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January
13

How Farms Grow a Community

Home is where the heart is — and it's the compassion, honesty, and integrity that's inside our hearts that truly brings us together as a united community. Our REALTORS® at Old Dominion Realty believe that home is more than a place where we live. It's a place where our food, our children and our community grows. It's a space where we come together to support each other and pass along our values. Home is where we give back to our community and our local farmlands are vital resources that foster the growth of each and every one of us.

Farming is the largest private industry in the state. There are over 45,000 farms within state lines that give back to our communities and our planet. Farming is also a personally rewarding experience, as many of the Virginia farms currently operating are small, manageable spaces that farmers tend to for enjoyment rather than generating their primary income.

There are numerous ways that farming helps our community grow in every sense of the word. Large and small farms alike make substantial positive impacts in our daily lives, often affecting us in ways we're unaware of.

  • Farms create jobs for our community.
    Whether it's tending to the soil, harvesting the crop or selling the goods at the market, every farm creates occupational opportunities for the men and women of our community.

  • Farms also stimulate our economy.
    Just as they provide jobs, local farmers also stimulate our local economy by encouraging us to keep our income flowing within our region. Proceeds from every local purchase are more likely to be reinvested into the community compared to money spent at corporations or chains.

  • Farmers educate us about food culture and agriculture.
    Knowing where our food comes from is the first step to understanding the importance of sustainable, local food systems. By educating us on how and why certain foods are grown, we gain the knowledge needed to make everyday decisions that positively impact our environment.

  • Local farms reduce carbon emissions.
    Urban agriculture keeps our cycle of food within the community. Instead of selecting mass-produced foods that often result in increased industrial pollution, choosing to do business with local farms cuts down on fossil fuel usage.

  • Local foods nourish our community.
    Across the country, many adults and children do not get the nutrition they need from quality foods. Locally grown foods preserve biodiversity and food security which enables the community to get the nutrition their bodies desperately need.

We invite you to visit one of these area farms to show your appreciation, gratitude and learn more about how these farms are helping our community grow year after year.

  • Back Home on the Farm Adventures — 2915 Willow Run Rd., Harrisonburg, VA 22802
    A fun-filled farm hosting family-friendly events throughout the year.

  • Harrisonburg Farmer's Market — 228 S. Liberty St., Harrisonburg, VA 22801
    Stop by the Turner Pavilion and meet many of our local producers who bring fresh food to the market each week.

  • White Oak Lavender Farm — 2644 Cross Keys Rd., Harrisonburg, VA 22801
    A farm specializing in lavender plants and products, you can pick your own plants or choose from their wide variety of lavender goods.

For help finding a home in one of the Virginia or West Virginia communities we represent, contact us today.
Buy a Home with Old Dominion Realty

September
20

A Place to Call Home: Micah Branson

Micah Branson - A Place to Call Home

Micah Branson, REALTOR® and Associate Broker, talks about why she loves living in Virginia's western Rockingham County.

Fulks Run | Western Rockingham County | Mountain View Elementary School

We've asked our agents at Old Dominion Realty to share with you what they love best about the place they've chosen to call home.  

One of the things I love most about living in my community is my drive home at the end of the day. In the evening, the sun is setting over the mountains west of Harrisonburg, and I drive home right into the sunset. The colors, sunlight, and views are amazing. The four seasons are on full display as you drive west to where we live. The winter sunsets have the most beautiful array of colors, in the spring you see forsythia, daffodils, dogwoods, and redbuds blooming first, summer flowers, crops, and sun give way to fantastic fall foliage and shorter days to go home and spend time together in the evening. Our neighbors are friendly, helpful, and offer smiles and a hand regularly.

Micah Branson
Rockingham County Schools

I enjoyed many opportunities and good memories growing up in our Rockingham County Schools here locally. This year my daughter went to Kindergarten, and we are so blessed by and thankful for the opportunity to send her into a vibrant, caring, and fun learning environment at Mountain View Elementary School. Our back to school night featured upbeat music with the staff and faculty lining the halls to welcome us into the school. We shared a meal and got to know our teachers, classroom, and even got to go on a bus ride to familiarize our daughter with all facets of school life before the first day. The first week on Friday she asked why she could not go to school on Saturday. Her teacher posts pictures and video for parents to see and interact with their child's learning, and there are ample opportunities to eat lunch with the kids and volunteer in the school. Our experience has been welcoming, unifying, and a blessing.

Local Sports Teams

My favorite local sports team would have to be the Clover Hill Bucks of the Rockingham County Baseball League. I grew up going to Bucks games in support of my two stud cousins, Addison and Dustin Bowman, and their cohort of a core of talented, competitive and fundamental baseball players who were an exceptional group to take the field together for many years. They were a joy to watch and learn from! Bucks games are a vibrant community event. The RCBL is the oldest continuous wooden bat league in the country. It has a rich history, and the challenge of hitting a moving, tiny baseball with a wood bat is still, in my opinion, one of the hardest feats in sports. The good players are successful 3/10 times at the plate. These players handle failure and move on to the next guy, the next opportunity. Our Bucks have always been hustlers, always been fundamental ballplayers, always been competitors and therefore have competed for many championships! Love going out to ball games at "the Clover Dome" where you can see many familiar faces, get a burger or hot dog fresh off the grill and catch some talented ballplayers competing for the love of the game!

Favorite Restaurant

My favorite local restaurant is the Thomas House in Dayton. My grandparents started taking me there before I can even remember. I always remember it looking the same and being the youngest person in the room. (This rarely happens now!) I take out of town friends to enjoy this local cultural experience! The food is unfailingly wonderful comfort food that feeds the stomach and the soul! You will find me ordering poor man's steak, baked chicken, their chicken casserole and scalloped potatoes and green beans. Not to mention the lettuce salad has some kind of homemade dressing that is honey mustardy but better! The sweet tea and mint tea are on point, and when I feel like I can handle more food, the peanut butter pie is my favorite dessert!

Local Coffee Shops

Local coffee shops are all pretty amazing. I like Shenandoah Joe's for their sweet artwork atop their drinks, Black Sheep for their pour-overs with chocolate undertones and poster that says, "Work hard and be nice to people." What more could you need?

Where I Go for Happy Hour

Favorite place for happy hour. I love the Cracked Pillar in Bridgewater. Always sure to find some family and friends there! The owners are super sweet and have an excellent selection that would appeal to anyone. Love sitting on their outdoor deck and enjoying beautiful weather and delicious fare!

Grocery Store

A favorite local grocery store would be the Sunrise Bakery on 257 (Ottobine Road) in Dayton. They have homemade goodies, a full deli and my friend Zane Wenger of Fat N Sassy BBQ always supplies some sort of smoked meat goodness that can make anyone's day!

Local Event Not to Miss

The favorite local event would be the Rockingham County Fair. I grew up very active in 4-H and FFA and showed market lambs and steers at the fair as a youth. One of my favorite ways to give back is to come full circle and attend the County Fair as a market animal buyer. Our community shines at this event. I love to see all the business owners and operators out together in support of our youth and programs that give them so many opportunities. Seeing so many folks I know and getting to be a small part of supporting this for our youth stirs my soul every year! Not to mention I love the real squeezed lemonade, fries from the fry shack, and the Young Farmers ice cream booth will see me every year!

Micah Branson Outdoors

Spending Time Outdoors

I cannot pick a favorite local activity. I am an outdoor junkie and love everything this area can offer. When I retire, I might lead trips to do all of these things. Here are some favorites. Love to fish from my kayak on the North and Shenandoah Rivers for anything that will bite. I like catching not fishing. My favorite hike is Old Rag in Madison County. It is so high up the vegetation changes, and the boulders up top are the size of cars. You have to scramble through rocks, so cool! Biking I like the Blueberry Trail in Union Springs. Swimming, I love Blue Hole, but it better be 100 degrees that thing is cold! Horseback riding my favorite trail is the North River Gorge. Winds along the river and through the woods. This is fun to do on a bike too or on foot and take a fishing pole but be prepared for lots of river crossings. Hunting my favorite is the beginning of bow season when it's not so cold on family land in Pendleton County, WV with a younger kid along with me and lots of snacks! Fishing my favorite spot is fly fishing at Big Run in Pendleton County, where my grandfather taught me to fly fish.

Dayton Virginia

Local Businesses I Love

Local businesses I love. There are so many. Premier Auto Body. Yes, I have needed them a few times. So fast, so sweet and so welcoming. Blessings Christian Bookstore. If they don't have it, they will order it. They remember my name and are such a sweet, family-run business. Dry River Tree Service. Hardworking guys that take care of each and every customer! Strickler Carpet and Floorcovering. Treat people right and are always reasonable, fast, and professional. The Dayton Farmers Market and all the businesses in there. A local icon for years. Whether it's for a gift, for lunch or just looking I love to walk into the Farmers Market. The Shenandoah Valley Produce Auction. I don't always need a pallet of veggies, but it is always fun to watch them auction off and eat at the local run food stand with homemade goodies!

Micah Branson Local Park
Three words that describe why I love living in our community. Values. Unity. Creation.

My favorite part of working in real estate is being a part of the process of dreaming with clients! Hearing what stirs the heart of my clients in what they are looking for and working through the process of finding a way to make it happen and navigating the steps to make it come true!

Find out more about Micah Branson on her website.

April
21

Things to Know Before Buying Farmland

Ever dreamt of buying a farm? Here's a guide of things to consider before buying farmland.

Things to know before buying farmland

So, you've been dreaming of moving to the country. Whether you want to become a professional farmer or have a passion for living in the country and growing your own produce, buying agricultural land can be a complex process.  Here is a guide for things to consider before buying a farm.

1.  Define Your Goals.

You want to become a farmer and buy land in the country.  Each person has their own reasons why they want to own or work on a farm.   Before going down the path of actually buying agricultural real estate, ask yourself these questions to help determine your goals:

  • Do you want to own a farm and make a living as a professional farmer?
  • Do you want to become a "weekend" farmer and grow produce for your family's needs?
  • Are you looking for a real estate investment?

2.  Find the Right Location.

Finding the right piece of real estate goes along with defining your goals.  If you want to buy a working farm, determine where the nearest market for selling your produce is located.  Make sure the neighborhood suits you and the type of farming you want to do. 

If your plan is to live in the country enjoying a quieter, simpler lifestyle, then buying farm property away from a larger community might be for you.

Old Dominion Realty specializes in farm and rural properties in our local marketplace.  We can help you find the right location for you in the Virginia and West Virginia real estate markets.

3.  Find the Right REALTOR®.

Find a real estate agent with experience in helping customers buy and sell farm property.  Our team of REALTORS® in the Virginia and West Virginia real estate markets has the knowledge and experience you need to buy farm and rural properties.  They have expert knowledge about zoning, easements and details like soil type and water rights to help guide your decision.

4.  Understand your financial needs.

You'll need to understand your financial needs and budget to pay for and run your farm.  Cash buyers can compare their available amount of money with the price of the land they wish to buy.  If you need to finance a portion of the purchase price, find a lender experienced in financing farm properties.

5.  Zoning.

Zoning for agricultural property is in place to restrict non-farm uses of land.  The use of land, minimum farm size, and non-farm use buildings on the property can be determined by local zoning laws.  Working with experienced REALTORS® who have a knowledge of selling farm property will help you understand your limitations for use before you buy.

6.  Know what's included with your real estate purchase.

It is important for all parties involved to understand what is included with the purchase before the transaction is completed.  Buying farm equipment, building fences, gates and structures can be expensive.  A detailed list of everything included with the purchase needs to be a part of the contract.

7.  Water.

When searching for the perfect farm, its water supply is an essential resource to consider.  Are there streams, ponds or rivers on the property?  Is there standing water?  Find out more about water quality standards by visiting your state's Department of Health or Department of Natural Resources web site.  Learn how to take a water sample and where to send it for testing.

8.  Soil.

Whether or not land can be farmed is determined primarily by soil type.  Know your soil limitations before buying farm land.  To learn about your potential property's soil limitations, visit the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) web site and search the farm's site address.  Take a soil sample and send to a nearby soil-testing to test the soil for nutrients and deficiencies.

Contact Old Dominion Realty

Buying a farm can be a complex process. However, if you work with the right real estate team, owning a farm can be a rewarding experience.  Contact our team at Old Dominion Realty today.

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