Volume 7, Issue 3
August 9, 2016
Local Food Hub News and Notes

Virginia Heat Dome: Hard on Humans, Great for Produce

If you've stepped outside on the East Coast in the last several weeks, you know that "hot" is an understatement when describing the majority of our weather lately. Humid, sticky, and unbearable all seem more appropriate. While many of you may spend the hottest days in a cool office or home, our growers are sweating it out in the field! The extreme heat is great for many summer produce items, including watermelons, cantaloupes, tomatoes, peaches, and so many other delicious summertime favorites. The "heat dome" has accelerated the growth of many of these products, forcing growers to get out in the extreme temperatures to harvest and tend to crops. We all know farming is a tough job, but the often brutal heat and humidity is a sweltering reminder of the hardships our growers face every day to produce delicious, safe food for our community. Unfortunately, there are not many opportunities to "work inside" or take a day off to lounge by the pool in farming, so cool and rainy days like we're seeing this week are a welcomed relief! 

Below, Aldolfo Calixto of Singing Earth Produce in Augusta County delivers just-picked mixed cherry tomatoes to our warehouse, first thing in the morning on a particularly hot day. Aldolfo and his son, José, were up before 4:00 a.m. that morning to begin harvesting in an effort to beat the heat.
Melons grow exceptionally well in the heat, and we've been seeing the tastiest and most colorful varieties, including honeydew, cantaloupe, and yellow, red, and orange watermelons! One of our newest partner producers, Riverside Produce Farm in King William County, delivered 7,200 pounds of watermelon in just one delivery! 
All of the heat and sunshine is also helping us reach multi-colored bell pepper season! Colored bell peppers all come from the same plant and change colors (and sweetness!) depending on harvest time. The longer the pepper stays on the vine, the brighter the color and more sweet they become. Green bell peppers mature first, followed by orange/yellow and finally red. Red peppers take the longest to grow, which is why they are often more expensive than green peppers. We look forward to an abundant supply of red peppers from Walnut Winds Farm in Pittsylvania County (pictured below) starting this week!

A Look Into the Fall

While we've still got a few more blissful weeks of summer, we have many exciting events planned for fall that we don't want you to miss! We will share more updates about these events as they come. You can always stay up to date with us by visiting our websiteand by following us on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter

Harvest of the Month: Snacks for Schoolchildren Kicks off in September 
For the third school year in a row, Local Food Hub is a partner in City Schoolyard Garden's Harvest of the Month Program. Each month, students in Charlottesville Elementary Schools taste and learn about a locally-sourced snack, grown by our partner farms and prepared by school staff and volunteers. The students learn about growing techniques for the item, and take home recipe ideas and nutrition information to share with their families. Students have tasted everything from kale chips and sweet salad turnips to grapes and blackberries, and this school year is shaping up to be just as delicious! The first snack of the 2016-2017 school year will be delivered on September 8, and generally every first Thursday of the month thereafter. If you have a student in these schools, be sure to look for the informative backpack flyer on these days! Maybe you'll even incorporate the snack item to your home cooked meals? 
Farm Aid, September 17
Farm Aid 2016 is heading to Jiffy Lube Live in Bristow, VA, on Saturday, September 17, and we want to see you there! Each year, Farm Aid board members Willie Nelson, John Mellencamp, Neil Young, and Dave Matthews host a concert to bring together a wide variety of artists, farmers, and fans for one mission: keeping family farmers on the land. Farm Aid is an all-day festival that brings together incredible music, good food and hands-on activities to get folks in touch with the roots of our food. Since 1985, Farm Aid has raised more than $50 million to help family farmers thrive all over the country while inspiring millions of people to take part in the Good Food Movement. Local Food Hub has been fortunate to receive support for our small family farmers in Virginia. Join us to fight for equity and fairness in our food system, and work to make sure everyone has access to fresh, healthy food. Tickets are on sale now here, and more information about our plans for this special day are coming soon!
Virginia Farm to School Week, October 3-7
Virginia Farm to School Week, organized by the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, provides an opportunity for schools and partner organizations to highlight efforts that are taking place throughout the year to source more school foods locally, and to provide educational activities to students that emphasize food, farming, and nutrition. Local Food Hub works closely with area school partners to develop exciting menus for Farm to School Week, and to organize enriching educational opportunities for students, such as taste tests, meet-the-farmer visits, and gardening activities. Check in with your school cafeteria manager, principal, or garden coordinator to see what's happening at your school during this exciting week!

Whole Foods Market Charlottesville Nickels for Nonprofits to Benefit Local Food Hub During Month of October
Shop at Whole Foods Market Charlottesville during the month of October, and don't forget your reusable bag! For every bag you bring in for your groceries, Whole Foods Market will donate five cents to Local Food Hub. Funds raised will support our activities during Virginia Farm to School Week. 

Community Food Awards, October 20
Each year, Local Food Hub recognizes farmers, businesses, and community partners for their commitment to small farms, healthy communities, and Virginia agriculture during our Community Food Awards ceremony. On Thursday, October 20, we will host a fun, celebratory event at our warehouse in Ivy, VA, featuring a community meal, bonfire, s’mores, family-friendly games, a photo booth, and live acoustic music. This event is free, open to all, and tons of fun! 

Farmer Spotlight: Double H Farm, Nelson County

Richard Bean ran Double H Farm in Nelson County with his longtime partner Jean Rinaldi from 1997 until Richard’s passing in November 2013. Richard was a kindred spirit to so many in this community, and with his vibrant personality and can-do attitude, was a driving force in the effort to bring awareness to issues impeding local farmers and to facilitate getting locally-produced farm food into more homes and restaurants. Richard’s one-of-a-kind, butter-yellow dome-roofed van could often be seen on delivery in the Charlottesville area, where he sold vegetables, eggs and meat to local restaurants.

Richard's legacy lives on in his mentoring of Armenian immigrants Ara (pictured above) and Gayane Avagyan, who he groomed to take over his farm and helped to navigate the complicated bureaucracy of trying to establish citizenship. A Local Food Hub partner producer since 2009, Ara and Gayane have carried on the Double H tradition of fresh, thoughtfully raised goods, delivered to Local Food Hub, the Charlottesville City Market, and countless retailers and restaurants in the same butter-yellow dome-roofed van.

Most recently, Double H Farm grew bumblebee and tiger tomatoes (pictured below, and named for their beautiful and unique stripes!) and cabbage for health clinic patients in our Fresh Farmacy program. 
Learn more about Ara and Gayane via a profile written and photographed by friends, Our Local Commons, here.

Workshop: Weed and Insect Management on August 11

Date: Thursday, August 11
Time: 8:45 a.m. - 1:00 p.m., including lunch
Location: Bellair Farm, 5375 Bellair Farm, Charlottesville, VA 22902
Cost: $20, including a delicious lunch (This workshop is free for Local Food Hub partner farms.)

This interactive workshop will offer a field walk at Bellair Farm to hone your skills identifying and managing the major plant weeds and insect pests that affect vegetable and small fruit crops in Virginia. Dr. Charles Cahoon, Extension Weed Specialist based at the Eastern Shore AREC, and Dr. Thomas Kuhar, State Entomologist at Virginia Tech will cover the basics of weed and insect (both pests and beneficials) identification, understanding lifecycles, and developing successful management approaches. A bagged lunch will be provided.

Portions of the workshop will be held in the field, so please dress accordingly and bring plenty of water and sunscreen. You are welcome to bring specimens for identification, however, please ensure they are in completely sealed bags or containers. If you have questions or specific topic requests, please contact Adrianna Vargo at adrianna@localfoodhub.org. To learn more about Bellair Farm, click here.

Local Food Hub is a nonprofit organization that partners with Virginia farmers to increase community access to local food. After seven years, we're still a thriving distribution network for local food, but we are also so much more: a leader in the farm to school movement, a donor to regional food banks, a guide for businesses, a resource for farmers, and a catalyst for fresh ideas for how our community feeds itself.

Join us in our efforts of providing access to farm sourced food for everyone. 
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