by Christina Saylor
Atelier Farm, located off Preddy Creek Road in northern Albemarle County is lovingly owned and operated by farmer, Austin Mandryk. Austin named his farm after the French word atelier, meaning workshop or studio, and his farm feels just like that — an open air studio where Austin creates and organizes his next work of art of the season. It is beautiful to behold the bounty and variety of flavors and colors of fruits, vegetables, herbs and flowers he coaxes his land into producing.
Austin, calls his farm “beyond organic” and “pro-biotic.” Austin’s methods include using living mulch, no-till cover crops, beneficial bug borders, and weed and vermicompost teas, all in a loving and attentive effort to promote all life to flourish in balance on this 5-acre plot. A a result, Austin is bringing the overused, fallow land back to health. He is providing fresh produce that his CSA members can eat with a good conscience, while also renewing the ground that nourishes us.
Atelier Farm sells both summer and winter CSA free choice shares, with each season lasting 6 months. The winter season focuses on fresh spinach, root crops, dried beans, popcorn, winter teas, and a variety of herbs like dried spices, hot pepper, garlic, ginger, and turmeric. The summer CSA adds fresh fruit like watermelons, blackberries, strawberries, and raspberries, a diversity of greens, all the usual suspects of summer—there are 100 varieties of tomatoes—fresh culinary herbs such as mint, basil, and cilantro, healing herbs like ashwagandha and burdock, and exotic specialties like husk cherries, shiso, and Thai winter melons.
A trip to pick up your share at Atelier Farm turns into a restorative journey in itself. Listening to Austin’s philosophy and vision for his future farm—which he is always planning for—and watching his passion for ‘creating’ encourages you to connect with the land and the food it provides. Summer CSA shares are still available. If you are interested in becoming part of this community, you can join at www.atelier.farm/pay/summer.