Cultivate WINTER 2018
Virginia Farm Bureau
Farmstays becoming a vacation mainstay
“This has been wonderful, because it
Farmstays becoming a mainstay for vacationers
For travelers looking to enjoy rural living, Virginia farm families offer lodging or bed-andbreakfast accommodations.
helps us diversify farm
Aquaculturalists, craftsmen and more found along The Virginia Oyster Trail
A large-scale tourism and branding effort is underway to make Virginia oysters a household name.
A thorough telling of one Thoroughbred’s story
revenue and brings
directly to us.”
— ALEXIA RICHARDS, co-owner, Roslyn Farm & Vineyard, Albemarle County
Forty-five years after his Triple Crown win, Secretariat still has a following. Farm Bureau and The Meadow Event Park are working to preserve his legacy.
Did You Know?
For Your Benefit
Heart of the Home
Cultivate (USPS 025051) (ISSN 1946-8121) is published four times a year. February, May, August, October. 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 $1.23 (included in membership dues). Postmaster: Please send changes of address to, Cultivate, Virginia Farm Bureau Federation, P.O. Box 27552, Richmond, VA 23261; fax 804-2901096. 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 Cultivate@vafb.com. 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
EDITORIAL TEAM Greg Hicks Vice President, Communications Pam Wiley Managing Editor Kathy Dixon Assistant Editor Sara Owens Staff Writer/Photographer Patricia Hooten Graphic Designer Maria La Lima Graphic Designer Claire Mills Advertising VISIT US ONLINE vafb.com
PHOTO BY ALEXIA RICHARDS
Volume 11, Number 1 Winter 2018
MEMBERS — Address change? 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.
ON THE COVER
Associate members will receive their next issue of Cultivate in May. The magazine is published quarterly, and back issues can be viewed at issuu.com/ virginiafarmbureau.
Richard Fox II and Alexia Richards of Roslyn Farm & Vineyard in Albemarle County (Photo by Katherine Ridgely)
Did you know? Virginia’s farmers recently finished participating in the 2017 U.S. Census of Agriculture, conducted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The census, which is conducted every five years, provides important data on the nation’s farms and ranches, the people who operate them and the goods they produce. Findings from the 2017 census will be released in early 2019. In Virginia, the 2012 census found the following:
Among Farm Bureau producer members in Virginia is Pittsylvania County beef, tobacco and poultry farmer Robert Mills Jr. He serves on the Farm Bureau state board and was named 2017 Swisher Sweets/Sunbelt Expo Southeastern Farmer of the Year.
• 44,800 farms; • an average farm size of 181 acres; and • farmland covering 8.1 million acres, or 32 percent of the state’s total land area. National Ag Day is March 20 and falls during National Ag Week, March 18-24. The annual observances are organized by the Agriculture Council of America, a nonprofit organization that fosters public awareness of agriculture’s role in modern society. Virginia Farm Bureau Federation is proud to count more than 34,000 farm families among its members.
50 gal Amount of water a single oyster can filter in a day. You’ll find information about Virginia oysters and The Virginia Oyster Trail on Page 10.
vafb.com / WINTER 2018
ust three years after Virginia’s Resource Management Plan Program was implemented, the program has far exceeded its goal. More than 92,000 acres throughout the state are now included in 388 resource management plans, or RMPs. The original goal established by the state’s Chesapeake Bay Watershed Implementation Plan was to have RMPs developed for 10,000 acres. The plans, which are tailored for each participating farm, require participants to install or implement specific agricultural best management practices. They also document practices already in use. The RMP Program is the first of its kind for any state in the Chesapeake Bay watershed. It was approved by the Virginia Soil and Water Conservation Board in 2013 and was implemented in July 2014. It is administered by the Department of Conservation and Recreation.
“A perfect fit”
Paul Davis and his father, Clifton “Boogie” Davis, enrolled all 500 acres of their New Kent County farm, Davis Produce, as soon as the program started. “We were already doing everything they were asking us to do, so it was a perfect fit,” remarked Paul Davis. The Davises use no-till planting, wildlife buffers around waterways and cover crops on their barley, corn, small grain, soybean and pumpkin fields. “Our philosophy is to have something green growing all the time,” Davis said. “I like to think we are on the cutting edge of agriculture and environmental quality.”
Clifton “Boogie” Davis (left) and son Paul enrolled Davis Produce in New Kent County in the Resource Management Plan Program as soon as the program started.
> VIRGINIA FARM BUREAU WEEKLY TV PROGRAM
This month on Real Virginia: Farmers weigh in on federal tax plan, protecting water quality Featured this month on Real Virginia, Virginia Farm Bureau’s weekly television program: • See what Virginia farmers have to say about the new federal tax plan. Form
More than 92,000 acres of state’s farmland enrolled in conservation program
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• The state’s farmers have enrolled more than 92,000 acres of farmland in a program to protect natural resources like the Chesapeake Bay. • Learn how the research of Virginia Cooperative Extension helps boosts the state economy. • Get a good look at agriculture in Washington County.
More than 2,300 acres certified
To encourage greater implementation of RMP plans, a stakeholder advisory group examined funding, training and resource needs. The group included representatives from the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, the Virginia Department of Natural Resources, the Virginia Association of Soil and Water Conservation Districts, Virginia Farm Bureau Federation, the Virginia Agribusiness Council, the Chesapeake Bay Commission, the Chesapeake Bay Foundation and other organizations. The group also discussed potential marketing strategies that could be used to increase awareness of the RMP Program. DCR designed a new logo for the program, and producers with a certified RMP may purchase a sign that features the logo. The Davises purchased a sign to post on their property and said it helps brings attention to their conservation efforts—especially when hosting groups on their farm.
Real Virginia airs nationwide at 3:30 p.m. on the first Saturday of each month on RFD-TV on Dish Network and DirecTV, and on select cable outlets around the state. It airs weekly on WVPT Harrisonburg, WBRA Roanoke, WCVE Richmond, WHRO Norfolk, WVVA Bluefield and WTKR Norfolk. Watch Real Virginia anytime online at vafb.com.
Save the Date!
Virginia Horse Festival to return in March OPENING SEPT. 28!
State Fair countdown As of Feb. 14, there are exactly 225 days until the 2018 State Fair of Virginia opens on Sept. 28.
The 2017 State Fair drew more than 4,000 entries in competitions for arts & crafts, photography, baked goods, Brunswick stew, preserved foods, horticulture, giant pumpkins and watermelons and more. Got a righteous recipe or a project you’re working on this winter? You’ll find competition guidelines on the fair’s website at StateFairVa.org this summer.
The annual Virginia Horse Festival will take place March 23-25 at The Meadow Event Park in Caroline County. Join some of the equine industry’s top experts for three days of clinics, demonstrations and exhibits of interest to horse enthusiasts. Special guests Austin Anderson and the Texas Trick Riders will perform, and an indoor trade show and outdoor vendors will offer a wide range of horse-related supplies and services. For the first time, children 12 and younger will be admitted free. The Meadow is the birthplace of Secretariat, who was born March 30, 1970, and the festival will honor the Triple Crown winner with a special slate of birthday events. For festival details and ticket information visit VirginiaHorseFestival.com.
Farm Bureau warehouse open house offers big savings Farm Bureau members can save 10 percent on purchases from the Virginia Farm Bureau Service Corp. Products Division at its Feb. 23 open house in Henrico County. The open house will run from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Farm Bureau warehouse at 1541 Mary St. in Sandston. At the warehouse sale, members can save on a variety of tires, batteries and oil and grease products. They also can save on disk blades, plow parts and chisel teeth. The discount is available for all products except baler twine, which already will be specially priced for the open house. The Products Division provides members with a variety of quality supplies, through Farm Bureaucertified local dealers and the Farm Bureau warehouse. For information on specific products, call the warehouse at 800-476-8473.
vafb.com / WINTER 2018
Becoming a vacationing mainstay BY SARA OWENS
irginia is full of beautiful countrysides—and farms. For travelers looking to explore, disconnect and enjoy rural living, or learn more about farming, there are farm families who offer lodging or bed-and-breakfast accommodations. Alta Jones, proprietor of AltaTerra Farm Bed and Breakfast in Loudoun County, said farmers in England and the United States have discovered a market for the opportunity to spend time on farms. “Whether (guests are) staying on the farm using upscaled tents or bed-and-breakfast rooms … owners are creating activities on the farm for families escaping from the cities,” Jones explained. She said it creates a unique experience, which is important to many people and their families on vacations. “This is not a beginning farmer training; it is sharing the farm activities with guests,” she explained. “Some farms allow guests to harvest eggs, vegetable or herb garden products, or fish in the farm pond. Some offer cooking lessons for farm-to-table, art or photography lessons, floral design or to study the stars and planets at night, carve pumpkins and more.” Jones said she personally sees the bed and breakfast model in Loudoun County heading in this direction. “We are discussing these opportunities in the Loudoun Bed & Breakfast Guild, as many of our B&Bs are farms at various levels of production.”
Elmo’s Rest: A new life for a beloved old home Bedford County Elmo’s Rest was Virginia’s first vacation rental house on a working farm when it opened in the mid-1980s, said owner Danny Johnson. “Things have changed a lot during that time,” Johnson said with a chuckle. “We did not have air conditioning or television then, and people loved it. They wanted to get away from television and wade in the creeks, fish, walk in the woods or read and enjoy the quiet.” Elmo’s Rest sits amid Peaks of Otter Winery and Johnson’s Orchard. The farm was started in 1918; in 2018 it will be designated as a Virginia Century Farm. The house, which dates to about 1825, was the home of Johnson’s parents, Elmo and Sarah “Freddy” Johnson, who lived there from 1919 until Elmo’s death in the ‘80s. The family was unsure of what to do with the property after that, and then Johnson’s wife, Nancy, read a book about farms turning homes into vacation rentals. Elmo’s Rest opened in 1986 and is furnished to accommodate groups, families and couples. “There are 17 pillows, so it sleeps 17. Just depends on how close people want to get to each other,” Johnson said with a smile. There also is a working kitchen and two full bathrooms. The home is decorated to remind people of home. “They say you can’t go home (again), but here, you can,” Johnson said. He noted that some vacationers want Wi-Fi, which they cannot offer, but most still love picking fresh fruit, fishing and enjoying other farm experiences, including farm animals. Elmo’s Rest is surrounded by llamas, pigs, donkeys, chickens, turkeys, a peacock, rabbits, cattle and more. Guests also can feed the animals. With a winery on the property, there is plenty of wine to purchase, including unique flavors such as Chili Dawg—a variety made with chili peppers that evokes hot pepper jelly—and others like Blackberry Cobbler, Blueberry Muffin, Café Vino and Strawberry Shortcake.
Danny Johnson of Johnson’s Orchard and Peaks of Otter Winery in Bedford County turned his parents’ home into a vacation rental surrounded by mountains, farm experiences and agritourism features. PHOTOS BY SARA OWENS
vafb.com / WINTER 2018
Highlighting ‘products and passion’ at Roslyn Farm & Vineyard
Richard Fox II and Alexia Richards have hosted guests from all over the world in their 1930s home in Albemarle County. Stays at Roslyn Farm & Vineyard feature interaction with the farm’s animals and access to fresh, local foods.
PHOTOS BY ALEXIA RICHARDS
Roslyn Farm & Vineyard owners Richard Fox II and Alexia Richards of Albemarle County are busy restoring their farm and entertaining guests in their farm bed and breakfast, which also is their home. Built in the 1930s, the house has five bedrooms, as well as a cottage that can be rented as a single unit. Since 2015 the couple has promoted their home through Airbnb and has hosted about 2,500 guests, some from as far away as the Czech Republic, China, Liberia, Iraq and Sudan. “This has been wonderful, because it helps us diversify farm revenue and brings excited customers directly to us, giving us the chance to highlight both our products and passion for what we do,” Richards explained. Guests can cook meals in the kitchen and have access to farm-fresh chicken and duck eggs. During the spring and summer there are fresh microgreens, tomatoes and corn available. “Sometimes we will cook a meal in the kitchen and invite guests to join us,” Fox said. “They can enjoy local beef from my father’s farm or other local foods.” Guests are able to interact with cows, chickens, ducks, goats and horses on the farm. Richards also teaches horseback riding and offers both riding lessons and a summer riding program. She said many of the people coming to stay have never experienced a farm, ridden a horse or seen livestock in person. “Many come from big cities and different paces of life. Our guests get so excited about the animals. They walk around the farm, pet the animals or help us with the chickens and goats. It’s amazing to see their reactions.” Fox’s family has been farming in Albemarle since the late 1700s. “Agriculture is our life, and I’ve always loved farming,” he added. “Alexia grew up around horses and in the area, and we have been able to combine our talents here.” Richards also is an artist and photographer. Her work is displayed throughout their home and available for purchase. Guests also are able to have professional photographs taken on the farm.
An introduction to agriculture at Blenheim Organic Gardens Blenheim Organic Gardens in Westmoreland County welcomes guests with open arms. Most are volunteers who want to visit for an afternoon or longer and learn about farming or gardening. Owners Lawrence and Becky Latane host most of their visitors through the Worldwide Opportunities on Organic Farms, USA program, or WWOOF-USA. WWOOF gives participants the opportunity to spend time working on a host farm. WWOOF hosts provide room and board during the visit. The Latanes have a small cabin on their farm that sleeps two and also have space for a tent. Visitors have access to the farm kitchen, a private bathroom and a shower. “This was a good way to get people on the farm and give us some extra help,” Lawrence explained. “People are curious about farming, and this is a way for them to get a little hands-on training.” The Latanes have hosted about 20 guests through WWOOF. They’ve had some stay for multiple days, weeks or entire summers, and they’ve hosted international guests from Germany, Italy and France. “It’s a great way to see the United States while learning about agriculture,” Lawrence noted. Guests typically help plant or pick vegetables, herbs and flowers grown on the farm. The Latanes utilize greenhouses and hoophouses that allow them to expand their crop seasons. Located next to the George Washington Birthplace National Monument and not far from Washington, Blenheim is a great place for those unfamiliar with the area to explore. “We think it’s great that people are curious about agriculture,” Becky said. “It’s always fun to see their expressions when they come to the farm. We are so used to what we do day-to-day that it’s fun to see what we do as exciting through someone else’s eyes.” Lawrence added that “it’s a great benefit for us to have the help and reminds us that, despite all the work and trouble sometimes, what we do is interesting to others and it introduces people to agriculture.”
More about WWOOF Worldwide Opportunities on Organic Farms USA, or WWOOF-USA, is an educational and cultural exchange program that offers those who want to learn more about gardening and agriculture an opportunity to spend time on a host farm. Visitors receive room and board during their visits, with no money exchanged between hosts and WWOOFers. The WWOOF-USA Host Farm Directory lists 2,143 organic farms and gardens nationwide. More than 50 are in Virginia. The program is open to anyone 18 or older. Both WWOOFers and hosts need to have a yearly membership. WWOOF was founded in 1971 in the U.K. and is currently in more than 132 countries. For more information visit wwoofusa.org.
Lawrence and Becky Latane have hosted numerous guests who want to learn about organic farming or gardening at Blenheim Organic Gardens in Westmoreland County.
Thought about visiting a Virginia farm? To explore a working Virginia farm for a day, visit the commonwealth’s tourism website at virginia.org/visitafarm. To relax and soak up rural living and farming for longer, or for a family vacation, visit virginia.org/ farmstays. To learn more about the farms in this article, visit their websites:
• AltaTerra Farm B&B AltaTerraFarmBandB.com • Blenheim Organic Gardens BlenheimOrganicGardens.org • Elmo’s Rest PeaksofOtterWinery.com • Roslyn Farm & Vineyard RoslynFarmVa.com
vafb.com / WINTER 2018
Tomâ€™s Cove Aquafarm Eastern Shore
Aquaculturalists, craftsmen and more found along The Virginia Oyster Trail ARTICLE AND PHOTOS BY KATHY DIXON
aine has its lobster, Alaska has salmon and Virginia has the oyster. “We want to make the Virginia oyster a household name,” exclaimed Sherri Smith, executive director of The Virginia Oyster Trail and the Artisans Center of Virginia. In 2014, the Virginia Tourism Corporation worked with other state and community groups to begin branding the Virginia oyster. They partnered with the governor’s office, the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development, Shellfish Growers of Virginia, the Virginia Seafood Council, the Virginia Marine Products Board, local tourism offices and planning districts, and private partners. “Everyone realized this could be more than just a regional effort,” Smith said. Former Gov. Terry McAuliffe enlisted the help of the Artisans Center of Virginia, which was already managing artisan trails on the Eastern Shore and Northern Neck. In 2015 Smith and her staff began meeting with watermen, aquaculturalists and industry groups. In 2016 businesses began joining the
trail. It’s a visitor-directed “journey of discovery” that includes waterman/ aqua-artisan sites as well as culinary and cultural experiences.
Visit oyster farm, then eat oysters One could plan a trip to the Eastern Shore, for example, and visit Tom’s Cove Aquafarms to see how Tommy Clark raises oysters off Chincoteague Island. Then enjoy some of those oysters at Don’s Seafood Restaurant in downtown Chincoteague. Later you might visit Chatham Vineyards on Church Creek in Northampton County to savor Virginia wine that pairs nicely with the seaside region’s salty bivalves that have a sweet butter/cream finish. Clark, who owns Don’s Seafood, said Chincoteague oysters “taste like you went and jumped in the ocean and got that fresh, clean salty taste.” Stay the night at the Waterside Inn on Chincoteague Island, and the next day you could stop in at Karen Tweedie Jewelry Design in Accomack County. Tweedie crafts necklaces, earrings and pendants with cultured pearls, as well as oyster jewelry made of bronze and accented with pearls. Today there are 31 aqua/agri-artisans, which are businesses featuring the Virginia oyster, such as waterman tours and oyster boat | OYSTERS cont’d on p. 12 » vafb.com / WINTER 2018
Don's Seafood Restaurant Chincoteague
Virginia oysters can be enjoyed at stops all along The Virginia Oyster Trail, including Donâ€™s Seafood Restaurant, owned by Chincoteague aquaculturalist Tommy Clark (top), and The Dog and Oyster Vineyard in Irvington.
OYSTERS cont’d from p. 11
experiences, wineries serving Virginia oysters, and breweries and distilleries creating beverages with oysters. There also are 43 restaurants, 22 lodging facilities, 15 artists or art venues creating art featuring oysters, and seven tour sites. All are listed at virginiaoystertrail.com. The oyster trail “is drawing attention to the industry and raising awareness of the Virginia oyster,” Smith said. “We want people to know the oyster is more than just a yummy food. It has environmental and economic benefits as well.”
Oyster farm began as a hobby, grew exponentially Tommy Clark recalled attending a marketing seminar in Virginia Beach about five years ago. “They said Chincoteague oysters were a prime example of specialty marketing/ branding.” And it’s that particular type of branding that has fueled the Virginia Oyster Trail, which follows oyster farmers and related businesses in each of the state’s eight oyster regions. Clark, a Chincoteague native, started Tom’s Cove Aquafarms two decades ago. He was living on the mainland and started a clam and oyster hatchery in his backyard. After getting the hang of it, he recalled, “I figured if I was gonna grow 20, I may as well grow 2 million.” He bought the property on which the current business is located and expanded the oyster side of the operation. Today he harvests more than 3,000 bushels of oysters each year. He places bags of empty oyster shells in shallow water along the banks of the island, and wild oyster seed attach to them and spawn. Clark sells oysters to about 70 percent of local restaurants and to food distributors as far south as Georgia. He also sells oysters to the Grand Central
Oyster Bar in New York City, where they developed a special garlic sauce for Chincoteagues on the half shell.
Historic inn and vineyard serve Rappahannock oysters year-round At the Hope and Glory Inn in Irvington, oyster trail members Dudley Patteson and his wife, Peggy, serve Rappahannock oysters to their guests. Six years ago, Patteson said, when he purchased The Dog and Oyster Vineyard, he thought branding the Virginia oyster would help promote their businesses. “I’ve seen a surge in business since the oyster | OYSTERS cont’d on p. 15 »
‘We want to make the Virginia oyster a household name.’ » SHERRI SMITH, executive director of The Virginia Oyster Trail and the Artisans Center of Virginia
In addition to oysters, The Virginia Oyster Trail includes 22 lodging facilities, 15 artists or art venues and seven tour sites.
vafb.com / WINTER 2018
Oysters take on flavor of waters in which they’re grown Oysters grown in coastal Virginia are of the species Crassostrea Virginica, but flavors vary depending on the water in which they’re harvested. “Unlike any other state, Virginia offers an oyster for every palate,” noted Sherri Smith, executive director of The Virginia Oyster Trail. The salinity levels of the Chesapeake Bay and its major tributaries are ideal for sustaining great-tasting oysters. With eight different coastal habitats, the flavors of Virginia oysters range from salty to buttery to sweet to combinations of all three. According to Smith, some creeks on Virginia’s Eastern Shore are no more than a mile apart yet produce oysters with different nuances in flavor, texture and appearance. Oysters can be eaten fried, grilled, raw or steamed. Because raw oysters have complex flavors, someone who eats them often enough can differentiate the oysters from different regions.
OYSTERS cont’d from p. 13
trail began,” he said, “and we’ve had people here specifically to eat oysters because of it.” At the vineyard, he pairs dry white wine with oysters. “Wine and oysters are two of the most sought-after commodities, and we’re fortunate to have both of them right here.” Patteson said the wine’s terroir—environmental conditions that affect the soil— mirror the oysters’ merroir—the environmental characteristics of the water in which they’re grown. “There is no other place in the world where you can pair the terroir of the grapes with the merroir of the oysters. So it’s the perfect pairing.”
Education is part of trail’s mission One oyster can clean 50 gallons of water each day. “That’s what people are really surprised about,” Clark said. Chincoteague ecotourism boats stop at his docks, and if he’s nearby he’ll talk with visitors about how he grows oysters. “This fits with the educational aspect of the oyster trail.” Patteson likes to tell his guests how Jamestown settlers survived because of oysters. When their crops failed due to drought, they sought food in the nearby waters. After that, he noted, Capt. John Smith guarded the local oyster beds.
Enthusiasts have noted subtle differences in the flavor of oysters from different Virginia waters.
vafb.com / WINTER 2018
A thorough telling of one Thoroughbred’s story Insider information draws visitors to Secretariat tours
BY KATHY DIXON
wwwwwww,” 22 tour participants collectively exhaled after learning that Christopher Chenery never got to see Secretariat win the Triple Crown. The group—a neighborhood “lunch bunch” of friends from Chesterfield County—was participating in a Secretariat Birthplace Tour at The Meadow Event Park in Caroline County last November. Led by Leeanne Ladin, co-author of Secretariat’s Meadow – The Land, The Family, The Legend, the tour offers a behind-the-scenes look at the historic property and the Thoroughbreds raised there. “Meadow Stable had very famous horses long before Secretariat came along,” Ladin explained to the group. She said Chenery bought the property in 1936 to raise racing Thoroughbreds. He had several national champions such as Hill Prince, First Landing, Sir Gaylord, Cicada and others. But after 1962, Meadow Stable began to decline, along with Chenery’s health. In 1967, “everything came to a crashing halt,” Ladin shared. “Mrs. Chenery died, and Mr. Chenery
went into the hospital and never came out.” Their daughter, the late Penny Chenery, was asked to take over the business. And although she had a bachelor’s degree from Smith College and was only three months shy of earning a master’s at Columbia Business School, Chenery was a Denver housewife. Despite her family’s doubts about her running the farm, Ladin noted, Penny Chenery was determined to keep alive her father’s dream of breeding a Triple Crown champion. The lunch bunch learned that Riva Ridge entered the picture in 1969 and in 1971 won $500,000 as a 2-year-old racehorse. “He saved this farm and united the family,” Ladin exclaimed. “In 1972, Riva Ridge became the first Meadow Stable horse to win the Kentucky Derby, Mr. Chenery’s dream. His nurse had the TV on in his (hospital) room, and when she told him that Riva had won the Derby, tears streamed down his face.” Riva Ridge also won the 1972 Belmont Stakes. The next year, Secretariat won the Triple Crown, breaking track records in the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes and Belmont Stakes. “Those records still stand today,” Ladin noted.
Fun facts about Secretariat • A 2017 Audi commercial spliced footage of Secretariat winning the Belmont with its sports car images. • The blanket Secretariat wore after the Belmont Stakes win that made him part of Triple Crown history fetched $88,000 at auction. • Lickinghole Creek Craft Brewery in Goochland County has brewed two beers that honor Secretariat: Secretariat’s Meadow, an Imperial Red IPA, and Tremendous Machine, a stout aged in bourbon barrels.
Secretariat Birthplace Tours at The Meadow Event Park include exhibits inside Meadow Hall on the site of the Chenery homeplace.
That kind of insider information is one of the draws of the tours, which have attracted everyone from local 4-H clubs to visitors from as far away as Germany. The tours are offered six days a week year-round. Phyllis Jenkins of Chesterfield was one of the lunch bunch participants and had seen Disney’s Secretariat film but said she learned new things about Secretariat’s origins and his legacy. “I very much enjoyed the tour and have recommended it to others,” she noted. Ladin has spent the last decade gleaning information about Secretariat and The Meadow’s history. She has met and interviewed Penny Chenery; Ron Turcotte, Secretariat’s jockey; Charlie Davis, his groom; and other former Meadow employees. They’ve all shared stories that have enriched the tour narrative. The State Fair of Virginia bought The Meadow Event Park in 2003 and stabilized the remaining historic barns. Tours and Secretariat-themed events began on a small scale, then Virginia Farm Bureau Federation bought the property in 2013 and hired Ladin to manage the Secretariat tourism program.
PHOTOS BY KATHY DIXON
• 2018 is the 45th anniversary of Secretariat’s Triple Crown win. • Fifteen of the 20 contenders in the 2017 Kentucky Derby had Secretariat in their bloodlines.
Historic designation boosted tourism Ladin immediately began the daunting process of obtaining state and national historic designations for Secretariat’s birthplace. After almost three years of work, the Meadow Historic District obtained the coveted listings on both the Virginia Landmarks Register and the National Register of Historic Places in 2015. The district includes Secretariat’s foaling shed and the farm’s yearling and stallion barns, horse cemetery, well house and pump house. “That was definitely a turning point, because more people stood up and took notice,” Ladin said. “The designation helped with the validation, visibility and momentum of the program.” Also in 2015, Meadow Vice President of Operations Marlene Pierson-Jolliffe came on board. One of her goals has been to increase the significance of Secretariat to the property and to expand the tourism program. Part of the proceeds from the Secretariat tours goes to a historic barn restoration fund operated by the Museum of the Virginia Horse, of which Ladin is vice president. vafb.com / WINTER 2018
Groundshaker settles in at greatgreat-grandfather’s birthplace It’s been a while since Thoroughbred horses have lived at The Meadow Event Park, but that changed in early 2017. Groundshaker, a greatgreat-granddaughter of Secretariat and the last horse bred and raced by Secretariat owner Penny Chenery, now lives on the property. Despite her famous genes, Groundshaker’s time at the track was brief and undistinguished; she raced twice and never placed. On Feb. 14, she will be 7 years old and enjoying her time as the star attraction of the Secretariat Birthplace Tours. “Having Groundshaker at her ancestral home is like a valentine from Penny
Chenery to Secretariat fans everywhere,” noted Leeanne Ladin, The Meadow’s Secretariat tourism manager and co-author of Secretariat’s Meadow – The Land, The Family, The Legend. “She’s a living link to racing immortality. Maybe Groundshaker wasn’t destined for the winner’s circle at the racetrack, but she is definitely a winner with our tour visitors.” Ladin said guests get a double treat watching the antics of Groundshaker’s spunky little companion, Mia the miniature horse. The two share a large, white-fenced paddock with a white barn trimmed in blue, the colors of Meadow Stable racing silks.
Secretariat’s birthday celebrated during Virginia Horse Festival Celebrating Secretariat’s birthday and recognizing the 45th anniversary of his Triple Crown sweep are highlights of this year’s Virginia Horse Festival. The Meadow Event Park signature event will take place March 23-25. This year children 12 and younger will be admitted free with a paid adult admission. Secretariat birthday events include tours of Meadow Hall, which houses displays of Secretariat memorabilia as well as photos of famous Virginia racehorses. On March 24, a special ticketed program will be held to honor Secretariat. Kate Chenery Tweedy will talk about her mother, the late Penny Chenery, and the bond she shared with Secretariat. The festival also will host Austin Anderson, a Texas trick rider, and a LandSafe program that teaches riders how to fall in a way that reduces or eliminates the risk of injury. The weekend will be packed with seminars, demonstrations and clinics for horse enthusiasts of all ages. For more information visit VirginiaHorseFestival.com.
Secretariat Tourism Manager Leeanne Ladin conducts Secretariat Birthplace Tours six days a week at The Meadow.
Tourism manager lives and BY KATHY DIXON
Dressed in “Secretariat blue” from head to toe, Leeanne Ladin wears her work like a badge of honor. Secretariat is her hobby, her passion and her job. “I feel so lucky to be a steward and help keep Secretariat’s legend alive,” she said enthusiastically. “It feels more like a mission than a job.” As Secretariat tourism manager for The Meadow Event Park, where the famed racehorse was born, Ladin has what she calls the “dream job.” Her responsibility is to develop the property’s Secretariat tourism program. Since she spends so much time there, Ladin and her husband, Gary, moved into a house on the property in 2014. Every day she crosses state Route 30 to feed Groundshaker, a great-great-granddaughter of Secretariat who was gifted to The Meadow by the late Penny Chenery, Secretariat’s owner. The big bay mare lives in a paddock on the property, along with her companion, miniature horse Mia. Ladin keeps her own horses—a palomino walking horse named Meadow and a Rocky Mountain horse named My Girl—in a pasture at her house. “It’s hard to believe that this all started nearly 10 years ago when Kate Chenery Tweedy, Wayne Dementi and I teamed up to write Secretariat’s Meadow – The Land, The Family, The Legend,” Ladin mused. “The book has led me down paths I never expected.” Ladin said she’s always paired riding with writing. As a child, she spent summers riding a pony at her grandparents’ farm in Rocky Mount, Va. “I would sit on my grandmother’s porch and
Historic barn restoration aided by Secretariat tours, other events
breathes Secretariat write poems about ponies,” she recalled with a chuckle. But it wasn’t until a Virginia Commonwealth University journalism class in 1973 that she got Secretariat fever. She wrote an article about his Triple Crown win, and “he became a hero to me.” Fast-forward decades later. After working as a magazine editor and as a marketing and public relations professional for several different organizations, Ladin and Dementi formed Dementi Milestone Publishing. They co-authored a book about the State Fair of Virginia, and the last chapter was about The Meadow. After interviewing Chenery, Secretariat jockey Ron Turcotte and former Meadow Stable employees, Ladin and Dementi decided there was enough of a story to write a separate book about The Meadow, Secretariat and the family that owned him. In the summer of 2007, Kate Chenery Tweedy, Penny’s daughter, came to Virginia and joined Ladin in researching Meadow history. The completed book was published in 2010 just before Disney’s Secretariat was released. “The book really changed my life and led to the Secretariat tourism program,” Ladin shared. The book was unveiled at a Secretariat birthday celebration in 2010. The following year, tours became part of the annual celebration. Today the tours are an integral part of operations at The Meadow. “It’s such a multi-layered story, and I feel so lucky to be a part of telling that story,” Ladin said.
The Museum of the Virginia Horse is a 501(c)(3) that recently was reorganized to oversee the historic barn restoration fund at The Meadow Event Park. “Tours are an important part of the Secretariat program, but we also need to restore the barns and complete the story,” said Marlene Pierson-Jolliffe, president of the museum board. “The barns and the Secretariat memorabilia are great, but we need to make the property more interactive so that it becomes a living heritage site dedicated to the history of Virginia horses, Secretariat and the state’s horseracing legacy.” The board began meeting in early 2017. “The Meadow is such a historic asset, and people are looking for a heritage tourism experience,” explained Leeanne Ladin, the museum board’s vice president. “They want to see something authentic that they won’t see anywhere else.” Plans are underway to restore the Meadow Stable
barns and foaling shed and replicate the former farm manager’s office. It would feature a tack room with saddles and bridles, pictures of the early Meadow Stable champions and possibly interactive kiosks showing video interviews with former Meadow grooms. “We want to give visitors more of a feel for what it was like here in the heyday of Meadow Stable,” Ladin said. She added that many visitors have asked for a statue of Secretariat. History is an integral part of The Meadow, and Secretariat tourism is becoming more integrated with events at the property. For example, Ladin has given tours to participants at RV rallies, chamber of commerce functions and horse shows. But the goal is to make the program more than just events. “Events come and go, but the story of The Meadow and Secretariat is there 365 days a year,” noted PiersonJolliffe.
For more information on the Secretariat Birthplace Tours, visit MeadowEventPark.com. vafb.com / WINTER 2018
For Your Benefit
John Deere program offers savings for every project Good news, weekend warriors! You can receive valuable John Deere discounts just for being a Virginia Farm Bureau member. All Farm Bureau members in Virginia will receive automatic access to John Deere’s GreenFleet™ Loyalty Rewards program. That means deeper discounts on equipment, including riding mowers, utility vehicles and tractors at John Deere dealerships. You’re also eligible for exclusive offers and special parts savings. Simply sign up for the John Deere GreenFleet Loyalty Rewards program using a valid Farm Bureau membership number and your ZIP code at JohnDeere.com/Farm Bureau. Farm Bureau members are eligible for the following discounts in these categories of equipment: • $350-$3,200 off Commercial Mowing; • $100-$250 off Residential Mowing; • $200-$350 off Utility Vehicles; • $200-$350 off Tractors; • $500-$3,700 off Golf and Sports Turf; and • 17 percent off MSRP for Commercial Worksite.
Other details: • GreenFleet Loyalty Rewards benefits are only available at John Deere dealerships. • GreenFleet members can manage their account at MyJohnDeere. Deere.com. For full GreenFleet terms and conditions, visit JohnDeere.com/ GreenFleet. For full program details, visit vafb.com/benefits.
You don’t have to wonder about health risks with Life Line Screenings Members can save on four noninvasive vascular health screenings— for carotid artery, abdominal aortic aneurysm, atrial fibrillation and peripheral arterial disease—and have a free osteoporosis screening to assess risk for stroke, heart attack and bone fractures. Life Line Screenings, the national leading provider of preventive screenings, offers these procedures to Farm Bureau members at the discounted rate of $145. Watch for mailings about Life Line screenings in your area, or contact your county Farm Bureau for details.
Get discounts and free shipping on all Grainger orders Farm Bureau members in Virginia get discounts on all equipment and supplies from Grainger, plus free standard ground shipping on all standard Grainger products*. Get started with your price savings using three easy methods:
1 2 3
Present the Virginia Farm Bureau organization account number— available from your county Farm Bureau and at vafb.com/benefits—at the time of purchase. Visit grainger.com/content/ farmbureau to establish a new Grainger account using that Farm Bureau account number. Call Grainger customer service at 877-620-2852 to update your existing Grainger account with the Farm Bureau organization account number. To be sure you get your Farm Bureau discount, always reference Virginia Farm Bureau's organization account number when visiting your local branch or making a telephone order or when setting up your personal account online. *FREE standard shipping on all orders shipped ground transportation. Other freight charges will be incurred for services such as expedited delivery, special handling by the carrier, sourcing orders and shipments outside the continental United States.
Program offers members prescription drug discounts Virginia Farm Bureau’s free Prescription Drug Discount and Savings Program affords members an average savings of 25 percent on more than 12,000 FDA-approved, namebrand and generic prescription drugs at more than 57,000 pharmacies nationwide. Members pay no fee to use the program, which is designed for individuals with no insurance coverage for prescription drugs. The Prescription Drug Discount and Savings Program is not insurance. Rather, it works via what’s known as a “consumer card” or “point of sale card” that can be used 20
by your entire household. There are no medical exams, no waiting periods, no claim forms to file and no exclusions for pre-existing conditions. Simply present your card at a participating pharmacy when you have your prescription filled, or use it when ordering medicines through the mail-order program of Agelity Inc. Your county Farm Bureau can provide starter card information and information on how to locate participating pharmacies near you and compare potential savings on generic and brand-name drugs.
Myth vs. reality “I can multitask while driving” The brain can quickly toggle between tasks but can’t do two things at the same time, like driving and talking on the phone. Driving and talking are both thinking tasks, and the brain switches between the two and slows reaction times. Activity in the area of the brain that processes moving images decreases by up to one-third when a driver is listening to or talking on a phone, according to the NSC.
“Talking on a cell phone is just like speaking to a passenger” Passengers can be good for you, as adult passengers can help the driver and be alert to traffic problems. The person you are talking to on the phone can’t see what is going on.
“Speaking hands-free is safe” Distracted driving is a leading cause of deaths in U.S. vehicle crashes
‘Just Drive’: April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month
t was just a quick call. It was just a short trip. It was just a picture. It was just an email. It was just a glance. It was just a text. “‘Just’ is all it takes,” according to the National Safety Council, which observes April as Distracted Driving Awareness Month. The council is working to empower drivers to put safety first and “Just Drive.” In 2016, about 40,000 people died in U.S. motor vehicle crashes; the top three causes of fatalities on the road are alcohol, speeding and distracted driving. While many distractions exist while driving, cell phones are a top distraction because so many drivers use them for long periods of time.
Drivers talking on the phone—even hands-free—can miss seeing up to 50 percent of their driving environments, including pedestrians and red lights.
“I only use my phone at a stoplight, so it’s OK” Even at stoplights it is important to remain attentive to your surroundings. A recent AAA study shows that people are distracted up to 27 seconds after they finish sending a voice text or using their phones.
“Voice-to-text is safe to do while driving” You may not actually be looking at the phone, but it still can be distracting. Additionally, the temptation to check for autocorrect errors may move your eyes from the road to your phone. A webinar on how to eliminate distractions around you while driving is available on the NSC website at distracteddriving.nsc.org. Other organizations also share information online about distracted driving, including Virginia Farm Bureau partners such as Drive Smart Virginia (drivesmartva.org) and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (iihs.org).
Combating distracted driving with technology Crash avoidance technology could be the most promising avenue for reducing crash risks related to distractions of any type, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. An analysis of data from two field studies of several prototype collision warning systems suggest the systems may not reduce the prevalence of distracted driving; however, the technologies can help prevent or
mitigate crashes. Warnings can redirect a distracted, inattentive or sleepy driver's attention back to the roadway if a vehicle detects the potential for a collision. Some systems attempt to avoid the collision altogether if a driver does not respond fast enough or does not respond at all.
Automakers are integrating "infotainment" systems into vehicles
to let drivers and other occupants plug in or wirelessly connect portable electronic devices such as cellphones to vehicle entertainment and communication systems. Many newer infotainment systems and portable devices can be controlled using voice commands. Several experimental studies have shown that drivers take shorter glances away from the roadway and keep their eyes on | DISTRACTIONS cont'd on page 23 » vafb.com / WINTER 2018
Operate your own business? Make sure you’re covered
hen you own and operate a business, whether it is in your home or an outside building, it is important to make sure you have the proper insurance coverage. An unendorsed homeowner policy or personal auto policy will not protect your business or any vehicles used as part of that business. “Business or commercial coverage plans protect your livelihood and are essential for business owners,” said Lisa Whitus, personal and commercial lines underwriting manager for Virginia Farm Bureau Mutual Insurance Co. “Business insurance can provide business property and liability coverage, as well as loss of business income—all important coverages to have in place when you rely on your business for your income and the income of your employees.” Even if the business is conducted in your home, “you need a business policy, plain and simple,” Whitus emphasized, adding that vehicles used for your business should be insured on a commercial auto policy. Some businesses may have property that moves from job site to job site—think contractor’s tools, Thirty One bags,
LuLaRoe apparel or Pampered Chef merchandise. “Typical property policies do not always adequately cover these off-premises needs,” Whitus noted. For businesses that include traveling with products, and also having products in your home that consumers then come onto your property to purchase, can create a whole other policy need. Virginia Farm Bureau writes business insurance policies for commercial and personal services, retail businesses, specialty contractors, churches and more. Contact a Farm Bureau insurance agent to discuss protecting your business today, or visit vafb.com/business-insurance.
Does my homeowner policy include earthquake coverage? Some items are not automatically covered on an insurance policy, and earthquake protection is one of those, said Gerald Gardner, director of sales for Virginia Farm Bureau Mutual Insurance Co. Any home could be damaged during an earthquake or an aftershock. Even just a few cracks in sheetrock can be costly to repair. To find out more contact your insurance agent.
Don’t miss out on this offer. Visit fordfarmbureauadvantage.com today!
2018 FORD F-350 SUPER DUTY®
Members get $500 Bonus Cash* toward the purchase or lease of an eligible new 2017/2018 Ford vehicle!
Don’t forget about the Built Ford Tough F-150 Sweepstakes!** Text the word SWEEPS to 46786*** to enter! *Program 36238: $500 Bonus Cash offer exclusively for active AL, AR, AZ, CA, FL, GA, IL, IN, IA, KS, KY, LA, MI, MS, MO, NE, NM, NC, ND, OH, PA, SC, TN, TX, VA Farm Bureau members who are residents of the United States. Offer is valid through 1/2/2019 for the purchase or lease of an eligible new 2017/2018/2019 model year Ford vehicle. Not available on Mustang Shelby GT350®, Mustang Shelby® GT350R, Ford GT, Focus RS and F-150 Raptor. This offer may not be used in conjunction with most other Ford Motor Company private incentives or AXZD-Plans. Some customer and purchase eligibility restrictions apply. Must be a member for 30 consecutive days prior to purchase. Limit one $500 Bonus Cash offer per vehicle purchase or lease. Limit of five new eligible vehicle purchases or leases per Farm Bureau member during program period. See your Ford Dealer for complete details and qualifications. **NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. A PURCHASE WILL NOT INCREASE YOUR CHANCES OF WINNING. MUST BE LEGAL RESIDENT OF U.S. OR D.C., 21 YEARS OR OLDER WITH VALID DRIVER’S LICENSE TO ENTER AND A CURRENT FARM BUREAU MEMBER. ADDITIONAL RESTRICTIONS MAY APPLY. Void where prohibited. Sweepstakes ends 9/30/2018. ***Autodialed marketing messages will be sent to the number provided. Consent is not a condition of purchase or entry. Message and data rates may apply. Sweepstakes ends 9/30/2018. For entry and official rules with complete eligibility, prize description and other details, visit www.fordspecialoffer.com/farmbureau/sweeps. Sponsored by Ford Motor Company, One American Road, Dearborn, MI 48126.
Group health insurance policies available through Farm Bureau
aving money on employee benefits while still attracting and retaining employees is a must in today's economy. Virginia Farm Bureau’s health insurance agency— Experient Health—can help with group insurance policies. Experient Health offers many group insurance plans, including vision, dental, life and disability. The company is a subsidiary of Virginia Farm Bureau and has staff in its Richmond office and throughout the commonwealth who can help businesses find the best insurance plans for their employees. “We do all the work for companies, making it easier for them to put together a good insurance plan,” whether they have as few as two employees or as many as 150, said Brett Denton, Experient
Health vice president. Under the Affordable Care Act, companies with 50 or more full-time employees or equivalents are required to offer group health insurance to employees or pay a penalty, Denton explained. “This is commonly referred to as the employer mandate or ‘pay or play.’” Experient Health sells Aetna, Anthem, Optima Health, Piedmont Community Health Plan and United Healthcare products for businesses, as well as various dental, vision and life companies. “We offer a variety of insurance carriers to help meet the needs of our clients and to find a product that will work best for them and their employees,” Denton added.
Farm Bureau helps business owners weigh their options for employee health insurance plans.
When a company contacts Experient Health, they are asked various questions that enable an agent to customize options for their company. For more information, call 855-677-6580.
| DISTRACTIONS cont'd from page 21 »
the road for a greater proportion of the time when interacting with a portable device using voice commands than when using their hands. However, voice systems are not all designed the same, and the benefits can vary. An IIHS study found that drivers were able to place calls and enter addresses into a navigation system during highway driving more quickly and keep their eyes on the roadway longer when using a system in which a single detailed voice command was used to complete the tasks, compared with a system in which multiple voice commands were used to navigate different menus. On the flip side, drivers experience many more errors when entering an address using a single voice command. The effects of voice recognition technology on crash risk are unknown. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has issued voluntary guidelines for integrated infotainment systems in an effort to minimize their visual and manual distraction
potential. The administration also has provided similar voluntary guidelines for makers of portable and aftermarket devices.
Phones limiting distraction
Phone applications that restrict or limit access to electronic devices also have been developed. The apps generally work when vehicles are in motion and can silence a phone, redirect incoming calls to voicemail or respond to text messages with a preprogrammed message. A study examining phone use during work-related driving found that when phone use was restricted by a blocking application, employees answered fewer calls with their employer-provided phones while the vehicle was moving and made more calls when the vehicle was stopped. Another study examining smartphone use among 182 teen drivers for a year found that teens who had an app that restricted cellphone use and blocked incoming calls and
messages made significantly fewer calls and texts per mile driven.
For iPhone users With iOS 11, your iPhone can sense when you might be driving and prevent notifications. You iPhone will stay silent, and the screen will stay dark. If someone sends a message, he or she will receive an automatic reply that indicates you are driving. If the message is important, the sender is given the option to ensure you receive a notification. The first time your iPhone running iOS 11 senses that you might be driving, it shows a description of the Do Not Disturb while driving feature after you stop. Tap “Turn On While Driving,” and it will turn on automatically when your iPhone connects to your car via Bluetooth or when your iPhone senses driving motion. For more information visit support. apple.com/en-us/HT208090.
vafb.com / WINTER 2018
Short-term health insurance policies bridge a health insurance gap
or individuals who missed the open enrollment deadline, lost their coverage outside of the annual open enrollment period or do not have a qualifying event, a shortterm health insurance plan may be an option. Short-term health insurance plans help bridge gaps in coverage for individuals and families in times of transition. They give individuals the flexibility to drop the coverage at any time without penalty and the ability to apply for another term of coverage with certain restrictions. The plans are based on the family’s or individual’s needs, with a range of available deductible amounts. “These policies are likely a good choice for applicants who need coverage without a qualifying event, who are between jobs or are waiting for
a new employer’s coverage to become effective,” said Brett Denton, vice president of Experient Health. The plans also can be helpful to people who: • are coming off their parents’ insurance plan; • recently were discharged from the military; • missed open enrollment and do not have a qualifying event; • are waiting for Medicare; • need a temporary alternative to COBRA insurance; or • are losing coverage following a divorce. Denton noted that short-term health insurance plans do not meet the
Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act minimum essential benefits. “This means you could have a penalty for having a plan that doesn’t meet the law requirement and have a tax burden at the end of the year.” Short-term plans also are not designed to cover everything and typically will not cover routine office visits, maternity, mental health or preventive care. They also will not cover preexisting conditions. “If you’re healthy and just need temporary coverage until another plan kicks in, or you missed the last open enrollment, this may be a good option,” Denton said. “And often plans will kick in the next day.” For more information about shortterm health insurance plans, call 800229-7779 or visit vafb.com/quote.
Have questions about Medicare Supplements? Call today!
Virginia Farm Bureau 1-800-229-7779 An authorized licensed insurance agent for Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Virginia, license number: 109534
This policy has exclusions, limitations and terms under which the policy may be continued in force or discontinued. For more information on benefits, please contact your agent or the health plan. Not connected with or endorsed by the U.S. Government or the federal Medicare program. The purpose of this communication is the solicitation of insurance. Contact will be made by an insurance agent or insurance company. 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. Independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. ANTHEM is a registered trademark of Anthem Insurance Companies, Inc. The Blue Cross and Blue Shield names and symbols are registered marks of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. AADVOTH006M(15)-VA 55681VASENABS 24
It might look dreary outside now, but plant choices like (clockwise from left) salvia, butterfly bush and plumbago can help draw colorful visitors this spring and summer.
Attracting butterflies, hummingbirds to the garden
aybe it’s cold or dreary now, but in a few months gardens all over Virginia will be bright and lively again—and hopefully full of butterflies and hummingbirds. By establishing specific plans, you can create a garden space that’s attractive to both creatures. Horticulturalist Mark Viette of Augusta County said planting a garden to attract hummingbirds and butterflies is easy, and he recommends selecting more than one variety of plant that appeals to them. “Out of all the plants you can plant, the No. 1 plant that will attract more
hummingbirds than anything else is salvia, Black and Blue,” he said. “The plant will start blooming late in the season. In very cold areas, you should bring it inside during the winter and protect it.” Butterfly bushes are known for attracting butterflies, and Viette cited a variety called White Profusion. “In a lot of research, it was found the white form of the bush attracts more butterflies and hummingbirds than the other types,” he explained. Another plant that will attract hummingbirds and butterflies is plumbago, a hardy perennial. Additionally, fall-blooming varieties
of aster, and summer-blooming phlox will draw winged visitors and will last almost until the first frost. They also will attract carpenter bees. “All of these are great plants to incorporate throughout the garden,” Viette said. “It’s important to note that hummingbirds tend to be territorial, so you want lots of these plants in the garden so that there are a lot of food sources for these wildlife.” Focus on planting long (10 or 20 feet), narrow flower beds, Viette recommended. “Butterflies like to travel up and down the same plant when it’s in full bloom.”
vafb.com / WINTER 2018
Chocolate adds extra-deliciousness to desserts
o celebrate National Chocolate Month this February, just add chocolate to make foods even tastier. Think about dipping cake in melted chocolate fondue, coating strawberries with chocolate or indulging in chocolate-covered peanuts or cashews. Chocolate sometimes gets a bad rap because of its high calorie content, but some research has shown chocolate has certain health benefits. According to a study published in The Journal of Nutrition, chocolate consumption might help reduce low-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels, known as the “bad fats.” And scientists at Harvard Medical School suggest that drinking two cups of hot chocolate a day could help keep the brain healthy and reduce memory decline in older adults. The researchers found that hot chocolate helped improve blood flow to parts of the brain where it was needed. Here are a couple of chocolaty recipes sure to sweeten the deal.
an ice bath briefly to stop the cooking process. Place the bowl of chocolate on a sturdy surface, and slowly add reserved chocolate while stirring; this is called seeding the chocolate. Continue to seed chocolate until the temperature is slightly lower than your body temperature (Touch chocolate to your lower lip; it should feel slightly cool). Dip cherries in chocolate and place on a parchment-covered baking sheet. Quickly sprinkle macadamia nuts onto chocolate before it hardens.
Chocolate-coated Maraschino Cherries Sprinkled with Macadamia Nuts
⅓ cup toasted pecan halves, coarsely chopped
½ cup macadamia nuts 4 ounces chopped chocolate (60%-70% cocoa) 24 maraschino cherries DIRECTIONS In a food processor, chop the macadamia nuts; set aside. Chop chocolate into fine bits. Set aside one-third of the chocolate. In a double boiler, melt the other two-thirds of the chocolate until completely liquidized. Remove chocolate from heat, and place bowl on a cold towel or in
Source: National Cherry Growers & Industries Foundation
Orange U Nutty Cookie Pizza INGREDIENTS
16.5-ounce package refrigerated sugar cookie dough ¾ cup orange marmalade 2 tablespoons semisweet chocolate chips 2 tablespoons bittersweet chocolate chips
DIRECTIONS Preheat oven to 350°. On a lightly floured surface, roll out cookie dough into a 12" circle that is ¼" thick. Transfer to an ungreased 15" round baking sheet. Bake 18-20 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from the oven, and let cool on the pan for 8-10 minutes. Using a large, angled spatula, carefully loosen the crust from the pan; let cool completely. Spread marmalade evenly on the crust up to ½" from the edge. In a small, microwave-safe bowl, combine semi-sweet and bittersweet chocolate chips, and microwave on high 30-45 seconds or until melted, stirring every 20 seconds. Drizzle chocolate over marmalade, and sprinkle evenly with pecans. Cut the cookie pizza into 16 slices, and serve. Source: Florida Department of Citrus
vafb.com / WINTER 2018
I t’s the bedrock of
our nation’s food and fiber
There are more than 600 documented soil types in Virginia, grouped into five main regions. In this soil series, we have explored the “skin of the earth” in each region, and how the soil influences regional agriculture and forestry activities. In this fifth and final installment, we explore the Coastal Plain region.
Coastal Plain soils produce record row crops
he soils in Virginia’s Coastal Plain region “are some of the most productive,” proclaimed Greg Hammer, soil resource specialist for Virginia’s Natural Resources Conservation Service. “Not just in Virginia, but anywhere.” Hammer’s territory is the Coastal Plain, which includes southeastern Virginia, the Northern Neck and the Eastern Shore. The plain’s inner edge borders Interstate 95 between Washington and Emporia. A line through the town of Suffolk north to Gloucester Courthouse and Northumberland County on the Potomac roughly marks the boundary between the upper and 28
lower coastal plains. Farmers in the region predominantly grow row crops—and they do that successfully. Row crops are plants grown in rows wide enough to acommodate agricultural machinery. They include barley, corn, cotton, peanuts, soybeans, wheat and some vegetables. In 2016 Coastal Plain farmer Heath Cuttrell of Chesapeake was named the national non-irrigated corn yield champion with 347 bushels per acre, noted M. Watson Lawrence Jr., agriculture director in Chesapeake for Virginia Cooperative Extension. “There are other farmers in our area who consistently produce 250 bushels per acre as well.”
In 2017 another Coastal Plain farmer, David Hula of Charles City County, set a new world record with an irrigated corn yield of 542.77 bushels per acre. Lawrence and Hammer said row crops grow well in the Coastal Plain because the soils there are dominated by sandy surfaces with loamy subsoils. “Loamy soils tend to have better waterholding capacity than sandy soils, and that’s advantageous to crop farmers,” Lawrence explained. Although many of the soils in the lower Coastal Plain don’t drain well, production technologies make soils of the region competitive with other parts of the state. “The James River serves as a
Soil Regions of Virginia ■■ Appalachian Plateau ■■ Valley and Ridge ■■ Blue Ridge ■■ Piedmont ■■ Coastal Plain
Row crops like corn, soybeans and wheat are agricultural staples along Virginia’s Coastal Plain.
BY KATHY DIXON
natural break for a lot of the region’s vegetation,” Hammer explained. “There’s a big difference in the crops north and south of the James River.” He said corn and soybeans are common north of the James while peanuts and cotton are grown south of the James. Lawrence said farmers in the Hampton Roads area once raised livestock. But now that the area is more heavily populated, livestock has virtually disappeared. “There’s conflict between humans and animal production but less with row crop production.” Agriculture on the region’s Eastern Shore is different than other areas of the Coastal Plain. There is a “huge
Crops raised on Virginia’s Eastern Shore include a variety of vegetables, including potatoes like those grown by David Hickman in Accomack County.
diversity of crops, lots of vegetables and aquaculture,” Hammer elaborated. No matter what the region, Coastal Plain farmers have worked hard over the past two decades to build up organic matter in the soil by implementing conservation practices. Hammer said most use no- or reducedtill planting. They also plant cover crops to prevent erosion, build organic content, create diversity and hold nutrients in the soil. “Organic matter increases life in the soil, and that contributes to quality cropland,” he explained. “The ground itself and the life that’s in the soil, if you nurture it, will benefit the land, farmers and the environment.”
The Coastal Plain also is the site of one of the state’s most important geological breaks. The Suffolk Scarp (short for escarpment) is an ancient shoreline formed when sea level was much higher. Now it is a ridge that directs rainwater to the east and south, toward Lake Drummond in Suffolk and Chesapeake. “Overwhelmingly, most of the state’s wetlands are in the Coastal Plain region,” Hammer said. Wetlands aren’t suitable for agriculture, but they help slow water movement from uplands to estuaries and bays of eastern Virginia, which improves water quality and provides habitat for wildlife. vafb.com / WINTER 2018
Farm Bureau website helps you maximize your membership As a registered member at vafb.com, you’ll be the first to gain access to new content, convenient account features, membership information and insurance policy details. Once registered, members can:
• v iew policy information 24/7, and easily find your insurance agent or county Farm Bureau office with our improved locator tool; • r equest policy changes and pay premiums online; and
• get access codes and information for all member benefits, including the new John Deere discount program; and
•d ownload auto insurance ID cards.
• update your contact information to ensure you receive Farm Bureau’s monthly e-newsletters. Virginia Farm Bureau insurance policyholders can:
Follow us at VaFarmBureau and VirginiaFarmBureauInsurance on Facebook and @VaFarmBureau and @VFBInsurance on Twitter to learn more about Virginia agriculture and get tips to help avoid costly insurance claims.
2018 magazine classified ad schedule and policies Members of Virginia Farm Bureau are eligible to place 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. Virginia Farm Bureau 1982–2016
JU ST PU B LISHED
“An uplifting account of
From the Ground Up: Growth of a Modern Farm Bureau
the success story that is
Virginia Farm Bureau”
Wayne F. Pryor,
FROM THE GROUND UP:
Growth of a Modern Farm Bureau If you are a Farm Bureau member, you’ve seen history in the making! Commemorate it with a copy of this colorful, hardbound history and celebration of Virginia Farm Bureau’s past 34 years! Available for $30 at DementiMilestonePublishing.com/from-the-ground-up. Or contact author Greg Hicks, email@example.com.
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 this issue of Cultivate or the online form at vafb.com/membership-at-work/membership/benefits/ marketplace 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 Virginia Farm Bureau News (mailed to producer members only); • May Cultivate (mailed to associate members only); • August Cultivate (mailed to associate members only); and • September Virginia Farm Bureau News (mailed to producer members only).
Finding your member number When placing your ad, be sure to include your Farm Bureau member number, which can be found on your membership card and above your name on the mailing label of your copy of Cultivate. All member numbers will be verified.
How to place your classified ad STEP 1 Use the form below to provide contact information and the text for your ad. • Ads will be accepted from Farm Bureau members only. • Classified ads are not transferable. • Please type or print. • Classified ads will not be accepted or cancelled over the phone. STEP 2
Indicate the issues in which you want your ad to run.
Select the category in which you want your ad to run (Pick one only).
Your first ad of 15 words or less is free with your membership. Pricing for additional ads: 1–15 words $10/ad 16–30 words $20/ad Additional ads must be accompanied by a check (no cash) for each issue in which the ad is to appear. • Make check payable to: Virginia Farm Bureau. • Ads longer than 30 words will not be accepted.
Important: We are not responsible
• We do not invoice for classified ads or provide proofs or tearsheets. • Ads submitted without payment will be returned.
for typographical errors or errors due to illegible handwriting (No refunds available). Classified ads carried in Cultivate and Virginia Farm Bureau News do not constitute an endorsement by Virginia Farm Bureau Federation and its affiliated companies and organizations. We reserve the right to edit or reject ads, including ads that represent a business in competition with the Virginia Farm Bureau Federation, Virginia Farm Bureau Mutual Insurance Company or any of our affiliated or affinity partners. We reserve the right to edit or reject any advertisement that makes reference to any particular political party or group, religious belief or denomination, race, creed, color or national origin.
Mail your ad (and payment) to: Virginia Farm Bureau News/Cultivate Classifieds P.O. Box 27552 Richmond, VA 23261-7552 Or place it via the Virginia Farm Bureau website at vafb.com.
Deadlines Ads and cancellations must be received (not mailed) by the following deadlines: ISSUE DEADLINE Mailed to producer members April March 5 September August 3
Moving? If your address or phone
number has changed—or is about to—don’t forget to contact your county Farm Bureau office to ensure that your membership and subscription information stays current!
Mailed to associate members May April 5 August July 5
One free 15-word ad per membership per year; dues must be paid before placing ad.
NAME:___________________________________________________________________________________________ MEMBER NO.:______________________________________________________________________________________ COUNTY:_________________________________________________________________________________________ ADDRESS:________________________________________________________________________________________ CITY: __________________________________________
DAYTIME PHONE NUMBER: __________________________________ E-MAIL ADDRESS: ________________________ Ads will not be accepted without the information above
ADVERTISEMENT (one word per space; please type or print):
Category in which ad should run (select only one): q Crops q Farm Equipment q Hay/Straw q Livestock q Livestock Equipment No other categories available
1.________________________ 2.______________________ 3._________________________ 4.________________________ 5. _____________________________ 6._______________________ 7.______________________ 8._________________________ 9.________________________ 10.______________________________ ( ) 11._______________________ 12._____________________ 13.________________________ 14._______________________ 15. _____________________________ phone number
ISSUE IN WHICH AD SHOULD RUN:* q April (mailed to producer members) qM ay (mailed to associate members) q August (mailed to associate members) q S eptember (mailed to producer members)
q This is my one free 15-word ad for 2018 q Payment enclosed: $ _____________ q Please place my ad in The Delmarva Farmer for 4 weeks at no additional cost to me. Your ad will automatically be included in the online VFB Marketplace for free. (Ads expire with membership). Ad placement available for these issues only
vafb.com / WINTER 2018
Cultivate is published quarterly with a focus on safe, fresh and locally grown foods and the Virginia farms that produce them.