• Jennifer Marburg

Community, Cows, and Culinary



Photo: Rancher Susan Corbett at work


The last time I posted, we were in the throes of a global pandemic. Now, we have front row seats to hand-to-hand combat taking place in the streets of Ukraine killing the innocent. Makes you shudder. So, I find encouragement by sharing how our project -- which we try to fill with love and goodness -- is moving forward, even with inflation + supply chain disruption + global pandemic + Russia at war!


During our year-end video (HERE), we discussed our regenerative development goal to see $150M of our spending retained within the local community over the next decade. While much of this will occur through our (local) employee base once we open, we have already begun engaging Shenandoah Valley resources, including artists, craftsmen and agricultural partners.


Since last September, we have spent time in almost thirty towns in the Shenandoah Valley region. Interior Designer Julie Garman and I met with dozens of artisans, designers and craftspeople. We learned a lot about the region’s history and how it inspires local artists today.


Almost all of the potters, furniture makers, lumberers, glass blowers, painters, sculptors, quilters, weavers, and tanners that we met have a long relationship with Shenandoah Valley. Behind every talent, there is ALWAYS a story about the meaningfulness of this region, and we LOVED that!


On March 1st, Mike and I hosted a site tour for local artisans who plan to submit a response to our request for Outdoor Artists (HERE). Mike led the tour, and he is a natural for sharing passion and appreciation for our land and this project. And it’s kind of neat that your husband can look at a tree and say, “Check out that two hundred old tree!” and describe its history on our land.


Speaking of trees. We are working with an incredible team of Foresters who are rehabilitating the land using many amazing techniques. This includes controlled prescription burns on 125 acres next month to both clear the unneeded while initiating important growth.


Last week, Community Liaison Director Greg McCarley and I hosted a culinary workshop for the food and beverage team which spanned a dozen towns, ten farmer meetings, incredible farm-to-table dining experiences and countless conversations about precision nutrition and chemical-free farming. We met with organic style farmers and purveyors to better understand what is naturally grown and appreciated in the Shenandoah Valley, and we look forward to building menus filled with safe and delicious foods less travelled.


Always more to come…


~Jennifer

@mysimplyshenandoah