Loudoun Economic Development’s award-winning farmer trading cards will be unveiled at Loudoun County elementary schools on Thursday, March 28, to coincide with the start of the Major League Baseball season.
This year, the public was asked to nominate Loudoun farmers to be featured on the trading cards, and members of the community weighed in with glowing recommendations.
A fan of Double 8 Alpaca Ranch’s Bonnie Kittrell wrote: “Not only is she a great alpaca farm-her, raising super sweet, well-trained alpacas…but she is helping spread the farmer seed to the first Loudoun 4-H club.”
A recommendation for Milcreek Farm’s Donnie Ulmer noted, “Donnie runs a fantastic farm operation bringing nutritional, homegrown food to Loudoun County residents. Milcreek Farm is known for having the best beef around – thanks to the grass-fed operation that humanely raises happy cows on open, green pastures.”
Like a number of other nominees, Michael Smith of JK Community Farm received several votes, and one fan raved, “Mike is an exceptional farmer and is growing using organic practices. He is growing food for the county’s food-insecure population and is providing farm-based educational and volunteer opportunities to the community. Plus, his sweet potatoes are the most amazing sweet potatoes I’ve ever tasted!”
“The future of agriculture in Loudoun depends on the children of today becoming the farmers of tomorrow,” said Loudoun Economic Development Executive Director Buddy Rizer. “This is another opportunity for our kids to interact with our farmers and see them as the stars they are!”
Interim Agriculture Development Officer Vanessa Wagner revealed that this year’s featured farmers are:
- Bill Bundy, Red Gate Farm
- Dr. Mike Gast, Brookfield Farm
- Eric Hilgartner, The Ag District and Locksley Farmstead Cheese Co.
- Bonnie Kittrell, Double 8 Alpaca Ranch
- Sophia Maravell, Potomac Vegetable Farms
- Beth Sastre, Loudoun Cooperative Extension Office
- Erik Schlener, Root and Marrow Farm
- Mike Smith, JK Community Farm
- Donnie Ulmer, Milcreek Farm
Loudoun Economic Development partners on the trading cards with LCPS. Dr. Becky Domokos-Bays, RD, SNS, director of School Nutrition Services, said, “Local farmers bring so much value to our community. It is our pleasure to honor their work for the fourth year with the farmer trading cards. Students look forward to collecting them each year.”