May 4, 2011. PEC Press Release

 


For immediate release:

May 4, 2011

Contact:

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Communications Specialist, PEC
540-717-5605

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Buy Fresh Buy Local Manager, PEC
434-977-2033

As the spring growing season gets underway, the Piedmont Environmental Council’s (PEC) Buy Fresh Buy Local guides for the Northern Piedmont Area are on their way to every home in Culpeper, Fauquier, Madison, Orange and Rappahannock—with over 200 listings of places where people can buy locally grown food. Among the listings are 119 local farms, 18 orchards, 21 wineries, 18 restaurants, 15 retailers and 10 farmers markets in this five-county area. 

Since the first Northern Piedmont Buy Fresh Buy Local guide came out in 2008, listings in the guide have increased from approximately 150 to over 200 businesses. And the guides are helping to strengthen local businesses. Sarah Weaver, of Papa Weaver's Pork in Madison, says, "Buy Fresh, Buy Local has introduced us to a whole new group of customers, who want to buy local and want to buy fresh, and are very interested in our product. We get a lot of emails and phone calls from people who saw us in the guide and want to know more." In a survey of Buy Fresh Buy Local participants, 90% of business owners said the their customers mentioned seeing them in the guides and over half said that they saw an increase in customers after PEC sent out the guides.

“The local food movement in this area is growing rapidly,” says PEC's Jessica Palmer, who helped manage the 2011 Buy Fresh Buy Local guides. “That’s not only a positive economic trend for local businesses, but it’s good news for rural landscapes and families who want to find fresh, healthy food.”

Farm Profiles

Along with the listings, this year’s guide features profiles of two local food businesses. At Retreat Farm in Rapidan, Frank and Cindy Gillan raise fruits, vegetables, sheep, cows, chickens and pigs, using sustainable methods. Frank Gillan says that when customers buy their food from responsible local farms, “You may pay a little more for your food now, but down the road, you will likely find that you are healthier than if you were paying for cheap food that is stuffed full of hormones and coated with pesticides.” 

At Waterpenny Farm near Sperryville, Rachel Bynum and Erik Plaskin grow a large variety of sustainably raised vegetables and flowers. Bynum says, “We love to have people come to the farm and see what we’re doing. Our customers feel a personal connection to our farm, and that connection is important to people who want the confidence that their food is good for their health and is cultivated in a sustainable way."

Profile of Retreat Farm – with links to great photos, including a bottle-fed baby lamb.
Profile of Waterpenny Farm – with links to great photos, including farmers tending greenhouse plants

More on PEC’s Local Farms and Food program

Buy Fresh Buy Local is part of a multifaceted effort by PEC to promote local farms and preserve farmland. Among these efforts:

  • PEC works to preserve farmland through private land conservation. Currently, the amount of prime farm soils protected in this area total 7,900 acres in Culpeper, 47,500 acres in Fauquier, 6,000 acres in Madison, 11,800 acres in Orange and 8,100 acres in Rappahannock.
  • PEC’s Exploring the Small Farm Dream courses, in Charlottesville and Warrenton, guide participants through a decision-making process about starting a farm-related business.  
  • PEC’s Hosting the Small Farm Dream seminars help to connect landowners with aspiring farmers who need land.
  • PEC’s Farm to Chef Directory links local growers with local restaurants.
  • Events like Meet the Farmer Dinners, the Heritage Harvest Festival at Monticello and the Eat Local Challenge increase appreciation of local food.

Download the 2011 Northern Piedmont Buy Fresh Buy Local Guide PDF

Visit our BuyLocalVirginia.org website >>