Loudoun Economic Development proudly presents the 29th annual Spring Farm Tour, a hybrid event featuring nearly 30 farms, representing a cross-section of Loudoun’s diverse rural industries.
Starting the week of May 10, the department will feature different participating farms on its Loudoun Farms website and social media channels, leading up to the in-person component on the weekend of May 15-16.
Not all farms listed on the website have an in-person component. If open hours are not listed, please contact farmers before visiting. Learn more at LoudounFarms.org/FarmTour.
This hybrid format follows a year in which both the Loudoun Spring and Fall Farm Tours were conducted virtually to comply with COVID-19 protocols. The retention of virtual promotion and return to in-person visits is a blueprint for success moving forward.
“Loudoun’s Spring Farm Tour has always been a celebration of the county’s agricultural tradition by introducing people to its leaders and giving them a glimpse into its bright future. During the COVID-19 outbreak, the virtual farm tour gave access to consumers, not just here in Loudoun, but around the world. We saw thousands of website visitors from dozens of counties, all learning about Loudoun’s innovative farmers,” Loudoun Economic Development Executive Director Buddy Rizer explained. “Spring is a time of new beginnings, and we’re thrilled to reintroduce the in-person aspect of the tour. Please join us in the way that works best for you, and help continue the #LoudounPossible economic revival.”
Most tour participant farms are also part of the Loudoun Made Loudoun Grown Marketplace, an e-commerce platform launched during the pandemic to help connect consumers with products sourced directly from local farms. Loudoun Economic Development encourages all Loudoun farms to participate by covering the monthly enrollment fees, offering no-cost marketing support, and ensuring that 100% of all sales go directly to the farmers.
A wide range of products can be found on the marketplace, including:
- Produce and flowers grown seasonally in Loudoun fields, greenhouses and hydropic systems;
- Responsibly-raised chicken, pork, beef, turkey, and lamb;
- Farm-sourced wine, craft beverages and tea;
- Fresh-cut flowers and CBD products;
- Eggs, dairy, fiber, desserts, gifts and more.
“The COVID-19 pandemic really underscored the importance of local supply chains and the ability to know where dinner was grown. There are parts of the country and world that saw food shortages due to trade disruption, but that doesn’t happen in communities with marketplaces, farmers markets, farm stands and farm-to-table opportunities,” Loudoun Business Development Officer for Agricultural and Business Services John Magistro said. “There’s a strong relationship between Loudoun and its farms, with residents and visitors buying local, farms donating excess food to local food pantries, and several of our farmers markets accepting SNAP benefits.
“As we strive for equitable economic recovery, we talk about things like putting food on the table. In this region, we love to see Loudoun-grown food on the table, and that starts with the Spring Farm Tour.”
According to the most recent Ag Census from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Loudoun is home to more than 1,200 commercial farms, with many thousands of businesses operating on those properties. Loudoun’s renowned wine, equine and wedding industries are the backbone of a robust tourism industry that was worth nearly $2 billion in annual economic activity, pre-pandemic. Loudoun is also a leader in beer and hops production, llamas and alpacas, honeybees and honey production.
Loudoun’s farms are also representative of Loudoun’s diversity, with more women-, Latino-, Hispanic- and Asian-owned farms than anywhere else in Virginia. Loudoun also leads the Commonwealth in farms owned by military veterans.
To participate in this year’s hybrid farm tour, please visit LoudounFarms.org/FarmTour.