Casselmonte Farm's Mission: Produce safe, nutritious, great-tasting food in a sustainable organic system
This property has been known as Casselmonte since 1812 when William Cassell amassed 900 acres in Powhatan County … and named it after himself! In 1848, it was sold on the courthouse steps to George Jeter. In 2006, Bill and India purchased the last 122 acres held by a Jeter family member. Today, six of those acres are under cultivation.
“When we purchased the farm, a market garden was not on the radar! We intended to manage the property for wildlife, principally Bobwhite quail,” said India.
What was the turning point?
“Lousy tasting tomatoes!” Bill said emphatically! “We are both from the Deep South and know what tomatoes should taste like. We began this passion as a search for the perfect tomato for the perfect BLT!”
So far, they have planted almost 150 varieties of heirloom tomatoes in search of those that love Casselmonte’s soil. Ten varieties are “gotta grows” – proven winners. The five to eight new varieties that are tested each year are seeking a berth in the Top Ten … it’s the agricultural version of a reality show!
Ginger is also a Casselmonte darling. First entering the niche lineup in 2011, it has found a happy audience in Hardywood Park Craft Brewery’s Gingerbread Stout, Blue Bee Cidery’s Firecracker Apple Brandy, Black Heath Meadery’s Ginger Mead, and the health foodies … foodies in general!
Bill and India have combined their beliefs in sustainability and good stewardship to grow produce and berries by:
• Using soil testing, crop rotation, cover crops, organic inputs and compost to improve the soil and reduce diseases naturally (and make a great home for earthworms!)
• Creating habitats for beneficial insects and wildlife, including honeybees, Bobwhite quail and wild turkey to pollinate, bug … and please the eye!
Casselmonte Farm LLC is a member of Virginia Association of Biological Farming, Virginia Farm Bureau, Powhatan Chamber of Commerce, Real Local RVA and Slow Food USA.