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A barn too nice for cows

First slide

The barn renovation was going beautifully. Maybe a little too well. Mary Valentino couldn’t picture housing cows in a building as nice as that. And the friends who visited the farm she and her husband, Paul, recently bought commented how spacious and picturesque the property was. “We got into the wedding business because the barn turned out so good,” said Mary.

 

The Valentinos are the owners of the 6 Pastures cattle farm and event venue in Winchester. The parishioners of Sacred Heart of Jesus Church in Winchester bought the farm in 2015 after Paul retired from working in real estate. “I was looking for something to occupy my time and stay busy, and my loving wife agreed to buy a farm,” said Paul.

 

They have one nice barn for events, and another for the black angus cattle they breed. Many of the cows are sold to farms trying to improve the quality of their herds, but some end up in hamburgers, said Paul. When they’re able, they donate beef to the diocesan Catholic Charities’ St. Lucy Project, a food pantry network. “It's especially gratifying to know that we are providing food for others,” said Paul.

 

Mary’s involvement on the cattle side of things is oohing and ahhing over the newborn calves, said Paul. But they split the event planning work. “I do the initial upfront contact and the marketing and the website. We do tours together when couples come out to tour the venue. Once they sign the contract, it falls over to Mary. She takes it from there to the wedding day,” said Paul.

 

6 Pastures typically has an event 20-22 weekends a year, many of which are wedding receptions. Over the years, they’ve come to know the best local vendors, which they recommend to the couples. On the wedding day, they have an on-site coordinator, parking and restroom attendants, and two golf cart drivers to take people around the property. “We have four kids and we know how to run a railroad,” said Mary.

 

But the pandemic restrictions have complicated things. “All of those events from last spring got rescheduled in 2021 and we sit here now getting inquiries from couples wondering if they’re going to have their spring wedding and nobody knows. It’s very challenging for everybody in the wedding industry, especially for couples,” said Paul. “We did have couples that said, we’re getting married anyway and then we’ll use our money that we put down for your venue as a one-year anniversary celebration. I thought that was fantastic.”

 

When wedding days do roll around, the Valentinos, who have been married for 46 years, enjoy the exciting and joyful atmosphere. Mary loves seeing the bride and bridesmaids get ready as the photographer runs around snapping photos. She loves watching the dramatic exits when the couple leaves for the night. “Everyone has a different idea of what their perfect day is so it’s really fun to see the creativity,” she said.

 

“Everybody's in a good mood, people are happy at wedding receptions,” said Paul. “We enjoy working with couples — we just have fun.”

 

Hopefully, the cows are enjoying their barn just as much. 

 

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2021

@ZoeyMaraistACH