Loudoun County Goes Fresh

As a high tech hydroponic agribusiness, it may not surprise you that the idea behind Endless Summer Harvest came from, of all places, Epcot in Disneyworld. According to farm owner Mary Ellen Taylor, an Epcot pavilion called “The Land” featured a hydroponic garden that inspired her to start her own business. Taylor even consulted with Dr. Merle Jensen, the brain behind “The Land,” with the design of their facilities.

Today, Endless Harvest Summer Harvest’s 12,000-square-foot facility produces as much Lettuce as a 12-acre farm. In addition to how efficiently the farm uses space, hydroponic farming is highly sustainable as well. Since the lettuce is grown in water, all the water is recycled.

Another advantage of hydroponic farming is the ability to grow fresh produce year-round. During 2010’s Snowmageddon, Endless Summer Harvest was still able to operate. Pretty amazing if you take into account that even the federal government closed for a few days.

The farm’s 25 varieties of organic lettuce can be found at five farmers markets in the Washington metropolitan area as well as on the plates in many restaurants. You can find where their lettuce is distributed nearest to you at ESHarvest.com

Catoctin Creek Distillery
As one of the few craft distilleries in the country, Catoctin Creek Distillery creates high-quality, organic spirits for the region. The Purcellville, Va. distillery was founded 2009 by Scott and Becky Harris.

Catoctin Creek, named after the Indian name for their area of the Chesapeake region, produces a number of organic and kosher products that are made with only the finest grains and products.

Although Catoctin Creek is most famous for their whisky and ryes, the distillery’s Watershed Gin won the gold medal from the Beverage Tasting Institute in Chicago, a tasting institute that provides unbiased of reviews wine and spirits.

Catoctin Creek’s organic certification means that all spirits are made with organic grain, which in turn creates a cleaner spirit. As for sustainability, the mash remaining after the distilling process is recycled into cattle feed, so there is nothing that goes to waste.

Local produce from the Loudoun County region is also incorporated into Catoctin Creek’s products. For example, Pearousia, their Pear Brandy, is made with Loudoun County Pears.

Catoctin County products are widely distributed in Washington, D.C. Visit them online at CatoctinCreekDistilling.com to find where you can knock one back.

Stoneybrook Organic Farm
Stoneybrook Farm originally began as an effort to protect 35 acres of farmland from development in 2006. They were subsequently certified organic in 2008, and opened their on-location farmer’s market in 2010.

Stoneybrook is unique for it’s Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program. For a fee, people can support the farm and subscribe to fresh vegetables for a year. People in the program, which now has numbers around 100, form a close bond with the farm and participate in many activities and work days.

The farm’s market is open Sunday to Friday, 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. and closed on Saturdays. In addition to carrying items from their own farm, the market carries local and organic meat, local organic dairy products including raw cheeses, free-range eggs, pies, and sandwiches. They even have wireless Internet. Pretty good for a farmers market, if you ask us.

Stoneybrook Farm is located at 37091 Charlestown Pike, Hillsboro, Va. You can learn more about the farm and where to find their produce at StoneybrookFarm.org

Notaviva Vineyards
If you like wine and if you like music, Notaviva Vineyards should be your next stop in Virginia. The Purcellville winery makes a number of different varieties of wine from Loudoun County grapes, but perhaps its biggest attractions are the musical performances that are often held there.

Saturday, Sept. 10, Notaviva will be holding its second annual World Music Festival, playing host to musicians, artisans and food vendors on its vineyard grounds. This event benefits Loudoun Interfaith Relief, the largest food bank in Loudoun County.

Notaviva Vineyards is located at 13274 Sagle Rd., Purcellville, Va.

Fabbioli Cellars
Fabbioli Vineyards prides itself on being a tightly knit family business. As a young family fresh to the area, the Fabbiolis decided to buy patch of land in Leesburg and start a vineyard in 2001. Ten years later, the business has stayed in the family, although the family has grown over the years, said vineyard owner Doug Fabbioli.

Fabbioli has over 30 years of experience in the wine business and attributes his success to “having quality, always.” Fabbioli says good wine comes from “close monitoring and lots of attention” and “thinking on your feet.”

If you are interested in fruit wines, Fabbioli Vineyards definitely has some good choices. Fabbioli likens their varieties to “biting into a fruit,” and recommends their Aperitif Pear Wine.

For those interested in learning more about the wine business, Fabbioli also offers courses for those interested in entering the wine industry. Fabbioli says, “I want [people] to make a really good wine.”

Fabbioli’s Facebook page is frequently updated with photos chronicling life around the vineyard, so check them out there.

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