We treasure our farms, forests, parks, country roads and open space in Loudoun. This Thursday, April 22nd, is Earth Day – a time to remind ourselves how valuable this land is, and commit to its preservation. Here we outline the many ways Loudoun is observing and celebrating Earth Day. We also look at places and businesses – breweries, wineries and vegetable farms – promoting sustainability.
Purcellville’s popular public park hosts a family-oriented Earth Day event around the Franklin Park pond. Aimed at raising conservation awareness, multiple themed “stations” will be set up around the perimeter of the pond, each with a different conservation angle. Attendees will get to make earth-friendly crafts, plant their own “salad bowl”, go fishing with an instructor and hike the park’s trails while participating in a scavenger hunt. There is also a “Spring Bonnet” contest, a “Mask Parade”, food stands, free gift bags and a DJ spinning nature-friendly tunes. Groups taking part include Loudoun County Master Gardeners and Endless Summer Harvest.
Environmental stewardship is at the core of John and Bonnie Branding’s stylish, ever-innovative bespoke brewery on a historic farm outside Waterford. The brewery is developing Loudoun’s first-ever “Estate Land Beer” in which every ingredient – from the water to the grain to the yeast – will come from the farm itself. Join John and Bonnie this Earth Day for a small group, socially distanced Farm Tours ($20pp; reserve in advance) that will include discussions on soil health, crop rotation, the concept and process behind Estate Land Beer and how the ultimate goal at Wheatland is to produce world-class beers with a carbon-neutral footprint and zero-waste-to-landfill.
Moving their Earth Day tribute to the weekend, visitors to this popular solar-powered vineyard in tumbling hills outside Purcellville will get flower seeds to take home or to plant in the vineyard’s pollinator gardens. Educational sessions will cover everything from the bluebird trails on-site and building bluebird boxes to how the 250-panel solar-powered system produces the electricity needed to make the estate’s superb wines. Talking wines, pay tribute to their sustainability model over a glass of Non-Vintage Sunset White made with a blend of Viognier, Vidal Blanc and Albariño grapes. Tesla owners can charge up at one of the four charging stations on property.
On April 23rd, Nate and Sarah Walsh of Walsh Family Wine will base their latest Facebook Live DRINKWELL virtual tasting series on “A Celebration of Bud Break” and the upcoming growing season. Starting at 5 PM, they will be joined for the tasting by Stephen Barnard, esteemed winemaker at Keswick Vineyards, and Lee Hartment of Bluestone Vineyards. Bud break of course is the glorious moment each spring when the vines wake up from winter sleep and begin to produce new fruit.
This exhibition of 75 stunning landscape, wildlife, cowboy and camping oil paintings from renowned Western artist Tucker Smith is not specific to Earth Day but the natural world theme is, as are Smith’s evocative depictions of the power and beauty of the Great American West. The exhibition, organized by the National Museum of Wildlife Art of the United States, runs through August 22nd.
Loudoun Models of Sustainability
Wheatland Springs’ Land Beer and Sunset Hills Vineyards’ solar panels are not the only examples of sustainable, environmentally conscious practices in Loudoun. At Endless Summer Harvest farm in Purcellville, the gourmet lettuce and salad greens (watercress, sorrel and the like) are grown hydroponically in hi-tech greenhouses. At sublime Restaurant at Patowmack Farm outside Lovettsville the mushrooms and herbs that appear on your plate foraged from the surrounding hills. An elegant, family-owned small business, the Vineyards & Winery at Lost Creek uses sustainable farming methods to make wine, which is paired in the tasting room with superb meats, cheese and charcuterie from local farmers. For the ultimate experience in local sustainability, visit Chrysalis Vineyards at the Ag District where the wine is made from grapes grown on the property, the cheese comes from a herd of dairy cows on the farm and the ciabatta, baguettes and pizza dough you order is made from wheat from the surrounding fields.