Bellair Farm is a beautiful, 853-acre farm just eleven miles south of downtown Charlottesville. It has been an important part of the history of Albemarle County and serves the community to this day.
Mission & Values
Our mission is to run a sustainable business and create a dynamic community around the farm and the food it produces. We strive to create a friendly and open environment where people can learn about sustainable agriculture, reconnect to the cycle of the seasons, and develop a meaningful relationship with the land and their food.
We work toward this mission by:
- Growing clean, safe, delicious food responsibly and with strict adherence to organic standards.
- Preserving long-term soil fertility through crop rotation, cover crops, and livestock inputs.
- Raising livestock in pasture with non-gmo feeds.
- Providing a positive work environment and fair compensation for our employees.
- Serve the community by welcoming groups and individuals to explore the farm.
- Cultivating vibrant and meaningful relationships amongst our members through our CSA program.
Bellair has been in continual operation as a working 853-acre farm since the 17th century and is closely linked to the early history of Albemarle County. The Reverend Charles Wingfield, Jr., prominent landowner who served as both Magistrate and Sheriff of Albemarle County, built the main house between 1794 and 1817. Also an important cleric, Mr. Wingfield was personally asked by Thomas Jefferson to officiate the funeral of Jefferson’s sister, Mrs. Carr. In 1817 another prominent citizen of Albemarle County, Martin Dawson, bought Bellair farm. A respected businessman and trader, Dawson was instrumental in the formation of the Rivanna Navigation Company but he is perhaps more famous for his support of public education. Dawson helped found the Albemarle Educational Commission, supported the establishment of the University of Virginia and three academies in Nelson and Albemarle counties, and provided for the largest private donation to the University up to that time in his will. In 1843 ownership of the farm passed to another clergyman, The Reverend Walker Timberlake, who ran a mill on the property. The mill was dismantled in 1962 and now serves as the ‘Old Mill Room’ at the Boars Head Inn in Ivy. Cynthia Davis and her family have owned the farm for over thirty years, bringing us right up to the present.
The buildings on Bellair farm center around the two-story frame main house, which overlooks the Hardware river and the Green Mountains in the distance. The main house was built at the turn of the 19th century in the Federal architectural style with additions made in the 1930s and 1960s in the Colonial Revival style. To the western side of the house is a mid-nineteenth century guest cottage, which may have been Timberlake’s office. To the eastern side of the house are a cluster of three buildings, a 1930s guesthouse, a mid-nineteenth-century pyramidal-roofed smokehouse, and an early-twentieth-century overseer’s house. Also on the eastern side is the Timberlake family cemetery where Walker Timberlake (1781-1863) is buried alongside his family.
In 1992, Bellair farm was added to the National Register of Historic Places where you can find more details on its history and significance to the region.
In the early 2000′s Cynthia Davis began to envision starting a business here that would sustain the tradition of the working farm and engage the surrounding community in local food and agriculture. The CSA program began in 2011.