Provided by The Piedmont Environmental Council (PEC) the Northern Piedmont chapter includes Madison, Orange, Culpeper, Rappahannock, and Fauquier Counties.
410 East Water Street, Suite 700, Charlottesville, VA 22902
The latest from the Northern Piedmont Buy Fresh Buy Local chapter.
View the Spring 2014 print guide for Culpeper, Fauquier, Madison, Orange and Rappahannock Counties.
'Know your farmer' is a popular phrase these days, but Derek and Amanda Luhowiak, owners of The Whole Ox Butcher Shop in The Plains, think people should get to know their butcher as well.
Amanda, a native of Fauquier County, explains, “a lot of people care about where their food comes from, but they don’t have time to go out to the farms. We’ve built relationships with the majority of the farms we work with, visited many of them and know their operations. Our customers trust that we’ve done our research by asking the questions they would ask.” Their idea is simple: create a shorter link between farmers and consumers.
As the shop’s name suggests, their products are based on processing whole animals—using everything from nose to tail, making sure that nothing goes to waste. “We even use the bones to make stocks and soups,” says Derek.
Lee’s Orchard sits about 10 miles east of Shenandoah National Park in Rappahannock County, surrounded by beautiful vistas of the Blue Ridge Mountains. The apple orchard is undoubtedly intertwined with the history of the community - it’s been in Bryant Lee’s family for 5 generations.
While the picturesque landscape has remained largely intact since the farm was established over 200 years ago, changes in the apple industry have forced Bryant Lee to modify his business model. In 1980, he had over 160 acres of apples and was shipping them up and down the east coast, but competition from the global apple market, along with shifts in consumer preferences, made Lee focus on what sets his apples apart - taste.
“People have grown accustomed to the perfectly shaped, shiny apples you can get year round in the grocery store,” explains Lee with a smile. “If people did a side by side comparison they’d probably choose the shiny one, but once they taste the fresh apples, they change their minds real quick.”
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.