So the family and I set out on an adventure this Labor Day weekend. We have been fans of the Farmer’s Market. We spend mornings in the Spring and Summer traveling to The Charlottesville City Market and The Orange Farmer’s market. We enjoy the festive atmosphere and the good eats.
So my wife Heather asked me if I would be interested in going on the Farm Tour. I had heard of the tour before and just not had the opportunity to go. At $15 a car it is a bargain for a day’s worth of entertainment. We as a family are always looking for a way to spend time together without spending lots of money. We also think that it is important to know where your food comes from and the work it takes to make it. Kids have lost touch thinking the food come from the fridge and the money on the ATM card never runs out.
So at 8:30 am this past Monday we set out from our home in Keswick to Woodson’s Mill in Nelson Co. The adults were excited to see a working grain mill. The kid would get exposure to a bit of working history. The drive would be pleasant and the back drop of the Blue Ridge Mountain is hard to beat.
Upon arrival we were surprised that it was not busier. Two or three cars had beaten us to the punch. The temperature had begun to rise and soon would become quite warm. Two thing were quite apparent; first the sound of falling water through the sluice was amazing, and secondly the warm greeting with pancakes, cookies, scones water and iced tea wonderful.
While we were trying the fare (the kid loving cookies before lunch!) we were also being introduced to the products of the Woodson’s Mill. All the fare had been produced with flour products of the mill. If you have not trying fresh ground flour or cornmeal product you are missing out. The texture and flavor are very different from what you buy at the store. The cookies melt in your mouth, and the corn bread has a sweetness I had thought to be a long past obsession.
After drinking some iced tea and taking a picture and some video of the outside of the Mill, we ventured inside. I have been in or around different types of mills over the years. Woodson’s was the cleanest and quietest I have experienced. As they powered up the grinding stone and loaded the grain hopper with corn to grind to meal, you are struck by how something over 200 years old works so well.
In talking with the owner’s I found out that nothing goes to waste. After grinding the husks are sold for hog feed. So in essence the mill is producing two products at once. I was able to shoot some video of the grinding wheel in action and the grain elevator; all being run by a tremendous wheel turning outside. I am in the process of uploading the videos and have posted one to Meet Yer Eats’ Facebook page and to the Woodson’s Mill Facebook page
We bought some wares in the store (pancake mix and cornmeal) to enjoy at home. We sat buy the creek and enjoyed another peach preserve filled cookie taking in the scenery. Interesting fact in the 50’s the Mill was the Lover’s Lane parking spot. The creek was wider then and couples would drive in and wash their cars then picnic in the shade of the trees.
I would recommend as a nice day trip and a neat bit of working history. Pack a picnic basket and some cool drinks and head to Nelson. On your way you can stop at an orchard, a brewery or a stream for some fishing. I hope you like the pictures and videos
Till next time Good Gardening!