Morning Star Stables Settles at Mechum’s View Farm
In a caravan with three cars and a horse trailer, Michael Stockwell and Kathleen Triolo departed Ocracoke Island and traveled to Virginia last winter. With them were a veterinarian, a daughter and grandchild, and Beach, Bateau, Tank, Jet and Spud, the noble quarter horses that have been Stockwell’s business partners for many years.
Sure, they miss the beach, Stockwell said, but recent hurricane seasons, encroaching traffic, swarming bugs and blistering temperatures made it hard on the business as well as the animals. “I promised them pasture,” he said, “and here we are.”
Triolo is also a refugee from recent Outer Banks hurricanes. She’s been able to relocate her import business to Charlottesville. “Miss Kathleen’s Emporium”––a business that imports unusual clothing and gift items from her native Thailand––pops up on Charlottesville’s Downtown Mall.
The troupe encamped throughout the winter at the Charlottesville farm of a friend, while looking for a place to transplant their trail-riding business to a more animal-friendly, less weather-threatened location than the Outer Banks. They found it at Mechum’s View Farm, already home to a well-established working farm and horse business. Mechum’s View, owned by Barbara Barrell, offers trail rides, breeding, boarding, sales, clinics, conditioning and cross-country jumping. Barrell also owns Crozet Tack and Saddle on Three-Notch’d Road.
Barrell added Morning Star’s staff and quarter horses to her equestrian-centered offerings, accommodating the different style of her tenants. “I’m just an old cowboy,” Stockwell said. “I don’t know anything about English saddle and dressage.” The 250-acre farm has plenty of room for the new human and equine tenants as well as the buildings, equipment and fields needed for a working farm with its own hay and cattle operations. There was also a lovely old farmhouse for the Ocracoke contingent to call home. But what really sold it for Stockwell was the sheer beauty of the land along the river.
“There’s a lot of land here that hasn’t been touched in nearly 200 years,” he said. The hour-long trail rides go through fields and disappear quickly into the deep cool forest, crossing the river four times, climbing up and down the ridges and giving riders a view of the unspoiled countryside.
Mechum’s View Farm is certified as an “agritourism” location, so many farm-centered businesses are permitted there. Morning Star Stables plans to offer camping rides, fishing trips, and dinner and breakfast rides. Stockwell and Triolo also have ideas for festivals and artists’ workshops. “Once people see it, they love it here,” Stockwell said. “We sure do.”
For information, or to book a ride, call Morning Star Stables at 434-294-2709.
North Garden Farmers Market Now Open
There was a delayed opening and a new location, but the North Garden Farmers Market is now in full swing at Albemarle CiderWorks. The newly reorganized market opened June 14 with local meat, cheese and produce, baked goods, hand-made items from Batesville Backyard and Pettigrew Woodworks, food trucks and handmade chocolate. Market master Kathy Zentgraf said the market will feature more vendors as the season progresses and offer space for community groups and entertainment during the summer and fall seasons. The market will be open Thursdays through mid-October, from 3 to 7 p.m. Albemarle CiderWorks is at 2545 Rural Ridge Road, just off Route 29 in the North Garden area.
Crozet Fare Sprouts up at Farmers Market
Crozet Fare owner Sam Parks has found a niche for the tiniest produce ever to go into a salad, a sandwich or a smoothie. Park, in his first year at the market, sells two-week-old shoots of peas, sunflower seeds, radishes and mixed spicy greens. Called micro greens, they’re big plants in small packages, he said: “We know that the young sprouts have all the nourishment needed to grow the mature plant,” he says. The same is true for flavor. It’s condensed, sharp and clean and with the distinctive taste of the future radish, pea, or bunch of broccoli.
Parks and his family moved to Crozet a couple of years ago for him to work in IT at UVA Health. “I’d always been interested in some form of agriculture,” he said. Right now, he’s specializing in the micro greens and mixed salad greens, but he also has a traditional vegetable garden and will offer more varieties of vegetables later in the summer. His stand has been popular with market shoppers, who go home with a batch of sprouts still rooted in the soil they grew in. “That way, they’ll last all week,” Parks said. “You just cut them as you need them.”
Parks likes his weekly appearance at the small Crozet Farmers Market. “I feel like I get to know my customers,” he said.
University Tire and Auto Center comes to Crozet
University Tire and Auto Center will be coming to the Arbor Life building on the corner of Jarmans Gap Rd. and Crozet Avenue where the former Community Garage was located. Operations Manager Adam Dowdell said the move should happen in August after renovations. University Tire and Auto Center presently has four locations in Charlottesville, one in Ruckersville and one in Orange.
It’s the Season
Peaches appear everywhere in the Crozet area for the glorious few months they’re in season. At Chiles Peach Orchard, they’re in ice cream, milk shakes, jam and, of course, in the bushels and bags of fruit that people pick from the trees or buy ready-picked.
Next door, Prince Michel does a sweet business selling peach wine made from Chiles peaches and peach wine slushies, both in great demand even in the winter, said Sales Associate Brandi Washburn. At Piedmont Place, Smojo’s Beth Harley and Crozet Creamery’s Erik Schetlick are working their way to the bottom of a bushel of Henley Orchards peaches. You’ll find them in the fresh peach ice cream at the Creamery and smoothies at Smojos.