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Cultivate april 2011 november/december 2011

Virginia Farm Bureau

| food • home • life

Holiday favorites


Cultivate Volume 4, Number 4 November/December 2011 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. E-mail 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



8 Holiday favorites, from Virginia farms to your family

20 Your Membership Advantage

Read about Virginia farms that help ensure there’s a turkey on the table, a tree in the front window or a lucky pork meal on New Year’s Day.

6 Eminent domain: Farm Bureau pursuing constitutional amendment Government has the ability to take private property for public use. Farm Bureau has been working to ensure that those takings are fair to landowners.

16 Make your own Colonial Williamsburg-style holiday decorations Add some Virginia charm to your holiday decorations with tips from the Colonial Williamsburg landscape and floral design staff.


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

22 In the Garden

Sara K. Owens Staff Writer/Photographer

24 Good for You!

Bill Altice Graphic Designer

26 Taste of Virginia

Cathy Vanderhoff Advertising

Maria La Lima Graphic Designer

28 Diggin’ It! 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


Evergreen boughs, pomegranates and sweet gum seed balls are among natural materials used in Colonial Williamsburg’s distinctive holiday decorations (Photo courtesy of Colonial Williamsburg).

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 >> save the date

Save Our Food Holiday Festival will take place Dec. 10 Virginia Farm Bureau’s Virginia Holiday Food and Wine Festival will run from noon to 7 p.m. on Dec. 10 at the Farm Bureau Center exhibition hall at The Meadow Event Park in Caroline County. Last year, more than 5,000 people attended. The festival will feature Virginiabased vendors, including wineries and specialty food companies. Tickets and additional information are available at

Eminent domain has the potential to affect any landowner, not just farmers. Farm Bureau is encouraging state legislators to amend Virginia’s constitution to prevent eminent domain abuse.

Down Home Virginia to become Real Virginia in 2012 Virginia Farm Bureau’s monthly television program will get a new name and new content starting in January. Down Home Virginia, now in its 11th year, will become Real Virginia and feature a new chef and a vegetable gardening expert. Todd Schneider, the executive chef at Virginia’s Executive Mansion, will replace John Maxwell and will share recipes in a segment called “Heart of the Home,” some of which will be taped at the governor’s mansion. Andy Hankins, a longtime professor and Virginia Cooperative Extension alternative crops specialist at Virginia State University, will be featured in a new monthly segment on vegetable gardening called “From the Ground Up.” Landscape gardening expert Mark Viette and his segments “In the Garden” will remain on the program.

This land is whose land? Virginia Farm Bureau has long taken an interest in legislative actions related to eminent Want to know more? domain—government’s ability to take privately owned land for public use. For more information, visit That’s because farmers can’t farm without land. the “Policy & Action” section And because, if eminent domain laws are of abused, or they aren’t stringent enough, a farmer can end up not only losing land but also not receiving fair compensation for it and for the effect a taking has on his or her business. But eminent domain can effect any landowner, regardless of your profession. In the past year, your Farm Bureau membership has helped support a campaign that will go a long way toward ensuring fair treatment for all Virginia landowners. The “Stand Our Ground: Property Rights” campaign (See related article on Page 6) has focused on the second passage of a proposed state constitutional amendment by the 2012 General Assembly to prevent eminent domain abuse. The proposed amendment would tighten up the state’s definition of “public use” with regard to eminent domain. It would ensure your land cannot be taken without just compensation or given to a private entity, and ensure that no more property is taken than is necessary. To amend the state constitution, the General Assembly must pass the proposed amendment in two consecutive years. If the amendment is passed a second time in 2012, it would go before Virginia voters in November 2012. And we’d all get an opportunity to say how we’d want to be treated if a governmental entity wants something that’s ours. Cultivate NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2011



Your Membership Advantage -SAVING YOU MONEY >>

Your Farm Bureau membership helps support the farmers who grow foods for your family. It also gives you access to a wide variety of benefits and services, and it can pay for itself quickly in savings and convenience!

TRAVEL ADVANTAGES Avis Save up to 25% on daily and weekly rates. Visit, or call 800-4223809 and use Avis Worldwide Discount #A298846 when scheduling a rental. Budget Get up to 20% off rental car rates. Go to, or call 800-897-9454 and reference Budget Customer Discount #Y775746. Budget Truck Rental Save 15% on truck rentals. Visit or call 800-566-8422 to make a reservation. Use Budget Truck Discount #56000132266. Choice Hotels Use Choice Hotels’ Significant Organization Savings plan and get a 20% discount at participating locations. Visit, or call 800-2582847 and use ID# 00800605. Advance reservations required. Wyndham Hotel Group Get 20% off “best available rates” at participating locations. Call 877-670-7088, and use ID #67496. Advance reservations required. Children’s Museum of Richmond memberships Save 25% on any annual museum membership.

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Travel Counsellors, Inc. Enjoy exclusive escorted tours for Farm Bureau members. Visit, or call 800-572-4049.

HEALTHY ADVANTAGES Member’s Medical Alert Help ensure that you or a loved one can summon help at home in an emergency. Get free shipping and a 30-day, moneyback trial with no long-term contract. Visit or call 877-288-4958, and use code FB102. Prescription Drug Discount Save on more than 12,000 prescription drug products, at more than 53,000 pharmacies nationwide. Obtain a discount card from your county Farm Bureau, and find a participating pharmacy near you at health.htm. QualSight LASIK Save up to 50 percent off the national average cost of LASIK vision correction. Visit, or call 866-979-9575 to schedule an initial appointment with a participating doctor near you.

FINANCIAL ADVANTAGES Farm Bureau Bank Full member banking services. Contact your county Farm Bureau office, visit or call 800-492-FARM for more information.

HOME AND BUSINESS ADVANTAGES CDW Member Purchase Program Purchase selected electronics at cost and any other product at cost plus 3%; also, get free ground shipping on one order per year. Visit or call 877-813-4435, and reference EPP Access #F1F4D954. Grainger Get 10% off any item in the Grainger industrial supply catalog. Order online at and qualify for free shipping, or call 877-202-2594. Reference Discount #809039274.

ClearValue Hearing Save up to 25% on Starkey hearing instruments. To learn more and find a ClearValue provider near you, visit or call 888-497-7447.

>> For more information about all of the services included in your Membership Advantage, call your county Farm Bureau office today or visit


New claims phone number — and assistance ’round the clock As of Aug. 1, Virginia Farm Bureau insurance policyholders have a new option for receiving live, 24-hour assistance when they need to report a claim. Calling 800-452-7714 will put you in touch with a trained customer service professional who can collect all pertinent information, forward it to Farm Bureau claims staff and notify your Farm Bureau insurance agent. For easy reference, the new toll-free number is at the bottom of every page of the Farm Bureau insurance website at and is being added to all insurancerelated print communications. “Incidents that prompt an insurance claim don’t always happen during office hours, and we want our members to know we are there for them ‘round the clock,” said Bill Anderson, executive vice president and general manager of Virginia Farm Bureau Mutual Insurance Co. “Of course, policyholders are always welcome to call their county Farm Bureaus when they have a claim, but because we take their business seriously, we want to make sure we are always there when they need us—regardless of the hour.” When members call the new number, they will be prompted to press 1 for auto glass claims and 2 for all other claims.

Insurance claim? Speak with a Farm Bureau service representative 24 hours a day at 800-452-7714.

Farm Bureau membership hits all-time high The Virginia Farm Bureau Federation has reached a record-high number of members. “I am ecstatic,” said VFBF President Wayne F. Pryor, who reported that as of Oct. 14 Farm Bureau had reached a record-setting 150,000 members. As of Nov. 1, that total was 150,830. “Not only are our membership numbers at a record level, but our retention is just over 93 percent,” Pryor said. “With the economy the way it is, that’s almost as good as the high membership numbers. “It’s not always about how many members you have, but to have a record number is the result of what we do for our members. They obviously see the value of their membership.” The new figures mean the organization exceeded its national membership goal of 149,902—two weeks ahead of the membership year-end. A total of 10,597 new members joined the organization this past year, and 93.05 percent of existing memberships were renewed, making this the ninth consecutive year the organization has held a retention percentage of more than 92.5 percent.

Membership in recent years 2001 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 132,719 2002 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .136,424

Medicare election period runs through Dec. 7 Medicare’s Annual Election Period is the time of year in which you can join, switch or drop Medicare insurance plans. This year’s AEP began Oct. 15 and will end Dec. 7. If you enroll between those dates, your Medicare coverage will begin Jan. 1, 2012, and will continue for the entire year. Many insurance companies that offer Medicare Advantage Private Fee-for-Service, or PFFS, plans have decided to cancel their Medicare Advantage PFFS insurance coverage. That means Medicare beneficiaries currently enrolled in Medicare Advantage PFFS plans with those companies will need to change their plans by enrolling in a new Medicare plan during the AEP or during a

special enrollment period. You can enroll in another plan with the same company or choose a plan from another company offering coverage in your service area. If your plan has been dropped, Medicare gives you additional time to select a new Medicare plan. If you have questions or concerns regarding your Medicare coverage, an authorized independent agent at your county Farm Bureau office can help you review your options. Call Brooke Groth, sales and operations specialist at Virginia Farm Bureau, at 804-290-1124 if you need assistance locating the office closest to you.

2003 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .143,069 2004 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 146,812 2005 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 148,193 2006 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 148,031 2007 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .146,934 2008 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 147,454 2009 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 149,857 2010 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .149,901 2011 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 150,830



Eminent domain can affect any landowner; Farm Bureau pursuing constitutional amendment By Kathy Dixon

Waldo & Lyle. His law firm represented Jones in her fight against the utility. What happened to Jones, Waldo said, “could happen to anyone.” “Eminent domain” refers to governments’ ability to take private property for public use. That ability and its potential abuse have been of longstanding interest to Virginia Farm Bureau Federation, because its farmer members’ livelihoods are tied to their land. In 2007, the Virginia General Assembly passed legislation that clarified the definition of public use. The law specifically states that property can only be taken when the public interest dominates the private gain. The primary purpose of the taking cannot be for private financial gain, an increase in

Gloria Jones knows how important it is to protect private property rights. Jones’ house in Petersburg is situated on 14 acres that include a historic battlefield. A utility company tried to condemn some of her land for a pipeline, which would have destroyed the battlefield site. She fought it and was able to stop the condemnation and protect the historic site. “She now sends busloads of people from her church to the General Assembly when they are hearing testimony about eminent domain, because she knows how important protecting private property rights is,” said attorney Joseph Waldo, president of

tax base or revenues, or an increase in employment in a locality. Unfortunately, the definition of public use is not always clear. “Public use should be narrowly defined and just compensation should be provided to the individual whose property is being taken,” said Trey Davis, VFBF assistant director of governmental relations. “The only way to protect homeowners and landowners is to have a constitutional amendment that ensures land cannot be taken and given to another private owner” In this year’s General Assembly, Del. Johnny Joannou, D-Portsmouth, introduced a successful bill to amend the Virginia constitution that mirrors the 2007 statutory changes to the state’s eminent domain law defining public use.

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Unlike legislation, a constitutional amendment provides enduring protection, because the state legislature cannot change a constitutional amendment without voters’ consent. The amendment states that no more private property may be taken than is necessary to achieve the stated public use, and that the condemner has to prove the use is public. The language also ensures that just compensation be given to the property owner. Condemning entities would not be able to exercise eminent domain if the primary use is for private gain, private benefit, private enterprise, increasing jobs, tax revenue or economic development, Davis said. Jounnou’s amendment passed both bodies of the General Assembly this year, but it must pass again in 2012 with the same wording in order for it to be on the ballot for Virginia voters next November. Because farmers’ livelihoods are tied to land, Farm Bureau has a long-standing interest in ensuring that eminent domain is not abused at landowners’ expense.

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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.



Holiday favorites, from their farms to your family --7-Seven Virginia producers talked to Cultivate about their farms, their families and their products that are part of many others’ holiday celebrations.

›› billy turner Turners Farms of Shenandoah

Page County farmer takes turkeys C over vacation D


hen Billy Turner steps inside one of his 825-foot-long turkey houses, a sea of 13,000 hens flows toward him. “Turkeys are very curious birds,” said the Page County farmer as he slowly made his way through the gobbling throng. Chances are pretty good that one of those birds could grace your holiday table. Turner and his wife, Joanne, and their two daughters, Jennifer and Jessica, have been raising turkeys since 1995. They currently grow for Cargill, which sells Honeysuckle White and Shady Brook Farms brand turkeys, available in many grocery stores in Virginia. Turner’s two turkey houses were built in 1995 on land that he and his father had rented for 20 years prior to buying it. Turner grew up on farms, and “my stepgranddaddy had chickens, so when the opportunity came to raise turkeys, I took it.” Each of the houses at Turners Farms of Shenandoah holds 26,000 birds and are split into two parts—the brooding area and the grow-out side. “There’s plenty of space for them, but when visitors come in they’re so curious that they all move to the front of the building to see who’s there,” Turner said. Day-old baby turkeys, called poults, are delivered to his farm, and he puts them in the side that stays 92 degrees and has a floor covered with pine shavings. Warmed by disc heaters, the poults hang out and eat a half-ton of feed daily. “They’re nice and content in here,” said

Turner, who checks on his birds at least twice a day. He also checks the automatic waterers, feeders and heating, cooling and ventilation systems to be sure they are working properly. “People might be surprised at the care that goes into raising them,” he said of the turkeys. After five weeks, the turkeys get moved to the other half of the house, where they stay for 11 weeks. On that side temperatures hover between 68 and 72 degrees, and tunnel ventilation keeps the air flowing. Automated feeders deliver a tractortrailer-load of feed to the birds in each house every day, Turner said. “The feed contains corn and soybeans, but I don’t give them anything with hormones.” When the turkeys have grown to an average of 23 pounds, they are picked up and transported to a plant where they are processed within 8 hours. Since Turner began raising the birds, he hasn’t taken a single vacation, but he said he doesn’t mind because he enjoys what he does. “My birds are fed a good diet and kept in a controlled environment so there’s no stress,” he said. Turner added that the birds are virtually disease-free because they are protected from natural predators by the houses and from diseases with bio-security practices. Anyone entering the houses must cover their shoes with plastic and dip them into an antibacterial solution. “People need to realize where their food comes from and that it’s raised in a good way,” Turner said. “We’re not a factory farm—we’re a family farm.”

Turkey fact More than 18 million turkeys are raised in Virginia each year.

kathy dixon

By Kathy Dixon

“They’re nice and content in here,” Page County grower Billy Turner said of his turkeys, whose climate-controlled houses are served by automatic feeding and watering systems.



›› kenny and daniel

barnard Hoot Owl Hollow Farm

Consumers calling to bag c Amelia-grown sweet potatoes d sara owens

Brothers Daniel (left) and Kenny Barnard use former tobacco land to grow sweet potatoes in Amelia County.

Baked Sweet Potatoes and Apples

By Sara Owens


weet potatoes are native to America and were a key source of nourishment for early homesteaders and soldiers during the Revolutionary War. They also have a history as holiday recipe staples. This time of year consumers buy them by the bagful from brothers Kenny and Daniel Barnard of Hoot Owl Hollow Farm in Amelia County, where the two have farmed most of their lives. “It’s all we’ve ever done,” said Daniel. “And it’s all I’ve ever wanted to do,” Kenny added. They also grow tobacco, soybeans, hay, small grains and sweet corn. “We’ve grown sweet potatoes for about 25 years but have been growing them more heavily for the past 10 years or so,” Kenny said. The Barnards plant 1½ acres of sweet potatoes on land that previously was used for tobacco. They plant at the end of May and dig sweet potatoes in early September. It typically takes 100 days for 10


sweet potatoes to mature, but Kenny said they dig them early to keep them from getting too big. The potatoes are stored in bags and crates that fill a large storage shed. The Barnards advertise in the local newspaper and on a homemade roadside sign. During the summer, they sell sweet corn the same way. They have local churches that ask for larger sweet potatoes to use in pies for fundraisers, and last year they had a customer buy sweet potatoes to use as decorations. “Customers are able to get a fresher product by buying from a local farmer, and they know where the food comes from,” Kenny said.


6 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into half-inch slices 2 cups thinly sliced apples 1 teaspoon cinnamon ½ cup brown sugar butter ½ cup water directions

Preheat oven to 350°. In very little boiling water, cook sweet potato slices until fork-tender. Place in a baking dish. Top sweet potato slides with apple slices. Mix cinnamon and brown sugar together. Sprinkle over apple slices, and dot top with butter. Pour ½ cup of water over the mixture, and bake for 1 hour. Source: Country Treasures from Virginia Farm Bureau Kitchens

›› marie mcgee Willow Oaks Farm

Caroline County tree farm c didn’t start that way d

kathy dixon

Marie McGee began raising Christmas trees on her former cattle farm in Caroline County in 1996.

By Kathy Dixon


ree hugger” might not be an accurate description of Marie McGee, but she does love the thousands of Christmas trees growing on her Caroline County farm. “Not in my wildest dreams did I ever think I’d be a farmer,” McGee said as she proudly showed off the wide variety of trees growing on 15-acre Willow Oaks Farm. The Alexandria native explained that she has been farming for almost three decades now. She and her former husband bought the property in 1983. For years they raised beef cattle, a garden and a few laying hens. But 1995 brought a fierce winter storm. McGee, who was then divorced and running the farm by herself, had to take care of the cattle. “The waterer was frozen, and I was trying to break through solid ice. That’s when I sat down in the middle of the field and cried,” she said. “It was too much. After that, the cows went.” The following year she planted 1,200 seedling Christmas trees. Today there are about 6,000 trees, including traditional white and Scotch pines, Douglas fir, blue and white spruce and lesser-known varieties such as Leland cypress and concolor fir. While the trees were getting established, McGee met her current husband, Bruce, in 1998.

A couple of years later, they went to Florida for a wedding. While there, they visited a daylily farm and fell in love with them, McGee said. They bought a vanload of flowers and brought them back to the farm, where they now grow and sell daylilies on 3 acres. McGee also operates a seasonal Christmas shop on the farm, where she sells wreaths and other decorations. The store opens two weekends before Thanksgiving, and tree cutting begins the Saturday after. Most trees sold are between 5 and 7 feet tall, and it takes 7 to 10 years for them to mature. “People think when they come cut down a tree that they automatically grow in this shape, but that’s not so,” McGee said. “They have to be sheared into an upside-down ice cream cone shape.” She and her husband shear the trees in June and July and then trim the tops. They typically top them again before Thanksgiving, and the grass growing around the trees must be mowed every two weeks. The trees are not treated with pesticides. Instead, McGee carries an empty soda bottle to collect bugs while checking trees. She recommends that anyone who cuts down a tree check for bugs before bringing it inside. Praying mantises like to lay egg cases in pine trees, and the eggs will hatch in a warm environment.

There are nicer surprises to look for as well. “I tell kids that if they find a tree with a pinecone in it, it will bring them good luck,” McGee said.

Christmas tree fact For every Christmas tree harvested, growers plant two to three seedlings the following spring.



›› patsy marks Belmont Peanuts

‘We love this time of year,’ when peanuts are in demand % “These peanuts can’t be grown just anywhere,” said Patsy Marks of the gourmet-type peanuts associated with Virginia. Marks’ father and husband are peanut growers.

By Sara Owens


atsy Marks, president of Belmont Peanuts in Southampton County, has been around peanuts her entire life. Her father, Joe Edwards, and her husband, Bob Marks, are both farmers who raise peanuts as a main crop. “Peanuts are such an important commodity for Virginia. These peanuts can’t be grown just anywhere, and there’s nothing like them,” Marks said. “Likewise, farming is dear to my heart. There’s a lot of satisfaction in planting a seed, watching it grow, and reaping the harvest.” The Virginia-type peanut has the largest kernels of any peanut. When shelled, many are sold as gourmet snacks. Marks established Belmont Peanuts in 1993, operating the company from her basement. Her mission was promoting the Virginia-type peanut. “Some of my fondest memories growing up trace back to our family farm, with peanuts being a big part of those memories,” Marks said. “Belmont Peanuts came into existence as a result of wanting to share what we, along with other area farmers, grow with pride.” The company’s name comes from Marks’ historic home, Belmont, which was built in 1790 and is on the Virginia Landmarks and National Register of Historic Places. In 2004, David Peck joined the operation as Marks’ business partner. Together they have grown the company and now operate



from a warehouse located right in the middle of the Marks Farms operation. Peanuts typically are planted in May and grow underground through September. The harvesting process begins around the first of October. Once they are dug, the peanuts are left on the ground to dry in the sun for three to four days. They’re then shelled and graded by size. The largest peanuts are cooked and spiced or candy-coated for gourmet products. Belmont Peanuts is one of the few facilities of its kind that still hand cooks peanuts. “We believe the quality is monitored much better by using the hand-cooking process,” Marks said. From peanut harvest through the holiday season, the company stays busy filling gift orders. “We love this time of year. Our company takes great pride in preparing and delivering delicious gourmet treats,” Marks said. “We receive many gift orders from individuals, as well as corporate requests. It’s our pleasure to help a client achieve their goal of representing their company by using Virginia peanuts. “We want our customers to get the very freshest products possible. When you place your order, that’s when we cook, package and ship.” Belmont Peanuts sells its products at and is a vendor at the Williamsburg Farmers’ Market on Saturdays.

sara owens

Peanut Quesadillas with Shrimp or Chicken ingredients

4 10-inch flour tortillas 1 cup sautéed spinach ¼ cup sauteed chopped onion 1 cup blend of shredded Cheddar and mozzarella cheeses or a four-cheese Mexican-style blend ½ cup diced tomatoes 1½ cups coarsely chopped salted Virginia peanuts 1 cup sliced, cooked chicken breast 1 cup diced, cooked shrimp peanut oil directions

Top the tortillas with spinach and onion, cheese, tomatoes and peanuts, evenly distributed. Top two tortillas with chicken and two tortillas with shrimp. Fold tortillas in half. Use peanut oil over medium heat to grill each tortilla, turning once. Cut each quesadilla in half, and serve one chicken portion and one shrimp portion per person with salsa for dipping. Serves 4 Source: David Watson of David’s Restaurant in Roanoke Rapids, N.C., which buys Belmont Peanuts

›› cynthia chiles Carter Mountain Orchard

‘It’s a good feeling’ sharing orchard with families %

sara owens

Cynthia Chiles says her family is “very passionate about growing high-quality foods for consumers to enjoy” at Carter Mountain Orchards.

By Sara Owens


arter Mountain Orchard just outside Charlottesville in Albemarle County has been in business since the 1970s. The land has been a working farm since 1912 and a working orchard for more than 50 years. Retail manager Cynthia Chiles is part of the fourth generation to work at her family’s orchard and said there are three generations currently involved in the business. “It’s very much a family business and the livelihood for our family,” Chiles said. “My siblings, parents, nieces and nephews and others are involved. This isn’t just a job; it’s a life. We have invested our whole selves into the business, and we are very passionate about growing high-quality foods for consumers to enjoy.” The orchard grows about 15 varieties of apples on 150 acres, as well as peaches, strawberries, cherries, pumpkins and wine grapes. The family also operates Crown Orchard in Crozet. Since 1974, customers have been traveling to the orchard to pick their own apples. The family also exports and sells apples commercially. “The pick-your-own operation allows us to serve customers in a different way,” Chiles said. “They can come and pick their own apples or just buy from our market.” Carter Mountain Orchard features a bakery that sells freshly made apple pies,

cookies and apple cider donuts. There’s also applesauce, cider, salsa and other products in the venue’s country store. The orchard sees thousands of visitors each year from Virginia and surrounding states. About 10,000 children participate in its field trip program, which supports Virginia Standards of Learning. “By opening our farm to the public, we help give people who live in the suburbs and cities exposure to agriculture,” Chiles said. “It’s a good feeling.” She likes to introduce customers to apple varieties they’ve never had before and let people know there’s more out there than a Red Delicious or other varieties commonly found at the grocery store. Apples are extremely versatile, Chiles said, and can be used in a variety of recipes. “You can make pies, tarts, applesauce, cakes, cider and much more. People often ask what the best apple is for a pie or a tart, and I always tell them it depends on their flavor preference. You can cook and bake with just about any apple you like to eat. Sure, Granny Smiths are great for baking, but so are Rome and other varieties.” Chiles also recommends mixing varieties of apples in recipes to create a different taste. Early-season apples are sweeter than late-season apples, so cooks can use less sugar in recipes and let the natural sugars from the apples take over.

Apple Cake ingredients

1 cup butter 2 cups sugar 2 eggs 2 cups flour 1 teaspoon baking soda 1 teaspoon baking powder 1 teaspoon salt 1 teaspoon cinnamon 3 cups finely chopped Granny Smith and/ or Ginger Gold apples 1 cup chopped nuts 1 6-ounce package butterscotch morsels directions

Preheat oven to 350° and grease a 9˝ x 13˝ baking pan. Blend butter and sugar. Beat in eggs. Add flour, baking soda and powder, salt and cinnamon, beating well after each addition. Stir in apples, nuts and butterscotch morsels. Mixture will be very thick. Press batter into greased baking pan, and bake for 1 hour. Source:



›› yvonne rieck Sandy River Pork Farm

By Pam Wiley


vonne and Walter Rieck of Pittsylvania County traditionally sit down to a pork roast supper on New Year’s Day. “It’s just a German thing,” Rieck said of eating pork for luck on Jan. 1, “because pigs root forward.” The Riecks operate Sandy River Pork Farm near Danville, raising 300 to 400 hogs for market annually. They sell pork products at the Danville Community Market and Historic Roanoke City Market and through the Roanoke Natural Foods Co-op and Homestead Creamery. They also sell beef, lamb, eggs and pasture-raised chicken. Their product line includes homemade country-style and Italian sausage, bratwurst, chorizo, pork chops, loins, ribs, fresh hams, ham steaks and sugar-cured bacon. “Sausage is our main market,” Rieck said, and business typically is steady through the holidays. “People just eat this time of year.” Married 30 years, the Riecks moved from New Jersey to their farm in Axton in 1987. They sold hogs at a livestock market in North Carolina with other independent producers until the market closed about eight years ago. At that point, Rieck said, “we wondered, ‘How much would it take to go from beginning to end?’” They’re in their seventh year of selling pork directly to consumers. To build up a customer base, “you have to go (to the farmers’ markets) every week. You have to be 14


consistent,” Rieck said. Some of the hogs they raise are born on their farm. The Riecks buy others from another local producer who raises the same kind of animals, a three-way cross of Duroc, Hampshire and Yorkshire breeds. “These animals work well in the environment we have them in,” Rieck said. The pigs are penned in partially open enclosures that allow them to feed on both grain and grass. Good genetics are important for good pork, she said. “We want a certain (animal) size. We want our hams a certain size, and we want the right amount of fat that’s going to make good sausage.” Equally important, she said, is what the pigs eat. “They need protein, and they need minerals.” The Riecks buy as much of their grain locally as they can and grind their own feed. “We try to support our neighbors, and that way we have more control over what’s in the feed,” Rieck said. “We don’t garbagefeed. They might get cucumbers out of the garden or something, but that’s it.” The result is a meat that shows up as sausage in her Thanksgiving dressing and holiday breakfast casserole and as a Christmas ham or pork shoulder. The casserole is one of the recipes shared at The Riecks’ two adult sons and 12-year-old daughter also put in requests for sausageand-cheese balls. Rieck shared the recipe from memory. When the days get colder and the holiday decorations go up, she said, “my kids just think it’s time to eat them.”

pam wiley

Pork producers ready for season [ when ‘people just eat’ ]

Yvonne Rieck of Sandy River Pork Farm said good genetics and good nutrition are key to producing good pork.

Sausage-and-Cheese Balls ingredients

1 pound uncooked pork sausage 3 cups commercial baking mix (such as Bisquick) 8 ounces sharp Cheddar cheese, grated directions

Preheat oven to 350°. Mix ingredients well, and shape mixture into 1-inch balls. Place balls in a shallow baking pan and bake 13 minutes (longer if you like them crispier).

›› Pandit and Sudha

Patil Narmada Winery


rom its name to some of its awardwinning wines, the heart of Narmada Winery is family. Pandit and Sudha Patil named the Rappahannock County winery after Pandit’s mother, who sold her jewelry to pay for a plane ticket to send him to college. It was 1964, and he had been given a scholarship in the United States. His family in India didn’t have the money to fly him there. As they were discussing the matter, “my mom took off her jewelry, put it on the table and told my dad to pawn it,” Patil said. “I feel indebted to her, so when my wife suggested we name the winery after her, I thought it was a good idea.” The couple has named wines after family members as well. The 2009 Yash-Vir red blend is named for Patil’s two grandsons; the 2008 dessert wine, Primita, comes from a nickname for his daughter, Prema Patil Sharma; and a 2009 white blend named MOM is a tribute to all mothers who make sacrifices for their children, Patil said. Situated on 51 acres, the winery is where people come to relax and enjoy 13 different Virginia wines made with grapes grown by Patil. He and his wife bought the property in 1999, planted grapes and sold them to nearby wineries. After a few years they decided to diversify. “We enjoy good wine, and we like talking to people so we thought we’d start our own winery,” Patil said. In 2006 they met with an architect and began building a winery and tasting room. They bottled their first wine in 2009 and have almost doubled their production since then. They decided to offer Indian food to pair with the wines. Visitors to the tasting room

can purchase samosas, aloo tikki and other Indian fare. Another thing that sets them apart is that they are the first Indian-American owned winery in America. “We have a slogan: ‘Experience India, Taste Virginia’,” Patil said. “It’s total Virginia wine made here with our grapes, and not a drop comes from out of state.” The Patils currently grow seven varietals, including vidal blanc, chambourcin, chardonnel, traminette, merlot, cabernet franc and cabernet sauvignon. “We grow our vineyards in a sustainable fashion,” Patil said, explaining that he uses pesticides only when needed and buys organic additives when possible. Next spring he will plant 5 acres of petit verdot, malbec and viognier. “It’s a lot of fun, but the nicest part of owning a winery is meeting the smiling people in the tasting room,” said Patil, who talks to visitors when the winery is open Thursday through Sunday. “That’s the good part of this business. The bad part is that you’re working all the time.” Like many farmers, the Patils don’t make their living solely from their operation. Until last year, Pandit worked as a consultant for the U.S. Department of Energy. Sudha works three days a week as an endodontist. Pandit oversees the vineyards and manages the accounts, and Sudha is the winemaker and selects the food and gift items sold at the winery. Their daughter helps with business management and also serves as the winery’s event planner. Sudha, who holds a bachelor’s degree in chemistry, is now making 13 wines. “We’ve gotten everything from platinum to bronze awards on everything she’s made, and it’s only been three years,” Patil said. “Sudha’s mind and soul are in this winery.”

Wine fact Travel and Leisure magazine proclaimed Virginia one of five upand-coming wine regions.

kathy dixon

By Kathy Dixon

courtesy of narmada winery

Narmada pairs Virginia wines [ with global experience ]

“We enjoy good wine, and we like talking to people,” Pandit Patil (left) said of the decision he and his wife, Sudha, made to grow their vineyard operation into a winery.



Make your own Colonial Williamsburg-style holiday decorations



COLONIAL WILLIAMSBURG’S outdoor Christmas decorations are known for their use of natural

How to make a traditional Colonial Williamsburg swag Tools:

apples, oranges, pomegranates, nuts,

• • • • • •

pinecones, holly and other materials.

Suggested decorating supplies:

materials that were available during the 18th century. These typically include pine and boxwood wreaths decorated with fresh pineapples,

Each year, about a dozen floral designers and gardeners, with the

Wire cutters (needle-nose and side-cut) Florist’s picks with wire attached Floral tape Floral cage Floral foam Straight wire

• Fresh fruits or vegetables such as

apples, artichokes, lemons, oranges and pomegranates

assistance of four carpenters, decorate

• Fresh or dried berries, such as bittersweet

more than 80 exhibition sites and buildings, taverns, retail shops, guest

• Pinecones and dried pods of cotton, lotus, nigella and poppy

houses and administrative buildings.

• Fresh greens, such as boxwood, Eastern

Materials used to decorate the buildings include more than 3 miles of white pine roping; 2,550 white pine and Frasier fir wreaths; 15 truckloads of cut pine, holly, boxwood, magnolia and berries; and 79 cases of fruit. Those items are used to put holiday touches on doorways, windows, columns and railings. Visitors to Colonial Williamsburg can attend several holiday programming activities, including “Williamsburg Decorating Ideas for Your Home,” where the landscape staff share tricks of the trade as they demonstrate how to create a wreath, swag or other traditional Williamsburg holiday decoration. Staff recently shared some of that information with Cultivate.

and holly berries and rose hips

red cedar, loblolly pine, Southern magnolia, Virginia pine and white pine

• Dried foliage, such as artemisia, bay leaves, cedar with berries and dock

• Dried flowers, such as cockscomb, gold yarrow, strawflower and sunflower

• Dried fruits and vegetables, such as

apple slices, artichokes, cayenne peppers, okra pods, oranges, pomegranates and quince slices

Floral cages serve as the base of the swag and can be used to decorate doorways, windows, staircases and mantles. The swag also can also be used as a centerpiece, said Mary Hunter Curry, Colonial Williamsburg landscape foreman. “The cage is filled with floral foam that can be used wet for fresh materials or dry for dried materials. You can reuse the cage, but you cannot reuse the floral foam. Once the foam gets wet and then dries out, you are better off replacing it.” The cages come in different shapes and sizes and can be purchased at a craft store. For a doorway arrangement, depending on the size of your door, you might want to use a smaller cage, especially if you’re doing a fresh arrangement, Curry said. “Floral foam gets very heavy when it is wet, and you don’t want to add too much weight to a doorframe.”

photos by sara owens

By Sara Owens

A foam-filled floral cage is the base for the swag. Use wire and picks to anchor the larger elements in the arrangement, and then fill in with other materials.



Before you begin, put wire around the cage and twist it off on the sides so that it won’t scratch walls or doorways. “This ensures that the top of the cage won’t twist off,” Curry said. Decide how you want to hang your swag before you start. Curry prefers to put the handle facing downward for a vertical design, so that the swag is sturdier on top and so she can hold it easier.

Curry said you might also want to use a pick at the bottom of the fruit along with the wire, because it can help the fruit stay more secure. If you are using the decoration on top of a table or a mantle, the wiring is less critical. Use floral tape to cover wires and picks. “You don’t want any wires, tape or pieces of the cage to show,” Curry said.

Tips and Tricks • When picking greenery outside, anything is game. Use what you have in your own yard, or ask a neighbor if you can use something of theirs that you like.

• Pick greenery and other foliage during the fall when there are fewer bugs.

• Plan ahead. If you are doing a dry

arrangement, you need to start picking things early so they have time to dry out.

• If you are using berries, remove the

foliage, because it won’t last as long in your arrangement.

• Use the color and architecture of your

doors or house as inspiration and tie your swag into something that interests you. When decorating in the Historic Area, the floral designers use the colors of the houses. If the resident is a woodworker, decorations might include wood curls. At the taverns, mugs might be incorporated into the decorations.

For a fresh swag Pick your greenery ahead of time, and soak it in clear, cold water. Remove foliage from the part of the stem that you are putting into the wet floral foam. “I like to put greenery in first to give the arrangement shape and length,” Curry said. “A small cage can triple in length, depending on the length of the greens. Use a mixture of greens to add different textures and colors. After putting in some greenery, I like to add fruit and then more greenery and other decorations.” To put on fruit, use straight wire, which is available in different sizes. Curry uses an 18-gauge wire for fruit because it is stiff enough to put through the fruit but will still bend and twist easily. Using the crosspieces of the cage, wire the fruit to the cage. Twist the ends of the wire using your tools, and clip the wire if it is too long.



• When you make a hole in the floral foam, try not to make a new one. The holes do not close back up.

• If you are putting your swag outside, animals might take an interest in it. Squirrels like to nibble on apples.

• Weather is a consideration too. Rain and snow can damage dry decorations, and freezing temperatures will turn some fresh fruits, like lemons, black. If your decoration will be in the sun for most of the day, consider a making a dry piece.

• Remember: Less is more. Sometimes you need to use only a few different items to make a striking arrangement.

For more information on Colonial Williamsburg’s holiday celebration, visit

Consider the color or architecture of your home when deciding what kinds of materials to use in your arrangement.

Virginia Century Farms among those recognized on new website A website that celebrates U.S. farms operated by the same family for 100 years or more has launched at Created by the American Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture, America’s Lasting Heritage lets visitors access comprehensive lists of each state’s “century farms.” Virginia has more than 1,100 such farms, and the Virginia Century Farm Program is administered by the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. The sit e also includes video and written profiles of farming and ranching families and an interactive timeline of American history and agriculture. Additional free resources are offered for educators.

Young Farmers Winter Expo will take place in Leesburg

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Virginia Farm Bureau Federation’s 2012 Young Farmers Winter Expo will take place Feb. 3-5 at the National Convention Center in Leesburg. The event will be held jointly with the Maryland Farm Bureau Young Farmers and will focus on reaching the public. It’s theme is “Loading up on Local Markets – Farming on the Urban Edge!” Tours are being organized in Maryland and Virginia. The event is open to anyone ages 18 to 35 but is geared toward those who support agriculture through production, education, promotion or leadership. For more information, visit or search for “VAFB Young Farmers” on Facebook.

Women’s Conference will be held in Hot Springs The 2012 Virginia Farm Bureau Federation Women’s Conference will take place March 23-25 at The Homestead in Hot Springs. The conference’s keynote speaker will be LaDonna Gatlin, sister of the Gatlin Brothers and contributing author to the best-selling book series Chicken Soup for the Soul. Judging for the 2012 Virginia Farm Bureau Ambassador and Farm Woman of the Year will take place during the conference, and state winners will be announced. The conference is planned for participants in the VFBF Women’s Program but is open to any interested member. Members can register at county Farm Bureau offices starting in late January.



Your Membership Advantage

Medical alert benefit gives peace of mind

Your membership helps Farm Bureau enhance members’ lives by promoting and supporting agriculture. It also affords you access to a variety of benefits and services available to members of your immediate household. For more information or details on all of your Farm Bureau member benefits, contact your county Farm Bureau office or visit

Virginia foods make tasty gifts Consider treating your loved ones to the rich flavors of fine Virginia foods this holiday season, in collections to suit every budget. Farm Bureau members can share tasty, traditional Virginia foods with the Virginia’s Harvest gift collection that includes country ham, gourmet peanuts, buttertoasted cashews, peanuts and 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. Call or visit your county Farm Bureau office today or call 800-476-8473 for more information or to order by phone.



Help is always within reach for Virginia Farm Bureau members. The Member’s Medical Alert program, powered by national provider LifeStation, makes it easy for members or their loved ones to summon assistance to their homes in an emergency. The equipment is easy to install; simply plug it into an existing phone line. LifeStation maintains a state-of-the-art, 24-hour call center with care specialists users can reach via a tabletop console or a help button that can be mounted on a wall, worn around the neck or wrist or clipped to a belt. The care specialists will contact local emergency services professionals and designated family members or friends. All Member’s Medical Alert equipment will be shipped at no charge. Farm Bureau members pay a special monthly rate of $25.95 and are eligible for a 30-day money-back trial. The service involves no long-term contract, and members may cancel at any time. To order or get more information call 877-288-4958, or visit

Members enjoy discount on Children’s Museum memberships Virginia Farm Bureau members can save 25 percent off any membership level to the Children’s Museum of Richmond. That’s a holiday gift that recipients can use all year long. Memberships can be purchased at the museum, 2626 W. Broad St., or at its satellite location at 2200 Old Brick Road in Henrico County. Be sure to show your Farm Bureau membership card to receive your discount. Travel directions and a list of museum membership benefits are available at Farm Bureau sponsors CMoR’s “Little Farm” exhibit.

Don’t become a hunting accident statistic By Sara Owens Whether you’re new to hunting or you’ve hunted most of your life, it’s important to hunt safely. Jimmy Maass, safety manager for Virginia Farm Bureau, said that many huntingrelated accidents can be avoided if hunters follow the proper safety requirements. “There are too many accidents involving people being mistaken for deer or other animals. Make sure you are absolutely sure of what you are shooting at before you even raise your gun,” Maass said. “It’s also important to make sure you are visible to other hunters. Follow the law when it comes to blaze orange requirements.” Before heading to the woods, check the weather, let someone know where you’re hunting and when you will return, and make sure you have the proper licenses and permits. It’s important to stay on designated trails and make sure you have written permission to hunt on someone else’s land.

ATV use while hunting Many hunters use an all-terrain vehicle to reach areas where they hunt, transport it to and from home in a truck bed or on a trailer. It’s important to load and unload the ATV using a sturdy ramp that’s secured to the vehicle. “Propping up two boards against the truck won’t cut it,” Maass said. “If a board falls, the ATV could flip over on top of you and cause a serious injury.” Ramps that fold up for easy transport cost around $150 to 200. “The ramps are more expensive than pieces of wood, but you can’t put a price on safety,” Maass said. “The ramps fit in the truck bed and can be safely secured underneath the ATV while traveling down the road.” When unloading the ATV from a truck, wear a helmet and keep all guns unloaded and on a gun rack. Never drive with a gun in

Be sure you’re visible to other hunters.

your hand or across your lap. If you’re using a trailer, make sure its lights are in working order and that the trailer is properly secured to the truck, using a trailer hitch or similar device that is structurally adequate for the weight being drawn. A locking device also should be in place, along with safety chains.

Tree stand safety Before using a tree stand, check the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s website,, to make sure it hasn’t been recalled. “If the tree stand has been recalled, don’t use it. Instead, call the manufacturer for information on a replacement or repair,” Maass said. Check the weight rating for the tree stand, and consider your weight plus the weight of the items you will be carrying. Inspect every inch of the tree stand thoroughly, making sure there aren’t any visible defects. “Check tree stands that are built onto the tree especially well,” Maass said. “It’s best to avoid homemade stands, because they’re the cause of most tree stand injuries.” Use a harness or safety device when climbing the tree stand; if you fall or slip, you won’t fall all the way down. “Never go up the tree stand while carrying a gun,” Maass said. Use a hoisting system to bring up unloaded guns and other supplies.

Is your ATV insured? Most members who have Farm Bureau homeowner insurance are able to include all-terrain vehicles, golf carts and six-wheelers on their homeowner policies to provide protection for liability situations, damage and theft. Motorized vehicle property and liability coverage will cover an ATV on or temporarily away from the owner’s premises. Better protection for motorized vehicles can be provided by insuring them under an automobile policy. If you wish to add coverage for your ATV, contact your Farm Bureau agent to discuss the best option for protecting your family and your investment.

For new vehicles in general If you’ve just bought a new car, pickup truck or van, be sure to contact your Farm Bureau agent right away to make sure it is included on your auto insurance policy. Don’t depend on the car dealership to do this for you! If your new vehicle is replacing one already on your policy, the broadest liability coverage now provided on any existing vehicle will apply until the end of the policy period or for 30 days, whichever is longer. To add physical damage coverage— comprehensive and collision coverage—contact your agent within 30 days after becoming the owner of the vehicle. If your new vehicle is an additional vehicle, you’ll need to contact your agent within 30 days of taking ownership to add it to your current policy for all desired coverages.

Tips for a safer winter: Visit to view winter safety videos courtesy of Virginia Farm Bureau Safety.

Homeowner and auto insurance policies can be used to cover all-terrain vehicles.



In the Garden

Need a little privacy?


A well-selected and carefully placed privacy planting can screen out undesirable views and noise, as well as light, wind, dust, salt and snow.

IT CAN BE HARD TO FIND PRIVACY these days. Whether your house is close to your neighbor’s or near a busy highway, there are fast-growing shrubs and trees that can serve as privacy screening, said horticulturalist Mark Viette. While privacy screening plants do not need to be the same size, they do need to be the right size for the area and should not be planted too close together. “It’s important to match up the right 22


size tree with the right size area,” Viette said. “If the tree is in too big or too small of an area, you have a big problem.” When purchasing, don’t let the size of the tree fool you. “It may look small now, but it will get big,” Viette said. “Be sure to read the plant’s labels to see how tall it will grow. Don’t be deceived.” Viette said bright, colorful plants work best, and he suggests staggering privacy

plants in varied groupings. “Don’t plant the same type of tree or shrub all in the same row,” he said. “Plant the trees and shrubs in groups of three or five or more, and stagger the type of plant and its height.” It’s also important not to plant trees and shrubs too close together. “If they’re too close together, you will have difficulty pruning,” Viette said.

In the Garden

Relieve boxwoods of winter’s wear and tear

Trees for screening Planting trees is a good way to screen out an unattractive view, noise, light, wind, dust, salt and snow. Virginia Cooperative Extension recommends the following screen trees:

Boxwood trees are great foundation plants and also can be used for privacy screening, but they are susceptible to winter storm damage, said horticulturalist Mark Viette.

Deciduous trees • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

Hedge maple Japanese maple Norway maple Red maple Freeman maple Alder Japanese white birch European hornbeam Flowering dogwood Kousa dogwood Washington hawthorn Ginkgo Deciduous hollies Goldenraintree Crape myrtle Galaxy magnolia Crabapple Hardy orange Cherry plum Weeping cherry Callery pear English oak Weeping willow Tree lilac Bald cypress

Gingko Biloba

“The trees are often damaged by heavy, wet snow. A couple of winters ago we had a bad storm, and it flattened out our boxwood hedge,” Viette said. “Luckily, evergreens have the ability to maintain color after damage, but after two years, the branches become damaged. Boxwoods can rebound from damage, but in this case, the tree has been damaged for too long and it will require pruning.” Boxwoods should be pruned in the spring, using lopping shears or a hand saw. Scratch the branch with a penknife to see if the branch is dead or alive. If it is dead, it is important to cut it where the new growth starts at the base. More branches could die if you prune only a few of them, Viette said. “As you pull apart the plant, you can see where it is dead. Prune to where the nice, green growth is at the bottom of the tree, about 12 to 18 inches from the ground.” Once that’s done the plant will begin showing new growth, taking about three years to reach its former size.

Evergreens • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

False cypress Japanese cryptomeria Leyland cypress Foster holly Nellie Stevens holly American holly Chinese juniper Rocky Mountain juniper Red cedar Hasse magnolia Dwarf southern magnolia Sweet bay magnolia Japanese red pine Eastern white pine Virginia pine Arborvitae Hemlock

Gold Rider Leyland cypress

Mark Viette appears on Down Home 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.



Good for You!

Pre-planning makes eating on the run healthier

By Kathy Dixon Let’s face it—we Americans are in a hurry. From drive-through Starbucks to instant messaging, we want everything fast. But our nutrition doesn’t have to suffer because of it. Healthy eating on the go requires preplanning. “Thinking ahead is what it boils down to,” said registered dietitian Stephanie Diehl, who serves as the Northern District area coordinator for Virginia Cooperative Extension’s family nutrition program. “When people are in a hurry, they don’t always make appropriate choices.” And even when people are looking for fast, easy and good-tasting foods, there are smart choices everywhere. Diehl recommends thinking ahead of time about what’s available and where you might eat while you are on the move. Most fast food and sit-down restaurants post nutrition information online. “Do your research ahead of time,” she said.

Restaurant and supermarket salad bars offer an opportunity to make a healthy meal choice when you’re on the move.



Good for You!

Checking restaurant menus and nutritional information online ahead of time can help you plan a healthier dining experience.

Once you are ordering at the drivethrough or sitting down in a restaurant, simply make healthier choices. “Most places have fruit you can get in place of fries, and they have salads too,” Diehl said. She also recommends ordering a child’s meal to save on calories, fat and sodium. “In the ‘50s, when you ordered a hamburger, fries and a drink from a fast food restaurant, it was the size of a kids’ meal today—that’s the right portion size,” Diehl said. At a restaurant, split your meal in half, and ask for a take-out box immediately. “That way you’ll only eat half, and you can save the other half for the next day’s lunch or dinner, which will save you time and calories,” Diehl said. People often think that the only option for eating quickly on the run is fast food, but she said supermarkets are great options while traveling. “I go straight to the deli section, where there are wraps, prepared salads, olive bars and fresh produce. You won’t spend any more than you would at a fast food

restaurant, and you’ll get more fruits, vegetables and whole grains.” For healthy eating at home, Diehl also suggests pre-planning. If you have bags of frozen veggies in the freezer, they are easy to use on days when you have limited time to cook. For a quick meal you can brown chicken tender pieces, add a bag of frozen veggies, heat a pouch of microwaveable brown rice and mix it all together. In minutes you have a meal that includes a lean protein, a whole grain and vegetables. “Meals at home don’t have to be elaborate; simple is key,” Diehl said. “You just need to have healthy foods that are readily available.” And the same is true for packed lunches. After you come home from grocery shopping, Diehl suggests washing and cutting up all the fruits and fresh vegetables. If you leave them in containers in the refrigerator, they are easy to grab on the go.

“When people are in a hurry, they don’t always make appropriate choices..” choices



Taste of Virginia

EUROPEAN STEW WORKS WELL WITH ? VIRGINIA VEGETABLES ? Borscht comes from the Ukraine and is simply a beef stew with root vegetables. In this version, chef John Maxwell uses Virginia-grown beets and turnips, which are in season through November. “This is an extremely healthy beef stew,” Maxwell said. “To make a vegetarian version, simply increase the veggies and use vegetable stock instead of beef stock.”


1 pound beets 2 carrots 1 turnip 1 onion, chopped 1 pound beef tips, short rib 8 cups beef stock 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar 2 bay leaves 1 teaspoon sugar salt and pepper to taste 1 bunch fresh dill 1 bunch fresh parsley 1 bunch beet greens, chopped into thick ribons 7 ounces cabbage sour cream for garnish PREPARATION

Wash and peel the beets, carrots and turnip, and cut into small pieces. Cut the beef into bite-sized pieces, and sauté until browned. Add the carrots, onion and turnips, and braise for about 10 minutes. Add the beets, beef stock, vinegar, bay leaves and sugar. Season the mixture with salt and pepper. Stir thoroughly and cover, then simmer for 45 minutes. Vitamin-rich borscht can be made with beef or vegetable stock.

Tie the dill and parsley into a bouquet. Add the herbs, beet greens and cabbage to the pot, and simmer for another 30 minutes. Remove the herbs and bay leaf, and serve with sour cream.

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



Chef John Maxwell appears each month on Down Home Virginia, Virginia Farm Bureau’s monthly television program, courtesy of Virginia Grown, a program of the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.

Taste of Virginia

CLASSIC ASIAN APPETIZER GETS ? VIRGINIA TWIST ? This recipe “is a classic crab Rangoon with a Virginia twist,” said chef John Maxwell. “It has a Virginia agricultural product and a nautical one as well.” In this version, Maxwell pairs Virginia apples with Virginia blue crab to make a flavorful appetizer for holiday gatherings. “The key to crab Rangoon is the crab and cream cheese, but apples give it a Virginia flavor,” Maxwell said.

Virginia Blue Crab Rangoon INGREDIENTS

3 ounces cream cheese, softened 2 tablespoons minced green onion ¼ teaspoon black pepper 1 teaspoon seafood seasoning (such as Old Bay) 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce ¼ cup grated apple 6 ounces Virginia crabmeat 36 wonton wrappers, round or square 2 egg yolks canola oil for frying PREPARATION

In a mixing bowl, combine the cream cheese, onion, pepper, seafood seasoning, mustard, Worcestershire sauce and grated apple, and mix well. Gently fold in the crabmeat. Place 4 to 6 wonton wrappers on a cutting board or plastic wrapcovered counter. Brush the top edge of each with egg yolk, and put 1 teaspoon of the filling in the center of each. Fold the wrappers over, bringing the bottom edges to the top edges, and seal them by pressing the two edge s together. In a frying pan, heat canola oil and place wontons in the oil until brown; about 2 minutes. Remove from the oil, pat dry and serve with a favorite dipping sauce.



Diggin’ It!



 TRY THIS! Seasonal tree mobile MATERIALS


inter is a quiet time on the farm. Farmers make sure that their animals have shelter as well as enough food to eat. They also check to make sure that their water does not freeze. Winter is also time to fix machines and buy seeds to plant in the spring.

• wire clothes hanger • brown finger paint • 4 paper plates • markers or crayons • yarn • hole punch





he vibrant fall leaves have become crunchy piles to jump in, and on farms all over Virginia harvest time is coming to a close. Winter is almost here, and with it will come more changes where you live and on the farm. Learn about those changes, as well as the other seasons on the farm, in the Alice and Martin Provensen book The Year at Maple Hill Farm.



1. On a paper plate, use a marker to draw a tree trunk. 2. Next, dip your hand into brown finger paint, and press down onto the plate just above the tree trunk, creating branches. 3. Decorate your tree according to the season. In winter it will be bare, while in fall it will have different-colored leaves. There will be small green leaves in the spring and larger ones in the summer. Use the other three plates to create a tree for each of the four seasons. 4. After the paint has dried, punch a hole at the top of each plate. 5. Use the yarn to hang the plates at varying heights from the hanger. 6. Hang your mobile where the plates can sway and spin.

Diggin’ It!

Winter farm maze The snow has begun to fall. Help get the horse into the barn.

 TRY THIS! Winter farm snow globe MATERIALS • empty baby food jar or other jar with a lid • water • glitter or sequins • hot glue gun • plastic farm figurine, such as a small ornament or miniature toy

DIRECTIONS 1. Attach your figurine to the inside of the jar lid using hot glue. You also can use silicone or aquarium glue. 2. Fill jar with water up to ½ inch from the top. You can use glycerin or mineral water instead of tap water to make the “snow” fall more slowly. 3. Sprinkle your glitter or sequin “snow” into the jar. 4. Line the inside of the lid with hot glue, and screw it securely onto the jar. 5. Let stand and dry overnight, lid-side up. 6. Turn jar over and watch the winter scene you’ve created!

Solve it!

Parents, grandparents and teachers! For more winter reading suggestions and activities, visit Agriculture in the Classroom online at

Unscramble the tiles to reveal a message. Answer below.

F R O O ’S











Answer: Season’s greetings from our farm to you.




2012 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 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. Check your February 2012 issue of Cultivate for the form for placing ads. Or use the form online at No ads or cancellations will be taken by phone. Ads will be accepted only from members whose 2012 dues are paid. Magazine classified ads can be placed in the following five categories only: crops; farm equipment; hay/straw; livestock; and livestock equipment.

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Classified ads will be published in the following issues:

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April Cultivate (mailed to associate members only); May Farm Bureau News (mailed to producer members only); July Cultivate (mailed to associate members only); and August 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 above your name on the mailing label of your copy of Cultivate. All member numbers will be verified.

Notice of Annual Meeting — 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, December 1, 2011, at the Norfolk Waterside Marriott, Norfolk, 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, 2011. Jonathan S. Shouse, Secretary 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, December 1, 2011, at the Norfolk Waterside Marriott, Norfolk, 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, 2011. Jonathan S. Shouse, Secretary 30


County Farm Bureau Offices Accomack


























































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Prince George






Prince William-Fairfax








































Isle Of Wight




Isle Of Wight




Charles City-James CityNew Kent-York


King George






King and Queen






King and Queen






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Virginia Beach






Virginia Beach










































Your county Farm Bureau office is your first point of contact for information on services and programs included in Virginia Farm Bureau’s Membership Advantage.

Farmers help the hungry, and urban gardening, featured on Down Home Virginia

Watch this!

To view Down Home Virginia, visit

Virginia farmers contributed more than 1 million pounds of fresh produce to Virginia food banks this year, and Virginia Cooperative Extension helped members of a Richmond church start their own garden. Those are some of the stories featured in the November edition of Down Home Virginia, Virginia Farm Bureau’s monthly cable and satellite television show. Also, Mark Viette shares tips on how to prepare your garden for winter, and chef John Maxwell has a tasty recipe for Crab Rangoon, Virginia-style. The award-winning show airs nationwide at 6:30 p.m. on the first Wednesday of each month on RFD-TV, as well as on 48 cable systems and three broadcast stations in Virginia. It’s also available online at Check local cable listings for the show times in your area, or visit for a list of participating stations. Cultivate NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2011


It’s as personal as your plate Local, Virginia-grown and U.S.-grown foods have a special place in our lives— and in our holiday celebrations. They’re raised by families like yours, who hold themselves to high standards of quality. Your decision to join Farm Bureau is a simple and effective way to put your support squarely behind the farms that produce your family’s food. Your membership dues fund a variety of programs and events that help agriculture prosper. And if you’re planning a special meal, our Fresh Food Locator at can help you find delicious foods from local farms and from restaurants that source their foods locally. It’s a great time of year to support Virginia agriculture while you find some new favorites!


November 2011 Cultivate  

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