy Wilderman, Tricycle’s Urban Farm Manager
The second stop was Shalom Farms at their new location in Midlothian. The mission of Shalom Farms is to work with communities to ensure access to healthy food and the support to live healthy lives. Through sustainable food production and hands-on experiences at the farm and in the city, Shalom Farms provides thousands in Richmond with access to healthy food and healthy lives.
“Once again, the farm tour felt like a huge success from our vantage point. We had a beautiful day to show off the farm to two busloads full of folks… most of whom had never been to our new location. Between the stop at our farm and the visit to our friends at Casselmonte, it was a great chance to show off the kind of unique and innovative sustainable agriculture projects happening in our little part of Powhatan County.” – Dom Barrett, Executive Director of Shalom Farms
The third stop was Casselmonte Farm located in Powhatan. Casselmonte’s mission is to produce safe, nutritious, great-tasting food in a sustainable organic system. Bill and India Cox, the owners and farmers of Casselmonte, have been growing produce on this farm since 2006. Their intention was to manage the property for Bobwhite quail. The turning point was Bill’s quest for the perfect tomato for the perfect BLT. Since then they have planted almost 150 varieties of heirloom tomatoes. Ginger is also a darling of this farm. Their ginger is an ingredient in Hardywood Park Craft Brewery Gingerbread Stout, Blue Bee Cidery’s Firecracker Apple Brandy and Black Health Meadery’s Ginger Mead.
“India and I were delighted to welcome the tour to Casselmonte. We think it’s critical that folks understand the connection of their food to farmers and the land,” – Bill Cox, Owner of Casselmonte Farm
The final stop was back on Broadfork Farm located in Chesterfield. Broadfork is a Certified Naturally Grown farm owned by Janet Aardema & Dan Gagnon. They farm vegetables for a living because they believe that nutrient-dense food, grown using methods that mimic nature, is one of the most important things in life and the most delicious. They grow nourishing food so that their community may benefit from eating the tastiest, healthiest food around.
“We love that our community is interested in organic farming and seeks out the chance to spend the day visiting farms, including ours. The chance for community members to visit our farm, chat with us, and eat the food we’ve grown – right here where it is grown – is the stuff of a farmer’s dreams. It reminds us that we are doing important work and meeting a clear need in our community.” – Janet Aardema, Owner of Broadfork Farm
After the guests learned about Broadfork, the cookout began. 3rd Wave, an all-instrumental combo that plays pop, rock, and surf songs, jammed out and set a laid back but upbeat vibe to the evening. The smell of locally made bread by Janet and homemade brick oven pizzas by Ellwood’s filled the air. Janet made fresh, local salad from the greens grown on her farm. J.M. Stock provided a diverse assortment of charcuterie. Belle Isle Craft Spirits was on site making specialty herbaceous cocktails and Hardywood was pouring a variety of their brews. The cookout was expected to end at 6PM but lasted until 8PM. The high was 72 degrees with little to no humidity. We could not have asked for a prettier day to be outside visiting and cooking out with our neighbors and local farmers.