Sperryville column for April 17

Molly’s sustainable skills

Rappahannock enjoys the presence of many a gifted photographer — many of whom are showcased at River District Arts. Ray Boc’s work, for example, is beloved, and Ronda Gregorio travels the world canvassing not just Rappahannock’s beauty but the beauty of brides and families everywhere.

And then there is Molly Peterson.

Nina Shepardson's intricately decorated Easter eggs.
Nina Shepardson’s intricately decorated Easter eggs. Molly Peterson

Molly was bitten by the photo bug as a young girl. Her camera was her favorite toy and throughout the years she’s honed her skills. She and husband Mike, a former chef with the Inn at Little Washington and now both Heritage Hollow Farm owners, are champions of sustainable farming.

Molly will be crossing the country for the next several months, accompanying Forrest Pritchard, a renowned sustainability farmer in the process of writing his second book; Molly is serving as his photographer.

Together they’ll be visiting 18 farms and collecting 100 recipes. Forrest’s first book, “Gaining Ground: A Story of Farmer’s Markets, Local Food and Saving the Family Farm,” was a runaway bestseller. Joel Salatin, the Virginia-based sustainability guru of world renown, is writing the foreword to Forrest’s newest endeavor and Molly is providing the visuals.

Nina Shepardson hand-paints several Easter eggs.
Nina Shepardson hand-paints several Easter eggs. Molly Peterson

Mike explains to me — blank slate that I am, having heard the word “sustainability” tossed around but never fully grasping its meaning — the significance of this farming discipline: “It’s a three-pronged, three-legged stool, Chris,” he says, explaining that sustainability is about ecological integrity, social responsibility and financial profitability. Very few farms are able to attain all three, though all those on Molly and Forrest’s tour have managed it. “These farmers are seasoned veterans, not the trendy wannabes, but the real deal, the real McCoy.”

Mike adds that “they are farmers spanning all farming disciplines — from fisheries to citrus to beef.” Molly was recently interviewed by Handpicked Nation, which resulted in an informative piece and one that aptly delivers her message.

We wish you the best, Molly, and look forward to your captivating photos!

Easter’s in the air

John Paul Young’s “Love is in the Air,” an über-popular 1970s song, sprang to mind this past weekend as I visited some of Sperryville’s pretty shops, filled with Easter storefront themes. “Spring is in the air / Easter is in the air,” pranced through my head as I viewed the Easter-inspired gift items at Coterie and One Year Only, which were filled with everything from German-themed Easter egg trees (the eggs decorated by our own Nina Shepardson) to delicate miniature artistry and novel Easter egg-packed six-packs.

Welcome spring, welcome.

Chris Green
About Chris Green 154 Articles
Chris Green (formerly Chris Doxzen) is an an executive recruiter by profession who enjoys exploring and writing about all things Rappahannock. Friends and neighbors with potential stories for her Sperryville column should email her at chrisdoxzen@gmail.com.