December 2013/January 2014
ON THE COVER
Cheese Glorious Cheese
By Caroline Parsley
Although Virginia is most known for its many vineyards and wineries, local dairy farms and cheese producers have been growing and flourishing in recent years. The number of cheese producers in Virginia is still relatively small, but the cheeses produced are of the highest quality. Cheese lovers, both local and across the nation, have begun to take notice of these Virginia cheeses. Not only are our local cheeses winning awards across the nation, but they are also frequently purchased and served at farmers markets and local restaurants.
Gail Hobbs-Page of Caromont Farm has both a passion and a vision for the future of Virginia cheese. Just as Virginian wine cannot be reproduced outside of Virginian soil, Gail believes that “as our cheese making area expands and as our cheeses get better, then that terroir is expressed here in central Virginia, and it can never be reproduced.” This is “the way great food traditions are built.” Dairy farms and cheese producers in the area are certainly on their way to building food traditions through their cheese production. Some of the major players on the local cheese scene include Carmont Farm, Everona Dairy, Meadow Creek Dairy Farm, Mountain View Farm, and Our Lady of the Angels Monastery.
Contemporary Creations: Blaise Gaston and an Exploration of Wood as Art
By Julia Carter and Lauren Lindemann
Driving up to the Gaston property, it is easy to see what drew Blaise and his wife Cali to build their home and life there. Through the fall-tinge trees, we arrived first at Blaise’s workshop where he designs and works on both his restoration pieces and original contemporary creations. He, while closely followed by the family dog, led us through the large workshop, pointing out the varied machines as well as tools and woods he uses to create his custom furniture. TO one side of the lower leel of his workshop there were the traditionally styled doors he had just finished for the Farmington Country Club, yet just feet away lay the makings of his popular contemporary table, Intertwined.
We followed as Blaise led us to his home, an ongoing 25-year project, stopping us just inside the doorway to describe the grand interior sliding door. For about 18 years he worked through design ideas, thinking initially to the architecture of the manual sliding doors found in Monticello then developing the resulting contemporary design with a modern twist: “I wanted to do something that I could play with the design. Then I finally stumbled on that design and it took about a year to make it, and this summer I motorized it.”
Through the doors, Blaise walked us around the grand central spiral staircase to show us not only his wooden designs throughout the home but also his collection of fossils and art from around the world, much of it collected by Cali’s mother Christine Gray. His contemporary designs often are drawn from natural inspiration and these influences are evident in how seamlessly the natural elements of his home flowed with his own works. In recalling how each piece in his home found its place, Blaise highlighted much of the advice he received from his lifelong best friend, Philip Beaurline, who photographed all of Blaise’s designs until his passing in January 2013. He recalled their upbringing and Philip’s influence somberly noting, “I still often think ‘what would Philip do with that’”. Blaise’s attention to detail and great thoughtfulness creates a sense of unity and an atmosphere of comfort and warmth within the various furniture and decorations within his home.
Adventures for the New Year: Month-By-Month
By Julia Carter
Reflect on the resolutions and aspirations you have made for 2014. Make this New Year one to remember with new adventures, new challenges, and new experiences. Dare to experience Virginia as you never have before through following our month-to-month guide of suggested activities and events. Fall in love with all that Virginia has to offer as you make 2014 your most memorable and exciting year yet!
A Day at the Virginia Gold Cup Races!
Compiled by Lauren Lindemann
One of the many horse country events hosted in the Plains, Virginia throughout the year, the 88th running of the Virginia Gold Cup on May 4 promises to be a great day at the races for all. Judging from the recent International Gold Cup on October 19, 2013, the Virginia Gold Cup is sure to be an exciting event for the whole family. Beyond the six hurdle and timber horse races, the Gold Cup offers the Jack Russell Terrier races, contests for hats, tents, and tailgates, and shopping at the many vendor booths in the Great Meadow.
The Jack Russell Terrier races are a crowd favorite, playfully bringing together race day excitement and family fun. Contests for best tailgate and tent encourage race-goers to showcase talents in decorating, cooking, hosting, and mixing refreshing beverages. Engaging the audience in even more friendly competition, the spirited Hat Contest is divided into multiple categories and open for all guests to display their creativity at the Virginia Gold Cup.
Mark your calendars for the Virginia Gold Cup on May 4. Visit www.vagoldcup.com or call 540-347-2612 for more information about ticket pricing and reservations.
By Louise Parsley
I’d had worse days…although I couldn’t remember when.
Forget that I poured orange juice in my coffee, didn’t see my daughter’s truck parked behind me in the driveway and, for a nanosecond, freaked, frightened that I’d locked myself in the car.
Little did I know, the day was just warming up.
This deadline looming, I started my computer and…and…it crashed. Old columns, new chapters, doctored photos and 101 dadgum passwords I’ll never remember: poof. Backup, you say? What backup? A day that began as a small mental fissure gained pressure, spreading and cracking until I broke like Humpty Dumpty.
It. Could. Be. Worse, I mantra’ed. Although, realistically, I couldn’t imagine how. Fortunately, my inner Scarlet slapped me upside the head and told me to think about it tomorrow.
Then the sun came up.
Unfortunately –salt-in-the-wound unfortunately—an aftershock rose with it: my identity had been stolen. The fraudster used my name, my social security number, my shoe size to buy…a computer.
How rich is that?
Credit be damned, I was in shock that anyone would want to be me. Seriously? I’m grumpy, grouchy, and grumbly. My cholesterol is too high. My warranty is expiring. I didn’t even qualify for a card at Costco (which are free, thankyouverymuch). Had the perp just asked, I would have given him my identity.
As featured in the December/January 2011-12 issue of albemarle Magazine
Special Section: Giving, Volunteering, and Nonprofit Service to Our Community
Our area nonprofit organizations touch our daily lives in countless ways: assistance and caring for our most vulnerable people; education and mentoring of youth and adults; artistic and cultural enrichment; protection and preservation of our natural and historic resources; spiritual and religious fulfillment; and many other vital services to our community.
albemarle magazine recognizes the many ways in which nonprofits build personal connections, enhance communities, and strengthen lives. All across the United States and especially in our local community, the lives of individuals have been touched—or will be touched—in some way by a non-profit organization.
The following section contains a sampling of the numerous worthy charities, services, and organizations in our surrounding communities. Nonprofits are essential to our quality of life. Find an organization from the list and choose to give, volunteer, or serve. Your contribution large or small, can really make a difference.
Images from The Holsinger Studio Collection Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library, 434-924-3025, www2.lib.virginia.edu/small/