Working Farms and Food

with Discussion and Dinner

The view from Waterpenny Farm.

Presented by The Piedmont Environmental Council and Slow Food DC

When: Saturday, August 23, 2014  |  1:00pm - 7:00pm

Where: Sperryville, VA

Cost: $50

*Registration is now closed.

Strengthening the community’s awareness and involvement in supporting local agriculture is key to having a sustainable local food economy.

At the regional scale, there is a very important link between the rural landscape where most farms are located and the urban landscape where the majority of the population is located and majority of food is consumed. Many of the farms in the Virginia Piedmont have a huge consumer base in the Washington DC metro area, so it is critical that a strong connection exists between the two.

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 talk about the important role that consumers have in promoting and sustaining agriculture and local businesses.

One of the many beautiful landscapes in
Rappahannock County, Virginia.

Photo by Molly M. Peterson

We hope this is unlike any farm tour and dinner you’ve been to! The whole group will be asked to engage in meaningful discussions on topics ranging from the affects of our food choices on the land to the affordability of local food and keeping farms viable. We'll also get to meet some of the faces behind our food when we stop at Waterpenny Farm, which specializes in organically grown vegetables and Heritage Hollow Farms, which raises grass finished beef and pastured pork.

There will also be plenty of time to check out a few of the local shops, grab a pint at the local pub and enjoy the beautiful countryside of Rappahannock County. Our day will conclude with a wine tasting from Gadino Cellars and a delicious local meal!

Tentative Schedule:

1:00   -   Meet at Waterpenny Farm
1:30   -   Waterpenny Farm Tour and Discussion
2:30   -   Depart for Heritage Hollow Farms
3:00   -   Heritage Hollow Farms Tour and Discussion
4:00   -   Free time to walk around Sperryville. Relax, mingle and visit the Heritage Hollow Farm Store.
5:00   -   Meet outside the Heritage Hollow Farms Store for a wine tasting from local winery Gadino Cellars.
5:30   -   Dinner and discussion. Food served family style.
6:30   -   Wrap-up conversation

Food will be prepared by local caterer Sylvie Rowand from Laughing Duck Gardens & Cookery. Tentative menu includes:

  • Peppercorn & mustard crusted pork loin from Heritage Hollow, locally made cured sausage, cooked seasonal veggies, fresh seasonal veggies/fruit, rice salad, bean salad, dessert, non-alcoholic beverages
  • The local wine tasting is included in the ticket price. Glasses of wine will also be available for purchase.

This event will be rain or shine, so please plan accordingly -- feel free to pack your wellies, an extra pair of socks and shoes, an umbrella and rain jacket. In the event of rain, we will be having dinner inside (location TBD).

There are limited spots so don't miss out! If you have any questions, please contact Marco Sanchez at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


Information for Attendees

Important notes:

  • In courtesy to Waterpenny and Heritage Hollow Farm, please no dogs.
  • Waterpenny and Heritage Hollow will have veggies and meat available for purchase (you'll need cash to buy veggies at Waterpenny)
  • Included in the ticket price is a tasting of three local wines from Gadino Cellars. Glasses of wine will also be available for purchase (cash only)

Interested in taking advantage of your weekend in the country?

  • From being active along hiking trails in Shenandoah National Park to relaxing at art galleries and vineyards to enjoy the countryside aesthetics, Rappahannock County has it all. Visit the Rappahannock County tourism website for a complete list of activities, dining options, and places to stay.

Going the rugged (and more affordable) route for a weekend getaway? Here are some of our local insights:

  • Pack your tent and camp at Matthews Arm Campground in Shenandoah National Park for $20/night which is a 30 minute drive from Sperryville or try your hand at backcountry camping at no charge. In either case, make sure you make a reservation in advance!
  • Enjoy local, affordable, and delicious pizza at Rudy’s while on the second-floor outdoor patio with a brew. If you spend the night, you must try the brunch at Thornton River Grille.
  • Make sure you try a locally brewed cup of coffee from Central Coffee Roasters. All cups of coffee sold go to the Potomac Appalachian Trail Conservancy to maintain our local trails and access to nearby nature.
  • If you’re thinking of going for a hike, here are some of our favorites: Little Devil Stairs, White Oak Canyon, and of course Old Rag Mountain.

What to wear and bring

  • Event is rain or shine, so please plan accordingly -- feel free to pack your wellies, an extra pair of socks and shoes, an umbrella, a rain jacket.
  • Sun hat
  • Sunscreen and bug spray
  • Bottles of water. There will be opportunities to refill.



The Piedmont Environmental Council
Founded in 1972, PEC works with citizens to keep Virginia's Piedmont a wonderful place -- by protecting beautiful and historic landscapes, building great communities, promoting local farms and food, restoring natural resources, and connecting people with nature. We have offices throughout a nine county region that includes Albemarle, Clarke, Culpeper, Fauquier, Green, Loudoun, Madison, Orange and Rappahannock counties.

Slow Food DC
The DC Chapter of Slow Food is a community that promotes and celebrates local, seasonal, and sustainable food sources; works to preserve the culinary traditions of the region's ethnically and culturally diverse populations; and supports the right of all people to enjoy good, clean, fair food. Slow Food is a global non-profit that was founded in 1989.

Waterpenny Farm
A 10-acre vegetable farm in Sperryville, VA run by Rachel Bynum and Eric Plaksin. Since their first season in 2000, they've been committed to running a farm in harmony with the environment, using sustainable farming methods, with all Organic inputs and no chemcial pesticides or fertilizers. They produce vegetalbes, flowers and eggs for farmers markets (including Arlington and Tacoma Park), a CSA subscription, and local on-farm customers.

Heritage Hollow Farms
Mike and Molly Peterson founded Heritage Hollow Farms in late 2013, incorporating Mount Vernon Grassfed which operated as a 100% Grass Fed & Grass Finished Beef & Lamb and Pastured Pork farm for over a decade. The Petersons purchased the business and entered into a long-term lease on the land in October 2013. Heritage Hollow Farms operates with the intention to be responsible stewards of the land; promote diversity through ecologically sound practices; and to raise food with integrity. The pastures are managed in calculated harmony with the soil and weather; livestock are treated with respect and gratitude; and the farm business as a whole is viewed through holistic management practices to create long-term sustainability.


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