The Rapp

Tucker Hill retrospective

Detail of a Tucker hill monotype.

His unique art always paid homage to the beautiful landscape that is Rappahannock County’s, so it is only fitting that a Washington gallery art show pays homage to Tucker Hill three months after his untimely death. In fact, only hours before his death at his home at the foot of Old Rag, he was at Caulfield Gallery and Studio planning this very show that runs today (May 13) through June 14.

Cory Caulfield decided to go forward with the exhibition because it is “a show that dear Tucker would be proud of,” and she hoped “it will be a great celebration and retrospective of of his life and art.”

An opening reception at the gallery is planned for Saturday (May 15) 2-6 p.m. For more information call 540-675-3214 or visit

Frost hits vineyards

Ask a winegrower what his greatest fear is – other than scoring low in wine competitions – and the answer would likely be, “frost.”

This year the dreaded chill arrived in the dark of night on two occasions, injuring Rappahannock County’s delicate vines to varying degrees. If frost hits during a period called “bud break,” it will kill the emerging grape cluster and deprive the winery of precious fruit.

On April 29 and again on May 9, temperatures dropped to freezing in the county and damaged a number of vineyards to varying degrees.

Rappahannock Cellars lost small amounts of Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon and somewhat larger amounts of Cabernet Franc. Grey Ghost dodged the icy bullet, attributing their good fortune to early bud break that occurred at the beginning of April. Gadino Cellars estimated a 1 to 2 percent loss, focused mostly on its Chardonnay.

Reports of other frost damage have been heard but are unconfirmed. Damaged vines can grow secondary shoots but will produce less fruit. The full impact may not be known until later in the growing season.
– John Hagarty

The View’s local food

From the food to the entertainment to the auction items, much of the Rappahannock County Conservation Alliance’s (RCCA) May 22nd gala, the Rappahannock Evening View, will have a home-grown flavor. This year’s event is being held at James Fletcher Massie family’s Meadow Grove Farm in Amissville.

As guests arrive, they will be treated to a variety of hors d’oeuvres, including a white bean bruschetta with sausage from Belle Ridge Farm in Woodville. After whetting the appetite and enjoying a cocktail hour, guests will be invited to the buffet, where they will find a salad of fresh greens from the Farm at Sunnyside in Washington, which will be paired with the famous strawberries from Muskrat Haven Farm in Amissville.

That fresh taste of spring produce will prepare the palate for a savory rosemary and garlic marinated leg of lamb from Mount Vernon Farm and the Rappahannock Natural Foods Co-op, both in Sperryville. Even the caterers, while currently operating their Panache Catering in Middletown, have roots in Rappahannock — having lived and worked here for many years.

“I am very pleased that Peter Brogger and Michelle Miller at Panache Catering were able to source so many of the ingredients from farms that are right here in Rappahannock,” said RCCA board member Jennifer Aldrich, who has been working to make these local food connections over the last several weeks.

RCCA Executive Director Nathan Jenkins, added, “RCCA is a strong advocate for conservation here in the county, which means we are a strong advocate for farming and we realize our donors want to see their money being reinvested in the working farms we have here.”

Of course, Rappahannock is also well known for its musicians, and RCCA is fortunate to have secured local jazz singer Monica Worth for some lively entertainment. She will be accompanied by Robert Boguslaw, who performs regularly at the White House as part of the “President’s Own” U.S. Marine Band. The pianist has performed throughout the nation with other well-known jazz artists such as Wynton Marsalis, the late Louie Bellson and Vinnie Colaiuta.

Finally, the live and silent auction would not be possible without the generosity of many Rappahannock residents. The accommodations in Portland, Myrtle Beach, and Fort Lauderdale are all courtesy of local private donors. Jenkins points out: “The half of beef is from Windsor Farm; we have artwork from R.H. Ballard, Martin Woodard, and others; gift certificates from the Inn at Little Washington, Griffin Tavern, and Thornton River Grille; wine from the local vineyards; auto detailing from the folks at Settles Cars & Trucks Sales . . . . I should mention many more, but the point is: these people understand the importance of what we do here and RCCA couldn’t make these large annual donations to the Farmland Preservation Program without these in-kind contributions.”

Susan Strittmatter, RCCA gala chairwoman, concluded, “It’s hard to get more homegrown than the Massie family, who has been in the county at Meadow Grove Farm for generations.”

For more information about the Rappahannock Evening View (including a full listing of the menu), the Farmland Preservation Program, or conservation in Rappahannock, visit the RCCA Web site at, or contact Jenkins at or 540-987-9118.
– Gale Johnson

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