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Access to Direct Markets & High Median Income Make Loudoun Ripe for Innovative Agriculture | Business

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Access to Direct Markets & High Median Income Make Loudoun Ripe for Innovative Agriculture
Access to Direct Markets & High Median Income Make Loudoun Ripe for Innovative Agriculture

Access to Direct Markets Video Highlights Loudoun’s Farms

Loudoun County, Virginia USA, Wednesday, June 8, 2011 - Loudoun County has a message for current and prospective rural landowners that is being delivered in a new marketing video, Access to Direct Markets. “The focus on rural economic development in this video showcases the value Loudoun County has to offer to rural businesses through our ready access to direct markets,” states Kellie Boles, Agricultural Development Officer with Loudoun County Department of Economic Development. “Whether it is farmers markets, community supported agriculture, restaurants, or on-farm wineries, Loudoun County farmers are surrounded by consumers who appreciate quality, locally grown products.” Three of Loudoun’s farmers are featured in the video describing the benefit they have experienced by having access to direct markets, which is particularly strong in Loudoun, being located in the Washington, D.C. metro where some of the wealthiest, most savvy consumers demand locally grown foods.

Mary Ellen Taylor of Endless Summer Harvest in Purcellville, Virginia has grown her dream of a hydroponic farm into a retail farm phenomenon. This former consultant for Pinkerton Investigations who has reinvented herself into the ‘Lettuce Lady’ cannot keep up with the demand for her lettuce, even at her current production rate of 4,000 heads of lettuce per week. “The market base here in Loudoun County is awesome,” exclaims Mary Ellen. “Executive chefs want our lettuce, the farmers market consumers want our lettuce, we're in all the local Whole Foods, and the first family in the White House is a customer!” In order to meet the growing demand, Endless Summer Harvest is currently expanding to double their size. Mary Ellen adds, “Loudoun County is a place to grow my business and it could be a place to grow your business too.”

 

Kevin Grove, owner of Quarter Branch Farm, a two acre micro farm that produces about 60 varieties of vegetables and salad greens in Lovettsville, Virginia, also benefits from of the access to direct markets in Loudoun County. Kevin sells directly to consumers through his 30-member Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program and at farmers markets. Quarter Branch Farm also participates in a new initiative in Loudoun, Farm to Fork.  “The Farm to Fork program connects the farms to the restaurants and to the chefs,” says Kevin. “The farmers get to build those connections so we can put our food on the tables.” Kevin recently received a grant through the Loudoun Soil and Conservation District to build a new high tunnel so that he can extend his growing season, selling his produce much earlier and later in the year. “The county has been really supportive of small farms. So if you have land in Loudoun County this is a great place to have a farm and I encourage you to put it to use.”

It’s not only individual farms that are reaping the benefits of being located in Loudoun County – an entire industry, the wine industry, has experienced explosive growth. When Doug Fabbioli, owner and vintner of Fabbioli Cellars in Leesburg, Virginia, came from California to Loudoun fourteen years ago there were only seven wineries. Loudoun now boasts 24 wineries, the most of any county in Virginia. “In addition to the soils being fabulous and the cooperative nature of the county’s rural team, the market is here,” says Doug, who is also the current chairman of Loudoun’s Rural Economic Development Council. “The Washington, D.C. metro region is one of the highest per capita wine consumption areas in the country; these people know their wine.”  There is a close relationship between county officials, producer associations, and Visit Loudoun who strive to market to local, national and international visitors to enjoy venturing out to the wineries. “This collaborative effort of 'all boats left in a rising tide' is a tremendous part of what we do, and that's how the growth has happened.”

To learn more about growing your farm in Loudoun County, the Department of Economic Development has staff dedicated to providing assistance. “Loudoun County has available land for new rural businesses and a customer base to support innovative agriculture on existing operations,” states Kellie Boles. For more specific information and to watch the video in its entirety, visit biz.loudoun.gov/access

Endless Summer Harvest, a hydroponic farm growing gourmet lettuces and salad greens in 12,000 square feet of technologically advanced greenhouses in Purcellville, VA, provides delicious, locally grown, pesticide-free produce, 365 days a year, for sale at farmers’ markets, up-scale restaurants and specialty stores. For more information about Endless Summer Harvest, visit their website at www.esharvest.com.

Fabbioli Cellars is a small family owned and operated vineyard and winery. We focus on growing and making high quality red wines using traditional methods and 21st century knowledge. Through hard work, good decisions and great relationships with customers, family and friends, we have been able to succeed at this dream. For more information, visit fabbioliwines.com.

Quarter Branch Farm grows salad greens and vegetables on a two-acre micro-farm in Lovettsville, Virginia, just 38 miles from the Washington, D.C. beltway. Using solar heated high tunnels for season extension and quick hoops for overwintering, we can grow fresh greens and vegetables year round. For more information, visit quarterbranchfarm.com.

The Loudoun County Department of Economic Development (LCDED) promotes economic growth and opportunity by attracting targeted new businesses, supporting existing businesses, and cultivating Loudoun’s rural economy. The LCDED provides site location and business development assistance, and facilitates connections with county and state government agencies, to help companies expand, locate, and launch.