Farms & Orchards
George Washington hailed Loudoun as “The Breadbasket of the Revolution”. With four distinct seasons, rich, loamy soil and a storied agricultural tradition, Loudoun’s family farms and specialty cultivators – everything from flowers and orchards to fields of lavender – supply a bounty of fresh produce.
Many farms are open for tours and several to u-pick experiences.
Agritourism pioneer Bob Zurschmeide led the way when he started selling vegetables out of a truck in western Loudoun in the 1980s. Today his descendants oversee 300-acre Great Country Farms in Bluemont, growing orchards of fruit and fields of vegetables as feed for their livestock and as produce for their farm store and spin-off winery, brewery and cidery. Visitors – many of them schoolkids – come to pick peaches, apples, strawberries, blackberries and cherries in season and to get lost in the corn maze.
Over in Lovettsville, Long Stone Farm, the grass-based pesticide-free livestock operation of the Wisch family produces beef, pork, lamb, chicken and eggs for local markets and restaurants. On top of operating two farm stores, they also host “Sunday Suppers” from May-October: farm tours followed by a meat-centric four-course dinner. Nearby, historic Georges Mill Farm makes artisanal farmstead cheeses from Alpine dairy goats – the cheeses on sale at the rustic store on the 18th Century farm. Visitors can also come and feed the baby goats in season.
Farms produce more than meat and dairy in Loudoun: at Double 8 Alpaca & Llama Ranch in Purcellville the animals are harvested for fleece that is used to make gloves, hats and socks, while at locations of Wegmeyer Farms in Hamilton and Leesburg visitors get to pile 5-pound buckets high with deliciously ripe strawberries in the spring or pick pumpkins for Halloween in the Fall.
On select days of the year visitors also get to pick - or rather cut - dahlias, peonies, sunflowers and more in the fragrant fields of floral designer Holly Chapple’s exquisite Hope Flower Farm & Winery outside Waterford. From May to October meanwhile, they can gather marigolds, snapdragons, dahlias, hydrangeas and more at the sweet-scented Fields of Flowers in western Loudoun.
A good time to visit these and other farms, to meet the farmers and learn how the county sustains its thriving agribusiness culture is during the annual Loudoun Spring and Fall Farm Tours.