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New Local Foods Coordinator For The Highland Center

The Highland Center in Monterey has a new Local Foods Coordinator, who stopped by recently to introduce herself.

“My name’s Cornelia Granbery – I’m with The Highland Center, and recently started a new role –  I’m the Local Foods Coordinator. So it’s essentially two roles – I’m the farmers’ market manager, as well I work on a grant supporting Alleghany Meats.

“I grew up in Nashville, TN., went to school at the University of Virginia, and I recently moved to just south of Bolar in Bath County with my fiancé William Hodges, which is why I’m here. We moved here from California – we were living out west for a few years. I worked for a beef company out there, a grass fed beef brand and was excited to move back to Virginia and support local food on a smaller scale in a small community.”

She spoke briefly about her work with Allegheny Meats.

“Given my experience working for a beef brand, (I) certainly can bring to the table some support with, essentially, marketing meat. The local foods promotion grant, a big part of that is looking at how to promote farmers that are using Alleghany Meats and promote their products. So a lot of what I’m doing right now is networking and researching to figure out how to better support them, and build a better local meat infrastructure in this area – finding consumers and finding new sales opportunities.”

“So this past March we hosted the Meat Market, and that was one opportunity to provide direct to consumer sales for livestock producers who are marketing their own meats, and we hope to do that event again, because it was a huge success, and I think there will be other ideas to do more wholesale outlets and expand direct to consumer sales as well.”

Speaking of markets, farmers’ market season is quickly approaching, and she talked about the preparations for this year.

“So we are gearing up for our 20th anniversary – this year will be our 20th anniversary, so we’ll have actually 20 markets, and we’re going to kick off on May 26th, is our first Friday market, and we’re going to extend the season through Hands and Harvest, which is the festival October 6th and 7th. So it will be a little bit longer season this year, which we’re excited for. We are hosting a vendor meeting – that will be next week, Wednesday, April 26th, at 5:00 pm at The Highland Center, and we are inviting previous vendors as well as new vendors to come. We’ll walk through all the logistics – the rules and regulations, and we’re hoping to see some new faces there.

“We certainly support and ask people, whatever products they have, come on, and I’m sure there will be sales opportunities for them. Specifically, we’re hoping more to attract kind of “ready to eat”, maybe even like a food truck, to promote people to come and have dinner and hang out, and maybe there will be live music to make it more of an event, rather than just coming for fifteen minutes to shop and go home.”

Ms. Granbery refreshed our memories on market specifics and provided contact info for more information.

“The Farmers’ market is every Friday throughout the summer at 3:30 until 6:00 pm, and it’s at The Highland Center Pavilion. They can contact me by email – it’s farmersmarket@htcnet.org, or give The Highland Center a phone call – 540-468-1922.

“I’m excited, mainly because, moving to a new community, being a new face myself, getting out there and working with people in the community, and seeing people, because it is an event that really brings everyone outside and together on Friday afternoons. So I look forward to getting involved and meeting these people.

Story By

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Scott Smith

Scott is the News Director for Allegheny Mountain Radio and Station Coordinator and News Reporter for WVLS. Scott’s family has deep roots in Highland County. While he did not grow up here, he spent as much time as possible on the family farm, and eventually moved to Highland to continue the tradition, which he still pursues with his cousin. Unfortunately, farming doesn’t pay all the bills, so he has taken other jobs to support his farming hobby, including pressman/writer for The Recorder, and Ag Projects Coordinator for The Highland Center. He lives in Hightown with wife Michelle and son Ethan, and also is a member of the boards of the Highland-Bath Farm Bureau , Highland Chamber of Commerce and Highland Sheep and Wool Association. In his spare time, he wishes he had more spare time, especially to ride his prized Harley-Davidson motorcycle.

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