Happy Earth Day! With vineyard views of beautiful Blue Right Mountains, sometimes we forget to mention all the green! So we sat down with our favorite green-thumb and certified horticulturist, Diane Burns, to talk about 10 little known earth-friendly facts about Pippin Hill.
- The Tasting Room and winterized Veranda make Pippin Hill an ideal year-round venue. How does Pippin Hill heat and cool their buildings? We use geothermal for heating and cooling of our building. This is way more energy efficient, because lines are buried 10′ below the surface where the ground temp is a consistent 54 degrees. This means the lines are kept cooler than the air temperature in the summer and warmer than the air in the winter.
- What about water conservation? Pippin Hill has a cistern to collect water run off from the roof, this water is then circulated through our outdoor fountains and our irrigation system is also connected to it – our grass and gardens are watered with this rainwater. We recently installed two additional 1500 gallon tanks, in the lower field and that too will be used to water our vegetable and flower gardens in the lower field. We now have a total of 8000 gallons that can capture rainwater for reuse.
- Does Pippin Hill compost? We compost our kitchen vegetative waste along with chicken droppings from our coop. This is in turn then used to compost our kitchen gardens once it has fully broken down!
- The Tasting Room is a farm-to-table concept, does the farm production use a lot of gas? No! Our motorized farm Gator is electric, meaning no carbon emissions or noise pollution.
- What about the vineyard? How does Pippin Hill make that process eco-friendly? In our vineyards, we use a bird netting that has a ten year life span. This eliminates the need of the less expensive netting that is thrown out every year.
- Pippin Hill takes pride in all natural, chemical free harvesting. How do you avoid using herbicides? By using a crimson clover as a cover crop in the vines. This eliminates the use of herbicides to keep weeds and grass down.
- What about fungicides? We are using more disease resistant vines such Vidal Blanc to reduce the fungicides.
- Does the Vineyard conserve water too? Yes, because our planting site for vines is on a slope it makes for good drainage, and further reduces the need for heavy fungicides!
- What should every guest know about Kitchen Gardens? They are all organic! Everything that is grown in our gardens is harvested and used in the kitchen on a daily basis.
- What’s your favorite eco-friendly practice at Pippin Hill? On Earth Day 2017, a Pippin Hill wedding couple wanted to plant a tree to mark the occasion of Earth Day and their wedding. I choose the native Virginia state Dogwood for their tree.
- What about the Pippin Hill honeybees? The survival of plants depends on pollination and bees play a very
vital role in our food supply. The bee population has been declining due to urbanization, increased use of pesticides, mites, and CCD (Colony Collapse Disorder). Having bees here at Pippin Hill not only helps to rebuild the honeybee population, but they also pollinate our vegetable and cut flower gardens – we have even experienced larger yields in the vegetable garden as well as larger flowers! Our first honey harvest was in July of this year and approximately 80 pounds was extracted from honey filled frames. We consider the honey as just a nice by-product of beekeeping, a little reward for being good stewards of the land.
Earth Day may be once a year, but sustainable never stops here at Pippin Hill! Join us for Featured Farmer Fridays, where each week a different farmer brings their array of local and fresh produce, meats, florals, and more to a mini-farmers market on the Veranda. We believe using local and sustainably grown produce is the best way to serve our customers, not only does it taste better, but it’s better for you!
Check out our events calendar to plan your visit!