As temperatures slowly rise and spring breaks through the long winter, the Piedmont Environmental Council's (PEC) Buy Fresh Buy Local guides are reaching approximately 266,000 homes, bringing with them the promise of sunny farmers’ market days, fresh vegetables, and plenty of reasons to get out and enjoy our local farming community. The guides are mailed to the Charlottesville area, Loudoun County, and the Northern Piedmont as a free service, with the goal of growing the local food economy in the region.
The Buy Fresh Buy Local program helps consumers find fresh local food grown by their neighbors and provides tools for them to learn how their food choices affect their community. Connecting consumers to producers is an integral part of a multifaceted effort by PEC to promote local farms and preserve the region’s rural economy and farmland.
Exploring the Northern Piedmont
“The Northern Piedmont guide covers a five-county region that’s home to a wealth of local food,” says Jessica Palmer, coordinator of PEC’s Buy Fresh Buy Local program. “And we hope the guide encourages families to take advantage of the wide range of products offered by our area's producers.”
In the Northern Piedmont, which includes Culpeper, Fauquier, Madison, Orange, and Rappahannock counties, the guides will be sent to 73,544 homes, featuring over 220 local food producers and distributors. Among the listings are 150 local farms and orchards, 9 farmers’ markets, 26 wineries and breweries, 17 restaurants and caterers, and 18 retailers, many of which are displayed on a travel map of the Northern Piedmont area. Other items include a list of upcoming events like the Fauquier County Farm Tour, a fruit and vegetable availability calendar, and a fact sheet explaining various common food labels.
This year’s Northern Piedmont guide also features profiles of two local businesses: Lee’s Orchard in Rappahannock County, which offers over 18 distinct apple varieties, including one of Thomas Jefferson’s favorites-- the Albemarle Pippin; and The Whole Ox Butcher Shop, located in The Plains, where a no-waste, nose-to-tail business approach provides customers with locally-sourced meat that’s good for people and the environment.
PEC thanks the GM Foundation for providing a grant to support PEC's overall agriculture program. PEC would also like to thank the diverse group of organizations and businesses who have partnered to bring the guide to Northern Piedmont area residents, including Tri Country Feeds, Etc. and NOVEC, and local food industry sponsors including Fauquier Farm Bureau, Fauquier Health, Fauquier County Agricultural Development Department, Culpeper Harvest Days Farm Tour, Countryside Organics, Farm Credit of the Virginias, Wolf Creek Farm, Over the Grass Farm, Corvallis Farms, The Market at Grelen, Beech Spring Gift Shop, and Rider’s Backfield Farm Beef.