Drive up the shady tree-lined lane and you’ll find yourself in a space where the big Shenandoah sky kisses distant mountaintops -- an expanse of land befitting a soon-to-be century farm. As Farmer Virginia puts it, “Farming is in our blood.”

Together the Burkholders -- three generations of them --  spend many hours managing a bulk food store, tending chickens, running the dairy, and gardening… but not on Sundays. Instead they remember Sabbath by resting soul and body and visiting friends and neighbors.

When asked why they chose to grow for SVO, Virginia explained that enduring expensive renovations just to keep up with conventional poultry companies simply wasn’t the right choice for their family. As the old adage goes, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” and that’s why the Burkholders are sticking with the natural ventilation system that’s worked all these years. With all that help from the youngest generation of Burkholders, it looks like the farm will be in good hands for decades to come.

Lynda Bostrom