Working Farms and Food

Farmland and forests produce the necessities of life and provide essential natural services. In PEC's nine county area, over 180,000 acres of farmland and 140,000 acres of forests are protected through private, voluntary land conservation.
  • Farmer-Chef Express Launched! Farmer Chef Express is an online, interactive tool to connect buyers and sellers of local food. Listings outline specific product needs or product availability so that buyers and sellers can connect with each other and establish productive business relationships. All you have to do is sign up in order to create a post or search for products.
  • Order Seeds For Your Garden Planning your garden? The Southern Exposure Seed Exchange, located in Louisa, is once again donating 30% of the sales of certain seed packages to support PEC's Buy Fresh Buy Local program.

Buy Fresh Buy Local

Buy Fresh Buy Local logo

PEC's Buy Fresh Buy Local campaign helps consumers find local products while building relationships between growers, food artisans, farmers’ markets retailers, restaurants, and institutions.

Use our Buy Fresh Buy Local website to find farms, grocers, caterers, restaurants, CSAs, and farmers markets.


Farming for the Future

Created by: Prince Charitable Trusts, Center for Environmental Filmmaking at American University, and The Piedmont Environmental Council.

Farm and Restaurant Profiles

Bellair Farm CSA

Apr 28, 2015
For farm manager Jamie Barrett of Bellair Farm CSA, being a resource for the larger community is part of the farm vision.

Brookville Restaurant

Apr 24, 2014
Harrison Keevil and his wife, Jennifer, opened Brookville in the summer of 2010 with a goal to provide patrons with as many local ingredients as possible. Their menu proudly states, “The most locally sourced restaurant in Charlottesville, Va. All plates 90-99% sourced within 100 miles.”

Buchanan Farms

Apr 28, 2015
On a sunny but chilly March morning in Waterford, Va., I stood in an 18th-century barn with the owners of Buchanan Farms, Sharon Buchanan-McIntosh and Burt McIntosh. The mixture of hay, livestock and aging wood created that sweet but earthy smell that barns always seem to have.

Caromont Farm: Farmstead Cheeses with the Flavor of Virginia

Dec 14, 2011
Gail Hobbs-Page was given her first pair of goats as a young child growing up on a farm in North Carolina. Her father gave her the animals because he wanted to try goat's milk. Little did he know, that decision would mark his daughter's life.
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Croftburn Farm

May 03, 2012
At Croftburn Farm, flocks of sheep and herds of cattle graze in wide green pastures on either side of Route 3, just outside of the Town of Culpeper—so the farm offers local residents both pastoral views and healthy, quality meats.

Fabbioli Cellars

May 03, 2012
For Doug Fabbioli of Fabbioli Cellars in Leesburg, growing his winery and his vines in a way that is environmentally and economically sustainable is a center point of his business philosophy. “Honestly,” he says, “environmental and economic sustainability really go hand in hand.”

Farmstead Ferments & New Moon Naturals

Apr 24, 2014
Sitting less than 100 yards from gardens and a variety of fruit trees on a farm in Charlottesville, I met with Dawn Story, founder of New Moon Naturals and Farmstead Ferments. Story tells me that she grew up in the Virginia Piedmont, and she was raised by a family who appreciated nature and a healthy diet.

Fauquier Hospital

May 03, 2012
It’s safe to say that when most people consider their local restaurant options, the nearby hospital’s cafeteria doesn’t normally make the list. But that’s not the case at Fauquier Hospital in Warrenton. The hospital’s cafeteria, called the Bistro on the Hill, not only serves patients and hospital employees -- but it is also frequented by locals who are simply looking for a good place to eat.
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May 03, 2012
Mark Gresge is a self proclaimed food nerd. He loves food. He loves researching food history, learning about why people eat what they eat, what foods pertain to particular regions -- he can't get enough. We all know that food nerds are not a rarity in Charlottesville. Yet, it's the path that Mark's passion led him down that's rare. Mark went from being an engineer who loved to cook, to owning and operating the Main St. restaurant L'etoile with his wife, Vickie Gresge.

Lee's Orchard

May 01, 2014
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.

Loudoun Heritage Farm Museum

Apr 28, 2015
The Loudoun Heritage Farm Museum’s motto, “We Preserve The Past—We Educate The Future” says it all. Located within the Claude Moore Regional Park in Eastern Loudoun County, the Museum is governed by a public/private partnership between the LHFM Board of Directors and the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors.

Market Table Bistro

Apr 24, 2014
Opening a restaurant like Market Table Bistro was always a dream for Rebecca Dudley and Jason Lage, both of whom went to culinary school and later met while working at Lansdowne Resort. They each grew up in rural locations where farm to table wasn’t a trend as much as it was a way of life. Lage’s mother and grandmother cooked with primarily locally sourced and seasonal ingredients, and that’s a concept he has always wanted to bring to his own business.

From The Piedmont View

The following articles appeared in PEC's Membership Newsletter -- The Piedmont View

A Day to Graze

Oct 20, 2015
At a recent pasture management field day, over 25 farmers, landowners and service providers toured Over Jordan Farm in Rappahannock County with Bean Hollow Grassfed owner Michael Sands. Sands gave advice on everything from fencing layouts and watering systems to the number of animals he grazes. He runs roughly 20,000 pounds of livestock per acre per day in a pasture for two days before rotating and letting the field rest for 90 days.

Finding a Place to Grow

Jun 10, 2015
Access to affordable tillable farmland and pasture is one of the primary barriers for next-generation farmers and a healthy evolution of the agricultural economy in the Virginia Piedmont. Many next-generation farmers from non-farming backgrounds have contacted PEC seeking access to available farmland. Conversely, many non-farming landowners are interested in agricultural land use, but the process of leasing land for this purpose can be daunting.

A Tale of Two Alums

Dec 12, 2014
Pablo Teodoro stands outside of his store, Great Harvest Bread Co., in Old Town Warrenton.
Since 2009, PEC has offered the Exploring the Small Farm Dream course to aspiring farmers—helping them take a long hard look at their dreams and to answer the question, “Is starting a farm business a good fit for me?” As the title of the course suggests, every partici­pant comes to the course with their own unique dream—an idea that they want to explore. It is these dreams that form the starting point of the course, which evaluates student’s goals, skills, interests, physical and financial resources, and the merits of their ideas in order to settle on a course of action.

Farmer-Chef Express

Sep 15, 2014
Local chef Justin Garrison
The Piedmont Environmental Council is always looking for ways to strengthen our local food economy. After a lot of brain­storming, developing and website testing, Farmer-Chef Express was launched this past August!

News From the Piedmont

More Working Farms and Food

  • Nov 10, 2015

    Buy Fresh Buy Local Holiday Guides

    Our 2015 Buy Fresh Buy Local Holiday Guides are ready to download. The guide features businesses that produce locally grown Christmas trees & decorations and holiday foods (produce, meat, dairy, eggs and specialty foods) in the Charlottesville and Northern Piedmont Area! To search for more local food, visit Read More
  • Aug 01, 2014

    Farmer-Chef Express!

    Farmer-Chef Express is an online, interactive tool to connect buyers and sellers of local food. Farmer-Chef Express is built around 'posts'. Local food buyers can post what they are looking for and local food sellers can post what products they have available. Read More
  • Jun 03, 2014

    Food for Thought

    A local food and farm speaker series in downtown Culpeper Keep farming and local businesses thriving in the Piedmont! Join us for a summer community speaker series to hear from growers and producers who bring food to your table. Come meet your farming neighbors and develop your own gardening and foodie dreams. This free speaker series will be held in downtown Culpeper, select Thursdays from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. Read More
  • Jul 29, 2014

    Food for Thought: A Local Food Outing

    Join PEC and Slow Food D.C. as we delve into some of the unique challenges that local food producers face, hear about some of the innovations being used by a new generation of farmers, and the important role of consumers in promoting and sustaining agriculture and local businesses. Read More
  • May 03, 2014

    2014 Buy Fresh Buy Local Guides

    Our 2014 Buy Fresh Buy Local guides have been released! In total, the guides will be sent to 265,761 homes in Virginia's Piedmont. Among the listings are 309 local farms and orchards, 30 farmers markets, 77 wineries and distilleries, 73 restaurants and caterers, and 45 retailers. Read More
  • Oct 29, 2013

    Eat Local Bingo

    Take the Eat Local Challenge! A great resource for parents, teachers, and students -- download the Bingo Card PDF and go for any row. Use it to help celebrate Virginia Farm to School Week, November 11-15, 2013. Read More
  • Sep 24, 2013

    Expanding Beef Cattle Profitability in VA's Northern Piedmont

    Currently: • Most weaned and backgrounded calves leave the state for fattening in out-of-state feedlots. • A small percentage of calves are kept as stockers before shipping to out-of-state feedlots. • Most cow-calf operations take commodity price. Some buyers pay premiums. • Beef returns as “boxed beef” for retail to metro-consumers. Value/revenue is lost out-of-state. A small percentage (<10%) of the region’s farms and cattle are conception-to-carcass operations that direct market beef (mostly pasture raised or grass-fed) at a premium to consumers. They process beef (usually one or two at a time) at one of six custom facilities. These producers are seeking additional slaughter and processing capacity. Pastures in the region are currently underutilized with gains at about 1 lb/day. Efficiencies in cattle and pasture management, grazing, and transit, processing, even paperwork could increase returns to producers and the region. Processing and sales volumes could greatly increase. Additional acreage would be employed in grazing cattle retained in the region. Total returns to the regional economy would increase. Read More
  • Aug 20, 2013

    Discovering Local Food

    For Piedmont Family Magazine -- April 2013 -- In my role as the Buy Fresh Buy Local Coordinator for The Piedmont Environmental Council (PEC), local food is an everyday topic of conversation. From broader discussions on how to encourage larger institutions to purchase locally or how to make the food distribution system more efficient, to quick conversations with farmers about a new ethnic vegetable variety or gourmet garlic -- Buy Fresh Buy Local is all about strengthening our local food system so that it supports farmers and consumers alike. Read More
  • Aug 13, 2013

    Loudoun Farm Incubator

    The concept of incubators to launch new farm businesses has been developing in the sustainable agriculture community for years. Veteran agriculturalists understand that, much like a successful farm business, a successful farmer incubator requires very particular skills and experience. In the summer of 2012 leading Loudoun County farmers and The Piedmont Environmental Council began a series of planning sessions to design a sustainable model for a Loudoun Farm Incubator. The team applied a unique combination of farming and agricultural land management experience and expertise to the task of creating a viable business plan for a Loudoun Farm Incubator. The outcome of those sessions is summarized below. This summary is a working document, and still evolving. Please contact Mike Kane, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., with comments. Read More
  • Jul 29, 2013

    Defining our Food Labels

    When talking about our food, we constantly hear terms like ‘organic’, ‘local’, ‘free-range’, and ‘grass-fed.’ These labels are meant to guide consumers’ food purchasing decisions by offering information on the farming methods used to grow or raise food, and the reassurance that food safety risks have been minimized. More often than not, however, I find it difficult to distinguish the plethora of different labels. Read More
  • Jan 29, 2013

    Buy Fresh Buy Local Work Session

    Our first-ever work session for Buy Fresh Buy Local Loudoun, Northern Piedmont, and Charlottesville Chapters was held on January 10, 2013. Nine working groups were formed to take coordinated action on a range of different topics. Read More
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    Sep 01, 2015

    Awards for Community & School Gardens

    Previous winners City Schoolyard Garden at Buford Middle School in Charlottesville.The final deadline for submission has been extended to October 31, 2015!Does your school have a garden? Do you know of a fun community garden? Help The Piedmont Environmental Council (PEC) recognize community and school gardens throughout the northern Piedmont by letting us know about great community or school gardens in your area. The purpose of this friendly competition is to recognize gardens that celebrate the relationship between nature, food and community, by awarding four currently active school and/or community gardens with cash awards. PEC will make up to two $300 awards and up to two $500 awards. Read More
  • Jan 14, 2014

    Order Seeds for Your Garden

    Planning your garden for 2015? The Southern Exposure Seed Exchange, located in Louisa, is once again donating 30% of the sales of certain seed packages to support PEC's Buy Fresh Buy Local program. Read More

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