On March 24, 2021, four months into construction of a new 75,000 sq. ft. processing facility for Farmer Focus (formerly Shenandoah Valley Organic), the project reached a significant milestone.

On that date, two 1,300-pound structural steel beams bearing signatures of Farmer Focus employees and members of the construction team were hoisted high and set into place at the project site located on Acorn Drive in Harrisonburg.  These autographed beams will remain visible after the facility is completed.

In the construction world, a “Topping Out” ceremony commemorates the safe completion of a new structure’s framing and typically occurs when the last beam is raised into position.  On March 24th, Lantz Construction hosted a similar, private event to mark the occasion of the placement of the signed beams and to commend and congratulate the workers and client representatives on this exciting venture.

Attendees included representatives from Farmer Focus, Lantz Construction, Monteverde Engineering & Design Studio, and Ollmann Ernest Martin Architects.

The gray-painted beams display dozens of signatures, names, and well wishes, including this message from Farmer Focus Founder & CEO Corwin Heatwole, which he wrote with a white paint pen directly below his printed name: “May the construction of this facility be a blessing to farmers and society! *Farmer Focus.”

Mr. Heatwole is a sixth generation farmer who established Shenandoah Valley Organic in 2014.  Renamed “Farmer Focus” in 2020, the organization remains committed to 100% organic and sustainable farming.  This second Harrisonburg location will proudly and significantly continue their evolution of promoting and protecting generational family farms.

The signed beams will serve as a great memento, an enduring reminder of the many ways in which Farmer Focus has benefited its employees, multi-generational family farmers, and our entire Shenandoah Valley region.

According to a November 2020 press release from the office of Virginia Governor Ralph Northam, this second facility for Farmer Focus will create 110 new jobs.

For years to come, future employees and visitors to the facility will be able to look upward and see the signatures and sentiments from those who were involved in this pivotal moment in the company’s history.