Broadhead Mountain Farm
Broadhead Mountain Farm is perched on a beautiful hillside near the community of Cismont, east of Charlottesville. It is owned and operated by Wally and Susan Parks, who tend the 2-acres under production with a personal devotion that is so uniquely special to local family-run farms.
Their outdoor “office” comes with stunning views. Broadhead Mountain gets its name from the Broadhead family that originally inhabited this plot of land. Wally enjoys digging up artifacts from the original home, which is no longer, but at one time sat right along the perimeter of their growing plot.
The Parks actually maintain two plots, where they produce a wide variety of vegetables throughout the growing season, such as tomatoes, asparagus, broccoli, spinach, beets, and much more. They also grow potatoes, blueberries, and peaches, in a small orchard that also includes some apple trees. While the farm is not certified organic, we’re confident its practices honor the principles of clean food and regenerative agriculture that Foodwaze seeks out when listing local farms. In other words, we’d eat their food any day over mass-produced certified organic produce mostly found in grocery store chains.
The rocks on the mountainside landscape at Broadhead Mountain Farm provide a natural dose of minerals to the soil. The Parks also keep their soil healthy with a regular regimen of regenerative practices such as cover cropping in winter and rotating their plants to different spots from season to season. They amend their soil with compost and other organic fertilizers when needed, such as poultry manure. Plants are started from seed and irrigation is done from a spring-fed pond on the property. They are in the process of installing a holding tank above their plots so they can use a gravity-fed drip irrigation system, which will help them better conserve water.
The Parks do not use chemical sprays on their vegetables. When pests appear they prefer to pick them off by hand… a tedious process, but an important one for those who are passionate devotees of chemical-free farming.
In fact it was their desire to feed their family clean food that led the Parks to the pursuit of eco-friendly agriculture. Both Wally and Susan are natives of Charlottesville and went to nearby Albemarle High School together. Tending a garden using conventional practices was something they did, like most people. But when their three daughters came along, they realized they wanted to be absolutely certain they were feeding them clean, healthy food, free of pesticides.
Wally’s parents bought the Broadhead Mountain property in 1986. In the mid-90s Wally and Susan moved there and built a house. They’ve been farming the land since, selling their produce through local farmers markets and at a few restaurants. As a testament to their stewardship of the land, the Parks were awarded an "Outstanding Forest Steward" designation from the Virginia Department of Forestry in 2008.