It Was Hot! Crozet Businesses Cope With Blazing July
A couple of weeks with temperatures in the mid and high 90s punctuated by fierce storms affected Crozet businesses in unpredictable ways. At Brownsville Market, owner Chris Suh said the morning rush began earlier than usual, as contractors filled up coolers with ice and water when the store opened at 5 a.m. Here in the mountains, the early mornings are almost always cool and pleasant, and building crews got a pre-dawn start on each day’s punch list. “They took their lunch breaks a little early, too,” Suh said. As far as the choice of food, there wasn’t much of a change: “These people work very hard and need a hot breakfast and lunch no matter the temperature.” The same was true at the Whistle Stop Grill, where the hot specials and burgers still dominated, despite the heat outside. Up at Restoration, though, Manager Dale Farthing said people were choosing more salads, especially the seasonal berry salad. As for wine, Farthing has found his patrons tend to switch to rose when the temperatures rise.
During the worst of the heat wave, Matt and Sherry Hildebrand kept a freezer stocked with freezer pops for the hard-working mechanics at Matt’s Automotive Repair. Matt also tried to give customers with air-conditioning problems immediate attention when they arrived at his shop on Rte. 250.
Business was off for the Crozet Trolley one 95-degree Friday evening. Owner Shawn Bird said he had no riders for the free trip up to Chiles Peach Orchard on Rosie, one of his colorful vehicles. The trolleys are usually full of people headed for the free music at “Orchard Jams” every week. Up at the orchard, though, Lisa Henson, Chiles store manager, said the peach picking continued as usual. It’s a little-known fact, but true, Henson said, that high heat at the appropriate times is what makes peaches free-stone rather than cling. “Peaches absolutely love the heat,” she said. “And we’ve had ample showers here.”
Wine slushies were having a moment during the extreme heat, said Bruce Quinn, manager of the Prince Michel tasting room up at Chiles. “Peach slushies are the favorite, but people can also order a slushie flight and taste them all,” he said.
At Pro Re Nata, business was booming as folks chose beer as their beverage of choice during extreme heat. The popular Crozet business found out that their “Nature Boy” Pilsner, a beer made in the Czech or Bohemian tradition, was the best in its class in the Virginia Craft Beer Brewers competition in July.
Area businesses open, close, change, and are not sure
Two local businesses have closed. Smojo’s Smoothies and Juice is no longer operating at Piedmont Place, but owner Beth Harley plans to continue to make healthy meals from a new base in Charlottesville. Anyone interested can get in touch at [email protected].
Rocket Coffee has closed the Rte. 250 location and will open at a new location in Charlottesville. The future for Nelly’s Wok, the Asian restaurant that opened in May in Nellysford, is not certain, as there are conflicting reports.
Meanwhile, two new businesses will open shortly at Clover Lawn: Pap & Zan’s, a family restaurant featuring traditional southern fare, will open at the former Mountainside Grille; and Jalisco’s Mexican Cantina and Enigma Sports Bar will open at the former Otto’s.
In Waynesboro, a Habitat for Humanity Restore has moved into the former Salvation Army retail space and is now open with a good stock of furniture and hardware. It’s on Arch Avenue, across from Kroger. The Waynesboro Farmers Market, downtown on Saturdays, has expanded, with music and a greater selection of fruit, homemade baked goods and seasonal vegetables from Valley farmers.
Lions Club plans Homemade Peach Ice Cream Days
On August 3 and 4 the local Lions Club will sell homemade peach ice cream made from peaches donated by Chiles Peach Orchard. The sale, now in its 35th year, will be in tents outside the market and all proceeds will go to local projects sponsored by the Lions.
Artisans Plan August Events
Second Saturdays has become the day for Crozet to shine a spotlight on its most gifted and creative residents, and an area-wide schedule of events introduces the public to a variety of artisans and their work. A complete schedule and map can be found at www.downtowncrozetinitiative.com/crozet-second-saturdays. This month’s events are on Saturday, August 10, and include the following:
At Crozet Artisans Depot, the featured artist is Minh Martin, who will be showing and selling his exquisite blown glass. The reception is scheduled for 1 p.m. Over the Moon Bookstore will show watercolors by Nick Terry, with a reception from 1 to 4 p.m. and a wine tasting provided by the Blue Ridge Bottle Shop, the bookstore’s neighbor at Piedmont Place.
At Barn Swallow Gallery, you’ll find Brian and Penny Ross of Tantivy Farm, demonstrating the many uses of lavender, including a lavender lemonade tasting, a wreath workshop, and a question-and-answer session about lavender cultivation from 1 to 3 p.m.
Artist Roslyn Nuesch participates in Second Saturdays by opening up her Two Owls Potter’s Studio off Park View Drive from 10 a.m to 5 p.m. and demonstrating at the potter’s wheel.