Is really coming to an end or is it the start of a new beginning. This week the inaugural class of VALOR will be graduating. It is so hard to believe that two years has passed! I am not sure how the other members feel but I honestly believe they feel the same as I do. What an unbelievable two years!
We have literally covered the state of Virginia from “where it begins” as Roger often reminds us, to the Eastern Shore, to Northern and Central Virginia, to Southside Virginia. When I began my VALOR quest I started marking on a Virginia map where each seminar was located and the places we visited. I have shared this with my students and with my community. It is really awesome to look at the map now and to reflect of the numerous opportunities we have had to see, meet, interact, and learn about so many different aspects of the agricultural industry and the dynamic group of people associated with this field. Everywhere I have been with the VALOR group, the people, agricultural enterprises and industries have been extremely welcoming and gracious with their time, knowledge, and expertise.
I have been asked numerous times what have I enjoyed most about the VALOR program and honestly every seminar I have had many once in a lifetime experiences for example: walking into a sweet-corn field watching the corn being harvested and Mr. Parker reaching down, pulling off an ear of corn off the stalk, and saying, “here have a bite of the sweet corn-it’s the best you will ever taste.” Everybody took a bite and then another and another… priceless. Or having the opportunity to learn first-hand about the life of a waterman with Captain Charles from Tangier Island which included baiting the crab pot (which according to Captain Charles, involves kissing the “bait fish” if you want to have a good catch. Personally, I cannot eat shellfish due to an allergy so I did not kiss the fish but other members who wanted dinner did so), dropping the pots over the side of the boat, pulling up the pots, dumping the pots, and sorting the crabs. By the way, crabs really do not take kindly to being dropped on the sorting table and make sure you are aware of this, if you do not pay close attention-“ouch!” Captain Charles also showed us how showed how to “hang a crab from you hat brim” and how to harvest oysters.
Another would be…to be continued..