For this issue of the magazine, I wanted to offer our readers a new section- something handmade, artisan products, which help preserve the unique Piedmont region. In this issue, we will visit artisan coffee roasters in Sperryville, fine hardwood furniture makers in Madison and handmade, natural skin and hair care products in Broad Run. Discover “Made in the Piedmont!” that describes the heritage of the Piedmont and how it is being preserved. “Made in the Piedmont” encompasses a variety of regional businesses and people who are dedicated to making artisan products in the Piedmont. In each new issue you will find new handmade, artisan products, which help preserve the unique Piedmont region. In this issue, we will visit artisan coffee roasters in Sperryville, fine hardwood furniture makers in Madison and handmade, natural skin and hair care products in Broad Run. Discover “Made in the Piedmont!”
Central Coffee Roasters
Text and Photos by Cassandra Brown
At the base of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Sperryville the aroma of roasting coffee can be smelled a mile away. Margaret and Kenny Rogers and their son Jesse have created a coffee lover’s dream at Central Coffee Roasters. For 10 years the Sperryville small batch artisan roasters have roasted green coffee beans to the peak of flavor.
The mostly mail-order business is popular among locals and travelers headed to the Blue Ridge Mountains. A small, family run business, Central Coffee Roasters also combines other family interests including music and art. The walls are used as Margaret’s art gallery space and occasionally a concert is held at the shop. All the coffee beans are single origin and come from farms and co-ops around the coffee growing regions of the world including African, Central and South America, the East Indies and Honduras.
Coffee roasts include Guatemalan Ceylon, Peru and Papua New Guinea. They also create blended roasts such as an Espresso Blend and a Kitchen Sink blend, which al-
ways has a different taste. The green coffee beans come in burlap sacks and are stored in the shop until ready to roast. Usually only 14 pounds of coffee is freshly roasted at a time in their red Diedrich roaster, used daily.
The roasting process started as an experimental process for the family with the decision coming from trial and error of roasting the beans. “We researched about what is happening when the beans are roasting. We took a bunch of different types of beans from Guatemala to Sumatra and roasted them differently and had a little cork board where we sat there and marked their time and their temperature and we tasted them,” Jesse Rodgers explained.
Most of their coffee is roasted to a high or full city roast. The darkest roast, Sumatra, is roasted 10 degrees different than the lighter roast of the African coffees.
“We sort of looked at how the bean reacts in the heat. It cracks and there is this first crack and second crack and so we were looking at this second crack. Part of it is our preference and the other part was just really listening to the beans,” Jesse Rodgers said.
Taste all the roasts on the weekends, at the coffee sample bar. For $1 you can get a 12-ounce cup of coffee. Part of the money is donated to Potomac Appalachian Trail Club.
Central Coffee Co. Ltd.
11836 Lee Highway
Sperryville, VA 22740
Open Friday, Saturday and
Sunday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Open 24/7 on the Internet.
Valley Green Naturals
Broad Run , VA
By Amy Fewell
On a quaint farm in the northern countryside of Virginia’s Piedmont, an old farmhouse sits beside one of Virginia’s finest wineries. From that farmhouse comes some of the most luxurious homemade skin and hair care products the Piedmont has to offer — products not only pleasing to the senses, but to the well being of your health. Here, Valley Green Naturals was born.
Arthur and Cindy DeVore moved from the suburban city life shortly after September 11, 2001, and discovered a new place to call home in Broad Run, Virginia. Their goal of becoming self-sustaining began with tending their own home grown gardens, raising chickens, and taking the all-natural route with various other lifestyle product needs that arose.
In early 2009, Cindy began making soap as a hobby and as gifts for the holidays for family and friends. But what first began as a hobby quickly turned into so much more. Arthur and Cindy saw the local community’s need for all natural and efficient skin and hair care products. However, Cindy didn’t want to create a homemade product and place a label on it to sell out of her home — she wanted to make sure that every ingredient that went into her products were absolutely chemical free, natural and organic.
Cindy cared about her product and every tiny detail that went into creating it. Valley Green Naturals’ first year in business was spent experimenting, testing on friends and family members, and most of all, researching. What makes an all natural organic product all natural? What helps the healing process of eczema or severely dry and sensitive skin? Where can you buy these ingredients locally if they aren’t even located in the United States? These were many questions that Cindy had to ask and research herself, diligently and most of all, carefully.
Some of Valley Green Naturals’ ingredients include all natural honey (sourced locally in Rappahannock County) and ginger root extract, as well as botanical oils and extracts, pure essential oils and cold pressed oils (not chemically extracted). All ingredients are locally sourced when possible, how ever if an ingredient is not available locally or in the country (such as Marula oil), Valley Green Naturals ensures that all of their ingredients are certified Fair Trade.
Valley Green Naturals now boasts well over 40 products, including lotions, hair and bath care products, anti-aging creams, as well as a sensitive and mature skin care product line. All of these products are handmade in the DeVore’s farmhouse kitchen, “fresh off the farm from Virginia’s Piedmont.” Valley Green Naturals can be found in small local stores as well as larger natural grocers such as Whole Foods Market, Ellwood Thompson’s, IGA, and Rebecca’s Natural Food. You may also order their products from their website, www.valleygreennaturals.com. The majority of their products range from $12 to $14, with a higher product line around $32.
While the Devore’s are sure to offer a product that is helpful to the individual, they also enjoy giving back to the community and to local causes. On a monthly basis, Valley Green Naturals donates a portion of their proceeds to the Blue Ridge Area food bank, SOMI (So Others Might Eat, Washington D.C.), and will soon offer one full day’s pay per year to any of their employees who wish to volunteer for a local community outreach or cause. One of Valley Green Naturals’ employees, Melinda Hazard James, is even studying to become a certified interpreter in American Sign Language so that she can be of assistance to those who are hearing impaired, both with Valley Green Naturals and other community service programs.
So, whether you’re looking for the perfect gift, a much needed pampering, relief from painful psoriasis, or a heartfelt story of living the American dream — Valley Green Natu rals has so much to offer our beautiful Piedmont and the people who live, work, and build their own dream-filled lives here.
Valley Green Naturals
E.A. Clore Sons Furniture
Text and Photos by Cassandra Brown
Nestled in a hollow down an unlined road in Madison, and operated business, has made hardwood fine furniture, all hand-
made in the Piedmont. They pride themselves on making furniture that will last for gen-
erations. Quality is their biggest selling point.
“It was designed with function in mind. It’s all built to last. We aren’t going to build stuff that’s going to fall apart on you. It’s built to hold up,” says Troy Coppage, President of E.A. Clore Sons.
Mr. Coppage can attest to the furniture lasting for generations. He inherited two original kitchen stools circa 1915 from his great grandmother who held the Clore family name. “Those stools have pretty much been sat on everyday since 1915 and they are still in use,” he explains. E.A. Clore Sons is currently owned by Troy along with five family members and one non-family member. Originally, E.A. Clore had twelve children – six boys and six girls. They all lived on the current property where the house and factory still stand. When they died, members of the extended family inherited pieces of furniture from the home. Designed in the early American style, Clore furniture still uses the same, timeless furniture patterns and designs from over 100 years ago.
Furniture is made out of walnut, cherry, oak or mahogany, of which is purchased locally. When it comes to wood, E.A. Clore Sons can design pretty much any type of bedroom, dining room, family room, or kitchen furniture. Some of their most popular pieces are the fireside benches, foot- stools, thumb back (mule ear) chairs and children’s rocking chairs, all made with the unique, traditional “rush” seat.
The woven fiber rush seats on the chairs, made from tightly twisted kraft paper cord are lacquered to provide more strength and durability. The rush seats have become synonymous with the Clore brand. “A normal seat, even after everyday use, you can expect to get 30 years use out of it before you have to get it re-seated,” says Mr. Coppage. All of the rush seats are made by hand, woven locally in the Piedmont.
“We have folks who do that in their own home. We take the frames to them; they do them and (we) pick them up. We pay them per piece,” explains Mr. Coppage.
At one time the Clore family had multiple factories for different branches of the family. E.A. Clore’s brother, J.C. Clore, primarily made chairs, coffins, and ran the funeral business that still bears his name in Culpeper.
In 1921 E.A. Clore Sons moved to the current location in Madison. Walking through a tour of the factory, the smell of freshly cut wood wafts through the air. Men work on noisy machinery, cutting and sanding the wood. Music plays throughout each room. All of the furniture is made on site in the factory and displayed next door in their showroom when completed. just off Route 29, lies E.A. Clore Sons.
The furniture makers develop their craftsmanship through on the job training, working their way up from sanding to various jobs until they actually build the pieces. The craftsmen split up into different departments such as bedroom, living room, and dining room furniture. One craftsman builds a piece of furniture from start to finish.
The process begins in the wood storage room where all the different types of wood are sorted according to species. Once a type of wood is selected, it is put through a machine to be straightened, sanded and lined up so that the grain of the wood matches. Assembling pieces of furniture like puzzle pieces, every piece is individually fitted. Attention to detail is impeccable. Unlike massproduced furniture, which uses screws to join pieces, Clore furniture uses the strong mortise and tenon joint, which is cut into the board to fit exactly to each piece of furniture.
Hide glue, traditional wood glue made from animals, is used to firmly hold the joints of the furniture together. Making chairs involves a similar process. Walking through the fac-
tory, we stop at a workstation where a craftsman is assembling a Rib Rocker. The curved arms of the chair start out as a straight piece of wood. The wood is boiled and then wrapped around a frame to dry holding the curled shape. Each arm is fitted to each particular chair and there are no two exactly alike.
Once the furniture has been assembled, it goes to the finishing department to be stained. Smaller pieces are dipped into the stain while the stain is brushed on and wiped off on larger pieces. Everything gets three coats of lacquer/primer, and two topcoats of lacquer once it is stained.
E.A. Clore Sons sells small furniture online, but the majority of the furniture is sold at the store in Madison. They also create custom made furniture such as bookcases.
E.A. Clore Sons, Inc.
www.eaclore.com • (540) 948-5821 • 303 Clore Place, Madison, VA
Factory Showroom hours:
Monday through Friday 8 a.m. – 4 p.m.,
Saturday 8 a.m. – 12 p.m., closed Sunday.