Like a Pheonix from the Ashes: Compost

Anyone who’s gone on a walk across the farm and made a couple wrong turns by the storage barn can tell you, the compost pile is no place for a picnic.  Even before you catch sight of the pile you might catch a whiff of excess nitrogen evaporating into ammonia, bacteria producing any number of […]

Compost heap.

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Soil: Science and Alchemy

We’ve heard it a thousand times from enthusiastic science teachers, “the soil is teeming with life!” And it’s true. Get on your hands and knees and stare at the apparently motionless soil and you will see ants building cities, worms mining for nutrients, and all manner of creepy crawlies going about their business as oblivious […]


Organic Matters

One sweltering Thursday last summer, Michelle and I arrived at the farmers’ market with our weekly offerings. As we carried out the bins of veggies in our freshly mud-slathered jeans a woman stepped up to the garlic bin and asked, ‘How much are these?’ I responded, ‘Two dollars for a large head.’ The mood changed […]

Sustainable farming methods tend to be much more labor intensive because precise mechanical tasks such as weeding cannot be replaced by chemical sprays.  Here Dana and Michelle make sure that the plastic mulch we use for weed control is firmly tucked under the soil.

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Eagles at Bellair Farm

  This Spring, during potato planting, we spotted a pair of bald eagles next to a field bordering the Hardware River.  Upon closer inspection, we discovered their nest.  Since one of the eagles is constantly in the nest right now, its big white head is visible from the field.  We are very lucky to experience […]


Bellair in the bleak midwinter

It’s nearing the end of January here in the Blue Ridge and things are looking a lot less green.  Tractor implements are resting where we left them after seeding cover crop in late fall and the greenhouse is used for keeping people warm rather than seedlings.  A butterfly-less ‘Operation Wings’ overlooks snow-dusted pick-your-own fields where […]

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Prolonging the Magic

The grasses are turning brassy, the chirping of the crickets has taken on a new timbre, and suddenly you realize: fall is practically here and the CSA season is practically over! We’ve already mostly said goodbye to the tomatoes, and while the other heat-loving crops will keep pumping out food for a little longer, the […]


Beatin’ the Heat

We have power!!!! And not a moment too soon. Farm activities proceeded as usual through the power outage, they just required a little extra logistic finagling- generators already in place pretty much took care of the veggie cooler and greenhouse, a special tractor powered generator allowed us to pump water for washing and watering starts, […]

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Spring 2012 at Bellair Farm

Dear Members, Friends, and Fans, As you’ve no doubt noticed, spring has officially and emphatically SPRUNG! And the Bellair Farm crew is springing in to a frenzy of action to match it. The greenhouse overfloweth with onion, cabbage, lettuce, broccoli, and other seedlings. Beets, carrots, spinach and peas are in the ground, sending up tentative […]


A Visit from Murray Elementary

On Monday, we had a wonderful group of students, teachers and parents from Murray Elementary School visit our farm. The students have been growing veggies of their own in the school garden and everybody was excited to learn something about how we do things here. As a super bonus, we lucked out with the weather […]

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Bellair Bees are Here!

    The Bellair menagerie is expanding again, this time to include bees. Honey bees! Long time partners in a wobbly dance of existential desire, humans and honey bees have co-existed for at least 10,000 years, as evidenced by several Mesolithic-era paintings found in Spain. We brought ours home Thursday, and so far they seem […]