With dozens of sites and myriad types of agriculture-related businesses showcased, it is unlikely that anyone could visit every stop on the 2018 Spring Farm Tour, even over the two days of the event May 19 and 20.
There are seven new stops on this year’s tour – Alivio Farm in Lovettsville, Fort Bacon Farm in Purcellville, Greenstone Fields in Purcellville, Homestead 1870 in Lovettsville, Lost Corner Farm in Leesburg, Sunny Hill Farm in Purcellville and The Farm at Walnut Creek in Hamilton. That brings the total to 26 farm sites and 58 craft beverage producers in this year’s event, which will take place rain or shine from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, May 19 and 20.
There is no charge to participate in the self-driving tour or for maps and information needed to find the Farm Tour locations, but some of the sites may charge for food or beverages or for riding or feeding animals.
“The Spring Farm Tour is a wonderful way to support small businesses that feed our community and strengthen our economy,” Loudoun Economic Development Executive Director Buddy Rizer said. “Several are family-owned operations that go back generations. Getting to know the people who grow our food is fun and enlightening.”
Deciding what to see and planning a route to visit those places figures to be the biggest challenge for people participating in the event. To help with that task, organizers divided the stops into six themed categories with six different itineraries that can be accessed through an interactive map on the Farm Tour website or plotted using a brochure that can be downloaded as a pdf from the same website (loudounfarms.org/farmtour). Copies of the brochure are also available at all Loudoun County libraries, community centers, Visit Loudoun and the Government Center in Leesburg.
- Community Supported Agriculture: Learn about cooperatives in which people can invest and receive a share of the fresh, ground-to-table produce when it is harvested.
- Hand-on Tour: Pet or otherwise interact with farm animals, learn Master Gardening techniques or pick your own fruit and flowers.
- Horses and More: Ride a donkey, feed an alpaca, interact with larger animals or learn about the Equine Rescue League or Project Horse Empowerment Center.
- Little One’s Tour: For the younger Farm Tour participants.
- Look and See: Larger and more scenic locations including some with demonstrations.
- Tastes of Loudoun: Wineries, breweries … many “ries-sons” to visit.
“This year we have added six themed itineraries to the farm tour brochure and map so that participants can easily select or create a tour that best suits their needs,” said Kelly Hinkle, LED’s agriculture development officer. “I think this new feature helps those visiting farms to pick the stops that are most interesting to their Farm Tour group.”
Loudoun County sponsors farm tours in May and October. The Spring Farm Tour is part of Loudoun Small Business Week. For more information on Small Business Week, visit loudounSBW.org.