Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Attention Gardeners: Upcoming Educational Workshop!

Having problems with out-of-control weeds, tomatoes touching the ground, cucumbers that won't grow straight, or beans that are meandering along the fields?

We've got answers!  Join us for:


Find out how to get the most out of your garden this year!  Topics will include stringing, pruning, trellising, small tools and picking.  Class will be led by Anthony Flaccavento (with Brian Moss for demonstrations).

When: Thursday, July 8, 4:30 pm - 7:00 pm
Where:  Maple Hill Farm, 7129 Scottsville Rd, Scottsville, VA
How:  Free for partner producers,  $35 for general public

Please RSVP by Monday, July 5th to

Send any specific questions or problems beforehand so we can be sure to answer them!

We hope to see you there!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Mystery Photo of the Week

As I was walking through the farm I came across an interesting machine. Can you guess what serviceable equipment this might come from?

Monday, June 28, 2010

Whole Foods Plays on the Farm

Last week, despite the blistering heat and 4 billion percent humidity, the customer service team from Whole Foods Charlottesville joined us at Maple Hill farm for some service hours.  With sunscreen slathered faces and a cooler full of water bottles, they came ready to get hot, dirty and down to business.  In the span of just a few hours, their team accomplished what would have taken us days.  Hats off to the Whole Foods team for a great day and some hard core physical work -- we're grateful for your support and hope you decide to join us again!

Here are a few shots from last week, courtesy of our communications intern, Stevie:  

Thanks again, Whole Foods!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Meet the Interns

This summer, Local Food Hub is excited to welcome four amazing interns from Charlottesville High School. Three students, Erin Smith, Stevie Garcia, and Samanthia Stover, will be working at our Educational Farm at Maple Hill, and one student, Maurice Jackson, will be working at the warehouse. Through these internships, a partnership with the Charlottesville High School WALK program, these students will gain hands-on farm and office training, and real-world work experience.

We are so happy to have them here this summer, and hope they come away from this experience with an appreciation for farming and agriculture, plenty of non-profit experience and resume building skills, and of course, a taste for freshly-picked, healthy local food.

You'll be seeing a lot of our interns on the blog in coming weeks, but one name you should know right off the bat is Stevie. A organizational maven and a seriously awesome photographer, Stevie will be working alongside our team as a communications intern, documenting her time here in photos and words. Below is her first entry, introducing herself and her fellow interns here at the farm....

Erin Smith, a seventeen year old senior, says the opportunity to be outside a lot is what attracted him to the Local Food Hub internship. “I like the veggies and not having to deal with customers. Also, working at my own pace.” When he’s not working he likes to “just chill.” After he graduates from Charlottesville High he plans on attending PVCC.

“The intervention specialist at my school said I needed to keep busy and that this internship would be good for me,” says Stevie Garcia, 17. She likes working at the farm because it’s, “peaceful and beautiful. Everyone here seems very down to earth.” After high school, Stevie intends to attend an art school to study photography and film making. One of her jobs on the farm is to take photos of different events or visitors.

Samanthia Stover, 17, says she found out about the internship when she overheard her teachers, Mrs. Poe and Mrs. Browning talking about a job interview. “I spoke up and asked if I could do an interview.” Samanthia enjoys the peaceful and quiet setting that comes with working on the farm. She also adds, “the people are nice and it’s fun.” Out of work, her hobbies include being on a computer, texting, hanging out with friends, and swimming. Samanthia wants to go to college in the hopes of becoming a registered nurse.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Plant a Row Profile: Jessie & Dave Kostelnik

As part of our Plant a Row for the Hungry program (get more info here!), we're featuring some of our participating backyard gardeners on the blog.  These kind folks have committed to donating extra produce from their home gardens this spring and summer to local food banks and soup kitchens.

We're excited to have Jessie and Dave Kostelnik as one of our first donations this year: 15 pounds of delicious, beautiful homegrown beets, ready to head out the Haven this week. Dave, who works at Feast!, and Jessie, who just finished her PhD in clinical psychology at UVA,  moved to Charlottesville from Manhattan seven years ago, and have been trying to pass themselves off as southerners ever since. "In our quest to become more southern we have tried (and failed) at playing the banjo, but we did name our dog Fiddle so perhaps that counts for something in the grand scheme of things?"

We give them an A for effort, plus Fiddle is pretty cute.

LFH: Tell us a little bit about your garden! How big is it? What's growing?

J&D: The garden is about 15’ x 20’. That might not seem big to anyone else, but it's huge to us. We've got mixed greens, rainbow carrots, beets, peas, fingerling potatoes, blue lake green beans and haricots verts, a few varieties of heirloom tomatoes and a bunch of herbs. Plus we were surprised when last year's nasturtium came back (uninvited), and a random cucumber plant showed up (also uninvited - to my knowledge we've never planted cucumber). We recently planted a strawberry patch, some blueberry bushes, and a fig tree (do partridges like fig trees or only pear?). Glad you asked -- always game for bragging about what we're growing.

LFH: How did you learn to garden? Trial and error? Books? Websites?
J&D: I think it's safe to say that we fall into the "trial and error" category here. Our first error several years ago was thinking that bigger zucchini = better ... We let ours get HUGE and then made a big show of photographing them while neighbors tried not to laugh in our faces. So if you ever want to know how to grow massive zucchini that are barely edible let us know. We’ll hook you up.

LFH: Best part about gardening? Worst?
J&D: Hard to pick among the fun of checking every morning to see how things have changed, the mind-clearing effects of weeding, the guilt-free tan, and the raw satisfaction. But, I'd say my favorite gardening activity is watering the tomatoes, or weeding them just after they've been watered - love the smell they give off! The worst: watching stuff that you fail to harvest and use go bad. We’re glad the Hub accepts donations and has started this program!

LFH: And finally -- favorite way to prepare something from the garden?
Jessie: Mixed greens with aromatic sea salt and Greek olive oil from Feast!.
Dave: Roasted beet salad with walnuts and Caromont goat cheese or haricots verts with herb butter.

Yum! Thanks for playing, guys!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Coming Soon: On the Farm Day

If you're well versed in the farming community in Virginia, then the acronym VICFA is probably a familiar one.  The Virginia Independent Consumers and Farmers Association is a coalition of consumers, farmers and citizens fighting for food rights, small farms and food freedom.  They are working hard to promote and preserve unregulated direct farmer to consumer trade and increase the availability of locally grown and produced food products.

To that end, the kind folks at VICFA have organized On the Farm Day on Sunday, June 20.  They've lined up tours at some of the best farms across Virginia, to bridge the farmer-citizen gap and help people learn what it takes to grow, produce and make delicious local food.

Local Food Hub is excited to be participating and representing Albemarle County!  We are offering free tours to all interested community members at 2pm, 3pm and 4pm.  If you're interested in joining a tour, please RSVP to emily [at]

We'll be showcasing our work at Maple Hill, a 75-acre certified organic farm in Scottsville.  Check out what we're growing, what kind of organic methods we're using, ask questions and even buy some farm fresh produce and eggs.

Hope to see you on the farm!

The Week of the Tomato

Well folks, the time has come. Those sweet little tomato seedlings -- the ones we've nurtured from seed since March in our greenhouse, the ones we lovingly transplanted into a sea of black plastic and straw mulch -- those cute little things have gone wild.

No, seriously.

Don't believe me?  See Exhibit A:
Ack! These guys are huge and growing faster by the day.  We're in the thick of pruning and caging and trellising -- and we could really use some extra hands.  

So, consider this a call for help, crop mob-style.  Can you join us one morning this week to help wrestle more than 2,500 tomato plants into submission?  What seems daunting now could easily be knocked out by a big group in just a few hours.

And, while we can't promise you'll stay clean, we can promise camaraderie, gratitude, that refreshing tomato plant-smell, and a possible sighting of the charming little indigo bunting that's been flirting with us all week.

We have some set hours listed below, but if those don't work, we'll take you any morning this week.  Just email before you come.  We hope to see you on the farm!

Wednesday, June 16, 8am - 11am
Saturday, June 19, 8am - 11am

Maple Hill Farm, Scottsville, VA

emily [at]

Thursday, June 10, 2010

This Must Be the Place...

Yesterday was a busy day!  It started bright and early with our Wednesday morning volunteer hours.  We had some great people helping out and weeding the heck out of the carrot patch.  It looks great now and the carrots are green and healthy and growing fast.

Next, Local Food Hub welcomed a fantastic group of national writers and reporters, as well as some representatives from Virginia's Agricultural Department, to a local food breakfast at Maple Hill Farm.  These guys and gals were exploring Central Virginia's local food movement and had tons of appointments and stops throughout the day.  But everyone knows that breakfast is the most important meal  -- that's why we had Lisa Reeder of A Local Notion whipping up some tasty bites with contributions from Albemarle Baking Company, Caromont Farm, Jam According to Daniel, Shenandoah Joe, and of course tons of local produce from Local Food Hub's partner producers.  Libations were on hand from Jefferson Vineyards and Starr Hill Brewery.  No, it's never too early for a little taste.

And finally, we had NBC 29 News in the house!  Turns out good news travels fast, and they were covering a story about the Charlottesville Area Community Foundation's latest round of grants, which includes $57,000 to Local Food Hub!  The money will fund our Local and Fresh for the Hungry program -- more about that tomorrow!  We are over the moon and excited to get started.

Overall, an inspiring and exciting day to be involved in the local food movement.  I continue to be amazed at the people in our area doing great things -- growing vegetables, making cheese, brewing beer, supporting farmers, spreading the word -- and how genuine, nice and friendly they are.  If you're not involved, now is the time to do something about it!  Local Food Hub has tons of ways you can become more active -- just send us an email!  info [at]     

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Mystery Photo of the Week

I encountered this curious, furry specimen while at our warehouse the other day -- never seen anything like it.  Any guesses on what it might be?!

Friday, June 4, 2010

Tonight Tonight Tonight!

Come see us tonight at Charlottesville Whole Foods from 5-7pm!

For a $5 donation to Local Food Hub, you'll get free wine and cheese tastings throughout the store.  Plus, first 25 visitors to our table get a free packet of organically grown herbs from our farm!  Perfect for your weekend grilling!

See you tonight!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

See You at Whole Foods!

Summertime in Charlottesville means there's no shortage of things to do on a Friday night, but we've got an idea that you might want to try.  Starting this Friday, June 4, and continuing on every Friday throughout the month, join us at the Charlottesville Whole Foods from 5-7pm for $5@5!  For a $5 donation (which goes directly to Local Food Hub) you'll get to sample free food and wine throughout the store.  And, you'll be supporting your local non-profit organization, too!

While we love the opportunity to meet more people and spread the word, this program is also a great (and important!) way for all of us to show big businesses in our community that local food matters.  Speak with your dollars (and fill out a comment card...or two), and show these stores that you support small farms and that you are paying attention!  Don't be afraid to ask questions about where your food comes from -- you deserve to know.

When you buy Local Food Hub produce, you can be sure that the food is grown by small, family farmers within 60 miles of Charlottesville.  If that's not local, then I don't know what is!

So don't forget to join us on a Friday in June, and keep your eyes peeled for our fruits and veggies, soon to come on the shelves of Whole Foods!