Velatis In The News - Central Virginia Gazette

First Graders Find Fun On Field Trip  4-1-2004
By Wesley Hester

A group of 42 first grade students from Goochland Elementary School spent a sunny afternoon learning and lunching on the James River under the supervision of teacher Sue Mason last Tuesday.

Mason scheduled the trip for students to visit Maiden’s Circle, which is home to a local deli, candymaker and post office, to learn about each before enjoying lunch on the bank of the James.

“This is perfect,” Mason said of the unseasonably balmy weather, then joked, “I planned it this way.”

The students’ first stop was Goochland Gourmet Deli and Sub Shop. The establishment is owned and operated by Susan Lippincott and has been in business for two years.

Lippincott told the Gazette, “I am a family nurse practitioner and my husband is a doctor, so I felt like trying something different, and this is it.”

While her staff was busily preparing the children individual lunches, Lippincott took time to explain to the students what a delicatessen does. She used a puppet she called Teddy to talk to the children, rhyming “we get the meat from Pete and the bread comes from Ed.”

Once the sandwiches were packed, up it was on to The Original Velatis for a lesson in candy making.

Velatis is run by CEO Bill Servais, and has been producing their famous caramels since 1866.

The Maiden’s Circle location is main factory where, as Servais said, “we produce and distribute the candies all over the world.”

Velatis recently won the Best Food Prize at the Virginia Food and Beverage Awards for Servais’ new black-cherry-brandy flavored candy.

“I was astounded that we won and very pleased . We had never entered a contest before,” he commented.

The children watched with much interest and anticipation as Servais showed them how the candy was prepared, and they left with the promise that the candy would be waiting for them when they got back from lunch.

The last stop was the Maidens Post Office. The office is run by George Smith, and has been for the last seven of its 110-year history.

Smith taught the students the nuances of the postal business, and allowed them to take part by sending themselves a letter addressed to their homes.

Asked how long he thought it might take to arrive, first grader Charles Swift replied, “Maybe I will get it tonight, but it might come tomorrow.”

A picnic was set up for the students across the James at Maiden’s Landing. The children ate their lunches on the bank of the river and discussed the day’s events with a strong focus on the future.

“My favorite part will be the candy,” commented Jordan Jefferson, adding “lunch is good too.”

Lance Loper agreed, but voiced a complaint.

“I wish we could jump in the river,” he said. “It’s a good day to go swimming.”