Belated congratulations and thanks go out to all of the farm participants, volunteers and sponsors who put on a terrific second annual Rappahannock County Farm Tour the last weekend of September.
In all, we sold 432 tickets, down slightly from 478 last year. It was still a great success, especially considering that the tour is put together by volunteers with a small budget and most of the funds had to be raised.
There were 116 questionnaire cards filled out by visitors. Twenty-two percent provided a Rappahannock zip code, 33 percent came from the D.C.-Northern Virginia-Maryland area, 11 percent from Fredericksburg/Stafford County and the other 34 percent came from other places, including Fauquier, Culpeper, Page, Warren and Madison counties. A few came from as far away as Richmond and Baltimore.
They came to tour the nurseries, orchards, wineries, farm schools, and cattle, sheep, pig and vegetable farms. They and local food distributors opened their doors to the public and provided educational programs and activities.
Thanks also go out to all the venues for the richness of the farm experience provided: Belle Meade Farm and School, Caledonia Farm, Copper Fox Distillery, Eastwoods Nursery, Farm-to-Table Program, the Farm at Sunnyside, Gadino Cellars, Gray Ghost Vineyards, Hall’s Orchard, Hill House Farm and Nursery; Mountain Laurel Montessori Farm School, Mount Vernon Farm, Narmada Winery, Persimmon Spring Farms & Nursery, Rappahannock Cellars, Rappahannock Natural Foods Cooperative, Stonyman Gourmet Farmer;, Local Flavor Farm Buyers Club, and Waterpenny Farm.
We are extremely grateful to our sponsors and donors for their support. Without them, we could not meet the expenses associated with putting such a tour together. Thank you Rappahannock Central, Flavor Magazine, Mount Vernon Farm, Piedmont Virginian Magazine, Narmada Winery, Stonyman Gourmet Farmer, Virginia Outdoors Foundation/Warrenton, American Farmland Trust, Blue Ridge Meats, Ginger Hill Vintage Finds and Antiques, Rappahannock County Conservation Alliance, Thornton River Grille, Virginia Farm Bureau, Central Coffee Roasters, Hearthstone School, Copper Fox Antiques, Martin and Cheri Woodard/Roy Wheeler Realty, Rappahannock National Bank, the House on Water Street and Rappahannock League for Environmental Protection. And thank you to Katie Pricer who coordinated the sponsorships.
Finally, thanks to all of the special people on our planning committee who put in tireless hours for months to bring the tour together — Cliff Miller, our honorary chair, and Joyce Harman, who worked directly with our venues to build the schedule for the weekend; Gail Swift, in charge of our great team of volunteers who kept the ticket sale and program distribution process running smoothly; Francie Schroeder — who pulled together another great slide show on our venues; Kenner Love, who gave us insight on our farms; Susan Holmes, who worked with our farm schools and farm-to-table programs.
A very special thanks goes to Candy Wroth in the county administration/tourism office (who pulled together so many pieces to the puzzle) and to Gary Schwartz, who made our new and improved signs for the tour.
If you missed this year’s tour, take heart: the 2011 tour is planned again for the last weekend of September 2011. Mark your calendar. And if you would like to help with organizing the tour, please contact one of us. Everybody’s help is welcome whether they want to contribute a specialized skill, a limited amount of time or time enough to steer a committee.
Rappahannock County tourism consultant