First impressions are everything. And our forward face is a little friendlier than most. Just beyond the threshold of Chickahominy Falls, you’ll pass by fields of plenty, neatly organized with a patchwork of possibility beyond what you could even imagine. The big, red barn stands watch, anchoring the heart and soul of this community. It goes beyond just what you see, but actually lives in the belief that life is just different here. And we embrace those differences by heaps and mounds. Imagining beyond the original goodness of it all, Woodside Farms is in the business of change. And from season to season, year after year, it just keeps getting better.
And here we are, in another season of change. This time, inviting another new and enriching perspective to add for the benefit of our farm, to your table.
Enter Nota Skamangoulis.
Her deep Richmond roots have been well established, with family ties sprinkled all around the foodie scene with Stella’s Grocery’s seven locations, in addition to the original restaurant. But it was a gift that just kept on giving that led her to this very place, as the new Farm and Wholesale Manager of Woodside Farms. When she moved into her childhood home, overlooking a vast space of perfectly manicured lawnspace, Nota and her husband had other plans. Turning the fields into what she accurately names her “food forest.” Changing something that had little purpose into one where plans for sustainable agriculture set the foundation for something much bigger. Leafy Lanes first began serving and selling to the local restaurant market, but a much bigger need became apparent during COVID. Happening as naturally as the growing season itself, their business model made another purposeful shift from farm to door, providing locals with a weekly harvest lot of organic, locally grown food. And of course running in these new circles, she soon became introduced to Sean Shepperd of Woodside Farms.
While Sean will continue to manage the fields, Nota will now join the team, focusing her efforts on managing the Farm Share and Farm block members, as well as growing Woodside Market.
“I think Woodside Farms is so unique because of its location and its ability to provide everything from natural, organic produce to culinary conveniences all pulled together in one charming location,” says Skamangoulis. “You’re not going to see something this complete and so accessible to Richmond, Ashland and I-95.”
While the word is out about Woodside Farms hyper locally, as more relationships are forged, the foodies will follow. And so to will opportunity for those who call this place home.
“From my perspective, the farm blocks and farm shares programs are a great way of providing a space where people can come, be part of a community and get educated out in the fields,” says Nota. “Getting their hands in the dirt is a great way to open the communication lines and if they have a good experience, word will continue to get out.”
Bringing a unique perspective to the table, Nota’s upbringing in the local Richmond restaurant scene also will expand to network with this community in a more reciprocal way. Adding even more flavor and opportunity from the fields to restaurant kitchens, back to Woodside Market and home again.
“As far as the wholesale end, I’m excited to forge new relationships with local restaurants, especially those focused on farm to table within our community,” says Nota. “Being able to have chefs come out and see where their food is coming from, establishing garden beds for them, it all comes together to make the possibilities really endless.”
They say what goes together, grows together. If that is true, then we are all in to fill up on what’s up ahead in this new growing season down on Woodside Farms.