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2010 Forum

Page history last edited by Craig Yohn 11 years, 9 months ago


March 19, 2010

The 6th Annual

Forum for Rural Innovation


Trends and Opportunities in Specialty Crops & Cane Berries” (PDF of Slides)

Dr. Reza Rafie, Horticulture Extension Specialist, Virginia State University, Petersburg VA


Internet Marketing 201 - Social Networking As A Marketing Tool”  (PDF of Slides)

Stephen Mackey, Co-Founder & Creative Director, Mesh Multimedia; & Owner Notaviva Vineyards, Hillsboro, VA


 “Step By Step Process For Direct Marketing Meat and Processed Foods”  (PDF of Slides on Processed Foods)

Barry Jones, Office of Meat & Poultry

Services, VA Dept. of Agriculture & Consumer Services, Lynchburg, VA

Cindy Martel, Marketing & Development, WV Dept. of Agriculture, Charleston, WV


2010 Award Winners  (PDF of Slides)

Farmers Online Market.net – Catlett, VA     

Stoneleigh Farms – Warrenton, VA

Round Oak Farm – Leetown, WV

Ellerslie Farm – Berryville, VA


What I See As Food Innovation in the Mid-Atlantic Region

Melissa Harris, Publisher, Flavor Magazine, Sperryville, VA


Innovative Ideas for Large Acreage Land Owners and Renters” Warren Howell, Allder School Berries, Purcellville;

Phillip Ramsey, Stoneleigh Farms, Warrenton; and Tyler Wegmeyer, Wegmeyer Farms, Hamilton, VA


New and Successful Innovative Projects from Across the Region

Kellie Boles, Jefferson County,WV;

Christy Dunkle, Clarke County VA;

Ray Pickering, Fauquier County, VA; (PDF of Slides)

Melissa Nelson, Loudoun County,VA; and

Mary Beth Bennett, Berkeley County, WV


Our Speakers



Dr. Reza Rafie (arafie@vsu.edu)

Dr. Reza Rafie is a horticulture extension specialist with Virginia State University. His current research

and extension interest is to work with high value specialty fruits and vegetables, including berries. Dr.

Rafie takes a marketing approach in identifying crops with proven market trend potential that will ultimately

help growers’ bottom-line. He has many years of international experience and in the past has worked with

privately owned fresh fruit and vegetable companies.



Stephen Mackey (stephen@notavivavineyards.com)

Mesh Multimedia, co-founder & creative director; Notaviva Vineyards, owner, Hillsboro, VA

Stephen has significant experience in many aspects of multimedia solutions, including audio engineering,

production design, software development, digital media product management, technology & operations executive

management, and most recently motion graphics and video production. Engaged internationally as an audio engineer

and event producer, his work has taken him to six continents with entertainers such as Matchbox20, Bon Jovi,

Garth Brooks, Ted Nugent, Jars of Clay, Amy Grant, Tanya Tucker, Midnight Oil, and Julio Iglesias. His keen ability to

assimilate emerging technologies enables Mesh Multimedia, a Loudoun-based creative agency he co-founded with

wife Shannon, to deliver effective, relevant, and profitable solutions for their clients successful business initiatives.

In addition to his multimedia pursuits, Stephen and Shannon have also founded Notaviva Vineyards, a Virginia farm

winery dedicated to delivering a unique brand experience based on the pairing of wine and music in an atmosphere

rich in Americana. Though serving as a multimedia producer, vineyard manager and winemaker during the week,

Stephen can be found behind the tasting bar every weekend pouring wine for customers and sharing stories about

the founding of the vineyard as well as his touring days in rock and roll.



Barry Jones (Barry.Jones@vdacs.virginia.gov)

As inspection manager for the Virginia Department of Agriculture’s Office of Meat and Poultry Services, Barry is

responsible for the consistent interpretation and application of regulations to 47 inspected and 107 custom

exempt operations across the state. Barry has thirty years of experience with meat inspection. The last twenty

have been in a supervisory capacity. His primary focus has been to ensure that plants understand and

follow existing regulations and make adjustments as necessary to meet new or updated USDA/FSIS regulations.

He gets great satisfaction helping individuals and groups to open custom and inspected facilities that help

meet the needs of local producers. Barry graduated from Virginia Tech with a BS in Animal Science.

He has a wife, three daughters (no money), operates a beef cattle farm, serves on the local school board and is a

director of his volunteer fire department.



Cindy Martel (cmartel@ag.state.wv.us)

Cindy Martel is a marketing specialist with the West Virginia Department of Agriculture with responsibilities

in the agritourism, international trade and agribusiness development. Based in Oak Hill, Ms. Martel works

with rural and agricultural based companies to enhance their product offerings to West Virginia

visitors and consumers. Ms. Martel is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-River Falls, majoring in

agricultural business and economics. She has completed post-graduate work in elementary education and

holds a West Virginia teaching license with special education credentials. In addition to her work with the

Department, Cindy is a twenty three year veteran of West Virginia’s whitewater industry working in marketing

and promotional arenas. A native of New England, Ms. Martel resides in Fayetteville near her family’s business.



Melissa J. Harris (melissa@flavormags.com)

Founder and publisher, Flavor Magazine, Sperryville, VA

Melissa has been in the publishing industry for almost two decades, working for publications such as

Hamptons Magazine, Museums Magazines, The Southampton Press, Dan’s Papers, and the C-Ville

Weekly (Charlottesville, VA). But it wasn’t until she observed her community’s passionate commitment

to local food and agriculture that she was inspired to start her own magazine. Flavor, which

Melissa launched in 2008, is a free, bi-monthly magazine that beautifully and intelligently covers local

food, sustainable agriculture, and regional wine, and it promotes participation in the

local economy and awareness of local environment. It also functions as an economic development

engine for the Capital Foodshed—which includes Washington, D.C., Virginia and parts of Maryland—

a region uniquely positioned to influence local food movements across the nation. Just two years old,

Flavor already reaches 250,000 readers annually. Melissa lives in Rappahannock County with her

family, where they raise some livestock of their own.




Warren Howell (allder.school@gmail.com)

Allder School Berries, Purcellville VA

Warren Howell, the owner of Allder School Berries, has been planting and picking berries since he was a kid.

His first job was picking strawberries on his grandfather’s farm in Elmer, NJ, for 5 cents a quart. Over the decades

since then, he has been in and out of agriculture. In the Peace Corps in Chile and Brazil, he worked with

sugar beet and sugar cane farmers. For 15 years he translated agricultural project documents for international

agencies. From 1987 to 2001 he owned and operated Four Seasons Small Farm Services, a custom farming and

horse hay business in Purcellville. While employed from 2001 to 2009 by the Loudoun County government as

agricultural marketing manager and agricultural development officer, Howell assisted farms and rural enterprises

with marketing and business planning. Also, he started planting blueberries, raspberries and blackberries for

a retirement business. Now retired, he has all the time he wants to keep his hand in local agriculture.



Phillip Ramsey (pmramsey@comcast.net)

Commercial beekeeper, Stoneleigh Farms, Warrenton, VA

Producer of honey and honey products with distribution through retail grocery chains in Maryland, Virginia, and

Carolina. He spent his early years growing up on the family farm in Henry County, VA. After a stint with First

Citizens Bank & Trust Company of North Carolina, he founded the Ramair Corporation, an aviation company

specializing in the delivery of overnight clearings for the Federal Reserve and contract aerial observation services

for the U.S. Forest Service. Later, he spent 15 years running Phillip Ramsey Associates, a marketing and

communications firm whose focus was product design and merchandising for national retailers. He was employee

#16 at the internet retailer ValueAmerica.com in Charlottesville where he built the in-house ad agency, created

and managed the media buying strategy and wrote, produced, and directed the national radio and television ads.

His work received national recognition for advertising excellence in the 1999 Addy Awards for a series of TV and

radio ads. He returned to agriculture in 1999 and the resulting Stoneleigh Farms agri-business has grown to

21 apiaries spread along the length of the US 29 corridor in Virginia. Phillip began his undergraduate work at

Montreat College in North Carolina, later earned an advanced diploma from The University of Oxford, Kellogg College,

and received an MA in history from the University of Leicester. He is an agricultural historian with research interests in

18th, 19th, and early 20th century English agriculture.




Tyler Wegmeyer (wegmeyerfarms@yahoo.com)

Wegmeyer Farms, Hamilton VA

Tyler and Harriet Wegmeyer founded Wegmeyer Farms in 2002 with a one-acre plot of pumpkins. The farm has since

expanded to 25-acres of pumpkins, 2-acres of raised-bed strawberries, and about ½ acre of raspberries and

blackberries. All products are available for U-pick on the farm where agriculture education is a priority. Products are

also sold through the Loudoun Valley HomeGrown Markets Association and at various local wholesale outlets. The

Wegmeyer’s pumpkins have been featured with Chef Emeril Lagasse on “Emeril Green’s Thanksgiving Special”

and have also set the backdrop at The White House for the National Turkey Pardoning. In addition to his farm duties,

Tyler has a career in Washington DC, working for the American Farm Bureau Federation as director of congressional

relations. He has previously worked in strategic marketing at John Deere Company and has also spent nearly a decade

on Capitol Hill, staffing both the House and Senate Agriculture Committees. Tyler serves on the board of the

Loudoun County Farm Bureau and the Loudoun Farmers’ Museum. He was raised on a dairy farm in Northern Michigan

and graduated from Michigan State University with a degree in agribusiness management and food industry




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