REIDSVILLE — On March 25, Paul and Kristi Marshall of Riverbirch Vineyards remembered the late Edna Earle Marshall, both by celebrating what would have been her 82nd birthday and by unveiling a quilt square she hand stitched herself.

As part of the Rockingham County Quilt Trail, the Marshall’s square is a photograph of a quilt Paul Marshall’s mother Edna Marshall had made for his wedding in 1977.

“Mom was a very caring person,” Paul Marshall said. “All through our life she’s always provided beyond what we expected out of her. She always give to us first and her, last.”

As fifth generation tobacco farmers, the family bought the farm around 1989, the year Edna Marshall passed away.

“Mom was already gone at that point, but she loved farming too, so we’re just trying to carry on the family tradition,” Paul Marshall said.

In 2005, the Marshalls converted the tobacco farm to a vineyard and orchard and began growing muscadines.

“As tobacco left the community, we started going to some vineyard classes and other vineyards in looking to see what we wanted to do with the farm,” he said. “We finally decided that since we’re both still fully employed and plan to be for a few more years. We figured that muscadines would be a perfect fit ... and we fell in love with the grape just like grandpa did.”

In 2009, the family started also growing pears.

Now, Riverbirch Vineyards includes five acres of grapes and three acres of pears.

The quilt square was put together by Signs and Trophies and is on display at their farm at 200 Will Tom Rd., Reidsville.

 The Rockingham County Quilt Trail serves to promote agriculture, history and the artists of Rockingham County, according to Cyd Overby, administrative assistant for Rockingham County Soil and Water Conservation District.  

The project is funded by local donations and the North Carolina Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Competitive Grant Program for Underserved and Limited Resource Communities.

Barns were selected by application. Applicants were ranked and chosen based on visibility from the road, on-farm purchasing opportunities or activities, access for visitors, membership with the Voluntary Agricultural District and Century Farm status.

Organizers plan to unveil the next leg of the Quilt Trail in late April 2016.

The article is part of a series featuring Rockingham County Quilt Trail sites from across the county.

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