Food Matters: A Conversation with Two Local Farmers

Handley Regional LibraryTwo local farmers will be having a discussion about growing the food we eat on Wednesday, July 31st at 6:30pm in the Handley Library Auditorium.  The conversation, which will be followed by a book signing, is free and open to the public.  From the library’s press release:

More and more people in the Shenandoah Valley are choosing to eat locally grown food for a variety of reasons:  for the taste, for their health, for the environment, to strengthen the local economy and to support endangered family farms. While there are thousands of choices in supermarkets, it’s not always clear where the food comes from. Food from a local farm doesn’t need to be processed and it travels a short distance before it reaches your table.  Two successful local farmers will share ideas that can lead to a bar-code free meal.

Beth Nowak, owner of  Mayfair Farm, Bunker Hill, WV and manager of  the Freight Station Farmers Market, Winchester, VA  and Forrest Pritchard, owner of Smith Meadows Farm, Clarke County, VA and author of Gaining Ground, A Story of  Farmers’ Markets, Local Food and Saving the Family Farm will talk about their personal stories as successful local farmers.  They will also share trends they have seen come and go over time. Beth and Forrest will also discuss the benefits of locally grown food to the consumer and to the community

Forrest Pritchard is a professional farmer, writer and public speaker. Holding degrees in English and Geology from William and Mary, Forrest studied under George Garrett with the University of Virginia’s MFA program. His farm, Smith Meadows, has been featured on NPR and the Washington Post. One of the first “grass finished” farms in the country, Smith Meadows has sold at leading farmers’ markets in Washington DC for fifteen years. His book Gaining Ground, A Story of the Family Farm Farmers’ Markets, Local Food and Saving  was named a Top Ten Book for Summer 2013 by Publishers Weekly and Washingtonian magazines.

Beth Nowak began selling at the Martinsburg farmers market in 1979, because the 2-acre garden she and her husband worked provided too many vegetables for our own consumption.  In 1980, she left the Martinsburg market and began selling with the Winchester-Frederick County Farmers Market.  In 1983, they purchased 40 acres of land and began clearing it for fruit trees, berries and vegetables.  In 1987 she organized Freight Station Farmers Market, where she remains. Her basic business and growing model for Mayfair Farms is the same as it was outlined it in 1983; High value products in each growing season.  Greenhouses have been and different fruits emphasized and she began year round selling at the farmers market in 1994.

This program is sponsored by The Friends of Handley Regional Library.  A book signing will follow the program.  It is free and open to the public.

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