Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Vension Canning Class

WesMonTy hosted a venison canning class for low income residents in Barbour county.

The class was held at the Belington fire hall and taught by local nutritionist Mary Beth Lind. It gave attendees hands-on instruction as well as 4 cans of their own venison to take home. The meat was donated by members of the Tygart Valley Grower's Association.

The class also featured a cooking portion which resulting in a delicious lunch using the canned game.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

First Meeting of the TVGA!

TVGA Meeting 1/18/2012

      The Tygart Valley Grower’s Association had their first meeting of the year yesterday at 7pm at the NRCS Philippi office. Everyone was excited about this year’s group seed order and eager to discuss the upcoming crops.  Ben Nemeth of WesMonTy RC&D passed out some information on organic Stinkbug management and discussed some resources from the CASA Future Harvest conference he recently attended.  Millie G. recommended a book called “The Farmer’s Market Cookbook” and made the point that chef’s input is important when deciding what to go grow to sell in to restaurants. She also inquired about an efficient means of seed storage and organization.   

   The new manager of the Philippi Garden Market, Reggie Trefethen, introduced himself and talked about his plans for the market this year. As it will be the market’s 20th year of operation, he has a lot of exciting things planned, and is hoping to open as early as the first of April. The growers were interested in learning about what sells well at the market and when, in order to plan some scheduling of their plantings. They also suggested that cooking demos, education and recipes might help customers appreciate and buy more of their produce. Many of the growers also expressed interesting in finding a local USDA butcher or processing facility, a desire that we have heard repeated over and over by farmers all over the state. 

     Dave P. discussed a trip to graft some fruit trees in the spring, and Ellie C. suggested a field trip to Dave Hawkins’ farm. Mary Beth L. suggested a pot-luck seed swap in the future and a potential group-order of High Tunnel supplies like irrigation tubing. Ben asked for a few volunteers to attend and present with him during his panel @ the small farms conference Mar 1-3 (http://smallfarmcenter.ext.wvu.edu/). Attendance would be covered and carpooling could be arranged.  

For more info on the TVGA, check out http://www.wesmontyrcd.org/TVGA

Thursday, December 1, 2011

US Ag Policy

If you are interested in US Ag Policy, where we are now and how we got here, there is a great resource on the internet.


AGree is a collaboration of several different foundations that are examining US and International Food Policy and Food Security issues to help lead innovative discussions and programming.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

More Farm-To-School success!

Here's Katie Wolpert, one of the members of the Tygart Valley Growers Association, telling us about her exciting sale to Upshur County Schools. 

"The week of October 10-14th was National School Lunch week and in honor of that week, the Upshur County Schools made a special effort to include local products in their school lunches for the week. They ordered ground cherries and mustard greens from our fall garden to include as fresh salad components at one of their schools this week. The Nutrition Director for the Upshur County Schools, Cynthia Nesselrode, grew up on a farm in the southern part of WV and is very interested to include more locally produced and seasonal items in the school lunch menus whenever possible.

It is likely that she was even more excited to accept the order from Wolpertinger than we were to deliver it. Hopefully this small initial order is the beginning of a fruitful relationship with the Upshur County School System and results in a closer connection between the farmers and the students in this area.

Any farmers interested or able to provide products that may be of interest to the schools should not hesitate to contact myself or Ben Nemeth about pursuing opportunities with the Upshur schools. This is a great opportunity to develop new markets at a time of year when sales at the summer farmers markets are slowing or already completed for the year. Winter storage items and early spring products will also be able to be sold in this all-but-untapped marketplace. Hopefully we will develop the relationship this winter and spring such that as markets begin to slow next August and schools go back into session, we'll be able to transition smoothly from selling at summer markets to selling to school cafeterias.

If the program continues to grow, there is a possibility of conducting farm visits with school classes or bringing local farmers into the schools to discuss growing, and other issues of relevance with the students, and thereby strengthening the connection that we hope is just beginning to form."

Here are some pictures of the Wolpert's Fall Garden

Congratulations to Wolpertinger and Upshur County Schools! It's exciting to see opportunities like this popping up all over the state. Let's keep the momentum going!

Friday, September 30, 2011

High Tunnel Delivery!

The TVGA received their shipment of 7 High Tunnels from Rimol Greenhouses.

The group unloaded over 45,000 lbs of High Tunnel material from the truck. That's 22 and half tons!

The process went quickly and smoothly with everyone who came out to help. Exciting things will be popping up in Barbour county!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Channel 12 Story

Mark Hollen, a  Tygart Valley Growers Association member was featured in a news story on WBOY Channel 12 (Here). Filmed at Mark's farm, Mark did a great job demonstrating the level of care he takes in growing and handling his produce. His beautiful farm in Valley Furnace provided a very scenic background to the news story. The interview lasted around 1 hour as Stacy Jacobson filmed Mark working on his farm, interviewed Mark and Ben Nemeth and filmed her narrative piece. It was a nice experience, and WesMonTy appreciates the great focus on local food that Stacy Jacobson has provided. This is great exposure for the TVGA and the work that is being done to increase sales of local foods into local markets!

This was part of a larger story by Stacy Jacobson that is focusing on local foods being sold into local restaurants and grocery stores. Her story focuses on the recent sales to Stonewall Resort. A very special thank you goes out to Stacy Jacobson for covering this story.


Monday, August 15, 2011


This movie looks interesting. Has anyone seen it?