Tag Archives: Francis Chester

Snowy Cestari Farm and the Churchville area of Augusta County

By Lynn R. Mitchell

??????????Francis Chester’s Cestari Farm in Churchville, Virginia. The sign on the silo says, “Nothing is impossible with God.” Mr. Chester, a self-described country lawyer and sheep farmer, is a dedicated member of St. Francis Catholic Church in Staunton. He is also someone I’m proud to call friend, someone who takes up for the little guy and has been squashed on by the big guy.

Cestari Farm won Virginia Living Magazine’s 2013 Made in Virginia Award in the Style category. In publicizing the award, they wrote about this fascinating man:

“When you put Cestari wool to your ears, you can almost hear the sounds of life within it,” says Francis Chester, 77, who fell in love with the agricultural life in 1946 when his family moved from Brooklyn, New York, to a farm on rural Long Island. Chester financed college and law school with proceeds from a roadside farm stand, and when Chester and his wife, Diane, moved to Virginia in the late 1960s, Cestari Sheep and Wool Company was born.

            Today, the Chesters and two of their three children operate a sheep farm in Augusta Springs and a second sheep farm and wool mill in Churchville. The mill’s cleaning process preserves the wool’s lanolin and gives Cestari wool its notable luster and durability. “Most commercial wool is cleaned in acid baths, which destroys the lanolin,” explains Chester. The company sells yarn in four weights for hand knitters, crocheters, and hand weavers, as well as wool socks and sweaters hand made or hand machined in Virginia. New this fall is a line of Merino wool throw blankets and baby blankets. Wool $6-$12. Socks and sweaters $10-$129. Blankets $59-$129. CestariSheep.com

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Augusta County to pay $600,000 to Hershey for over-assessment of Stuarts Draft plant

Hershey 1By Lynn R. Mitchell

Remember the tax revolt from 2009 when ordinary citizens in Augusta County protested that the government had over-assessed their properties just as the real estate bubble burst? (See Largest crowd ever … 1,000 residents protest taxes at Augusta BOS meeting and Augusta tax revolt was a huge success.)

It looks as if Augusta County also overestimated the value of the Hershey Manufacturing Plant in Stuarts Draft by valuing it for $30 million when in reality it was closer to $15 million.

Reporter Brad Zinn at the Staunton News Leader is reporting that, four years after the case originally began, the county and Hershey have come to an agreement with the county paying Hershey $600,000, an amount that is due within 10 days (see Augusta Co. to pay Hershey $600,000 in tax settlement.)

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The Great Pumpkin rises again at Cestari Pumpkin Fest

??????????By Lynn R. Mitchell

Augusta County’s famous lawyer and sheep farmer Francis Chester welcomes visitors with a broad smile to celebrate fall at the Cestari Pumpkin Fest at his family’s central Shenandoah Valley farm in Churchville that runs this weekend, October 11-12, and next weekend, October 18-19.  Spend a day outdoors in the fresh country air, enjoy the Appalachian Mountain vistas and colorful autumn leaves, and take part in fun fall activities on the farm that include:

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Augusta County’s own Cestari Farms to feature wool products at New Hampshire show

Francis Chester 1By Lynn R. Mitchell

Our friends at Cestari Farms in Augusta County will be at the Manchester Knit and Crochet Show this weekend in Manchester, N.H. They will be located in Booth 413 and 415 selling lots of fantastic yarn that is Made in America with wool and cotton grown in the USA.

Check out their new item: 100% Cotton Yarn DK weight, hand dyed, for just $8.00 per 3.5 oz. – 250-yard skein.

My favorite sheep farmer Francis Chester will have some free yarn samples while they last.

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