Since 2006, PEC’s Buy Fresh Buy Local chapters (Charlottesville, Northern Piedmont, Loudoun) have connected multitudes of families to the fresh, local products grown and raised in the Piedmont through the free marketing opportunities afforded local farmers through our annual Buy Fresh Buy Local guides. To help strengthen those connections even further, PEC staff in 2018 conducted interviews, focus groups and surveys with our Buy Fresh Buy Local partners. These efforts have helped us identify barriers for farmers within the Piedmont’s local food system and develop strategies for strengthening local agriculture around the region.
There’s a lot going on at Cattle Run Farm (www.cattlerunfarm.com) as I quickly discovered when I pulled into the gravel driveway on the first day of spring. I parked next to a white VW bug with a 4H sticker on its side and soon found myself talking with Sarah Morton. She was readying the main house for its upcoming grand opening as the Sarah James Inn, an Airbnb destination. If you’ve ever dreamed of experiencing the farm life, including cooking with fresh vegetables pulled from the garden paired with beef or pork from animals raised here too, be sure to look for an announcement in June 2021.
After a visit to George’s Mill Farm Artisan Cheese, you will leave with both a sense of place and a taste of place. George’s Mill is a “Century Farm,” so named for its continuous operation by the same family for more than 100 years. Located at the foot of the Short Hill mountains in the northwestern corner of Loudoun county, the farm was first owned by John George in the mid-1700s and has been owned by his descendants ever since.
The first thing you might notice about Buford’s Biscuits is the line out the door on the weekends where they often sell out to their growing loyal customer fan base.
Michael Carter Jr. is a member of the fifth generation of Carters to own and work the land of Carter Farms, a century farm in Orange County, Virginia. His great-great-grandparents bought the 150-acre property in 1910, and the family has owned and cultivated the land ever since. After working on farms in Israel, Kenya, and Ghana, Michael returned to Virginia in 2017 to continue his family’s farming legacy. He and his own children now live and work on a portion of the family’s land.
Along with partners American Farmland Trust and Bean Hollow Grassfed, The Piedmont Environmental Council is working to strengthen the region’s animal protein processing capabilities, in hopes of preventing the kind of challenges that arose during the COVID-19 pandemic.
We believe that in order to preserve and protect the farms, fields and forests that are so characteristic of the Piedmont region, we need a strong, vibrant sustainable farm economy that keeps these rural lands economically viable.
James and Nichole Brown created their online organic plant and garden supply business with one goal in mind: to help others find wellness using the gifts of nature. Their journey has been a personal one. When Nichole developed a life-threatening food allergy, they found that growing their own produce was instrumental to their own family wellness. Now, by making allergy-friendly, nature-based products available to their customers through their farm Nature’s Wellspring, the Browns are committed to empowering their customers to grow healthy food for themselves in their own gardens.