All posts by Joey Beck

Profile: Cedar Rush Farm

Cedar  Rush Farm

Two first-generation farmers find a place to pursue their passions

Written by Hayleigh Worgan

Soil health and community are at the heart of Cedar Rush Farm. The two first-generation farmers, Fain and Kyle, may be new to the farming business, but they are eager to learn about sustainable practices. From honeybees to low-till methods, they are not only concerned with production, but also with their long-term impact on the environment. 

Their mutual love and respect for the land has helped create a place where both farmers’ dreams can flourish. Kyle, who grew up in Craig County, attended culinary school, but always knew he wanted to do something with the four acres of his family’s land that were not being used. Until recently, he wasn’t sure when or if starting the farm was possible. Then, a few years ago, he met Fain while working at an outdoor adventure camp. Fain had just switched jobs, and found that combining her love of working with people with a physically demanding routine suited her better than her previous role in the mental health field. Soon after, Kyle and Fain decided to merge their passions for food and inspiring joy and wellness in others to create Cedar Rush Farm.

“I really enjoy adding back to the earth and the soil,” explains Fain. “That should be the basis of any farming and you can do it most with regenerative practices. I did an apprenticeship at an organic market garden in North Carolina last year, and then we plunged into it.”

One of Fain’s main goals is to reconnect people with nature and their food source. She requests feedback from customers, and enjoys sharing information with both families and restaurants regarding seasonal availability, new vegetables, and more.

“Knowledge is power, and we want to empower people to ask questions, get to know us, and know where their food comes from” says Fain. “We would both love for this to be our full-time career. Coming to the market even when the weather is poor or signing up for our Community-Supported Agriculture (CSA) share will be a huge support for us.”

“It’s hard, because all these big farms have access to farm loans, but we just don’t have the experience. Getting that experience is hard without the tools we need. It’s kind of like when you graduate college without any experience, and you need a job to get the experience, but you need experience to get the job,” she adds.

You can support Cedar Rush Farm by visiting them at the Salem Farmers Market every Saturday morning until November. They are also at the West End Community Market on Tuesdays from 3-6pm. Their CSA program is a great way to pick up vegetables during the week if you can’t make it to one of their market times. 

For up-to-date information on their location, and how to sign up for a CSA, visit their Facebook page, www.facebook.com/cedarrushfarm. Tell them Bella sent you!

 

Hayleigh is a freelance writer, independent author, and writing consultant. In 2017, she published her first novel, The Huntsman: A modern retelling of Red Riding Hood. She spends a lot of time traveling and exploring new regions for inspiration, but Roanoke will always be her home. www.hayleighworgan.com.

Virginia Made – Guy Piper

Meet Marion Hedgepeth

Written by Faith Jones of Hill City HandmadeEvery day our social media feeds and timelines are full of hilarious memes. Most of the time they’re attached to instant thoughts of “that’s so me!” or a flash of a friend’s face who fits the description to a tee. “The mind of a creative person is like a web browser that has 2,857 tabs open all the time.” One would be hard pressed to find a maker who would debate this popular quote to be untrue. Marion Hedgepeth is one who agrees wholeheartedly. 

Marion’s maker journey began at the age of ten years old when she learned to knit. During her senior year in college, she opened her first handmade shop on Etsy. As with all things after college, life happens. A full-time job and being a full-time wife and mother took priority until 2015. Things began to change as she and her husband moved to Richmond from Lynchburg and she became a stay-at-home mom. Marion knew that this was her chance to begin rebranding her knitting business into Guy Piper (Handmade + Vintage). 

Inspired by the middle names of her daughters, Rebecca and Olive, Guy Piper has taken off in the last three years. Marion’s one stop shop for clever mugs and handmade accessories (including tote bags), speak to customers through pop culture and current events. If you’re a fan of those quirky ladies of the Golden Girls, you’re sure to find that quote from Sophia, Rose or Blanche on a mug. Yes, the one you wouldn’t dare say aloud. The handsewn tote bags of Guy Piper provide inspirational quotes on the outside and bold patterns that reflect her love of fabrics on the inside. A recently renovated sunroom in the Hedgepeth home serves as her studio and workspace. Yet another creative DIY Marion took on herself. 

As if she doesn’t have enough on her plate with one successful business, this maker is also the co-owner of Merry Bee Photobooth Co. “I have always described myself as a ‘restless creator’—meaning I’m always moving from one project to the next. I’m not quite happy if I’m not working on something.” Though it’s often tough to juggle homeschooling, running a store, photo booths and being a mommy, the future looks bright. Marion envisions Guy Piper expanding beyond her online shop and local craft markets and into retail stores.

Aside from working creatively, Marion enjoys her garden and hanging with her peeps. That would be peeps as in the four chickens she calls her BFFs. The surprises from this maker don’t end there. One of her life goals is to have a pet dwarf caiman someday to feed her crocodile/alligator obsession. That someday depends on a change of heart from her husband, which does not look promising in the near future.

For now, Marion is content spending time with her family and snuggling with her peeps as often as possible. www.guypiper.etsy.com

 

Faith Jones is a local entrepreneur, creative, and believer.  Her businesses include Faith Inspired and The Hill City Handmade. Faith has a degree in Art and Photography and is a former high school art and culinary teacher. She enjoys spending time with her family and travelling. Faith’s motto is, “Paris is always a good idea.”  www.thehillcityhandmade.com

 

Save Smarter

Financial Tips for Growing Families

How to maintain your family’s finances now & well into the future.

Presented by Member One Federal Credit Union

Whether you have a new baby on the way or already have children in your household, being financially stable should be a top priority. As vacation season winds down and the school routine ramps up, it’s a perfect time to reexamine your family’s financial situation to ensure you’re on track. We’re here to offer tips for setting your family up for success now and into the years ahead.

Ensure your household finances are stable. While it can be tough to determine what to make a financial priority, there are a few things that should always remain at the top of your list. These include meeting your basic needs like food and electricity, paying down debts, setting aside an emergency fund, and saving for the future. Maintaining a household budget is key to ensuring that you live within your means to meet these financial goals. If you’re finding it difficult to pay your housing costs or set aside savings, take a hard look at your budget to identify areas to cut down on expenses.

Take steps to protect your children financially. There are several ways to do this, but some options include investing in life insurance and establishing a will. Life insurance serves as a financial safety net for your dependents in case something happens to you or your spouse. A will ensures that the distribution of your assets and how your children are cared for after you’re gone are followed according to your wishes. While these investments in your future won’t yield a return right away, they’ll provide peace of mind and make certain that what’s most important to you is taken care of.

Save for your child’s future. It can be a daunting task figuring out how much you should save, especially when you add children to the equation. A good starting point is to decide what you’re saving for. For children, a popular long-term savings goal is higher education or even a wedding, but you may also want to consider short-term goals such as summer camps, family trips, or educational tools. All savings goals should be worked into your family budget to help determine what you can truly afford. To reach the long-term savings goals, look into education savings accounts, 529 plans, or even a Roth IRA. It’s important to research your options as each has specific criteria for contributing and unique benefits. Since there’s no best way to save for your child’s future, you may want to consult a financial advisor. As with any savings plan, the earlier you start the better.

Making sure your household is financially solid is one of the best ways to set your family up for success. It can be a difficult adjustment—in several ways—when a little one joins your clan. But following these tips could help guide you and your expanding family on the path to financial success.

Join Member One here each month for more money-saving tips and financial advice! Be sure to visit their website, www.memberonefcu.com, for more info on their products and services. Member One Federal Credit Union is federally insured by the National Credit Union Administration.

Writing Outside the Box

Meet Emma Choi

Written by K.L. Kranes

Talking with 18-year-old Emma Choi of Vienna, Virginia feels a bit like jumping into an episode of Gilmore Girls. If you are unfamiliar with the iconic TV show, it is about two fast-talking ladies who throw around references to things like pop culture, philosophy and books so quickly even the best viewers can’t catch them all. 

During our phone interview, Emma’s words and ideas swirl so fast in my ear my nimble little typing fingers can barely keep up. When she starts listing off her writing resume, I have to ask her to stop and repeat. The list is long, especially for someone so young. 

  • An off-Broadway play performed in New York. Two plays performed at DC’s Capital Fringe Fest, one of which one the “best of ” week. 
  • Gold and silver medal winner of the American Voices Award for Poetry. 
  • Commended Foyle Young Poet. 
  • Winner National Young Arts Foundation Honorable Mention. 
  • Winner Asian Pacific American Heritage Month Young Creator Contest. 

During our interview, I quip that Emma is quite the overachiever. But Emma doesn’t agree. 

“I’ve never thought about it as being an overachiever. I do a lot of contests because I want to challenge myself,” Emma explains. 

In fact, Emma is very humble when it comes to her writing. Whenever my questions turn to her achievements, her voice leaps from overdrive to hyper-speed and she quickly tries to change the topic. Emma is much more comfortable talking about literature, her writing process or diversity in books. 

Perhaps this is because Emma has a writer’s soul. She understands a writer’s purpose isn’t to shine the light on herself but to shine it on the truth. Uncovering truth is one of the reasons Emma plans to major in writing in college despite the well-known struggles that scare many writers into safer academic pursuits. 

“A lot of people frown on me when I tell them I want to be a writer,” Emma says. “They don’t realize the impact of writers on the world. Science changes but certain truths in writing always stay the same. I think writers show others their own subjective truths in the hope that it’ll resonate with someone else.” 

For Emma, writing helps her process her emotions and sort through the complicated layers of the world. She focuses on discovering her own truths, particularly what it means to be an Asian American. Emma struggles with straddling the culture of her family’s Korean past with the culture of their Western present. 

“It’s like being a child of two worlds and not really belonging to one,” she explains. 

Growing up, literature did little to help Emma make sense of her identity, if anything it further complicated her search. 

“As a reader I grew up on the classics and so many of the classics are by white men. I’m trying to reconcile how can my influences be who they are if I am who I am,” Emma says. 

It is not surprising Emma views the recent focus on diverse women writers as an important shift in the literary world. She looks up to writers like Roxane Gay and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, who help bring diverse female voices to the forefront. Emma hopes to add her voice to the chorus one day. However, perhaps not in the way most people expect. 

“It’s a great time to be an Asian-American and a woman writer. People really care and want to hear about your experience,” Emma says. “But with that kind of attention comes expectations about the kind of work you put out.” 

As a minority, Emma explains, writing can become a vicious circle where simply by writing about not wanting to be defined by race, a writer ends up being defined by race. Emma doesn’t want to be, “stuck in a box by people who want you to write about being stuck in a box.” Emma wants to be outside the box. She wants to define the box, regardless of sex or race or ethnicity. 

“I don’t want to be one of the best women or Asian-American writers. I want to be one of the great writers. Period,” she says. 

This is not surprising coming from a young woman who started an underground satirical newspaper at her high school after being denied permission at every level of county administration. Determined, hard-working and driven, Emma is one of only two students at her high school to be accepted to Harvard, which is another accolade she tries to slip in at Gilmore Girl speed. 

If Emma had a motto, it would be ‘don’t stop’. 

“I tend to barrel headfirst into things and I don’t stop until I’m done. Resilience is one thing I like to pride myself on,” Emma explains. 

That said, Emma has no plans to overlook the importance of diversity. She feels writing about diverse topics drives forward acceptance and awareness and she wants to be part of that movement. 

“I made a pact with myself to make all my characters a person of color or a woman,” she explains. 

It is very likely Emma’s social awareness, drive for self-improvement and search for truth may just be the perfect combination for success as a professional author. 

“I love that writing lets me be in a space with no rules— where I can experiment and play with language in ways I wouldn’t normally,” she says. 

She certainly already sounds like one.

 

K.L. Kranes is a blogger and author of young adult novels. Her debut novel, The Travelers, was published in 2016 by Saguaro Books, LLC. See more from K.L. at www.klkranes.com/blog. 

Back to School: Feeding the Family

Feeding the Family

Healthy, easy options for chaotic back-to-school evenings!

Written by Hayleigh Worgan 

Getting everyone around the table for a dinner together is hard enough—and weekends are often packed full once school starts. That’s why we love meal delivery subscriptions! They make feeding the family, or a few friends, a much easier experience. Check out our favorites below, and let us know yours on our Facebook page. 

First up is Purple Carrot! We love that this delivery service is plant-based. Their website suggests they are perfect for the “Balanceatarian.” Don’t worry, we know that’s not in the dictionary. According to Purple Carrot, it means “a person who adopts a plant-based diet, even just a couple of times a week—positively impacting their health and the environment.” Choose from dishes like Roasted Sweet Potato Tacos with Caramelized Pineapple and Chipotle Ranch, Lemon Garlic Orzo with Spring Vegetables and Tomato Beurre Blanc, and Vegetable Panang Curry with Jasmine Rice and Cashews! A majority of their packaging is reusable, recyclable, biodegradable, or compostable. Visit www.purplecarrot.com for more information! 

Plated believes that “deciding what to do for dinner shouldn’t be a struggle.” And it often is in families. Their “foolproof recipes” are designed for every cooking level, and some can be done in as little as twenty minutes. Omnivores, vegetarians, seafood lovers, and dessert seekers—there are options for everyone! Their menus include food that is in season, so you are receiving fresh options from trusted resources. Previous selections have included Garlic-Soy Pork Chop with Bok Choy and Water Chestnuts, the Shakshuka Pizza with Za’atar Crust and Feta, or the Chicken Caesar Panzalla with Brioche Croutons and Roasted Tomato. For more information, visit www.plated.com! 

If we had a favorite delivery service, let’s be honest, it would be Hello Fresh. Twenty-minute meal options like Mediterranean Salmon with Creamy Dill Sauce and Green Beans and Pineapple Poblano Beef Tacos would have had us hooked from the beginning, but they also offer wine plans! Listen, while this may not be relevant to the entire family, it is great for date night or Girls Night In! For meals, choose from the Classic Plan, the Family Plan, and the Veggie Plan! Pick a plan that fits your lifestyle, choose your recipes, and then just wait for delivery. Plans are easy to access online, and you can skip weeks, swap recipes, or cancel at anytime! Hello Fresh offers simple tutorials on how to recycle the packaging with your delivery as well. Visit www.hellofresh.com to find out more or place your order! 

Sun Basket serves organic, clean ingredients and delicious recipes, all delivered weekly. Choose from Paleo, Lean, Clean, Gluten-free, Vegan options, and more! Subscribers can pick from their Classic Menu (which serves 2-4 people and has several options) or the Family Plan, which serves a family of four. Within the Family Plan, there are “Chef ’s Choice” recipes that include a Kids Can recipe with steps and in-box activities for kids to get in on the fun! Not only is this an excellent opportunity to get the kids involved in the kitchen, it’s also a great way to teach them about food and sustainability. Packaging for these meals are also 100% recyclable and compostable. Sun Basket gives back to the community through Feeding America, local food banks, and employee programs. Check them out at www.sunbasket.com! 

If your family loves freshly-blended juices, Green Blender is a great delivery option. With curated recipes and pre-portioned ingredients, all you have to do is chop, blend, and drink! Each delivery is packed full of plant-powered superfoods, and weekly menus have options for every taste palate like Matcha Latte, Green and Gold Berry Boost, and Strawberry Banana Creamsicle! They also offer Superfood Cereals in flavors like Berry Protein, Cranberry Crunch, and Oatmeal Cookie. Choose from their weekly menu and build a plan that will help you meet your family’s health goals! Visit www. greenblender.com to start 

Save Smarter

Is Your Family Prepared for a Disaster? 

Being disaster-ready is easy. Follow our few simple tips.

Presented by Member One Federal Credit Union

From tornadoes to house fires and floods—all are disasters that can devastate our lives. If you’re ever in one of these situations, the last thing you want to be doing is picking up the disorganized pieces when a little preparation could have helped alleviate some of the chaos. Hopefully you’ll never experience a disaster, but if you do, our tips on what to collect and how to keep important documents safe could help put your mind at ease if the unexpected happens. 

Collect key documents. This includes personal identification for everyone in your household such as birth certificates, social security cards, passports, and pet identification tags. Also gather insurance policy numbers and the insurance company contact information for each type of coverage. You’ll also want to store a copy of property records like deeds and mortgage documents, medical information including prescriptions, estate-planning documents, and legal and financial records including taxes from the past few years. Record contact information for family and friends in case you don’t have access to your cell phone and need to reach out for help. 

Invest in storage. Select a way to store the items that’s easy to grab in a hurry. Options include a fireproof and waterproof safe, a binder with sleeves to hold all documents, or a safety deposit box at your local financial institution. You could also opt to store everything electronically on, for example, a memory stick, external hard drive, or the cloud. It may be wise to combine a few options—a safe for paper documents plus an electronic storage option. Whatever you choose, place it somewhere that can be quickly and easily grabbed as you head out the door. 

Take inventory of your possessions. This is especially helpful if you need to file an insurance claim. Go through your home, room by room, and record your belongings. Make note of household valuables, such as jewelry, antiques, or collectibles, and write down their worth. Take photos or videos of your home’s contents so you have proof of your possessions. Store your inventory list and photos or videos with your other important documents. 

Set money aside. If a disaster impacts your whole community, it’s likely that your local financial institution could be affected as well, making it difficult to access your money. Additionally, merchants may not have electricity, making a quick swipe of your debit or credit card impossible. Set aside enough cash to cover essentials for a couple of days, which might include a few nights in a hotel, food and water, and basic amenities like clothing. 

Join Member One here each month for more money-saving tips and financial advice! Be sure to visit their website, www.memberonefcu.com, for more info on their products and services. Member One Federal Credit Union is federally insured by the National Credit Union Administration. 

Shop & Save

BJ’s Wholesale is coming to Roanoke!

Being the bargain shoppers we are, finding out BJ’s Wholesale is coming to the Roanoke Valley made us jump for joy! BJ’s is a leading membership warehouse club in the Eastern United States. The Roanoke club will be located along Hershberger Road, N.W. in the Crossroads Shopping Center. 

“We’re thrilled to bring BJ’s Wholesale Club to the community and to let families save up to 25% on their groceries,” said Chris Baldwin, president and CEO, BJ’s Wholesale Club. “BJ’s is the perfect one-stop shopping destination, offering unbeatable value and quality on a wide selection of items from fresh produce, deli and bakery to the latest in tech, health and beauty and apparel.” 

The Roanoke BJ’s Wholesale Club is scheduled to open this fall and will provide affordable fresh food options to the community, saving families 25 percent compared to grocery store prices. The club will feature a BJ’s gas station, offering members even more savings. The company currently operates over 210 Clubs (and counting!) in 16 states from Maine to Florida and employs more than 25,000 Team Members. So, their reputation alone means we can’t wait to check out all they offer. 

So, just how can you sign up to join NOW? Visit their Hospitality Center, located at 1507 Hershberger Road in Roanoke or visit their website at www.bjs. com/roanoke. Currently you can enjoy the privileges of being a “Roanoke Founding Member” with two special offers when you join by August 31. For $45, you’ll receive a 12-month BJ’s Inner Circle membership, 10 cents off per gallon at BJ’s Gas for six months after the Club opens and $20 in BJ’s Bucks. Or for $80, you’ll receive a 12-month BJ’s Perks Rewards membership and earn 2% cash back on most BJ’s purchases. Plus, you’ll get $35 in BJ’s Bucks and save 10 cents off per gallon at BJ’s Gas for six months after the Club opens! 

  • BJ’s Wholesale Club brings a number of benefits to the community: 
  • BJ’s offers excellent value. 
  • BJ’s beats supermarket prices on national brands every day, saving families 25 percent on groceries. 
  • The company is the only major wholesale club that accepts all manufacturers’ coupons, offering families another great way to save. 
  • Its exclusive brands, Berkley Jensen and Wellsley Farms, let families save without sacrificing quality or fun. 
  • BJ’s biggest advantage is fresh food – produce, dairy, meat and deli. 
  • BJ’s offers members much more fresh food variety than other clubs. 
  • BJ’s is the only major wholesale club to offer a full-service deli with premium meats and cheeses. 
  • Members can have fresh meats cut to their specifications. BJ’s butchers will recut and repackage at no additional charge. 
  • A BJ’s Membership is filled with added convenience. 
  • BJ’s offers the most payment options of any major wholesale club. 
  • Members can research, shop and install electronics with help from BJ’s Tech Advisors. 
  • BJ’s Pick Up & Pay program allows shoppers to stock up by reserving select items online and then picking up in-club. 
  • Members can save time and money by filling up their tanks at BJ’s Gas. The company’s gas prices will be among the lowest around. 

Additionally, through BJ’s Feeding Communities Program, the Club will donate unsold produce, meat, poultry, seafood, dairy and bakery products on a daily basis to reduce food waste and provide wholesome, fresh food to neighbors in need. 

BJ’s provides a one-stop shopping destination filled with top-quality, leading brands, along with USDA Choice meats, premium produce and delicious organics, many in supermarket sizes. And BJ’s is also the only major membership warehouse club to accept all manufacturers’ coupons and, for greater convenience, offers the most payment options. 

To sign up for your membership or to learn more about BJ’s Wholesale Club, visit www.bjs.com/roanoke. 

Virginia Made

Meet Lora Cartrett of Tater Tot Trends

Written by Faith Jones, Hill City Handmade

Tribe. Sisterhood. Movement. All things that today’s woman longs for and needs as she battles the day to day of balancing family, career, life, and self. Lora Cartrett, the founder of Tater Tots Trends, is no different. They are words that she never expected to use to describe the business. Yet, it has become everything the 35-year-old founder wanted her Concord, VA based trendy jewelry line to represent. 

Tater Tots Trends began as a creative outlet for Lora as she transitioned from working outside of the home as the director of a daycare to a stay at home mom. As her children were so young, she naturally began making a variety of unique and fun baby items. The brightlycolored and whimsical bows, headbands and bowties quickly took off. Between pop up shops in her mom’s home, craft markets and selling on social media, Lora found herself busier than she ever imagined. Then life threw more than a few major curve balls and Tater Tots Trends took a backseat to personal and family well-being. 

There is nothing quite like going through a storm that gives a whole new perspective on life. Lora’s journey took her down a path of insecurity, hopelessness, postpartum depression, devastation, and loss. In her survival, she discovered a new self-awareness that needed to be reflected in the business. As Tater Tots Trends began its return, the name remained the same, but the vibe was different. Jewelry was the focus and women were the priority. This revitalization was for Lora and every other woman who longed to feel accepted and beautiful wherever they are in the journey. 

Visiting Tater Tots’ social media pages, one can’t help but notice the diversity of women (and their daughters) posting daily photos wearing TTT. Women are complimenting, supporting and cheering each other on. They are proudly shouting that even though they may not be feeling their best or having the best day, one pair of earrings can evoke the TTT motto, Be Your Own Kind of Beautiful. It is a safe space to post filter free and feel a certain celebrity status throughout the day as likes and comments promote the “You go girl!” feeling. It is then that you realize, this is not just about accessories. 

“Tater Tots Trends is a movement. It has evolved into so much more than ladies’ jewelry. It has moved into a tribe full of women who empower and inspire one another!” 

Even as she sits on the first day of a beach vacation, Lora assures her customers turned sisters, that the TTT team will take good care of them in her absence. Her two daughters and son (whose nickname inspired the business name), plus her husband Joe (deemed her fourth child) will always take priority. The journey continues and storms may still arise but with a supportive family and thousands of “sisters” by her side, Lora is at peace in her newfound purpose. 

FindTaterTotTrends: 

www.tatertotstrends.store

Instagram: @tatertottrends 

Facebook: /tatertottrends 

BELLA MAGAZINE DEAL!

Use code BELLA for a FREE pair of earrings with purchase during August.

 

Faith Jones is a local entrepreneur, creative, and believer. Her businesses include Faith Inspired and The Hill City Handmade. Faith has a degree in Art and Photography and is a former high school art and culinary teacher. She enjoys spending time with her family and travelling. Faith’s motto is, “Paris is always a good idea.” www.thehillcityhandmade.com