April 28, 2014
Two-hundred years after the land was first cultivated, an Albemarle County farm is still operating today.
The Bellair Farm was a stop on Monday's tours as part of Virginia Historic Garden Week. The farm was first put into use in 1790, but today several of its acres are used to grow produce for the 360 families who are part of Community Supported Agriculture (CSA).
"It's had so many different lives. Originally it was the sheriff of Albemarle's house and land. Now its 900 acres, we have the CSA here. We lease some land to some goat and sheep ferry. It was everything from dairy to a conventional corn farm," said CSA farm manager Jamie Barrett.
The families get 22 weeks of vegetables, everything ranging from carrots and beats, to bok choy and hon tsai tai. They can even get organic eggs from chicken on the farm. Bellair was highlighted on this year's homes tour to remind people of the area's agricultural heritage.
"That's a wonderful thing the Garden Week has done to showcase the history of farming here in Albemarle County, and it's all raising money for restoration around the state," Barrett said.
All of the proceeds from the tours during Historic Garden Week will go toward several restoration projects such as gardens at Monticello, Montpellier, and in Norfolk.
"If we didn't do restoration the world wouldn't be as beautiful as it is, or certainly Virginia wouldn't be as beautiful as it is," said Bellair Property Coordinator Candy Crosby. "Restoring our landscape, and restoring our gardens; keeping our history alive it's so important."