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Meet Bryan Aycock, Farm Manager for Chickahominy Falls’ Woodside Farms
Recently, we had the opportunity to sit down with Bryan, our Farm Manager for the 10-acre Woodside Farms at Chickahominy Falls. Bryan is responsible for planting, growing and harvesting all vegetables and herbs, flowers and fruits for the Chickahominy Falls community. He and his family even live on-site in the original Stone House and are very excited to share the first crops with the first homeowners of Chickahominy Falls!
- The agri-community concept is brand new to Richmond. Chickahominy Falls’ 10-acre farm is the heart and soul of the community. The farm will grow a curated mix of fruits, vegetables, herbs and flowers selected for the health and wellness of the active adult homeowners. What excites you most about this type of farming? I can’t convey enough just how excited my wife and I are to be a part of this concept. Being at the forefront of the agri-community movement is a dream come true. We think that this type of development will truly become a beacon of light for both the local food movement and the way that communities are planned in the future. I have to say that the relationship with the 55+ crowd is a beautiful opportunity and it excites me especially to be able to supplement their already active lifestyles by providing the most healthy, nutritious, and local food possible. On top of this though, it is a tremendous blessing to be able to draw from the community’s rich experiences and to soak in as much wisdom as we can along the way.
- What is your role at Cornerstone Homes? What do you love most about your role? My role at Cornerstone is to manage Woodside Farms in a way that fosters a tightly knit community and encourages a healthy and active lifestyle for Chickahominy Falls and even the greater Richmond area. What I love most about this role is that it totally appeals to my personal motivations of sustainable production and the idea of a self-sufficient community.
- Where did you grow up/tell us about your family! I’m originally from Dallas, TX but swiftly moved to Colorado at the age of 18 and never really looked back. I had migrated North again to Wyoming, where I met my lovely wife, Meredith. I’ve always had a need for adventure and stimulation and so that has always led me to the best things in life, with a very high tolerance for adversity and uncertainty. My family is crazy awesome; most of them are in Louisiana, Texas, Mexico, and California. We’ve always been extremely close, meeting up for really flavorful family reunions, regardless of our geographic disparity.
- How do you spend your free time? Or What do you do to relax? There has been somewhat of a scarcity of free time since I’ve taken up farming, but the thing is, working with the earth and the cycles of nature are really relaxing to me. I was describing to one of my colleagues recently that I don’t know where I would be had I not discovered the peace of gardening. Something about the tendency of nature to recycle literally everything really centers me. Of course, I have my outside hobbies as well. I’ve long been an outdoor enthusiast, enjoying pretty much every aspect of most outdoor activities you could name off. I also get down on a slew of table sports, board games, cooking, and music.
- What do you wish other people knew about Cornerstone Homes? I’d like people to know just how visionary this builder is, and also their hospitable nature. It’s such a great place to work because the people involved in this company, as well as their visions and ideas, are completely authentic.
- What would someone be surprised to know about you? I feel like I’m just a very dynamic person, capable of many surprises as someone gets to know me. I think we all have a tendency to compartmentalize each other’s personalities. For instance: I’m a farmer…would you guess that I love chess?
- Tell me about someone or something that has influenced your decision to work with active adults? My surrogate grandfather, ‘Papa Dave’, a progressive intellectual from the old school, took great interest in our pursuit to join the local and non-gmo food movements and has told me from the onset that this type of venture would bode well if we could pair up with active boomers.
- Tell us about someone you admire. There are just so many, and for such different reasons; but right now my all time is Nikola Tesla. In my opinion, his genius was far superior to that of Edison or even Einstein. I have a soft spot for him because he truly believed in free, sustainable, and widely available energy and went to the grave making many contributions in this direction without ever trying to get rich on any of it. Man, they just don’t make ‘em like that anymore.
Now for a few fun questions:
- What’s your favorite snack? That’s a toughie….I just love to eat, and really enjoy my food. I identify with the rat from that silly movie “Ratatouille” because he is clearly on the same level with his food. It’s sort of an unfair question. I’m gonna say that my ‘go-to’ would be a well-balanced buttery cracker plate topped with some sort of meat and cheese. But my all time would be the ‘almighty stuffed squash blossom’ that is filled with goat cheese, then rolled in panko crust and fried in avocado oil. Of course, there’s always ‘ants on a log’, which I never knew had a proper name until I met my wife.
- What is your favorite place of all the places you’ve traveled? Appenzell, Switzerland…so unbelievably perfect. It’s like an actual utopia.
- What’s your favorite book and why? “The Lord of the Rings”….because there is no other trilogy that satisfies quite the same. Simply the pinnacle of all things that have ever been devoted to text in any way, shape, or form. There can be no greater fiction of the insanely improbable but ultimate triumph of good over evil.
- If your life was a movie, what would your theme song be? Either the soundtrack to “The Last of The Mohicans” or the march from the Super Nintendo version of ‘The Legend of Zelda’. That’s one for the boomers and one for the millennials.
- If you could have any superpower, what would it be? Perfect fluency of all dialects of every language, both living and dead. Total access to all cultures and all people.
Thank you, Bryan, for sharing your story with us! Make sure you wave to Bryan as I’m sure you’ll see him tending to the crops in preparation for the coming harvest.
It’s a beautiful day at Chickahominy Falls!