Countryside: June 2023

he Nelson County Farmer’s Market is open, with music, produce, flowers, food, crafts and baked goods. It’s in Nellysford every Saturday. Submitted photo.

Funds Available for Albemarle Ash Trees

The small, bright-green ash borer is killing Virginia’s beautiful ash trees, tunneling through their trunks and causing disease and eventual death. The Virginia Department of Forestry offers help for treating this destructive non-native insect and preserving trees throughout the state.

The emerald ash-borer tunnels deep into ash trees, causing widespread destruction in Virginia. Courtesy DOF.

“You may have a grove or maybe just one tree, but we can help,” said Area Forester Jonah Fielding. “We’ve worked with big groups like Monticello, Ash Lawn and UVA, but we’ve also helped small home owners with their landscape trees.”

Treating trees increases the chance of preserving the genetic material of ash trees throughout the state. The Forestry Department offers a cost-share program that can pitch in up to 50% of the costs for treatment of ash trees through injections of an effective pesticide. There are some restrictions: Albemarle County has already spent half of its cost-share dollars, and only ash trees that have at least 75% of their canopy remaining will qualify. Nonprofits, private landowners, municipalities and HOAs are all eligible.

Amanda Conrad, the forest health technician for the Virginia Department of Forestry, said the cost-share program has saved about 2,000 Virginia ash trees. Applications will be accepted through June 16. To get the proper forms and for more information, email her at [email protected]; or Fielding at [email protected].

Local Farmers Markets Open

You don’t have to go very far during the season to find produce that’s fresh from the farm. Farmers markets are opening up with spring vegetables, along with baked goods, cheese, fresh herbs, flowers, vegetable starts and crafts. In Crozet, Market Manager Al Minutola has found that every seller has a story as well as a product. Kenneth Grove, who sells eggs as well as woodcrafts, meets his customers all-year-long at the market space so they can enjoy fresh eggs in the winter. Cupcake lovers clean out the cupcake bakers every week. Kirstie Treccariche’s designer cupcakes are beautiful to behold as well as delicious, and Mariah Doyle, well-known for her “Mo Mo’s Bloody Mary Mix,” also sells wonderful carrot cake cupcakes. Ryphon Gray, whose skin care products are popular with customers at Whole Foods in Charlottesville, is there every week to serve his Crozet customers.

The Crozet Farmers Market has something for everyone, and donates a portion of its proceeds to Grace Grocery, a ministry that feeds the hungry. Photo: Malcolm Andrews

Other vendors sell a variety of baked goods, and you’ll find skin care products, sewing crafts, art work, maple syrup, micro greens, birdhouses, candles and leather goods. 

“It’s a friendly market, where everyone helps everyone out,” said Sherry Minutolo. She and Al Minutolo sell fresh flower bouquets as well as crystal jewelry. 

The Crozet Farmers Market is open every Saturday from 9 a.m. to noon in the grassy plot behind the Blue Goose building.

Waynesboro Farmers Market

More than 20 vendors have signed up this season to sell at Waynesboro’s weekly market, held from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. every Saturday at the Constitution Park pavilion near downtown. 

The Waynesboro Farmers Market is managed by a local nonprofit. Part of its mission is to offer fresh produce to those with a limited income. Submitted photo.

Vendors offer produce, meat, eggs, granola and honey as well as homemade candles, tie-dyed goods, bread and other baked goods.

The market has become a gathering place where people share recipes, gardening tips and community news. Often, market shoppers hear live music while they’re looking for the sweetest strawberries or most appealing loaf of bread.

As part of the local non-profit, Project Grows, The Waynesboro Farmers Market has a mission to improve child and family health. Every vendor doubles SNAP benefits and accepts EBT, WIC and Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program Vouchers. 

Project Grows, a local educational nonprofit, has been serving the community by organizing the market for five years. In 2022 it reached a milestone of selling more than $120,000 of goods. 

Nelson County Farmers Market Cooperative

The Nelson County Farmers Market has grown over the years to be a festive gathering place, with a wide variety of growers, bakers, coffee roasters, artisans and artists. Come early (it opens at 8 a.m.) and enjoy breakfast pastries, coffee and sandwiches. Or order a full meal from Ez Pz Handcrafted and Homemade (see their Facebook Page) and pick it up there.

The creative people of Nelson County can make almost anything. In addition to spring produce and fresh-cut flowers, you’ll find soap, cosmetics, hand-forged hardware, farmstead cheeses, fermented foods, jewelry and candles at the market, along with organic meat and eggs. You’ll hear music every Saturday morning from some of the County’s most beloved bands. The market is every Saturday from 8 a.m. until noon. 

Cattle Prices Up and Down throughout May

The Staunton Union Stockyard reported a slight drop in the price of feeder cattle in the last recorded May sale. The late-April report featured a couple of cow-calf sales. In late May, a Tuesday sale featuring slaughter cattle reported sales of $168 to $184 per hundred weight. Sales of feeder cattle brought $278 per hundred weight for the top steer calves weighing 420 pounds compared to $284 in April. Top cows for the last May sale recorded by the stockyard brought $224; one late-April sale brought $226 for the same weight range. These highest earners were heifers in the 450-pound range. 

Throughout the northern district, which includes Rockingham, Staunton, Front Royal and Winchester, state-graded feeder cattle held steady to $10 higher for the month as a whole. Feeder cattle at regular auction sales ranged from steady to $3 higher; and slaughter cows mostly $2 to $5 higher. Slaughter bulls were mostly $3 to $5 lower, reports the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. 

In other stockyard news, Jeff Showalter, the auctioneer for Staunton Union Stockyard, has qualified to compete in the world livestock auctioneering championship. Showalter, who has been auctioneering since he was 14, will travel to the championship match later this month. 


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