Situated in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Floyd County, Virginia. Riverstone Organic Farm is blessed with a span of fertile, flat river bottom land unusual for this area. The farm has been in cultivation for over a century, maybe more. The solid brick farm house on the property was built early in the twentieth century and three generations of farmers lived there and farmed the land. Now the farm is again an active working farm and additional land has been rented from two immediate neighbors to support the growth of an organic vegetable farm and pasture raised meat operation.
The crop land has been fenced with over 2 miles of deer fence and our pasture lands, on which we practice a rigorous rotational grazing program, are divided into 35 separate pasture areas. There are several old barns on the property which serve for storage and a substantial new barn, built in 2012 houses most of the equipment and supplies as well as being the working base for farm work.
As Riverstone has worked more towards season extension we have built five hoop houses (one heated greenhouse) which now operated for a large part of the year.
In May, 2105 we opened our farm store, a small building, right on the road, which gives access to all our farm products to our neighbours and farm visitors. Our latest project is a commercial on-farm kitchen which allows us to process jams, chutneys, soups and baked goods featuring products of the farm.
A river runs along one boundary of the property and affords wildlife habitat on its protected banks. There is also a woodland and a section of wetland on the land, allowing for a wide range of habitats.
All in all, its a beautiful place to work and a beautiful place to visit.
Angela Vitale is the Greenhouse manager at the farm. She executes the seeding and seedling production and does a million other things too! She is originally from New jersey, and in college she became fascinated by plant and fungal relations. On the farm, she is growing shiitake and winecap mushrooms on woodchips and logs. She is relieved to be engaging in the natural world on a daily basis and we are glad that she escaped academia to bring her focus, strength and passion to the farm.
History & Vision
After a 2-year search, Woody and Jackie Crenshaw bought their dream Farm in 2002. They did this for several reasons, one being as a way to get their retirement savings out of the Wall Street economy and into the local economy; to a place they could see, and touch and care for it. It was also intended as the beginning of an, as yet, undefined project that they hoped would one day be useful for their community. Also, there was a need to restore and care for this parcel land, which had been stressed by overgrazing. Over time a vision emerged of an organic valley, something that could, one day, become a center for sustainable agriculture in Floyd County.
In 2009 the SustainFloyd organization began researching how to bring a new pulse of energy to local agriculture and the time seemed right for the Crenshaw’s to step out and create a real working farm where ideas and strategies could be tested on the ground in real time. This thought lead the Crenshaw’s to approach their neighbor, an experienced organic farmer, with whom they worked together to design and build a certified organic farm from the ground up. That began a 3-year partnership that resulted in Riverstone Organic Farm. Today, Riverstone is a fully functioning certified organic GAP farm that is steadily developing into an efficient and profitable operation that is making a name for itself by producing quality food using sustainable practices.
- To be responsible stewards; striving to be sensitive to requirements of the land, water and biosphere, such that we are working in harmony with the natural processes around us.
- Create quality nutritious food for our neighbors and regional consumers.
- Be mindful of our energy footprint.
- Provide meaningful work and educational opportunities for people interested in sustainable agriculture.
- Offer educational programs that provide the general public with experiences about fresh food, farming and the natural world from which they come.
- Create a destination that visitors can enjoy.