Choose Culpeper Farms is the county economic development department’s new agriculture brand, intended to grow interest and synergize access to local farm enterprise and products.
Agriculture remains the No. 1 economic generator in Culpeper, though it has evolved over centuries, and it now has its own county-supported website.
“Choose Culpeper Farms seeks to highlight Culpeper Farms and agricultural operations, products, and events and provide education on making agriculture and fresh, local products part of Culpeper family’s everyday lives,” according to a release from Business Development Coordinator Winona Pritts.
From Devon cattle, pansies and mums to moonshine, wine, beer and lavender, Culpeper County grows a bountiful selection.
Honey, baked goods, milk, bread, meat, eggs and cheese can all be sourced locally along with wool, soaps, sauces, jams, laundry detergent, bath bombs, Christmas trees and candles.
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The Culpeper equestrian community comprises a major piece of local farm life and people still raise pigs, goats, cows and other livestock, including llamas.
Recently launched, chooseculpeperfarms.com, also on Facebook, highlights it all. The site connects consumers to the producers and gives local farms a global platform to highlight their wares and products.
More than half a dozen farms in Culpeper County are open to the public for tours and shopping, not counting the various wineries, breweries and distilleries.
Seek Lavender, a natural respite on the edge of town along Bradford Road, is among the featured farms. Mary Seek, who runs it with her husband Neil, in a phone call Friday said that the economic development department did a fabulous job with the new brand.
She added there’s a long way to go to really celebrate agriculture, farms and nature in the area.
“I hope it just increases momentum,” Seek said, mentioning the rising of public art downtown. “We need an agricultural mural.”
The lavender farmer grows 40 different plants and herbs and creates various products available in the Little House store on site. Seek Lavender products, sourced from the farm, are in use at five downtown shops.
Sangria Bowl makes hard lavender lemonade in the summer with their syrup while Shenandoah Garden Spot makes fresh floral arrangements with Seek lavender and peonies. Culpeper Cheese Company makes a sandwich with Seek lavender jelly. She wants to find five more shops for collaboration, and said she’d love to see small farms like hers collaborating.
“Let’s get to know each other, do potlucks, create a cohesiveness, when people think about ag in Culpeper they can start listing off who is that, where is that,” Seek said, noting local farms still remain relatively hidden.
She acknowledged the demand for locally sourced healthy goods, especially considering the processed items sold in most stores today.
“I don’t know if a lot of it could even be classified as food,” Seek said. “It’s fun for people to feel closer to their food, they can talk to the person who grew it. The experience enhances their lives.”
Friday and Saturday was ‘Seek Lavender Days’ down on the farm. A range of nibbles were available, including vegetable soup made with seven different herbs, a herb de Provence butter, sourdough bread, lavender chocolate chip cookies and lavender shortbread with lavender jelly.
Choose Culpeper Farms provides consumers with information on purchasing farm-to-table products from farmers throughout the county and taking advantage of onsite visits.
The website also has information on community groups providing youth learning experiences, technical advice for farmers, hands-on instruction, experimental learning opportunities and more.
The ‘For Farms’ section has a job bulletin board for farmers to find help and a place to sell wholesale farm products. It includes information on the Farm Bureau and Culpeper CFC Farm & Home Center.
Pritts organizes Culpeper Harvest Days Farm Tour annually in September. Now, she spearheads Choose Culpeper Farms.
“We’re extremely excited about the positive response we’ve received since launching,” Pritts said in a statement.
“During the development of the website, we met with a number of farms and community groups to understand their needs and look forward to growing our relationships with the farming community.”
To be included on the site, contact email@example.com.