Photography by Birch Thomas (except where noted)
Located in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, 75 minutes outside of Washington, DC, Chancellors Rock Farm is an environmentally sustainable working farm, and a remarkable combination of luxury and simplicity in a bucolic setting.
At Chancellors Rock, our mission is to demonstrate environmentally sustainable farming and horticultural practices, while supporting the native ecology and wildlife of the Virginia Piedmont. We hope the farm will serve as a beautiful and unique environment in which people can explore, learn from, and experience the benefits of living harmoniously with the land.
Our fields thrive without environmentally dangerous fertilizers. We rotationally graze our cattle and enrich our soils with organic materials to promote better grass growth. Our cattle aren’t fed antibiotics or given growth implants; the beef we sell comes from cows that have spent their lives ranging freely in pastures eating grass, pure and simple.
Chancellors Rock is a partner with the American Farmland Trust in their Sustainable Grazing Program. We believe in demonstrating the environmental benefits of an approach far different from how cattle typically have been grazed. By rotating the cattle frequently among smaller areas of pasture, the cows graze in a controlled manner and manure is spread more evenly. Pastures are allowed to rest, the root systems of the grasses are strengthened, and the soil is improved with greater micro-biodiversity.
Better Grass, Better Carbon Storage
This method of Sustainable Grazing results in stronger growing grass that requires no synthetic fertilizers for nourishment. In addition, our pastures are available for grazing longer during the winter, significantly decreasing our dependence on hay. A final benefit is a reduced carbon footprint: studies have shown that grasses in sustainably grazed, holistically managed pastures can sequester enough carbon to offset the emission from an entire farm.
Meadows Vibrant With Wildlife
By practicing sustainable grazing pasture management, we use fewer acres for hay production, and can delay mowing until after the nesting season of grassland birds such as the Eastern Meadowlark. In partnership with Virginia Working Landscapes, we are studying and documenting how these practices support native grassland birds, which are in steep decline. Acres of pasture have been set aside for meadows filled with native grasses, shrubs and flowers to provide food and cover for birds, pollinators, and other species.
Our Black Angus and Herefordshire cattle are 100% grass-fed. They spend their lives in fields eating grass - and hay in hard winters. They are free of antibiotics, artificial hormones and growth stimulants. The result is high quality grass-fed beef that is healthier for you than beef raised in industrial feed lots where cattle are fed corn and soybeans – feed they cannot efficiently digest, which requires antibiotics to control infections.
Grass fed beef is simply a healthier choice. It is lower in calories than conventional beef, and contains lower amount of saturated fats. It also contains ACL (conjugated linoleic acid), which helps the body fight off cancer – and it is free of antibiotics.
We breed 100% Berkshire pigs as well as Berkshire pigs crossed with Tamworths; we also raise other heritage breed pigs. Our pigs free range in woodlands and pastures eating nuts and roots – the things they eat naturally. They are never fed antibiotics, nor receive growth hormones or steroids. They are responsibly harvested at a facility using Temple Grandin’s humane practices.
Our free-range chickens run in the gardens and pastures, producing richer eggs. Pasture raised eggs contain higher amounts of Omega 3 fat, beta-carotene and Vitamins D and E than eggs from hens that are factory farmed. The hens are happier too!
We employ time-tested French Intensive gardening practices in raised beds to grow our produce. By adding compost annually to deep, broad forked beds, we create loose, well-drained, and highly nutritious soil. This allows greater root system density, fewer weeds, more efficient water use, and produces fewer weeds. Crop rotation, companion planting and an intense focus on soil quality produces higher yields using fewer resources.
Starting from seed in our greenhouses, we grow a wide variety of vegetables: beans, blueberries, blackberries, cabbage, carrots, collards, cucumbers, dandelion, eggplant, fennel, garlic, ginger, kale, lettuce, okra, onions parsnips, peas, peppers potatoes, pumpkins, radicchio, radishes, raspberries, scallions, spigarello spinach, squash, strawberries, swiss chard, tomatoes, turnips and zucchini. Herbs include a wide variety of basil, bronze fennel, cilantro, chamomile, dill, hyssop, parsley, lavender, lovage, lemon verbena, rosemary, tarragon, thyme, and sage. We grow for restaurants, our neighbors, and for events held on the farm.
We grow a wide variety of flowers, both edible, to adorn a salad or dinner plate, and decorative. Our grow list includes everything from amaranth, basket flower, cardoons, dahlias, dara, eucalyptus, lisianthus, sea oat grass, scabiosa, salvia, sunflowers, to zinnias. You can cut your own bouquet or purchase arranged flowers weekly in season.
The meadows on the farm are dynamic, resilient landscapes that put productive ecology at center stage. Native wildflowers provide food for pollinators and insect allies. The standing foliage and dried seed heads provide shelter and forage for native and migrating birds, pollinators, and other species. In 2021, after evaluating the existing vegetation, over 8,000 ecologically productive native perennials and shrubs were planted to add more species that feed wildlife and increase our biodiversity.
Going forward, Virginia Working Landscapes will be monitoring the environmental impact of these efforts in feeding wildlife and promoting biodiversity. Future research involves trying to find the best way to convert pastures into native meadows without the use of herbicides or tilling, which are both damaging to the environment.
Our farm store is in the stable on the left at the end of the drive. We are open everyday from 9 – 6 pm on the honor system. We sell our beef, pork, eggs, and hand crafted products all year, and in season, our fresh vegetable, herbs, flower bouquets and live plants.
To join our email list about seasonal availability in our store, click here.
With over 460 acres in a conservation easement, the farm offers an exceptional setting for a limited number of small corporate retreats or private weekends. Chancellors Rock offers a bucolic setting to relax, rejuvenate and observe a working farm in practice. As a working farm and private residence, the farm is only available half a dozen times a year.
The pool house features a dining room that seats 12 with Jeffersonian windows that fully retreat, and a fully equipped kitchen with a wood burning fireplace. Recreational facilities include a 25 meter swimming pool, exercise studio and tennis court. Hiking trails abound through the meadows and surrounding woods.
Farm to table dinners can be arranged inside or al fresco, curated by local chefs who custom design their menus to showcase the farm’s seasonal offerings.
At the very end of the property, there is a Log Cabin overlooking the Rappahannock River and two Guest Cottages that are privately situated on the farm. Taken together, there are accommodations available for up to 12 people. All houses are privately situated, beautifully landscaped, and fully equipped with all amenities.
For more information on availability, contact us.
Chancellors Rock is a working farm and only available for limited times throughout the year.
TONY AND KATHRYN BROCK EVERETT
OWNERS AND OPERATORS
KEVIN SR. AND KEVIN JR. PATTERSON
FARM ASSISTANT, GROUNDS MAINTENANCE/CARPENTRY
Photograph by Melissa Clarke
We offer tours for school groups, guided native plant tours and meadow walks, and other educational events with our non-profit partners.
Email us to inquire about booking a tour for your group!
To inquire about renting the farm for a private event or corporate retreat, please email us with your request and desired time-frame.
We are unable to accommodate large events such as weddings.