Twitter Facebook LinkedIn

About Agriberry Farm

About Agriberry Farm

574533_10151309819152293_1145282988_nFounded in 2008, Agriberry Farm grows strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, peaches, nectarines, plums and cherries, increasing the quantity and diversity of fruits it produces each season. In addition to selling at farmer’s markets and other area retailers, the farm offers a  CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) program in the Richmond area, the Northern Neck area, Williamsburg and Annapolis.  Agriberry Farm has expanded into these areas via the involvement of family and friends who wanted to bring Agriberry Farm offerings to their communities.

Agriberry Farm is owned and operated by Anne and Chuck Geyer. As life-long farmers, the Geyers strive to raise healthy, sustainably grown food.  As business owners, they work to craft lasting relationships that nourish their community, other family-owned specialty farms, and the evolving local food community.  As parents, they hope to create a legacy of value for their children, and as educators and community members, they feel a special mission to share their belief in farming as a career and lifestyle.  To learn more about Anne and Chuck’s journey together, please read on.

AgriBerry Farm: A Fruitful Adventure

1234023835206.113.146.46

Young Chuck and Anne

Anne and Chuck Geyer met just after college while working at the University of Maryland’s Research and Education Center on a USDA berry production study. In 1982 the newlyweds moved to Virginia and established a 60-acre berry farm in Westmoreland County, where they spent 25 years growing and marketing assorted berries and tree fruits and raising their children Pierson, Colleen and Mary Claire.

Pierson, MC and Colleen

Early field work: Pierson with twins Mary Claire and Colleen

 

 

Driven by a shared desire to own their own land and create a training opportunity for young people, Anne applied for and was awarded a USDA Specialty Crop Block Grant to start a berry farm in 2008.

The Geyers selected Hanover County, with its rich agricultural heritage and convenient access to large populations, as the site for the new farm, leasing 10 acres of land from Chuck McGhee’s Grainfield Farm along the historic Pamunkey River.

The First CSA

Recognizing an unmet desire for high-quality, locally grown fruit, Anne launched an innovative “all fruit” CSA program in the Richmond, Va. area in 2009 with a 9-week pilot, and so began one of the nation’s only berry and fruit CSAs.

1234022807206.113.146.46

Anne shares initial CSA information

Despite difficult economic times, the pilot clearly demonstrated Richmond’s eagerness for local fruit. The pilot program quickly evolved into a 20-week CSA program, which now has more than 500 members. In addition to the berries and tree fruit grown by the Geyers, the CSA includes fruit grown by other area family specialty-crop farmers with whom the Geyers have developed long-standing, supportive relationships.

Click here for a brief video to learn more about Agriberry Farm’s CSA programs.

red raspberriesThe year-round financial support provided by the CSA members has enabled Anne and Chuck to continue building strong farmer-to-farmer relationships and to help fulfill Anne’s dream of a summer-long “Young Worker Training Program,” which enables area youth to gain first worker experience, hands-on agricultural experience and a deeper appreciation of their own food supply.

photo (16)

Packing Shed at Woodberry Farm location

In 2011 the Geyers purchased 25 acres of land on Hanover’s scenic River Road, already prophetically named “Woodberry Farm.” This newly planted acreage now hosts red raspberries, black raspberries, purple raspberries, blackberries, peaches, nectarines, plums, and cherries.  In 2012 the Geyers built and began using a fruit packing shed with freezer and refrigeration capabilities on the property.

MCand Col jammin

Twins Mary Claire and Colleen

A commercial kitchen was outfitted and certified by VDACS in the spring of 2013 for the preparation of Agriberry’s frozen berries, jam, applesauce and other new products.

pierson folding

Pierson Geyer oversees Field Operations

Pierson Geyer, Anne and Chuck’s son, is Agriberry’s Field Operations Manager.  He oversees the daily picking activity and field maintenance, and manages the Young Worker Training Program. Daughters Mary Claire and Colleen Geyer both share the family passion for farming and local food, and they work at the farm as their schedules permit. In addition to the Geyer family, Agriberry Farm now employs more than a dozen enthusiastic members of “Team Agriberry,” plus as many as 50 area youth in its field-based Young Worker Training Program each summer.

Growth Through Family

Chuck Susan and Robert plant peach seedlings at Woodberry

Chuck Susan and Robert plant peach seedlings at Woodberry

In addition to the Geyer children, other extended-family members have gotten into the berry act over the years, working at the farm and helping with markets.  In 2011 Anne’s sister Susan Frackelton Noyce started an Agriberry-Annapolis CSA program from her home in Eastport, Maryland, near Annapolis.

The same year Anne’s niece, Ellen Frackelton and her husband Will Hodges, started an Agriberry-Williamsburg CSA from their home in Williamsburg,Virginia.

Rose and Molly

Rose and Molly

During 2014, Anne’s sister Molly Frackelton Schutrumf, a resident of neighboring Goochland County, has begun working with Anne to help coordinate evolving wholesale opportunities for fresh berries and value-added products such as jams, frozen berries, fruit purees and more.  If you are interested in more information about Agriberry wholesale, we’d love to hear from you!

Agriberry Farm Today

In 2012, Agriberry Farm was awarded a USDA grant to help develop “added-value” products in addition to what is sold fresh at markets and via the CSA program.In April 2013 the kitchen at the new building received certification from VDACS, and became the site for producing all of Agriberry’s jams and other value-added items.  The multi-year value-added product grant has enabled the Geyers to hire additional local workers and to explore a variety of fruit preservation, processing and sales opportunities, such as jams, sauces, frozen and dehydrated fruit, and more. Click here to learn more about Agriberry Farm’s Value-Added Products.

Anne and Chuck began construction of a family home on the property in the Fall of 2013.  They continue to explore opportunities to purchase or lease additional land in the  area. The family remains deeply grateful for the ongoing support of their loyal customers and the USDA grant programs.

anne and chuck

Anne and Churck Geyer

The Agriberry Farm Commitment

Anne and Chuck have pledged to tell the truth about the food they provide, including its source and farm practices. They are also dedicated to doing everything they can to make their customers happy, being good stewards of their land, and being responsible members of the local farming and business community. Please let them know of any comments, suggestions or concerns you may have about Agriberry Farm.

USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack and Anne

USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack and Anne

Community Involvement

Anne, Chuck and Pierson Geyer are active locally, regionally and nationally in many farming associations and organizations.  These involvements help them  to stay up-to-date on the best, most sustainable production practices and help them strengthen their relationships with other like-minded farmers.  In addition, Anne is actively involved with area schools and youth programs, and she is a frequent speaker about farming, marketing and the business of farming.

Where is Agriberry Farm?

photo (16)

Along Hanover’s River Road

Agriberry Farm’s Woodberry Farm site is located at 6289 River Road in Hanover’s historic Courthouse area, about 3 miles from Route 301 (Chamberlayne Ave.)

Agriberry Farm’s original leased fields, still in production, are part of  the McGhee family’s Grainfield Farm, just 5 miles south along River Road from the Woodberry Site (toward Route 360) near the site of Hanovertown, Hanover County’s oldest settlement.

Agriberry Farm is open by appointment, and does not offer  “pick-your-own.

Comments are closed.