The Rapp

Photo courtesy Share Our Strength.

Rappahannock’s Farm-to-Table Program is a national model

As first lady Michelle Obama convened hundreds of chefs from across the country on the South Lawn of the White House, an emissary from Congress was getting the facts on the ground at Rappahannock’s highly touted Farm-to-Table school food program.

Last Friday’s Rappahannock visitor was Claiborn Crain, senior staff member on the House Agriculture Committee, formerly with U.S. Department of Agriculture, who has been an advocate for rural America for more than 30 years.

The first lady’s launch of “Chefs Move to Schools” — to ensure that kids get the nutritious food they need to thrive — is based on the same philosophy that has guided the Headwaters/Rappahannock Public Schools partnership, whose Trista Scheuerlein serves as the Farm-to-Table program director.

Photo by Trista Scheuerlein.

Leveraging the momentum of “Let’s Move!” — Mrs. Obama’s campaign to solve the childhood obesity epidemic — “Chefs Move to Schools” focuses on the integral role chefs play in their communities. The USDA is coordinating the program, which pairs chefs with participating schools in their communities to create healthy meals that meet the schools’ dietary guidelines and budgets. The program also teaches young people about nutrition and making balanced and healthy eating choices.

Riders do golf

Rappahannock Hunt gets off their horses to team with the local, Culpeper-based Habitat for Humanity, for a golf invitational at Culpeper Country Club on July 19, 2010.

Habitat works in partnership with community churches, businesses, volunteers and families to eliminate the blight of poverty housing. Culpeper Habitat for Humanity has completed four homes to date allowing local families become tax-payers, rather than tax-receivers.

For the golf invitational, “we need help from local businesses to provide anything from trophies to a platinum corporate sponsorship,” said Rappahannock Hunt President Carol Quaintance

Photo by Betsy Parker Burke.

First-time jitters? Nah.

Two-year-old Maggie Arnold waits for the “bonus question” from judge Dede Bache Shumate at Saturday’s Cinnamon Ridge Farm horse show near Amissville. With the aplomb of an experienced show rider, Arnold quickly identified “what’s in your hands?” as reins, and won the hearts — and smiles — of spectators and Shumate alike. Older sister Lucy was on the end of the leadline with Farnley Contact in this, Maggie’s very first show.

Cats for adoption

Looking for a sweet, loving cat to add to your family? RappCats will hold its first cat adoption event ever on Saturday, June 12, from 10 to noon at the CFC Farm & Home Center (formerly Rappahannock Coop) on Lee Highway in Washington. RappCats will have on site two of its beautiful cats who are looking for a family to call their own. They would love to get to know you, so stop by and meet them. Many other cats are available (and most can be viewed here. All RappCats cats are healthy, up-to-date on all shots, and are spayed or neutered. For more information, please call Pat Snyder, president of RappCats at 540-987-8099 or, or visit RappCats’ immediate mission is to create a sustainable cat rescue for our community. RappCats also needs volunteers to help with writing stories, taking pictures, fostering a cat, taking cats to the vet, collecting cat food and litter coupons or donating money and supplies.

Rapp reader recommends WWII spy yarn set in county

On a bluff overlooking the Hazel River, a couple of miles below its confluence with the Hughes, sits Longlea. In the figurative middle of nowhere, just across the Rappahanock line in Culpeper County, this grand manor house on a large estate is a witness to some of the most tantalizing happenings in 20th-century history.

You can read about some of what happened in a book titled “The Irregulars,” by Jennet Conant. The book is ostensibly about the intelligence networks of World War II, specifically the experiences of the English writer Roald Dahl in Washington, but there’s a fascinating connection to Culpeper and Rappahannock counties and some of the people who lived here.

Longlea, the estate of the Texas newspaper publisher Charles Marsh, provided an important meeting place where much policy was formulated.

Dahl was a brilliant writer probably best remembered for his children’s tale “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,” twice made into a movie. But he also penned two of the best “Alfred Hitchcock Presents” — Barbara Bel Geddes and her frozen leg of lamb as well as Keenan Wynn and the ill-fated ocean lottery. His screenplay of “You Only Live Twice” stands out as perhaps the best James Bond film adaptation. Dahl was married to the actress Patricia Neal in a wedding attended by some Rappahannock natives.

Dahl arrived in wartime Washington in 1942 to work for the British Security Coordination (BSC) with the mission to ingratiate himself and advance the cause of war-torn Britain. He soon met the Marshes at a dinner party. As many local readers are aware, Robert Caro in his book “The Years of Lyndon Johnson: The Path to Power” detailed the affair the married future president had with Marsh’s wife Alice. The trysts were often at Longlea.

Marsh later moved to Jessamine Hill in Rappahannock itself.

“The Irregulars” takes nearly as close a look at Marsh’s life as it does at Dahl’s, and it is the former that should truly engage the interest of Rappahannock readers.

Also prominent in the book is former Rappahannock resident Ralph Ingersoll, who had written “Report on England,” a best-selling account of the Battle of Britain and had been editor of the newspaper PM, considered by may to be radically left-wing. But when Ingersoll moved to Rappahannock, he acquired friends such as Jim Bill Fletcher and Ike Parrish as well as my father, Culpeper native Jack Fray — hardly bomb throwers.

I heartily recommend “The Irregulars” as an excellent read, both for its wartime intrigues and its Rappahannock connections. — Jackson Fray

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