Page 1

Cultivate november/december 2012

Virginia Farm Bureau

‘Three or four of us are up at 3 a.m.’ on three generation dairy farm


Cultivate 10

Volume 5, Number 4 November/December 2012 Cultivate (USPS 025051) (ISSN 1946-8121) is published four times a year, February, April, July, November/December (combined issue). It is published by Virginia Farm Bureau Federation, 12580 West Creek Parkway, Richmond, VA 23238. Periodicals postage rate is paid in Richmond, VA. The annual subscription rate is $1.48 (included in membership dues). POSTMASTER: Please send changes of address to, Cultivate, Virginia Farm Bureau Federation, P.O. Box 27552, Richmond, VA 23261; fax 804-290-1096. Editorial and business offices are located at 12580 West Creek Parkway, Richmond, VA 23238. Telephone 804-290-1000, fax 804-290-1096. Email address is Office hours are 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday.


All advertising is accepted subject to the publisher’s approval. Advertisers must assume liability for the content of their advertising. The publisher maintains the right to cancel advertising for nonpayment or reader complaints about services or products. The publisher assumes no liability for products or services advertised.


Member: Virginia Press Association


Features 4 Shop safely this holiday season Whether you’re on the computer at home or out on the town, the holiday shopping season calls for extra caution when it comes to your personal information and safety.

10 Farm Bureau pleased with first year as State Fair partner After its first time as a partner in the State Fair of Virginia, Virginia Farm Bureau Federation is making plans for next fall.

14 Rolling with the times on four Virginia farms What does it take to keep a generations-old farm in operation? Find out what four Virginia farm families told Cultivate this fall.

6 Heart of the Home 8 Good for You!


Greg Hicks Vice President, Communications Pam Wiley Managing Editor Kathy Dixon Sr. Staff Writer/Photographer Sara Owens Staff Writer/Photographer

24 In the Garden

Bill Altice Graphic Designer

26 From the Ground Up

Cathy Vanderhoff Advertising

Maria La Lima Graphic Designer

30 Marketplace VISIT US ONLINE

Publication schedule Associate members will receive their next issue of Cultivate in February. The magazine is published quarterly.


Members – Address change?

On the Cover


Cousins Taylor (left) and Matt Nuckols operate Eastview Farm in Hanover County with their fathers and their grandmother (Photo by Kathy Dixon).

Correction A photo caption in the July issue of Cultivate incorrectly stated that Rockbridge County cattle producer Margaret Ann Smith and her family farm in Rockingham County.

If your address or phone number has changed, or is about to change, contact your county Farm Bureau. They will update your membership and subscription information.

Food for Thought

More than one Farm Bureau volunteer or employee heard it during this year’s State Fair of Virginia: “Thank you.” They were thanked by people who brought their families to the fair, and by other fair participants who have an interest in agriculture. Of course, Farm Bureau did not present the fair single-handedly. The organization partnered with Tennesseebased Universal Fairs LLC, which has a solid history of producing fairs and other events. And numerous agriculture and agribusiness groups—and farm families—also stepped up to help ensure that the fair retained its farm focus. They brought cattle, pigs, poultry, honey bees, horticultural information, aquaculture displays and more. They showed up every day and made sure visitors who had questions got answers. That was a primary goal Farm Bureau had for this year’s fair. In previous years, visitor surveys found that 84 percent of attendees experienced animal agriculture at the fair, and 72 percent toured general agricultural exhibits. In addition, about 14,000 schoolchildren take field trips to the fair each year. They visit a dozen or more sites where exhibits are in place to support what they learn in their classrooms. It’s a big event, and fairgoers have lots of different expectations. Some come to eat chicken on a stick, ride the Super Shot and take in one of the evening concerts. Others want to make merry-goround memories for a preschooler, cheer for the racing pigs and be amazed by the giant pumpkins. Still others want to show their children how baby chickens hatch gradually from eggs and how baby ducks at the top of a slide will nearly always end up in the water when they reach for the food dish.

People want to watch vintage tractors or muscular draft horses pull weights; to ride rides that leave them winded and laughing; to find out what the deal is, anyway, about fried Oreos; or see how their handcrafted and home-baked goods stack up against others. And, much to Farm Bureau’s delight, they showed up in droves this fall—

even after months when the fair’s future was in doubt. How do you follow up something like that? You come back again next year, with an event that’s even better. Fair organizers already are making plans for the 2013 State Fair—proud to have helped preserve a Virginia tradition and eager to welcome fairgoers back for years and generations to come.

sara owens

It was our pleasure — and we’re just getting started!

Different people have different favorite parts of the State Fair of Virginia—and organizers want to make the next one even more memorable for everybody. Cultivate NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2012


Protect yourself and your finances during this holiday season by sara owens When it’s time to start shopping for holiday gifts and other purchases, it’s also time to be extra cautious about your personal safety and information. “We usually see an increase in credit and debit card number thefts during the holiday season, as well as thefts from automobiles because consumers aren’t being as cautious, and because thieves are becoming more and more clever,” said Frank Dunton, vice president of investigations for Virginia Farm Bureau.

Personal security While on shopping trips, keep all purchases locked up in the car and out of sight.

“It’s also a good idea to remember where you parked, and if it is dark park as close to the store as possible,” Dunton said. “Keep your keys in your hand so you can enter your car quickly—and in case someone approaches you, you can use the keys as a weapon or push the panic alarm to cause noise.” Dunton also suggests trying to walk to the car with others and always looking inside the car before you get in. Always maintain control of your purse. Don’t leave it in a shopping cart; keep it over your arm, and always keep it zipped. If someone does approach you, give them what they want—nothing is worth being hurt over, Dunton said. Be sure to shout or push the panic alarm on your car if someone is trying to harm you.

Financial security It’s just as important to check your surroundings before using a credit card. When handing your card to a cashier, keep the card number facing down. Never leave your card on a counter with the numbers facing up. Follow these other tips to protect your credit and debit cards: • Keep your card in a safe and secure place until you’re ready to use it. • Do not send your card number through email, as it is typically not secure. Do not give out your card number over the phone unless you initiated the call. • Review your account statements as soon as you receive them to verify transactions,


Farm Bureau members can get a $5001 private offer toward the purchase or lease of most new GM vehicles, including the Chevrolet Silverado 2500HD and 3500HD lineup. Visit for more details. They get tough jobs done with a maximum payload of up to 6,635 lbs.2 and a conventional towing capacity of up to 17,000 lbs.3 And through the GM Business Choice Program,4 business owners receive even more when purchasing or leasing an eligible Chevrolet or GMC truck or van for business use. Visit for details. Place your Farm Bureau Logo here.

Place your Dealer Logo here.


Offer valid toward the purchase or lease of new 2011, 2012 and 2013 Buick, Chevrolet and GMC models excluding Chevrolet Camaro Convertible and Volt. Not available with some other offers. Not valid on prior purchases. Program subject to change without notice. See dealer for complete details. Customer must take delivery by 4/1/2014. Must be a member of a participating state Farm Bureau for at least 60 days prior to date of delivery to be eligible. Not available in all states. Member must provide a valid membership verification certificate prior to vehicle purchase or lease. Go to 2 Requires Regular Cab model and gas engine. Maximum payload capacity includes weight of driver, passengers, optional equipment and cargo. 3 Requires available 6.6L Duramax® diesel engine. Maximum trailer ratings assume a properly equipped base vehicle plus driver. See dealer for details. 4 To qualify, vehicles must be used in the day-to-day operation of the business and not solely for transportation purposes. Must provide proof of business. This program may not be compatible with other offers or incentive programs. Consult your local Chevrolet or GMC dealer or visit for program compatibility and other restrictions. Take delivery by 9/30/2012. Farm Bureau and the American Farm Bureau Federation® are registered service marks owned by the American Farm Bureau Federation, and are used herein (or by GM) under license. ©2012 General Motors. All rights reserved.



The busier you get with holiday preparations, the more important it is to be careful about your safety and personal information.

or review your account online regularly. If you notice any transactions that are not yours, contact your financial institution immediately. • Change your personal identification number, or PIN, every six months. Do not use any number or word that appears in your wallet, such as your birth date, name or phone number. Memorize your PIN, and do not share it with others. • Cancel and cut up unused credit and debit cards, and when receiving a replacement card, destroy the old one.

• Make sure any Internet purchase activity you engage in is secured. Look for “https://” in the Web address to make sure your account information is safe. • Always log off from any website after making a purchase with your credit or debit card. If you cannot log off, shut down your browser to prevent unauthorized access to your account information. • Safe-keep or securely dispose of transaction receipts, and report lost or stolen cards immediately.

Theft or fraud victim? If you’ve been a victim of theft or fraud, Virginia Farm Bureau Investigations can help. Call 800-277-8323 and ask for a member of the investigations staff.

• Shop with merchants you know and trust.



To find the station nearest you that airs Real Virginia, or to view the show online, visit kathy dixon

Heart of the Home



Mix all ingredients in a medium bowl. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. INGREDIENTS FOR GUACAMOLE

This apple dessert is easy to make for the holidays and “makes your house smell amazing,” said food writer Kendra Bailey Morris.

Slow Cooker Apples with Ginger Ale and Maple Syrup INGREDIENTS

4 large or 6 medium cooking apples such as Braeburn, Rome or Granny Smith 6 teaspoons raisins 6 teaspoons chopped walnuts 6 tablespoons brown sugar (can be adjusted based on desired sweetness and type of apples) 1 teaspoon cinnamon ½ cup ginger ale 2 tablespoons real maple syrup

HOLIDAY HORS D’OEUVRE IS A CROSS-CULTURAL FUSION OF FLAVORS Food writer Kendra Bailey Morris calls this appetizer recipe a “fusion dish. It’s a little Hispanic and a little Asian.” The tuna tartar is a take on traditional Hawaiian poke, a marinated tuna dish. But what makes it special is the fresh Virginia ginger she grates into the mixture. Tuna tartar and fresh guacamole are layered onto twice-fried plantains, which is a Cuban specialty called tostones. Green plantains work best, and Morris warned not to use bananas, which are much sweeter.


Core each apple almost through to the bottom. Spray the inside of the slow cooker with cooking spray, and place apples cored side-up inside the cooker. Stuff each apple with equal parts raisins and walnuts. Mix together the brown sugar and cinnamon in a bowl. Take 2 teaspoons of the cinnamon sugar mixture and sprinkle it over and inside the apples. Pour the ginger ale and maple syrup into the bowl with the remaining cinnamon sugar, and stir well. Then pour ginger ale mixture over the apples. Cover and cook for 5-6 hours on low. During the last couple of hours, baste the apples with the remaining liquid a few times. The liquid should be syrupy; if it’s too watery turn the slow cooker up higher and set the lid ajar to allow some of the moisture to escape. Serve apples in dessert bowls with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream. Drizzle with caramel sauce, if desired. Source: The Southern Slow Cooker: Big-Flavor, Low-Fuss Recipes for Comfort Food Classics (Ten Speed Press, July 2013) by Kendra Bailey Morris

Twice-Fried Plantains Topped with Gingered Tuna Tartar and Guacamole INGREDIENTS FOR TARTAR

1 pound sushi-grade tuna, cut into ¼˝ cubes 3 tablespoons soy sauce or Japanese shoyu sauce 3 tablespoons minced green onions 3 tablespoons diced sweet onion 1½ tablespoons dark sesame oil 1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger dash of garlic chili sauce or Sriracha sauce (optional) 1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds

2 ripe avocados, pitted and peeled juice of half a small lime 1 teaspoon finely minced garlic ½ teaspoon (or to taste) finely minced jalapeño 1 tablespoon minced cilantro, plus extra cilantro for garnish salt and pepper to taste DIRECTIONS

In a medium bowl, coarsely mash the avocados, leaving a few chunks here and there. Add the remaining ingredients, and season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with additional fresh lime juice, cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to serve. INGREDIENTS FOR PLANTAINS

3 to 4 large unripe (green) or barely ripe (slightly yellow) plantains, peeled and sliced thick 2 cups peanut or canola oil for frying DIRECTIONS

In a 12˝ nonstick skillet, heat ½˝ of oil over moderate heat. Fry sliced plantains in batches, without crowding, until tender and just golden. With tongs, transfer the plantains to paper towels to drain. Remove skillet from heat and reserve the oil. With the bottom of a heavy saucepan or a wide solid metal spatula, flatten plantains to ¼˝ thick and about 3˝ in diameter. Heat the reserved oil over moderate heat until hot but not smoking. Fry the flattened plantains in batches, without crowding, until golden, about 3 minutes. With tongs, transfer the plantains onto paper towels to drain. Season them lightly with salt, if desired. Keep plantains warm in the oven. To serve, top each plantain with a spoonful of the tuna tartar and then a dollop of guacamole. Serve immediately on a platter garnished with cilantro and lime slices.

Kendra Bailey Morris appears each month on Real Virginia, Virginia Farm Bureau’s monthly television program, courtesy of Virginia Grown, a program of the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. Morris is an author and culinary instructor whose work appears in Better Homes and Gardens, Food Republic, Virginia Living, Chile Pepper and other publications and is a former food columnist for the Richmond Times-Dispatch. Her blog is at Cultivate NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2012


Good for You!

Pumpkins pack a vitamin-filled punch by kathy dixon Sure, pumpkins make great fall decorations, but they also are good to eat. Pumpkins are incredibly rich in antioxidants such as vitamins A, B, C and E, and they contain folate, niacin, potassium and fiber. “The beautiful, rich orange color of pumpkins indicates that they contain an abundance of beta-carotene,” said Crystal Barber, a registered dietitian and Virginia Cooperative Extension family and consumer sciences agent in Portsmouth. The human body converts beta-carotene to vitamin A, which is necessary for vision, fighting infection and promoting cell growth and development. “It is worth noting that pumpkin has another carotenoid called betacryptoxanthin, which has been found to decrease the risk of lung cancer in smokers,” Barber said. Pumpkins are low-calorie and have no saturated fat. One half-cup of cooked, mashed pumpkin contains only 24 calories. “Pumpkin can even be substituted for oil in some quick breads,” Barber said. In order to keep calories low when cooking with pumpkin, she added, be wary of traditional high-fat ingredients like heavy cream. Evaporated skim milk is a good substitute when making pies or other desserts. But don’t stop with the fleshy part of the pumpkin. Its seeds are full of iron, calcium and magnesium and also are a good source of protein and omega-3 fatty acids. “Pumpkin seeds can be roasted as a healthy snack,” Barber said. As with eating any produce, fresh pumpkin is best, but canned pumpkin maintains nutrients during the canning process. Pumpkins can be boiled, ovenroasted and steamed in the microwave, but roasting yields the most pulp.

Pumpkin Soup ingredients

2 teaspoons olive oil ½ cup chopped onion 2 celery stalks, chopped 2 garlic cloves, minced 1 teaspoon peeled, minced fresh ginger 2 teaspoons sugar ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg pinch of cinnamon salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste 14.5-ounce can pumpkin 1 potato, peeled and cut into 1˝ cubes 4 cups vegetable or fat-free, reduced sodium chicken broth ¼ cup nonfat sour cream 2 green onions, chopped


In a large stock pot, heat oil over mediumhigh heat. Add onion, celery, garlic, ginger and sugar, and cook 4 minutes, until tender. Add nutmeg and cinnamon. Season the mixture with salt and pepper, and stir to coat. Add pumpkin, potato and broth. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, partially cover and simmer 20 minutes, until pumpkin and potatoes are tender. Ladle soup into bowls, and top each serving with sour cream and green onions. Source: University of Illinois Extension

Chopped green onions and fresh herbs like thyme or sage are good garnishes for pumpkin soups. So are roasted pumpkin seeds. 8


Good for You!

Leave this risotto a little runny before adding the grated Parmesan cheese to ensure a creamy finished texture.

Pumpkin Cheese Risotto ingredients

7 to 8 cups chicken stock 1 tablespoon butter 1 small onion, finely chopped 2 cups Arborio rice 1½ cups cooked pumpkin, cut into ½˝ cubes 6 fresh sage leaves, minced salt and pepper to taste ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese 4 sage leaves for garnish


In a saucepan, heat stock to a simmer, and hold at a very slow simmer. In a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan, heat the butter and add onion. Cook over medium heat until translucent. Add rice, stir and add 1½ cups of the hot stock. Stir until the rice has absorbed most of the liquid, then add another 1½ cups of the hot stock. Repeat a third time, adding the pumpkin and sage. Repeat with another 1½ cups of hot stock, and add salt and pepper to taste. Continue to stir until most of the stock has been absorbed by the rice. After about 25 to 30 minutes, taste. Adjust the seasoning if necessary. Rice should be firm but tender (al dente). Leave the risotto a little runny before adding the cheese so it will have a creamy texture. Ladle into soup plates and garnish each with a sage leaf.

Pure pumpkin facts • Pumpkins are fruit. • Pumpkins are 90 percent water. • Pumpkins originated in Central America. • The largest pumpkin pie ever made was more than 5 feet in diameter and weighed more than 350 pounds. It used 80 pounds of cooked pumpkin, 36 pounds of sugar and 12 dozen eggs and took six hours to bake. Source: Virginia Pumpkin Growers Association

Source: University of Illinois Extension





Midway rides and giant pumpkins were among the attractions at the 2012 State Fair of Virginia.

people bring you their homemade quilts, and easily that many bring homemade jams, cakes and candies, it definitely feels like you’re offering a valued program.” Farm Bureau is the state’s largest farm organization and has as part of its mission the preservation of agriculture. “We felt it was paramount to step up to the plate and assist with the fair,” said VFBF President Wayne F. Pryor.

sara owens

After its first time as a partner in the State Fair of Virginia—and a 70-day scramble to organize the 2012 event, Virginia Farm Bureau Federation is making plans for next fall. “We’re definitely already talking about ways to make the 2013 State Fair bigger and better,” said Greg Hicks, VFBF vice president of communications. The federation presented this year’s fair in partnership with Tennessee-based Universal Fairs LLC. It ran from Sept. 28 through Oct. 7 at The Meadow Event Park in Caroline County. “It was tremendous to see how many people turned out and how many were pleased that the fair is still in operation,” Hicks said. The fair’s previous owners declared bankruptcy this past spring, and the fair and The Meadow Event Park were purchased at auction in May by Universal Fairs. That company and Farm Bureau announced their partnership in July. Called Commonwealth Fairs and Events LLC, the partnership will run the State Fair as well as other events at the 331-acre property. One goal Farm Bureau had was to preserve the fair’s agricultural components. Thanks to agricultural organizations, farm families and volunteers, fairgoers were able to watch baby chickens hatch and newborn dairy calves take their first steps; see different breeds of beef cattle; and check out the workings of a honey bee hive. The fair also included equine events on nearly every day of its run. “This was a priority for us, in part because the fair is a popular school field trip destination,” Hicks said. “About 14,000 schoolchildren visited the fair this year, and we were able to offer fun, hands-on learning experiences for them that support Virginia’s Standards of Learning.” Traditional fair competitions for baked and preserved foods and arts and crafts also were held this year. Hicks said the level of participation was gratifying. “When 70

pam wiley

Farm Bureau pleased with first year as State Fair partner ∂

kathy dixon

Open and youth miniature horse shows were among nearly a dozen equine events held during the fair. A sheepdog trial also was held at the fair’s equine complex.



photos by kathy dixon

Alpacas, cattle, goats, pigs and poultry were among the agricultural animals that fairgoers could see up close. Owners were on hand to share information.



State trooper’s death ‘a terrible, terrible tragedy’ The State Fair of Virginia’s 2012 run was not without misfortune. On Oct. 5 Trooper Andrew D. Fox, on special assignment with the Virginia State Police, died of injuries sustained when he was struck by a vehicle while directing traffic on state Route 30. Fox, who was 27, was the 58th state police officer killed in the line of duty in that agency’s 80-year history. In addition to his service as a law enforcement officer and a volunteer firefighter, the Tazewell County native held a degree in agricultural science and farmed in Pulaski County. Col. W. Steven Flaherty, state police superintendant, said Fox was “highly regarded and respected by his peers and supervisors across the state as a superior trooper, mentor, field training officer and instructor.” A funeral was held Oct. 11. Gov. Bob McDonnell ordered that the Virginia flag over the state Capitol and other state and federal buildings in specific counties be flown at half-staff that day. “The loss of Trooper Fox is a terrible, terrible tragedy,” said Virginia Farm Bureau President Wayne F. Pryor. “The thoughts of the Farm Bureau family and the extended fair family are with his loved ones and his colleagues. The fair wouldn’t be possible without the law enforcement officers and other emergency responders who help ensure a safe experience for everyone. We can’t ever take them for granted.” Fair highlights included (counter-clockwise from top) a Sept. 28 ribbon-cutting; excited—and patriotic—longtime fair fans; a demolition derby; numerous rides that swept guests off the ground; and a 5-kilometer race that benefited Virginia’s Agriculture in the Classroom program.




Rolling with the times

What does it take to keep a generations-old farm in operation? It takes an awareness of what works and what doesn’t. It takes a willingness to update—or flat-out change—the business plan sometimes, and a commitment to quality products. That’s what four farm families told Cultivate earlier this year. They’re aware that Americans have lots of questions about how their foods are produced. When presented with some of those questions, they opened their gates and barn doors wide and delivered some straight answers. All four farms were profiled during the Real Virginia Virtual Farm Tour presented by Virginia Farm Bureau Federation during the 2012 State Fair of Virginia.

Cousins Taylor (left) and Matt Nuckols primarily handle milking the dairy herd at Eastview Farm in Hanover County.

‘ Three or four of us are up at 3 a.m.’ Dairying is a family affair for three generations in Hanover by kathy dixon Days begin way before dawn for the brothers and cousins who own and operate Eastview Farm. “On a typical morning, three of the four of us are up at 3 a.m. and the other comes in by 6,” said Matt Nuckols, part of the youngest generation that works on the Hanover County dairy farm. He and his cousin, Taylor, and their dads, F.C. and Wayne, along with their grandmother, Elsie, raise dairy cows, corn, soybeans and small grains on 1,000 acres. The cousins say they love dairy farming, even though it’s hard work. In fact, dairy farming is a 365-day-a-year job, because the cows have to be milked twice a day, every day. 14


Matt and Taylor primarily handle the milking, which happens early in the morning and again in the late afternoon. Of their 250 purebred registered Holsteins, 115 cows are milked four at a time in the farm’s original dairy barn. Matt’s and Taylor’s grandparents, Elsie and Page Nuckols, purchased Eastview Farm in the late 1930s. Matt’s father, F.C., and Taylor’s dad, Wayne, incorporated the dairy in 1959. They gradually transitioned management of the cows to their sons, and they now handle the majority of the field work while still helping with the cows. Elsie does some of the bookkeeping. Elsie, F.C. and Wayne still own the dairy, and Matt and Taylor plan to take the reins one day. They said they eventually plan to build a more modern barn with newer equipment.

Until then, they work to make the herd as efficient as it can be. “We believe in cow comfort,” Matt said. “The more comfortable the cow, the more productive that cow is.” Eastview Farm cows are fed three times a day with a nutritional blend of feed grains, and they have unlimited access to water and are housed in a freestyle barn, where individual stalls allow them to move in and out at will. The stalls are bedded twice a week with sawdust, and the herd goes outside to graze in a pasture when the weather is nice. Veterinarians come to the farm every two to three weeks to monitor the herd’s health and check on pregnant cows. The Nuckols family keeps extensive records for all veterinary care. Not only do the cows get individualized care, they all have individual names. “Princess is my 4-year-old daughter’s favorite,” Taylor said. The cousins occasionally take cows and calves to different places as a way to educate the public about dairy farming. “No matter where we go, I always explain that all milk is antibiotic-free,” Matt said, “because that is always their top concern.” The Nuckolses treat their cows with antibiotics when they are sick. “We use antibiotics according to the label and veterinary instructions,” Matt explained. “When the cows are being treated, (those animals’) milk is dumped.” All milk is tested on the farm, in the tanker truck and at the processing plant to ensure that it’s antibiotic-free. It’s surprising how many questions people have about milk and how it is produced, Taylor said. “You have to be open and share information with them, or they will get it somewhere else.”


photos by kathy dixon

“We believe in cow comfort,” Matt Nuckols said. “The more comfortable the cow, the more productive that cow is.”




Dairy-to-vegetable switch ‘was a great leap of faith’ for Spotsylvania market operators by kathy dixon

kathy dixon

Dedicated, distinct and diverse are three D’s that describe Miller Farms Market. The family farm in Spotsylvania County was purchased in 1946 and operated as a dairy until 2003. It’s now a produce, small grains and beef cattle farm, with emphasis on the produce. Things started changing in December 2003. “We were getting less for milk that year than we had in the ‘70s,” said Ben Miller, the family’s third-generation farmer. “We needed to get a lot bigger to


stay in the dairy business, but the expense to expand was too much.” So the Millers sold their dairy cows and started an on-farm market that targeted their D.C.- commuting neighbors. “We were 55 when we sold the dairy,” said Jo Ann Miller, Ben’s mom, of herself and her husband, Wayne. “When most people are thinking about retirement, we were thinking about a new career.” But their son’s enthusiasm for a new venture convinced them to make the change. “It was a great leap of faith,” she said.

That first year, 90 percent of the market’s produce came from other farms, but now the Millers raise 98 percent of what they sell. “It just kept growing more and more,” Ben said. Today, 30 acres of the 800-acre farm are dedicated to fruits and vegetables. The produce is sold three ways: directly at the farm market and gift shop in one of the old dairy barns; to wholesale groups; and through CSA memberships, which were new this past summer. Last year the Millers opened a cut-your-own Christmas tree farm as well. “We love what we’re doing now,” Jo Ann said. “It’s a good fit for us.” And the Millers appreciate the opportunity to interact with people who have questions about farming. “They don’t want a worm in their corn, but they want to know if we are spraying our produce,” Ben said. “We are eating our own food, so we are not going to use anything that’s harmful.” Their produce is not organic, they explain, but they use an integrated pest management system. That means they employ good bugs to eat harmful bugs in order to minimize the need for pesticides. They also grow vegetables under plastic to reduce the amount of weeds, reducing the need for herbicide. When people see a tractor with a 100-gallon tank in the field, they automatically think it’s full of insecticide, Ben said. In reality, he explained, his family uses only 5 ounces of insecticide per 30 gallons of water for each acre of land. Hearing that explanation makes customers feel better about buying the fruits and vegetables. “That’s where relationships come in,” Ben said. It’s important to form a relationship with a farmer “and look him in the eye and let him explain his farming practices,” Jo Ann added.

“We love what we’re doing now,” said Jo Ann Miller of the produce, small grains and beef operation she and her husband run with their son, Ben (right). Cultivate NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2012


‘We’re not going to do anything that isn’t safe,’ Shenandoah poultry grower vows by sara owens

sara owens

Martin French of Shenandoah County has been in the poultry business since 1980. He raises 110,000 broiler chickens at any given time in four state-of-the-art poultry houses.

Poultry is a $1 billion industry in Virginia, and the Shenandoah Valley has a huge poultry presence with 830 growers. “It has been a large part of our farming economy and was a great opportunity when it started,” French said. “About 700 to 800 people are employed by the poultry plants alone. Demand for what we have in the field is just unreal compared to what it was 30 years ago when I started.” French and his son, Martin French Jr., operate the poultry business, and his brothers and other family members are involved in the family’s dairy, beef and grain operations. “We’re involved in a lot of aspects of agriculture,” French said. The Frenches raise chickens for processor George’s Foods. George’s supplies the birds and their feed. Service technicians deliver and pick up the chickens. The Frenches are responsible for monitoring and caring for the birds. “We get the chickens when they are a day old and raise them to about 34 to 39 days old.” The Frenches’ chicken houses are 420 feet long and 42 to 50 feet wide. Computers run the watering and feeding systems and control the lights and the temperature in the houses. All of the

“Everything is computerized,” Shenandoah County poultry grower Martin French said of his four broiler houses. “We have the most updated and modern poultry houses you can get.”

houses also have a back-up generator in case of an electrical outage. “Everything is computerized. We have the most updated and modern poultry houses you can get,” French said. “One computer actually regulates the water and flushes it two times a day so the chickens receive fresh water.” The computer also monitors how much water the birds are drinking. The houses’ temperature stays around 87 degrees when the chickens are young and gradually drops as the birds get older and larger and generate more body heat. There are about seven weeks in between the time one flock of chickens leaves the farm and the day new chickens are delivered. All of the birds come and go at the same time, French said. “It’s based on performance and weight limits. The birds have to hit a certain average.” The chickens eat grains, mostly of corn and soybeans. French said it isn’t possible to raise freerange chickens on a large scale. “We had 2 inches of rain yesterday; the chickens can’t stand it. It would be

disastrous. These chickens aren’t bred to be outside; it’s a different type of chicken that we raise today.” French said he hasn’t applied medication to his birds in years. “The chickens are vaccinated at the plant using an inhaled vaccine. Antibiotics are very seldom used. They used to be used a lot more, but they’re not now because of the type of chicken we raise now.” French said he has never raised anything unhealthy. “Everything we do on this farm is absolutely safe,” he said. “The poultry business is very competitive. We’re not going to do anything that isn’t safe. You have to watch the birds closely and maintain your equipment and care for the birds. “It’s a great life,” French continued. “I can get up and do my work and have enough backup protection so if I need to leave I can do whatever I need to do and adjust my schedule. We’re self-sufficient as long as we have good equipment.”




Buckingham County pork producers ‘have a standard to meet’ by sara owens

buffer zones and boundaries in place. “We comply with standards set by the (Virginia) Department of Environmental Quality, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and (its) Natural Resources Conservation Service to make sure there’s no chance of manure running off into the creek, streams or ponds,” Caleb said. “There are certain times of the year that you cannot apply manure, because it could create runoff, like in the winter when the ground is frozen. We perform soil and manure tests so that we know how much manure to apply and which nutrients need to be added before application.” The farm’s manure pit is kept below a certain level to make sure it will not overflow during a heavy rainstorm. “DEQ and Murphy-Brown keep a close eye on that, and we have regular inspections,” Caleb said. “That’s a good

sara owens

Bobby Bryan of Buckingham County has been raising hogs for nearly 60 years. During that time he has seen many changes in the industry and on his own farm. Since 1994 he and his grandson, Caleb Bryan, have raised hogs for MurphyBrown, a division of Smithfield Foods. “It’s still a family farm and always has been,” Bobby said. “We just decided it was a good option because Murphy-Brown supplies the feed, which gives us more time to focus on caring for the hogs and not worrying about the cost of feed.” The Bryans receive their hogs from Murphy-Brown when they are 15 to 16 weeks old and weigh 60 to 70 pounds. The majority of the hogs live in tunnel barns equipped with fans and with

curtains that can be raised and lowered depending on the temperature. “In the past, hogs were kept outdoors and would get into the woods and into yellow jacket nests and other hazards,” Bobby said. “They had to contend with heat, snow, sleet and rain. The advances of modern technology have allowed us to keep hogs indoors, and now there’s nothing to bother them.” The fans in the tunnel houses provide a continuous flow of air, and there is no need for supplemental heat because the hogs create their own body heat. “If I was a pig, I would be much happier in one of these tunnel houses,” Bobby said. The Bryans use an in-ground irrigation system to apply manure to the pasture areas on their farm. They have fenced in all creeks, streams and ponds and have

“If I walk into the barn and it is too stuffy for me, then it has to be too stuffy for the hog,” Caleb Bryan said of the animals he raises with his grandfather in Buckingham County. 18


sara owens


thing, because no one wants a manure pit to run over.” The hogs do not receive hormones, and they receive antibiotics only when they are sick or through their feed to prevent illnesses when they are young. If sick hogs receive antibiotics, the Bryans record the date they treat the animals and calculate when those hogs will be ready for market. A hog that is given antibiotics will not be taken to market until at least 35 days after being treated. “That time period is well past the medication withdrawal period, and we keep extensive records. So there is no reason for residual antibiotics to be in the pork when following this procedure,” Bobby said. The Bryans do not use gestation crates, because they do not have sows and piglets, but they do not think gestation crates are bad for pigs. “The confined pen system allows the sow to roam in their pen and eat without being moved side-to-side by the other pigs while resting from giving birth,” Bobby said.

Maintaining animal comfort is the No. 1 job on the farm, Caleb noted. “We have a standard to meet. Hogs are a lot like people. If I walk into the barn and it is too stuffy for me, then it has to be too stuffy for the hog. If a hog is injured, we remove it from the other hogs so it can heal and rest, just like you would do Hogs in indoor housing have ready access to drinking water. for yourself.” “We didn’t have cell phones or the The Bryans have upgraded their Internet or certain medicines to fight watering system so their hogs have better disease 30 or 40 years ago,” Bobby access to drinking water, and they’ve said. “Life is always evolving, and so is installed mats on the tunnel house agriculture. You can’t expect agriculture floors so the animals are not standing on today to be like it was 50 years ago. You concrete. have to change if you want to continue, As in any other business, they said, just like anything else.” change is inevitable, and it’s important to keep up. Cultivate NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2012

smithfield foods

Even though the Bryans raise hogs under contract for a processing company, “it’s still a family farm and always has been,” Bobby Bryan said.


Young Farmers Winter Expo will take place in Harrisonburg The 2013 Young Farmers Winter Expo will take place Feb. 22-24 in Harrisonburg. The theme for the event is “Back to Basics: Production Agriculture.” There will be a variety of speakers and farm tours. The keynote speaker will be Matthew J. Lohr, Virginia commissioner of agriculture and consumer services. The expo is open to anyone between the ages of 18 and 35 with an interest in agriculture. More information will be available at as it becomes available.

Women’s Conference will be held in Roanoke The 2013 Virginia Farm Bureau Federation Women’s Conference will take place March 22-24 at The Sheraton Roanoke Hotel and Conference Center. The conference’s keynote speaker will be Katie Pinke, the author behind the blog Pinke Post, where she writes about life on her farm in Wishek, N.D. She will be speaking about “Seven Ways to Engage and Be Empowered for a Next Generation.” Several workshops will take place during the event. Topics will include talking to consumers about agriculture, learning more about



Farm Bureau and leadership, and focusing on health, nutrition and exercise for a better life. Judging for the 2013 Farm Bureau Ambassador and Farm Woman of the Year programs will take place at the conference, and statelevel winners will be announced. The 2012 VFBF youth essay contest winners will present their essays during one of the event’s meals. The conference is open to any woman with an interest in learning more about agriculture. Members can register at county Farm Bureau offices beginning in late January.

Two students win Rural Health Essay Scholarship Contest Margo Deihl of Spotsylvania County and Molly Hilt of Tazewell County will receive $1,000 for their winning entries in the Virginia Farm Bureau Federation 2012 Rural Health Essay Scholarship Contest. Second place winners Meredith Ellis of Isle of Wight County and Brian Yeary of Russell County will receive $500. The contest was sponsored by the VFBF Rural Health Advisory Committee and funded by the Farm Bureau Health Care Consultants Department to help benefit young members’ career interests in rural health care. Deihl, daughter of Walter and Crystal Deihl of Spotsylvania, attends James Madison University. Hilt attends Tazewell High School and is the daughter of Ralph and Sandra Hilt of Tannersville.

H OM E F IRE S A F E T Y C HE C K L I S T VIRGINIA FARM BUREAU investigations staff examine insurance claims involving as many as 600 fire-related losses each year. They involve chimney fires, cooking fires, alternative heat sources, smoking and electrical devices. The start of the winter heating season is an ideal time to assess potential fire risks in your own home.

Living room ■ Electrical outlets are not overloaded. ■ Extension cords are in good working order and are not used as permanent wiring. ■ Fireplaces are fitted with screens or glass coverings.

Storage and work areas ■ The water heater is set at 120 degrees or lower. ■ The furnace or heating unit is inspected and cleaned annually. ■ The electrical panel box is not overloaded, and its cover is closed. ■ The dryer lint trap is cleaned after each use, and the area behind the dryer is cleaned at least twice a year. ■ Cleaning agents are stored in their original containers and out of children’s reach.

Garage or shed

■ Chimneys are cleaned and inspected annually.

■ Rags that have paint, varnish and polish on them are kept in covered metal cans.

■ A metal container with a tight-fitting lid is available for removing fireplace ashes from the house.

■ Gasoline and kerosene are stored in approved and labeled safety cans.

■ Candles have not been placed near combustible materials.

■ The lawn mower is started and refueled outside and allowed to cool down before being brought back inside. The mower deck and engine are cleaned after each use.

■ Smokers in the home use large, deep ashtrays and have a lidded metal container into which ashtrays can be emptied.


■ A fire extinguisher is stored near an exit, and family members know how to use it.

■ Appliance cords are out of small children’s reach.

■ Portable heaters are in well-ventilated areas.

■ Outlets are not overloaded.

■ Wood-burning stoves are inspected annually, and the areas around them are free of combustibles.

■ A fire extinguisher is accessible at an exit, and family members know how to use it. ■ Food is not left cooking unattended on the stove (Unattended cooking is the No. 1 cause of house fires). ■ The stovetop is clean of grease and oil and other combustibles.

Bedrooms and bathrooms ■ Electrical outlets and power strips are not overloaded. ■ Extension cords are not being used as permanent wiring.

Exterior ■ Your address is posted on the front of your house and visible from the street. ■ Weeds and brush are cleared at least 10 feet from the home. ■ Gas or charcoal grills are used away from the house and combustible materials. ■ Smoking materials are discarded in non-combustible containers, not in mulch or plastic.

■ Matches, lighters and cleaning products are stored out of children’s reach. ■ Candles are not placed near combustibles. ■ Each bedroom is equipped with a working flashlight. ■ All smoke detectors work and are checked annually. ■ Windows can be opened easily from the inside; all family members know how to get out of each room, and the family has an agreed-upon meeting place in the event of a fire. ■ Electric heaters are inspected yearly, kept away from combustible items and not used with extension cords or power strips. Check home smoke detectors on a regular basis to ensure that they are in good working order.



Custom Buildings #3720/#62-4259

That Fit Your Style and Budget

G a ra g e s | E q u i n e | Fa r m S t o ra g e | G e n e ra l P u r p o s e


A workshop where you can indulge your hobby, a garage to house your car collection, a storage building for your toys or just a place where you can relax and have fun with your friends and family— whatever your idea is of the perfect building, Morton can make it a reality.

to $avings

Don’t miss discount pricing on your new building during our off-peak construction season sale. Call today, limited building spots are available.

For over 100 years, we have provided our customers exceptional quality and customer service. At Morton Buildings, we work with you from concept through completion, taking the hassle out of your construction project. To learn more and to get started, contact Morton Buildings today.

800-447-7436 •

Š2012 Morton Buildings, Inc. A listing of GC licenses available at Reference Code 601












Virginia Farm Bureau Members

Save up to 20% off

the “Best Available Rate* � at over 7,000 participating hotels.

Mention you are a Virginia Farm Bureau Member and ID #1000000513 at time of reservation.

For reservations call:

877.670.7088 Or go to for more details

Š 2012 Wyndham Hotel Group, LLC. All hotels are independently owned and operated excluding certain Wyndham and international Ramada hotels which are managed by our affiliate or through a joint venture partner. *“Best Available Rate� is defined as the best, non-qualified, unrestricted, publicly available rate on the brand sites for the hotel, date and accommodations requested. The discount for some properties may be less than 20% off Best Available Rate. Certain restrictions may apply. To redeem this offer, click our URL link on Organization’s website or call the phone number above and give ID at the time of reservation. Offer not valid if hotel is called directly, caller must use toll free numbers listed above. Advanced reservations are required. Offer is subject to availability at participating locations and some blackout dates may apply. Offer cannot be combined with any other discounts, offers, group rates, or special promotions. Discounted rates vary by location and time of year. Offer is void where prohibited by law and has no cash value. Planet Hollywood is not a current participant in the member benefit program.

Members can SAVE $500 on purchase or lease of selected GM vehicles Farm Bureau members in Virginia can receive a $500 discount on the purchase or lease of qualifying Buick, Chevrolet and GMC vehicles at participating dealerships. The Farm Bureau GM $500 Vehicle Discount Program is available for members who are at least 18 and have been Farm Bureau members for at least 60 days. The discount is not a rebate and may not be stackable with some other incentives. It must be processed at the time of delivery; GM will not accept certificates on vehicles that already have been delivered. To use this member benefit, visit, enter your membership number and ZIP code, and print out a Farm Bureau Membership Verification Certificate to take to your GM dealership. Members without Internet access can get assistance in acquiring a certificate from their county Farm Bureau offices. See participating GM dealers for full details.









Camaro C


Camaro ZL1




Corvette Cruze Equinox Express HHR Impala Malibu (including 2013)

Acadia Canyon Savana Sierra Terrain Yukon


Excluded from discount




Chevrolet Volt


Farm Bureau to discontinue safety seat program Effective Nov. 30, Virginia Farm Bureau will discontinue its Child Saver safety seat program. The program, created in 1989 to offer members child restraint seats on a cost-share basis, has provided members with 35,750 seats over the past 23 years. “Our costs have increased to the point that our prices are no longer competitive, and the number of orders placed by our members has dropped dramatically over the past few years,” said Jimmy Maass, Farm Bureau safety manager. “Child safety still remains a top priority for Farm Bureau Safety, and we will transition to more of an emphasis on child safety seat installation.” Farm Bureau has certified child safety seat technicians who are available to perform individual seat checks at the organization’s headquarters in Goochland County and at seat check events at county Farm Bureau offices across the state. For more information or to schedule a seat check near you, contact Farm Bureau Safety at 804-290-1376 or safety@

Savings on Grainger purchases is a member benefit Whether your business needs specialty products or you simply need the right tool for a specific job at home, you can put your Virginia Farm Bureau membership to work and save 10 percent on all purchases from Grainger. The discount applies at Grainger retail locations, online at and when ordering from the Grainger catalog. Online purchases also qualify for free shipping. Grainger serves 2 million customers from North American manufacturing, commercial, government, transportation and contractor markets. Product categories include: • electrical; • motors; • power tools and metalworking; • pumps; and • safety. To use your Farm Bureau discount, you’ll need your Farm Bureau membership number, which is on your membership card. Your county Farm Bureau can provide you with the Virginia Farm Bureau discount code.

Virginia treats make tasty gifts If you’re wondering what to give someone for a special occasion, consider treating them to the rich flavors of fine Virginia foods in Virginia Farm Bureau’s Virginia’s Harvest collection. Farm Bureau members can share Virginia ham and gourmet peanuts, as well as cashews, pecans and chocolate-covered peanuts and peanut brittle. Virginia’s Harvest items can be viewed and ordered at county Farm Bureau offices. For an additional charge, they can be shipped via United Parcel Service with a personalized gift card.



In the Garden

A little planning can pay off in fall colors

sara owens

Planting sedum, coleus and impatiens or butterfly bushes and Rose of Sharon in bright, fall colors can add a splash of color to a sedate, pre-winter landscape, said horticulturalist Mark Viette. He suggested placing flowers between shrubs and using different varieties of plants when designing for fall color. And he noted that some plants, like coleus and impatiens, might need some winter accommodations. “Tender tropical annuals and perennials just cannot take the frosts we have in Virginia,” Viette said, but you can save your plants from year to year by putting them and storing them in a temperaturecontrolled environment. Before frost becomes an issue, dig up the entire plant, and place it in a pot. Put pots in a crate that has holes in it, and store them in a basement or a temperaturecontrolled garage. They can be replanted in late June. Viette recommended planting them in groups of five for visual impact. “These plants may not look great during the summer, but they will show up well from August into late November.” In addition to sedum, coleus and impatiens, Viette recommends doubleflower impatiens that look like roses and the blackberry lily, which has perennial seed pods that resemble blackberries.

The colors of coleus (top and above), double impatiens (above left) and Rose of Sharon (lower left) can liven up a sedate pre-winter landscape. The coleus and impatiens, however, will need a little attention to get them through a Virginia winter. 24


In the Garden

How does your garden grow? One year at a time When planning a garden, it’s a good idea to do successive plantings so there’s always color, said horticulturalist Mark Viette. “When people look at my family’s garden they often say, ‘Wow! How did you do that?’” Viette said. “I always tell them it took a lot of work over a period of years. It can be overwhelming, but if you take it a section at a time, you too can have a beautiful garden.” One of the most important things to consider when designing a garden, he said, is the sky. “You really want to pull in the sky as a layer in the garden.” Viette recommends starting with about 10 plants and selecting flowers that last a long time, as well as a variety of shrubs and trees. Some of his favorites include:

• Annabelle hydrangea, which blooms all summer long; • daylilies, which are available in a riot of colors and bloom at different times;

• • • •

hellebores, or Lenten rose; Chinese dogwoods, which have interesting bark; Japanese maples, for color; and evergreens, which are available in different shades of green, as well as in golden hues, and provide different textures.

Be sure to “stack” plants for visual impact. Picture five gold daylilies with one large hydrangea. Consider adding statuary and planters. “There’s something for everyone,” Viette said. “Just do your research. Search the Web, and jot down what you like when you see it and decide what you want your garden to look like. Think about the colors you want to include, how many plants you want and when you want them to bloom.”

Evergreen textures, long-blooming hydrangeas and colorful daylilies can become focal points in a well-planned garden at different times of the year.

To find the station nearest you that airs Real Virginia, or to view the show online, visit

Mark Viette appears on Real Virginia, Virginia Farm Bureau’s monthly television program. Viette and his father operate the Andre Viette Farm and Nursery in Augusta County and have a live radio show broadcast by more than 60 mid-Atlantic stations each Saturday morning. They also are members of the Augusta County Farm Bureau. Andre Viette currently serves on the organization’s board of directors and on the Virginia Farm Bureau Federation Ornamental Horticulture Advisory Committee, and Mark Viette is a former Augusta Farm Bureau board member. Cultivate NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2012


From the Ground Up

Winter squash can provide next year’s seeds Cooperative Extension alternative crops specialist Andy Hankins. Hybrid seeds won’t be true to the parent crop, because it is produced by cross-pollinating plants. Openpollinated seeds—like the ones that Frost grows—are seeds saved from the previous crop and will grow true to that crop. To prepare seeds for seed production, cut open a squash, scoop the seeds out and let them sit for a few days. “You want to separate the pulp from the seeds,” Frost said. “Spread them on a coarse screen, and hose them down to help remove the pulp more easily.” The seeds can be dried in front of a fan or outdoors, as long as the weather is warm and dry. Once the seeds are dry, they should be kept in an airtight container in the freezer or refrigerator. Frost said butternut squash is good when baked and is easily freezable so it can be enjoyed all winter long.

photos by sara owens

Winter squash varieties are hard on the outside and are harvested in the fall and eaten during the winter. They include butternut squash, acorn squash, buttercup squash, edible pumpkins and kabocha squash. Edmund Frost from Twin Oaks Community in Louisa County grows butternut squash for use in the community’s seed production business, as well as for Twin Oaks residents to eat. Frost sells seeds to Southern Exposure Seed Exchange in Louisa. “We planted the squash seeds in mid-May and harvested the squash in September,” he said. “Butternut squash are fairly straightforward and easy to grow. Weed control is a lot of work. We use a hoe and tractor to help control the weeds, and we use drip irrigation to water the squash.” When shopping for seeds it is important to note the difference between hybrid and open-pollinated seeds, said Virginia

Butternut squash are “fairly straightforward and easy to grow,” and can be used in a variety of meals. Their seeds can be saved for next year’s garden. 26


From the Ground Up

There’s nothing like the taste of a fresh, crisp apple. That’s part of what drives many families to apple markets and orchards each fall. But you can cultivate that taste in your own backyard, noted Virginia Cooperative Extension alternative crop specialist Andy Hankins. “You could also revisit the past and plant a vintage variety that you can’t find in the supermarket.” Vintage Virginia Apples in Albemarle County boasts more than 200 varieties of apples, some of which are not readily available in stores. Apples are fairly insect-resistant and easy to grow, said owner Chuck Shelton, who also operates Albemarle Ciderworks. “Apples need to be able to cross-pollinate, so you need to make sure you plant apple varieties that will help with pollination,” Shelton said. For example, if you plant three apple trees, two should be pollinators. “Seventy percent of apples will pollinate, and there will be some bloom overlap to ensure the different varieties in your garden will be able to pollinate. They need to bloom at the same time for pollination, and that is very important in a small garden,” Shelton said. Varieties that are good pollinators include Golden Delicious, Grimes Golden and different varieties of crabapples. “We recommend planting some earlier varieties that will be ready in July and laterseason varieties that will be available closer to November, so that you spread out your harvest,” Shelton said. Early varieties include Yellow Transparent, Red June, Summer Rambo and Monarch. The pH of the soil is important for healthy apple trees, Shelton said. “We adjust the soil’s pH using lime. Apple trees do well in rocky, clay soil. They need good nutrients, so you can add fertilizer to help with their growth if needed. The clay soil keeps the trees anchored and holds water so moisture can get to the trees easily.” Hankins said apple trees should have a well-trained central leader. “The trees stand about 16 to 18 feet tall maximum but are usually more around 12 to 14 feet tall. When planting the trees you need to give them plenty of room. They don’t need a lot of room, but you do need to account for their size.”

sara owens

When planting apple trees, plan for pollination

It’s best to plant an apple tree during the cooler months of the year. “If you plant the trees when it is too warm you could put too much stress on a new tree,” Shelton said. “If you’re purchasing a tree that has a root ball, you can plant it anytime. We sell bare root trees, so they need to be planted when the temperatures are cooler.”

A home orchard should have apple trees that can cross-pollinate. Choosing early- and later-season varieties will help spread out the fruit harvest.



‘Green up’ your winter meals by leah gustafson

A recent study by the National Cancer Institute and the National Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion revealed that nearly everyone fails to meet dietary requirements. Nutritional deficiencies can wreak havoc on immune systems and organ function and can affect mood and appearance. Greens are truly alkalizing, which is critical for our overly acidic diets. They are loaded with proteins, minerals and vitamins.


Confused by Health Reform? We can help! • Individual plans • Employer group plans • HSAs and HRAs • Medicare supplement • Dental and vision

FARM BUREAU offers NEW health care reform-compliant plans with increased benefits for Virginia Farm Bureau members. Our trained staff will help you customize a health care plan to fit your needs and budget. We work with individuals, families and all types of businesses throughout the state of Virginia.

Get the Membership Advantage.


For information on how the changes in health insurance can save you money, call us at 800-229-7779. Virginia Farm Bureau Service Corporation is an independent authorized agent in Virginia for Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield. Anthem Health Plans of Virginia, Inc. trades as Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Virginia, and its service area is all of Virginia except for the City of Fairfax, the Town of Vienna, and the area east of State Route 123. Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield and its affiliated HMO HealthKeepers, Inc. are independent licensees of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association.®ANTHEM is a registered trademark. The Blue Cross and Blue Shield names and symbols are registered marks of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. For exclusions, limitations, terms under which the policy may be continued in force or discontinued, costs and complete details of the coverage, call or write your insurance agent or the company, whichever is applicable.



Try working these fall favorites into your diet:

ARUGULA—This slightly sweet and spicy green is available year-round but is especially tasty in fall. It’s great sautéed or in salads and an excellent source of folic acid if you’re pregnant or planning on becoming pregnant.

BRUSSELS SPROUTS—Like their cousin, cabbage, these have been shown to lower risks of cancer. Try roasting them in olive oil, mineral salt and a little bit of rosemary.

ESCAROLE—These tender leaves are a staple in Italian white bean soup and an excellent source of vitamin A.

KALE—I would give up chocolate, red wine and high heels for kale. There are a million ways to prepare it, all super-fast and super-delicious. All varieties are good, but definitely try the lacinato or dinosaur kale.

PARSLEY—More than just a pretty garnish, it’s a powerhouse of nutrition and a natural breath freshener.

CELERY—Crunching on raw celery is a great way to chill out when stressed. It’s versatile and makes one of the best creamy soups you’ve ever tasted.

BROCCOLI—From stir-fry and soups to pasta and pizza, you really can’t go wrong with broccoli. Sometimes it’s best just steamed with a little bit of salt and drizzled with olive oil.

CHARD—This broad, sweet and tasty leaf is a great one to include in your holiday menus. Try wrapping spiced apple slices in chard leaves. It’s gorgeous and delicious.



Curly kale

Swiss chard

Brighten winter meals with indoor-grown herbs If you’re already growing fresh herbs, you know how lowmaintenance they can be and how they transform any meal. Savory winter herbs such as parsley, dill, mint, sage and thyme can yield great seasoning for soups, stews, warm teas and just about everything else. To grow herbs indoors this winter, save and rinse out produce trays like you get when you buy mushrooms or berries, and line them with several layers of paper towels. Dampen the towels with water, and sprinkle them with salad green seeds. Place the trays in paper grocery bags, and store them in a dark, cool place until the seeds germinate and are no less than 1 inch tall. Move the trays to a windowsill; a southern exposure is best, as too much sun will dry the seedlings out. You want a spot that has a good balance of light and shade. Moisten plants as needed, and once they are several inches tall you can trim and use as you would any other fresh herbs. Sprouts are probably the easiest indoor gardening venture. You can buy sprout kits almost anywhere, or make your own with some screen mesh, a big glass jar and a few trays. Sprout sunflower seeds for salads and sandwiches, or spicy broccoli and clover. You also can grow trays of wheatgrass and juice the shoots each day. Bring a little summer to your winter by growing edible flowers. Impatiens and calendula blooms are delicious salad toppers and grow easily indoors.

Leah Gustafson is a marketing specialist for Virginia Farm Bureau Health Care Consultants. Cultivate NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2012



Find farm-fresh fall and holiday products, with Farm Bureau Fresh If you’ve got a taste for Virginia-grown apples or fall foods like sweet potatoes and greens—or you’re ready to deck your halls with a fresh-cut Christmas tree or evergreen wreath or garland, a new Farm Bureau member benefit can make it easier to find the goods nearest you. Farm Bureau Fresh, based on the Virginia Farm Bureau website at marketplace, lets members who farm place searchable listings of local foods and other farm products. Anyone can use Farm Bureau Fresh to search for products in 11 categories, or use a ZIP code to locate farmers in a specific area who sell directly to the public. The listings include farm or shop addresses, phone numbers and websites, as well as a map and Google travel directions.



Products currently are being listed in the following categories:

• • • • • • • • • • •

agritourism; aquaculture; bees and honey; Christmas trees; CSAs; flowers; fruit; mushrooms; pick-your-own; pumpkins; and vegetables.


2013 magazine classified ad schedule and policies Members of Virginia Farm Bureau will receive one free 15-word classified ad per membership per year in Cultivate, which is mailed to associate members, or in Virginia Farm Bureau News, which is mailed to producer members. Ads of 16 to 30 words must be accompanied by payment of $20. Any additional ads placed by members in the same calendar year must be accompanied by payment of $10 for 15 words or fewer, or $20 for 16 to 30 words. Ads submitted without payment will be returned. We do not invoice for classified ads or provide proofs or tearsheets. Ads with more than 30 words and ads from nonmembers will not be accepted. Use the form in the February 2013 issue of Cultivate or the online form at to place your ad. No ads or cancellations will be taken by phone. Ads will be accepted only from members whose membership is current.

Magazine classified ads can be placed in the following five categories only: • Crops; • Farm Equipment; • Hay/Straw; • Livestock; and • Livestock equipment. Classified ads will be published in the following issues: • April Cultivate (mailed to associate members only); • May Virginia Farm Bureau News (mailed to producer members only); • July Cultivate (mailed to associate members only); and • August Virginia Farm Bureau News (mailed to producer members only).

Watch this!

LEGAL NOTICETo view Notice ofReal Annual Meeting Virginia , visit Virginia Farm Bureau Mutual Insurance Company The annual meeting of policyholders of Virginia Farm Bureau Mutual Insurance Company will be held at 8:30 a.m., Thursday, November 29, 2012, at the Westfields Marriott Washington Dulles, Chantilly, Virginia, for the following purposes: 1. To receive and act upon the reports of the officers of the Company. 2. To elect a Board of Directors, each to serve for the term of one year. 3. To transact such other business as may properly come before the meeting or any adjournment thereof. Dated this 1st day of October, 2012. Jonathan S. Shouse, Secretary

LEGAL NOTICE Notice of Annual Meeting Virginia Farm Bureau Marketing Association The annual meeting of members of the Virginia Farm Bureau Marketing Association will be held at 8:30 a.m., Thursday, November 29, 2012, at the Westfields Marriott Washington Dulles, Chantilly, Virginia, for the following purposes: 1. To receive and act upon the reports of the officers of the Association. 2. To elect a Board of Directors, each to serve for the term of one year. 3. To transact such other business as may properly come before the meeting or any adjournments thereof. Dated this 1st day of October, 2012. Jonathan S. Shouse, Secretary

November’s Real Virginia will focus on agriculture at State Fair

Watch this!

To view RealVirginia, visit

The 2012 State Fair of Virginia was a success, in part because the Virginia Farm Bureau Federation stepped up to assure agriculture remained an important focus for the event. From Young MacDonald’s Farm to equine events to a virtual tour of six Virginia farms, there was no doubt this was the No. 1 agricultural attraction in the Old Dominion. The November episode of Real Virginia, Virginia Farm Bureau’s monthly television program, will recap the fair and feature a visit to an heirloom apple orchard, as well as share a recipe for slow cookersimmered apples with cinnamon, raisins and walnuts. Real Virginia airs nationwide at 6:30 p.m. on the first Wednesday of each month on RFD-TV, as well as on 41 cable systems and five broadcast stations in Virginia. It’s also available online at Check local cable listings, or visit for a list of participating stations. Cultivate NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2012


Thanks for coming out! VIRGINIA FARM BUREAU FEDERATION is proud to have helped present the 2012 State Fair of Virginia and to help preserve this important tradition. We thank the Virginia farm families and farm, forestry and horticultural organizations that stepped up to ensure that agriculture remained a focus of the fair. We also want to thank everyone who visited the State Fair this year. We look forward to next year’s fair being even more exciting, and to welcoming you back for years to come!

Cultivate Nov/Dec 2012  

Introduced in July 2008, Cultivate is published quarterly with a focus on safe, fresh and locally grown foods and the Virginia farms that pr...

Cultivate Nov/Dec 2012  

Introduced in July 2008, Cultivate is published quarterly with a focus on safe, fresh and locally grown foods and the Virginia farms that pr...