March 9, 2017
Local Food Hub News and Notes
Spring is in the air...or is it?
2017 has seen some wild weather in Virginia. From sunny 70 degree days in February to bitter cold nights, it is difficult to predict what will come next! While most of us enjoy a little dose of summer in the winter, drastic weather changes can be worrisome and challenging for farmers. Thus far, we don't know what the true impacts of this weather will be on the growing season, but so far things are looking manageable.

The warm days have caused some early season fruits, such as strawberries, cherries, peaches, pears, and plums, to start growing much earlier in the season than normal. With a potential frost this weekend, strawberry growers are busy covering their berry plants with row cover, like a warm blanket, and spraying their plants with water overnight to prevent ice from forming and damaging the plants. Tree fruit growers don't have a lot of options to protect their crops from frost due to the vast acreage and tall trees on their orchards, so many have to hope for the best and plan for the worst.
Meanwhile, leafy green farmers continue to grow crops - such as kale, Swiss chard, and spinach - in the ground with row cover or in high tunnels. These crops do not like to be hot, so warm days mean farmers are uncovering row cover in the morning and recovering at night, or turning on expensive fans in their high tunnels and greenhouses to control the temperature. As always, our farmers find innovative and creative ways to succeed and continue to bring us the best Virginia grown produce. We look forward to the official start of the growing season in just a few weeks, and will continue to work with our partner farms as they navigate Mother Nature. 
Our First-Ever Grower-Buyer Meeting
Each year, we host a gathering of our partner farms (some of them pictured above!) to discuss pertinent issues, reflect on the past year, and plan for the year ahead. This year, we invited our buyers to join the discussion. In February, we met for an enriching afternoon at St. Anne's-Belfield School in Charlottesville where we examined the value of local food on the farm and in the marketplace, and Local Food Hub's unique position in connecting farmers and buyers. This was a rare and exciting opportunity for our farmers and buyers to meet in person and hear first-hand the challenges and successes related to growing and buying local foods. We all learned a lot from one another, and look forward to continuing the dialog as the growing season ramps up. 
More Local Food in Charlottesville City Schools
Our partner City Schoolyard Garden has been off and running with their Harvest of the Month Program this year. In February, students tasted and learned about Granny Smith apples, grown by our partner farm Crown Orchard in Albemarle County. This month, students were treated to an extra special snack that took some extra special time to prepare! Using 100 pounds of corn meal from Woodson's Mill in Nelson County, one gallon of honey from Hungry Hill Farm in Nelson County, and 180 farm-fresh eggs from Shepherds Hill Farm in Greene County, Charlottesville Nutrition Staff baked 22 large sheet pans of cornbread to feed over 2,750 students! This was the first time Charlottesville Schools made cornbread from corn meal, so a lot of experimenting took place in the weeks leading up to the service day. The results were a delicious success, with many students coming back for seconds. While enjoying their snack, students also learned about Woodson's Mill's water-powered mill that ground the fresh, Virginia-grown, GMO-free corn used in the cornmeal. Thank you to City Schoolyard Garden for the above photos, and the delicious snack! 

New this year, Charlottesville City Nutrition Services has introduced "Local on the Line," a monthly opportunity to feature a locally-grown item in the cafeteria. In February, students were treated to roasted potatoes, grown by our partner farm Valley Farming in Rockingham County, served with onions and peppers. Next week, students will have fresh, local apples, and April will feature our delicious salad mix! Stay tuned for more details as this exciting program develops. 
Seeking a Food Access Fellow
We are seeking a Food Access Fellow to support our food access work, including our Fresh Farmacy and Farm to Workplace Programs. The Fellow will support all aspects of these programs, including the management and distribution of fresh produce, interaction with program sites and participants, and creation of support materials that seek to develop a culture of healthy eating and cooking. This is a seasonal position, May through October. The successful candidate will be extremely detail oriented, have a passion for food, farming, and healthy eating, and able to commit to the entire season. For more information and to apply, please visit our website below. 
Learn More and Apply
Welcome, Katie!
Katie Maillet joins the Local Food Hub Family as our Sales Associate. Katie has a background in customer service, marketing, and business development, and a strong desire to foster the local food movement for the environmental, economic, and health benefits it provides to the community.

In her previous role with From the Farmer, a good food delivery service in Washington D.C., Katie helped grow and maintain customer relationships and supported marketing and product development efforts. A Charlottesville native and University of Virginia graduate, Katie brings a strong understanding of Virginia's food system. Katie looks forward to bringing more of the best Virginia-grown products to all members of our community.
Did you catch our 2016 Impact Report? 
View the Full Report!
Local Food Hub is a nonprofit organization that partners with Virginia farmers to increase community access to local food. We provide the support services, infrastructure, and market opportunities that connect people with food grown close to home.

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