Shine Farms is a women-owned diversified vegetable farm in Richmond, VA. Founded by Nicole Broder and Jes Carr, the farm operates using regenerative and sustainable agricultural practices and offers a wide variety of produce celebrating the state's long growing season. You'll find root vegetables, leafy greens, and everything in between - plus herbs, plant starters, and fresh eggs.
The COVID-19 pandemic has presented unique challenges to an ecologically-conscious small business like Shine. Nicole explained that they had to make exceptions to their “no single-use plastics” rule to implement items like gloves, as a part of increased food safety and sanitation measures. They’ve been able to offset the plastic usage by packaging their vegetable shares in recyclable boxes that are returned and sanitized before reuse - a large upfront investment that the pandemic precipitated into action.
Shine has also had to rapidly increase their online presence, taking their ideas about a la carte ordering and delivery and setting them in motion to get their food to customers in a safe and socially-distant way. They offer contact-free delivery, which means customers can order food online, track its delivery via app, and grab it from their front door or porch. Or, they can make an electronic payment and get their order from the farm itself.
Despite the hardships of the pandemic, Nicole believes there have been empowering changes in the way people perceive, procure, and relate to their food. “They’re putting a lot of trust in us. It’s really cool to see our community come out and believe in what we do,” she said.
Their CSA offers seasonal full and half sizes based on household size and/or “voracious veggie eating habits,” but they fill up fast, so be sure to book your space. For a different option, Shine also offers a “taste of a CSA” - a weekly prepackaged, specially-curated vegetable box that, like all their amazing food, can be both picked up or delivered in the RVA area - contact-free (and while you're shopping, be sure to order some Bloody Mary mixes fa la carte).
Shine Farms loves their tomatoes, and they grow many hybrid and heirloom varieties including the reliable New Girl, Brandywine, Cherokee Purple, Granadero, Barnes Mountain Orange, Arkansas Traveler, Carbon, Sun Gold, White Cherry, Black Cherry, Chadwick Cherry, Atomic Grape, Sunburst, Green Zebra, and the absolutely gargantuan, juicy Granny Cantrelle, which can weigh up to three pounds. That’s a lot of Bloody Marys!
Speaking of which, Nicole likes her Bloody just right - not too spicy, with classic garnishes like celery, good olives, a wedge of lime, and a piece of bacon or something to stir it all around. Bloody Brilliant is her go-to mix. Fun fact: in their “dreaming” phase, Nicole and Jess initially wanted to make Bloody Mary mix, but farm life was too busy. Then they met Back Pocket founder Will at a Real Local RVA meeting and the rest is delicious, sustainable history. To support Shine Farms, consider volunteering - they always appreciate extra hands.