While local agritourism businesses are booming during the cornonavirus pandemic due to a renewed interest in people wanting to know where their food is coming from, Loudoun County winemaker Doug Fabbioli is introducing a weekly event called the “Loudoun Country Market.”
Fabbioli, who owns Fabbioli Cellars in Leesburg, said he keeps a close eye on the trends in agribusiness.
“Farm markets and CSAs are booming businesses now. We want to support that,” Fabbioli said. “The positive is we want to fill that market and need. It is interesting to see businesses popping up and online ordering and delivery among the agribusinesses.”
The challenge for the rural economy becomes “what’s next,” Fabbioli said.
Over the summer, he has been hosting pop-up farm markets at the winery. He is now aiming to make the markets a fixture at his Lucketts area property.
The Loudoun Country Market will start Sept. 10 at Fabbioli Cellars on Limestone School Road. It will feature a variety of locally made products, as well as live music and food trucks.
The idea was sparked by Fabbioli’s participation at the Loudoun Grown Expo in Purcellville this past February. He wants to give vendors — such as the ones at the expo — an opportunity to showcase their products to the public in a social setting.
He also plans to have an education element as a way to promote The New Ag School, a workforce training program he developed in 2017 for the agribusiness industry. Its purpose is to reach local high school students and teach them the basics of farming.
“Kids need it now more than ever. We want to get them out on the farm,” Fabbioli said. “It’s been encouraging to see them want to work and learn. The idea is to teach the next generation about the land and how to sustain it, steward it and make a living off of it. We are trying to teach them a little bit of everything.”
He said he has received a great response from businesses wanting to participate in the market event.
“As an industry, we are always reaching out to each other. This will give folks a chance to come out and see what we are doing with the New Ag School, as well as talk with other vendors, artisans and farm-based producers,” he said.
More information about both ventures can be found on The New Ag School’s Facebook page.