Last Tuesday night, ten of us Great Country Farmers went over the mountain for dinner at Audley Farm, which is the vast, rolling spread you see on your right as you approach Berryville — 3,000 acres that look more or less the way they did when Nellie Custis lived there 250 years ago. Think about that: how many places are left in Northern Virginia where you can turn a 360-degree circle and see what George Washington would have seen when he stood there? And he did stand there at Audley Farm — Nellie Custis was his granddaughter. She grew up at Mount Vernon, and moved to Audley after George and Martha died. We went because Turner Kobayashi, the General manager of Audley Farm, wanted to show us what life on those 3,000 unchanged acres does for the flavor and the texture of Angus beef. You bring asparagus, he said, and some Bluemont Vineyard wine, and we’ll sit down at Nellie’s table and talk about all the things that we might do together.
That meal meal constituted the most thorough and satisfying of many conversations we’ve had with Audley lately, all of which have convinced us that partnering with Audley Farm will lead to all kinds of exciting possibilities. One of the great things about the people at Audley is that they approach their work in the same spirit we bring to ours. Here’s how the Audley website describes their process:
“Audley Angus Beef follows a ‘slow food’ production model. Our cattle are awarded a lifetime of freedom to roam our 1,200-acres of pasture, along with freedom from steroids, growth hormones, antibiotics, and unnatural feed sources. At full maturity, Audley Angus Beef is humanely processed in small-batch lots at a reputable, family-owned, USDA inspected and approved site in the Shenandoah Valley. There, the beef is slowly dry-aged, expertly cut, and vacuum packaged. This tightly controlled process, from farm to freezer, ensures the authenticity, quality, and safety of Audley Angus Beef.”
Sounds good to us, so we’ll be featuring Audley beef in our market this year and offering a CSA add-on for farm pick-up. And Audley will be hosting our first CSA group site west of the Shenandoah River. It will be a market-style CSA, meaning members can pick up their shares and other people can buy produce a la carte from our farm stand. We’ll be there Wednesdays from 4:00 to 7:00, beginning June 8.