Messick's Farm Market
Messick’s Farm Market was established by the Messick Family in the 1920’s on 1,000 acres of land in Bealeton, VA. This 3rd generation family farm is made of pristine fields and scenic skies in Faquier County, VA. Originally, the farm main operation was a Dairy. The Messick brothers have continued the legacy of their grandparents and operate a 350 cattle dairy and 50 acres of established crops, herbs, and flowers. Ronnie Messick manages the dairy operation and Jimmy Messick manages the farm and market, along with the help of their families.
The Messick’s operation is an agritourism farm that offers pick-your-own strawberries and pumpkins in season. In the market are a selection of produce grown on the farm, pickled and preserved items, like sweet baby pickles and strawberry jam, and cheeses from the dairy. The farm market carries artisanal local goods such as handmade pasta, pastured meats, and even skin care products. For those who come hungry, there is a made-to-order deli counter for sandwiches and prepared salads, and an ice cream stand. Messick’s Farm Market is a one-stop shop for farm fresh goods and ready-to-eat meal.
During our visit, we picked up custom-made pastured chicken sandwiches and vegetarian wraps from the deli and enjoyed our lunch while sitting at the sunny picnic tables that overlook rows of strawberry plants and herbs in the fields. Next to the picnic area is a bounce complex and playground for kids, and a shady grove with a pen of goats. Adjacent to the fields is a children’s ride that can’t be missed: Messick’s Mountain. Tunneled into a compact dirt mount is slide that kids ride down on plastic disks. The ride is child-sized so we watched in awe, but Bonnie, 4P Foods Member Experience Wizard, did manage to rest-run the bounce complex with satisfaction!
After lunch, Jimmy Messick and Crop Manager, Kae Yowell gave us a tour of the fields beyond the visitor’s area. For Kae, farming is family tradition; both sides of her family have been farming in Madison County, VA since the 1800’s. She has a degree in horticulture and is a Master Gardener and VNLA Certified Horticulturist. Kae says one of her biggest challenges with farming is that it is unpredictable. The farm sows at least 100,000 plants each year, from vegetables and herbs, to cut flowers. Of the 100,000 plants sowed yearly, Kae anticipates having a 40-50% loss due to unreliable weather patterns.
All crops are planted direct-sow by hand and maintained by the farm team with some assistances from sustainable machinery. For example, they use an ergonomic solar powered “assist-pick” which allows a worker to lay face down on a padded board, and roll through the rows to hand harvest crops without strain (see image below). Messick’s follows sustainable, low-impact and organic farming practices. The dairy is currently transitioning to organic practices as well.
Field production supplies the farm market, you-pick experience, as well as the farm’s own CSA for members in Culpeper, VA. Grown produce includes tomatoes, romaine lettuce, peppers, strawberries, blackberries, corn, and kohlrabi. 4P Foods members can obtain a range of veggies such as purple kohlrabi, cauliflower, and romaine lettuce in our weekly Produce Shares. 4P Foods began a partnership with Messick’s Farm this season. In fact, the farm is as local to our operation that we are neighbors – located just a few miles from the 4P Foods warehouse.
Messick’s Farm Market is a one-stop shop for food and outdoor entertainment for the whole family. The market is open seven days a week for visitors. We recommend members to make a trip to Messick’s for the “pick-your-own” experience and to enjoy a scenic picnic with farm-fresh sandwiches or outdoor play time with your kids. The Messick’s have plans to expand the outdoor play time for adults too, and will soon have a liquor license to offer wine and beer to guests.