University of Maryland Extension

Maryland Agriculture Marketing Professionals Cross State Line

VA & MD Ag Marketing Professionals at Polyface Farms
VA & MD Ag Professionals with Joel Salatin of Polyface Farms
Image Credit: 
Stephen Versen, VDACS

It was a whirlwind two day tour of Virginia agriculture operations during the second annual Virginia-Maryland Agriculture Marketing Professionals Annual Meeting, held April 11th-12th. More than 25 staff, representing state and local agencies and organizations, gathered in Staunton, Virginia to share best practices and to visit Shenandoah Valley agriculture businesses.

The first day included an overview of colonial American history at the Frontier Culture Museum, followed by a tour of Joel Salatin's Polyface Farm. If you've never heard the terms, "salad bar beef", "Pigaerator Pork", or "mob stocking herbivorous solar conversion lignified carbon sequestration fertlization" then you've never heard Joel Salatin speak. After that we drove over the mountain to Wild Wolf Brewing Company to learn about local hops production and sample their products.

Day Two started with a visit to the Shenandoah Valley Produce Auction, which provides a central location for growers from within 100 miles to sell their products in bulk. We then headed to Mt. Crawford Creamery, a 80-head family dairy getting ready to open their creamery to sell fluid milk, butter and cream. Last, but not least, was a stop at Bluestone Vineyard, who makes award-winning wines from estate-grown and locally-sourced fruit. With more than 230 vineyards and wineries, and significant support from the state, Virginia is now one of the top five wine destinations in the country.

All of us from Maryland left with many new ideas, a greater sense of collaboration with our Virginia colleagues, and a desire to make next year's meeting in Southern Maryland as fun and informative as this trip. We have our work cut out for us!

 

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