Farmville the Magazine — March 2022

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March 2022 Vol. 7, No. 1 FREE

Longwood Center for the Visual Arts Current and Upcoming Exhibitions

Join the LCVA in creating a community art exhibition I Love You THROUGH APRIL 10, 2022

You are invited to help create the exhibition I Love You by adding a drawing, a photograph, a poem, a collage or another creation that represents a person you care about. You can bring something from home or get creative right at the LCVA, where art supplies and a workspace are available. Everything you need to hang your work is also provided.

The Heart Isn’t Heart-Shaped THROUGH APRIL 10, 2022

With works from several contemporary artists as well as the LCVA’s permanent collection, this exhibition is about love. But, as some of the pieces on view attest, it is also an exhibition about profound loss, connections between generations and friendships.


APRIL 23 - MAY 18, 2022

Point of Departure showcases work from the senior projects of Longwood theatre, art, and graphic and animation design majors graduating in 2022. Complementing Point of Departure is Working Artist, which features pieces resulting from a program of the same name that provides studio space and support for artists to develop a new body of work while increasing students’ access to working artists.

Start with Art, Learn for Life: The Annual Area Youth Art Exhibition JUNE 11-SEPTEMBER 11, 2022

This summer, the LCVA will celebrate the many talented young artists in our community with the return of the Start with Art, Learn for Life: The Annual Area Youth Art Exhibition. For more than 20 years, the LCVA has organized and hosted this exhibition, now the largest of its kind in Virginia.

The LCVA is located at 129 North Main Street in Farmville.

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Farmville the Magazine

Publisher — Betty J. Ramsey Designer — Troy Cooper

EDITORIAL Crystal Vandegrift Alexa Massey

ADVERTISING Director — Jackie Newman

CONTRIBUTORS Dr. Cynthia Wood Cover photo by Matthew Fletcher On the web:


The Buzz of Beekeeping

'See for yourself'


On the cover: Farmville resident and beekeeper Casey Fletcher loves beekeeping, and her 13-year-old niece, Haley Abbott, has recently developed an interest in the hobby as well. Here, the two use smoke to calm the honeybees.

To subscribe, contact Farmville the Magazine P.O. Box 307 Farmville, VA 23901 (434) 392-4151

Farmville the Magazine is published eight times annually by Farmville Newsmedia LLC. Copies are available free at businesses throughout the Heart of Virginia. For convenient mail delivery of each issue, cost is $30 per year.


Farmers Market Also... Recipes Where Am I?

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From the Ground Up


Publisher's Notebook

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What’s the buzz? It’s spring — a time of fresh flowers sharing their sweet scents, the buzz, buzz, buzz sound of bees flitting from one flower to another gathering nectar and the distinct smell of skunk cabbages. Skunk cabbages? I suppose that many might not, right off, think of skunk cabbages and spring in the same thought, but after reading Dr. Cynthia Woods article From the Ground up on Page 23 of this month’s Farmville the Magazine you just might. Betty Ramsey, Check it out – it’s worth a read! Publisher And bees – of course there is plenty of buzz when it comes to bees. Spring just wouldn’t be spring without the small gravity defying creatures. Bees play a vital role as pollinators of flowers, trees and crops and also produce delicious and healthful honey for us humans to enjoy. Alexa Massey visits with the good folks of The Heart of Virginia Beekeepers who prove an invaluable resource for both established beekeepers and those who are just starting out. Turn to Page 6 for ‘The Buzz

on Beekeeping.” Farmville the Magazine strives to tell the story of our community. we are blessed and grateful to be a part of this community and are thankful that there are so many great stories to share. Within these pages you will find more stories and we hope you will enjoy reading them as much as we enjoy bringing them to you. This is a magazine about and for you, we welcome your ideas and invite you to share with us what you would like to hear more about by sending us a note at P.O. Box 307, Farmville, VA, 23901, giving us a call at (434) 392-4151 or sending me an email at We publish Farmville the Magazine in the months of March, April, May, summer, September, October, November and December. We invite you to pick up a copy of the latest issue as there is sure to be someone you know inside — a neighbor, a family member, a friend or perhaps even you! Betty J. Ramsey is publisher of Farmville the Magazine.


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THE BUZZ ON BEEKEEPING Club inspires local apiarists

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Story by Alexa Massey

Honeybees are one of the most important members of our ecosystem. As pollinators, they play a vital role in the growth and health of countless types of flowers, trees and crops. And, of course, the honey they produce is enjoyed by many creatures, including us humans. Beekeepers, or apiarists as they’re often called, devote much of their time to managing their own colonies of these pint-sized wonders. A buzzing curiosity has led many locals to take up beekeeping as a hobby or even a profession, and a large number of those local bee enthusiasts can be traced back to The Heart of Virginia Beekeepers. According to President Tommy Nelson,

The Heart of Virginia Beekeepers is a local organization whose purpose is to educate the public about honeybees in order to protect the local bee population and reduce fear of honeybees. The club has an outreach program where members deliver presentations on honeybees and beekeeping, and members meet monthly at the local Prince Edward County Extension Office. Nelson, a Charlotte County resident, has been keeping bees for approximately 15 years but remembers working with bees throughout his childhood. “Bees were in my life as a child,” Nelson said during an early February interview. “My dad had bees, and back in the early 60s, we

would find trees out on the farm that had bees in them, and we would harvest honey from them.” Of course, beekeeping has changed a lot through the years. Today, Nelson has some 40 beehives located in Charlotte County. He considers his bees as a second business through his successful honey sales, and he’s also known locally for being the person to call when someone wants to remove unmanaged bees from their property, a task he and other members of the group stay busy with from spring to midsummer. The club, founded around 2003, serves as an excellent resource for established beekeepers and “freshman” apiarists alike. With a huge

Photo by Matthew Fletcher Honeybees are invaluable members of our ecosystem and pollinate the many different plants that humans and other animals consume.


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coverage area, members hail from all over central Virginia, including counties such as Appomattox, Prince Edward, Buckingham, Cumberland, Charlotte, Dinwiddie, Lunenburg, Nottoway and Powhatan. “These folks are traveling a good distance to come to Farmville for a bee club,” Nelson said. But locals used to travel a lot further in order to get their beekeeping fix. According to Nelson, before the local group existed, beekeepers from the area would head out to Lynchburg in order to attend the nearest beekeeping club. Founding members decided to break off from the Lynchburg group in order to start a local association, and The Heart of Virginia Beekeepers was born. The club itself is a member of a district of beekeeping groups, and those districts are in turn a part of a statewide beekeepers association. Apiarists of all ages and backgrounds gather together at the club’s monthly meeting to discuss agenda items and listen to programs and presentations surrounding what’s going on in the present year’s bee calendar, a helpful resource which the members use to keep track of important dates

such as when to set out “bait hives” to attract unmanaged bees or when to harvest honey. This is especially helpful for newer beekeepers. “They’re still learning as they go,” Nelson added. One of the group’s biggest annual activities occurs from late January to the end of February when the club hosts a beekeepers school. This is a crash course for those interested in keeping bees. Students learn the ins and outs of beekeeping, and by the first of April, they’ve received their equipment and woodenware and are ready to welcome their first bees. Nelson highlighted that most of the group’s members are “backyard beekeepers” who generally start out with around two hives. If they’re successful, those amazing little honeybees will serve as a honey source for themselves and their family. So, what makes this such an exciting hobby for so many individuals? There’s a variety of reasons why someone might want to become a beekeeper. While Nelson is the first to admit it’s not a cheap hobby, beekeeping can provide folks with a great deal of satisfaction, be it from connecting with

nature or doing something good for the environment. “I got started into bees because I had a large garden, and I felt like bees and a garden went together,” he laughed. “I don’t have as large a garden now, and I’ve got more bees.” Cumberland resident and club member Dale Pruitt said he became interested in honeybees after witnessing his father raise bees. Pruitt, who has had up to eight hives at once, said he joined the group to keep up to date on beekeeping strategies. “It’s not an exact science, so every day, it’s something different,” Pruitt said. “It’s amazing to see how a group of insects work for the benefit of the group.” Club member Casey Fletcher, who lives on the Cumberland County side of Farmville, said she got into beekeeping seven years ago when living in Springfield, Massachusetts. “An apiarist out of South Hadley was looking for land to place hives, and I had 11 acres that I was tending organically,” she recalled. “I’d always wanted to get into beekeeping, so it was the perfect opportunity to learn!”

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After two years of mentorship, Fletcher purchased the hives from the apiarist and began managing them under his guidance. A year and a half ago, Fletcher moved to Farmville and quickly realized the change in climate meant she needed to change how she managed her bees. She was introduced to The Heart of Virginia Beekeepers when a tree housing an unmanaged colony of honeybees fell during a windstorm. “I was directed to Tommy Nelson to get assistance in saving this colony,” she said. “He taught me about the ‘gum tree hive,’ helped me rescue this colony and introduced me to the Heart of Virginia Beekeepers.” Fletcher has managed up to six hives at one time, but currently she’s down to one after taking some time to learn how the climate in Virginia impacts bees. She is looking forward to building that number back up during the coming season. While spring is almost upon the Heart of Virginia, Nelson explained that for local beekeepers, the bee season starts the day after the winter solstice in December. “It’s a gradual buildup,” he stated. “Beekeepers, this time of year, they’re reading and studying and trying to decide if they’re going to do the same thing this year that they did last year.” Of course, for Nelson, the coming season means a growing list of customers that need bee removal services. “We’re just waiting for spring to start doing that work.” Not all of the work towards successful beekeeping is being done by

Photo by Dale Pruitt Members of the club are often called out to assist in removing an unmanaged beehive from pieces of property in the area. This hive popped up at a cabin in Cumberland County.


Photo by Matthew Fletcher Casey Fletcher was first introduced to the Heart of Virginia Beekeepers club when a windstorm knocked down a gum tree which contained a hive of unmanaged bees. Club President Tommy Nelson helped Fletcher to rescue the colony, and Fletcher joined the group shortly after. Above, from left, are Fletcher and Nelson with the “gum tree hive.”

Photo by Dale Pruitt Above, members of the Heart of Virginia Beekeepers organization work to install 40 “packages” of bees.

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Casey Fletcher shows her 13-year-old niece, Haley Abbott, the honeybees. humans, however. With the darkness of nightfall now shortening, trees are preparing for budding. The bees, too, are getting excited for the coming months. “The bees are connected to plant life,” Nelson added, “so they have to start gearing up their population so that when the spring comes, they’re getting close to peak population so that they will have the numbers to do the work in foraging for the pollen and the nectar that they need.” In late winter, beekeepers are busy checking their hives to see if there’s enough food source in the box so that the bees won’t be starving by mid-March. Just like crops, the honey produced by bees

is heavily impacted by the weather. Beekeepers typically harvest their honey between mid-June and the first of July. Provided that it’s been a good season, the club members will meet in the fall for a special honey tasting event. Members present their best honey harvested that same year, and categories include light, medium and dark honey. While some beekeepers take their honey to bigger competitions such as the State Fair, the club’s honey tasting is just for fun. For folks like Fletcher, the club has served as a fantastic resource for all aspects of raising honeybees. “Being a part of this group has already been invaluable,” she said. “I’ve attended seminars about best practices for managing hives, regis-

Photo by Matthew Fletcher tered for a course and have gotten connected to a local community of apiarists of all levels of experience. When learning bees, there’s no greater resource than those who are facing the same environmental factors as you. Beekeeping is both a science and an art, and I love that the association provides a space where I can seek advice, skill building opportunities, equipment and livestock. Plus, how often can you hang with a group of folks and laugh at bee jokes?” For questions about beekeeping or more information on the Heart of Virginia Beekeepers, go to or send an email to Club Secretary Mary Jane Morgan at

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Photo by Matthew Fletcher Bees get most of their carbohydrates by consuming nectar, while the majority of the protein in their diet comes from pollen.


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Dinner is all rolled up When the weather starts to warm, people are inspired to once again venture outdoors and spend more time away from home. People can benefit from having quick and easy dinner recipes at the ready so that hours are not spent in the kitchen after a day of fun in the fresh air. With mere minutes of preparation and about 15 minutes cooking time, this recipe makes a simple weeknight meal that is tasty, too. Chicken, ham, and Swiss roulades Serves 4 8 small chicken cutlets (about 1 1/2 pounds total) 8 thin slices cooked ham 8 thin slices Swiss cheese 4 tablespoons olive oil 6 cups mixed greens 1 cup grape tomatoes, halved 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar 1/4 cup whole-grain mustard Heat oven to 400 F. Season the chicken with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Roll up each cutlet with 1 slice of the ham and 1 slice of the Swiss cheese. Skewer the roulades closed with toothpicks. Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. Add the roulades and cook, turning occasionally, until golden brown, 4 to 6 minutes. Transfer the skillet to an oven and roast the roulades until cooked through, 8 to 10 minutes. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, toss the greens and tomatoes with the vinegar, the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil, and 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Serve with the roulades and mustard.

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Keep healthy items on hand for family snacking Who hasn’t been spending more time at home lately? Many families have perfected the balance of managing a household in which kids may be engaged in virtual learning while Mom and Dad are putting in a full day’s work from the home office. At several points during the day, families need to recharge. Having nutritious snacking choices on hand can tame hunger in a healthy way. Plan and shop Start with a plan and then head to the store with a shopping list in hand. You will be less likely to purchase unhealthy options on impulse if you stick to a shopping list. Balance prepackaged and homemade Homemade snacks are advantageous because you can customize ingredients to account for allergies or other needs. But commercially produced snacks are very convenient because they’re ready to eat right out of the package. According to Good Housekeeping, many food manufacturers have been stepping up their games and offering tasty and healthy nonperishable foods. Just be sure to read labels, paying attention to sodium and sugar content and other pertinent

nutritional information. When choosing snacks, pick a few different options that appeal to savory, salty and sweet cravings. Portion out these snacks so the temptation for overindulgence is limited. Choose among the healthiest options Stock the pantry and refrigerator with an array of healthy snacking options. • Nuts and their butters: Nuts are nutritional powerhouses that provide filling protein, fiber, healthy fats, and many different vitamins and minerals. Nuts can be ground at home and made into spreads and dips.

• Popcorn: Plain, air-popped popcorn is full of fiber, making it a filling snack. Without toppings like butter, popcorn can be low in calories. • Fruit: Fresh fruit, frozen fruit, fruit purees and dried fruit are must-haves. Place a bowl of fresh fruit in reach of kids so it can be their first snacking choice. Frozen fruit can be transformed into simple smoothies. Dried fruit keeps longer, and is a great addition to trail mixes. Cups of applesauce can easily be grabbed and satisfy sweet cravings. • Sliced vegetables: When preparing meals, slice vegetables, including carrots, celery, cucumbers and sweet peppers. Later they can be dunked into homemade dips for an easy treat. • Hummus: Speaking of dips, hummus is filling and tasty. Made from nutrient-dense chick peas, hummus can be enhanced with different flavors, from garlic to ginger to even chocolate for a dessert variety. • Whole-grain chips: Opt for whole-grain chips that blend a variety of grains into the mix. Avoid products with hydrogenated oils. Healthy snacking is possible when families think ahead and know what to look for at the grocery store.

A quick way to prepare tasty tomatoes Tomatoes are a versatile ingredient in many meals that are just as delicious in a garden salad as they are stewed and simmered in a favorite sauce. Tomatoes are a major source of the antioxidant lycopene, which can reduce one’s risk of heart disease and cancer. Tomatoes also are a great source of vitamin C, potassium, folate, and vitamin K. It’s easy to include more tomatoes into one’s diet with tasty fixings like this light and versatile recipe for “Bruschetta” from “Vegan Cooking for Beginners” (Publications International, Ltd.) by the PIL editors. Use it when serving cocktails and snacks, or as the prelude to a larger meal. Bruschetta Makes 8 servings 4 plum tomatoes, seeded and diced 1/2 cup packed fresh basil leaves, finely chopped 5 tablespoons olive oil, divided 2 cloves garlic, minced 2 teaspoons finely chopped oil-packed sundried tomatoes 1/4 teaspoon salt 1/8 teaspoon black pepper 16 slices Italian bread 1. Combine fresh tomatoes, basil, 3 tablespoons oil, garlic, sundried tomatoes, salt, and pepper in a large bowl; mix well. Let stand at room temperature 1 hour to blend flavors. 2. Preheat oven to 375 F. Place bread on baking sheet. Brush remaining 2 tablespoons oil over one side of each bread slice. Bake 6 to 8 minutes, or until toasted. 3. Top each bread slice with 1 tablespoon tomato mixture.

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‘See for yourself’ The story of Mottley Emporium

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Story by Alexa Massey

Located at 518 N. Main St. in Farmville, the Mottley Emporium has been drawing in customers for decades with its unique inventory. The shop, stretching more than 12,000 square feet, is a magnet for local antiquers, thrifters, and those looking to score a great bargain on a one-of-a kind item. From furniture to glassware, old tools to new toys, there’s something for everybody in this collector’s wonderland. According to owner Lisa Mottley Burns, the emporium is the product of a familial interest

in auctions, flea markets and the like. Lisa’s father, Robert Mottley, spent much of his life working as a contractor. “He was always working with wood, be it furniture or building houses,” Lisa recalled. “As long as he had a hammer and a saw, he was content.” Along with a passion for woodworking came a love of auctions. Lisa explained much of her childhood involved attending local auctions to find treasures. “I grew up playing on the swings every

Friday at Willie Dickerson’s Auction Barn here in Farmville,” she said. The family also made a tradition of selling at Saturday flea markets. “Dad taught us about money early,” she noted. “We had to buy items from a wholesaler, and we sold our own alongside of him. We kept up with sales, profits (hopefully) and reinvested what we made back into inventory. We were always taught work ethic.” Robert attended auctioneers school in the 80s and decided to explore this passion further



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Jewelry? A ceramic pig? Spoons? A sombrero? There’s something for everybody in this expansive shop. Mottley Emporium stretches more than 12,000 square feet. by renting out the building on Main Street around 1984 and giving the auctioneer life a try. There, he would hold Friday night auctions, and after a while, he decided to give retail a try. After two years, the shop opened up to customers daily. Robert was still building houses at the time, and his wife, Janice, was busy running a beauty salon. As time passed, the couple began traveling to auctions for inventory to fill the space, which would grow to be more than 12,000 square feet. “We purchased the building, as we were only renting the center section in the beginning, but as the business grew, we needed more space,” Lisa said. “In the mid 90s, we added another building on the back which doubled our floor space.” Lisa said her parents did a lot of traveling to buy at auctions and even sell at local antique shows. Eventually, her parents gave up their

former careers, and Mottley Emporium became a full-time family business. After graduating from Prince Edward Academy in 1986, Lisa’s father told her she could run the store until she decided what she wanted to do for a career. “I’m still here 36 years later,” she said. Although Lisa’s parents both retired about 10 years ago, they are still very active in the emporium’s operations, stopping in on Saturdays or whenever the store needs help. “My dad still loves woodworking and fixing old stuff to give it more life!” Lisa added. Lisa’s husband, Eric, came on with the business in 2000. The many decades of love, energy and dedication in the Mottley family business are evident when walking through the countless rooms that snake their way through the emporium. With an

inventory Robert has always said is best described as “old, new, used and abused,” the shop is filled to the brim with most any item one could be in search of. There’s enough antique furniture to furnish a neighborhood; enough glassware to hold a lifetime’s worth of tea parties; enough tools and farm equipment to demolish a skyscraper and build it back again twice as tall. From china dolls to yard decorations, jewelry to knicknacks, a rusty horseshoe to a crystal vase, Mottley Emporium is the place locals and visitors go when on the search for something specific or nothing particular. It’s a spot to find that one item you’ve been searching for all your life, or the one item you never knew you wanted but just had to bring home with you. “People come in looking for many different things,” Lisa highlighted. “I once had a customer tell me she keeps two lists on her refrigerator, one

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for groceries and one for Mottley’s! People look for specific tools, fabric and linen, furniture pieces, kitchen items and whatever it is they may collect. “It never surprises me what they are looking for,” she added. “Of course, many stop in just to look, and they say, ‘if you need something, you just have to look long enough because there has to be one here.’ ” And of course, there’s something about the emporium’s rustic charm that seems to transport visitors to a familiar place from years ago. “I think the phrase we hear most (always with a smile) is, ‘this reminds me of my grandparents’ home or farm,’” Lisa said. “It’s nice to hear the stories of their memories and to be part of that joy.” With so many years of helping folks find treasures, Lisa and her family have a lifetime of fond memories attached to the emporium, In Mottley Emporium you may including the many wonderful customers who even find an old have dropped in. rotary phone. “This has been an amazing journey for us all,” she said. “We have met so many wonderful people along the way. It’s a joy to help people find something they need or seeing pictures of their DIY projects that they found parts for here. Sometimes they come in and say, ‘I have been everywhere looking for this!’ I always remind them to check with me first next time!” When asked what is her favorite thing about working at the emporium, Lisa said she’s found immense joy in the people and friends made over the years. Of course, finding neat stuff to sell, especially when you know someone is looking for a specific or hard-to-find item, is great too, especially seeing the joy it brings when that item finds its forever home. And while many locals know about the wonders of Mottley Emporium, for those who have not yet visited the business, there are still treasures hiding inside, waiting to be given a new life. “You just have to see for yourself,” Lisa said.



434-223-3287 5169 Farmville Rd. Farmville, VA. 23901




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If you need a matching dish look no further than Mottley’s.

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In search of a specific tool? Mottley has one of everything.

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Lisa often joined her father at local flea markets where she set up a booth alongside him to sell her own merchandise. Profits were carefully tracked and reinvested for more merchandise.

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Where Am I? LAST ISSUE’S WINNER Tony Crawley is the winner for the December edition of Where Am I? He knew that the last photo was of a little book library at the corner of St. George and West Third Streets For finding it, Crawley wins a free subscription to Farmville the Magazine.

The Heart of Virginia offers beautiful scenery and architecture throughout downtown Farmville. “Where Am I?” offers residents a chance to identify one of our hidden gems across town. If you think you know where this photo was taken, email your answer to WhereAmI@ We’ll draw one lucky name from among the correct answers for an annual subscription to Farmville the Magazine.


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From the Ground Up

Skunk Cabbages: A Welcome Sign of Spring

Photo by Mary Ames Skunk cabbages appear when the weather is still cold and snowy.

Farmville the Magazine Story by Dr. Cynthia Wood

In late January, the local Master Naturalists and I spent a chilly afternoon roaming through a wet area searching for an elusive plant that is so well camouflaged that sometimes the best way to find one is to step on it. Yes, we were searching for skunk cabbages (Symplocarpus foetidus) in my favorite location at Holliday Lake State Park. For some of us, looking for these odd plants is an annual ritual and the first wildflower hike of the year. There aren’t as many skunk cabbages as last year, but it’s also quite possible that we just didn’t see many of the smaller ones because they were hidden in the snow and soggy leaf litter. Even when skunk cabbages can’t be seen, however, there’s still a reliable way to find them: follow the scent. Yes, true to their name, these

plants have an odor similar to that of a skunk. It’s very distinctive when wafting on crisp early morning air. Skunk cabbages appear here in the Piedmont anytime from late November to February. Timing is definitely variable, so it’s hard to say whether skunk cabbages are the last plant of the year to bloom or the first. No matter: for many of us, they mean that spring is coming. The first sign of a skunk cabbage’s presence is the emergence of the thick, fleshy, spiral-shaped spathe, a modified leaf. The spathe varies in color and shape. It can be deep maroon colored or yellowish green with maroon markings. Some spathes are spirals, while other are straighter and more like hoods. Seeing lots of spathes is like being in a sculpture garden.

Inside the spathe is the spherical, yellowish spadix on which tightly packed, tiny flowers are arranged. The flowers don’t have petals, just four sepals. The flowers are “open” when the stamens push above and between the sepals and release yellow pollen. The style grows out of the center of each flower, ready to be pollinated. After pollination, deep reddish fruits begin to grow; they will eventually drop to the ground and begin to grow the following spring. Skunk cabbages don’t spread vegetatively via branching roots. Skunk cabbages are well known for their ability to push out of the ground through ice and snow. The inflorescences are thermogenic and thermoregulatory, so the temperature of the spadix can be maintained significantly

Photo by Mary Ames The skunk cabbage flowers are located on a spike inside a modified leaf called a spathe.


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Photo by Dr. Cynthia Wood Above, the local Master Naturalists searched for skunk cabbages in a swampy area at Holliday Lake State Park. Overleaf above, The skunk cabbage spathe can vary in color from yellow and red to deep maroon with yellow speckles. Overleaf below, Skunk cabbages are obligate wetland plants, meaning they’re only found in wetlands. higher than that outside the spathe. How? By increasing the rate of respiratory heat production when ambient temperatures decrease. Even a small drop in the temperature of florets on the spadix increases their respiration rate, rather than decreasing it as might be expected. Often there is a spear-shaped, pale green bud poking from the ground beside the spathe. This bud contains all the tightly furled leaves that will develop on the plant. If dissected, there are layers of both leaves and tiny spathes, enough

for several years. This plant plans ahead! The leaves don’t begin to grow until the spathe starts to wilt. The emerging leaves are bright green, 4 to 5 feet long, and unfold in a spiral pattern. They contain few woody fibers, but lots of water. By late May or early June, the leaves start to decay or essentially melt. They develop holes, droop, and turn black and slimy. The skunk cabbage has pencil-sized roots that emerge from a rhizome; there is no taproot. The roots have ring-shaped wrinkles,

indicating that they are contractile and capable of pulling the plant deeper into the ground. Digging up a mature skunk cabbage plant is virtually impossible. If you find some skunk cabbages, you’ll know that you’re in a wetland; skunk cabbages are obligate wetland plants. They’re not beautiful in the way that a pink lady’s slipper is, but have their own unique charm and sense of grace. The more time I spend observing them, the more fascinated I am by these amazing plants.

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Skunk cabbages appear when the weather is still cold and snowy.

Skunk cabbages are obligate wetland plants, meaning they’re only found in wetlands.


Photo by Mary Ames

Photo by Dr. Cynthia Wood

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Farmer’s Market: Spring brings fresh produce

Story by Crystal Vandegrift

Spring is just around the corner, and with the change in seasons comes the opening of the Farmer's Market in downtown Farmville. The Farmville Community Marketplace will open for business Saturday, April 30, from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. The spring opening of local farmers' markets is a welcome return to normalcy for farmers and consumers alike. Each year during the market season, Saturday mornings have residents eager to shop local. The produce pickings are plentiful. You can find a wide variety of products, including vegetables, fruits, meat, eggs, cheese, baked goods, and more. You can talk with and purchase from many local producers in the same market visit, supporting a number of farms and local businesses. According to Virginia Cooperative Extension, if each household in Prince Edward spent just $10 per week of their total food budget on local food and farm products, it would generate an economic impact of $4,256,720 annually in the county.

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Story by Crystal Vandegrift


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There are a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables available at the Farmer’s Market in Farmville.

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Building a thriving local food system often begins at the farmer's market. They have quickly become the go-to spot for finding a wide variety of locally-grown foods and farm products. According to the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, the number of farmer's markets in Virginia has grown from 88 in 2006 to nearly 280 in 2021. "The number of farmers' markets and roadside stands in Virginia has grown dramatically in recent years, mostly in response to consumer demand for fresh, locally-grown agricultural products and the desire for people to connect with where their food comes from," said Kim

Hutchinson, Executive Director, Virginia Farmers Market Association. "In addition to fresh produce and other agricultural products, farmers' markets have become a central site for community engagement through entertainment, festivals, antique shows, plant sales, and other events." Farmer's Markets provide much more than just fresh produce. • Farmer's markets increase access to fresh, nutritious food when located in food deserts and by accepting Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits. • As a place where farmers and neighbors come together to educate each other about nutrition, cooking, and farming, farmers' markets


provide communities with a healthy food environment. • Farmer's markets promote sustainability by creating new business opportunities for farmers interested in selling sustainably produced foods. If you are planning to visit the Farmer's Market this spring, here are some shopping tips: Arrive early for the best selection. Do a "lap" of the market to see what's available before you buy. Bring your own bag. Bring small bills or check our directory to see if your market accepts debit, credit & EBT cards. Buy in bulk and in season for the best deals. Try something new and ask questions.

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