About two years ago, the husband-and-wife team of Stacey Carlberg and Casey Gustowarow returned to Loudoun to reconnect with the farming community and open their dream business – Fireside Farm.
They rented field space at farms located along John Wolford Road in Purcellville and then began to figure out how to best market and sell their crops.
As fans of Wheatland Spring Farm + Brewery — an estate brewery that makes the majority of their beer with grains they regeneratively grow next to the brewhouse — they approached the owners, John and Bonnie Branding, about starting a weekly farmers market with a goal of hosting a group of hyper-local vendors.
As the two families talked, the Brandings agreed that they had been looking to start a farmers market since before the brewery opened and thought it would be a wonderful addition to the area, launching the market in 2021. It is held on Saturdays from April to October from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
“We wanted to have something that is family-friendly and relaxed, so people can hang out at the brewery afterwards. We wanted to carefully curate the vendors and have a small group of local farmers and makers who are the best at what they do,” Bonnie Branding said.
“In a way, the farmers market is a reflection of our approach at Wheatland Spring,” John Branding added. “It’s focused on connecting local land and people through the finest products farmers and makers are able to offer. They fit well together.”
Trent and Cielo Ashman own Hill Top Farm in Hillsboro and are vendors at the market this year. They farm pasture-raised, grass-fed and grain-finished beef and have a partnership with Wheatland Spring Brewery so that all of the spent brewers’ grain is sent to their farm and is fed to their animals.
“In fact, all of our grain comes from Loudoun,” Trent Ashman said.
In addition to beef, they sell pork and cured salami for charcuteries and specialized sausages.
The Ashmans started the farm in 2020 because of an interest in food security and wanting to know where their food is coming from start to finish.
“This is a labor of love to do things this way but that’s how we want to do it,” Ashman said.
Another vendor, Meadow Bread, is owned by Maeve and John Derry who work at Moutoux Farm across the road from Wheatland Spring. They discovered their love of baking bread using locally sourced ingredients about two years ago.
“The ingredients are stone milled, hand mixed and wood fired,” Maeve Derry said. “This market is the only place we sell the bread which is made fresh every Saturday morning.”
Their priority is to bake with a diversity of grains and to represent the grains that are grown in this region, she said, such as “Field bread” – a whole wheat sourdough bread which is made with black and yellow beans, buckwheat, sorghum, millet, rice and mustard seeds.
“It’s a celebration of everything from this region,” she said.
Other vendors at the market include Far Bungalow Flower Farm in Lucketts, Maple and Rye Bakery based in Frederick, Maryland, Crosswind Collective’s Dapple Farm from Lovettsville who sells fresh duck, chicken, goose and quail eggs, and the well-known Georges Mill Farm based in Lovettsville, owned by Sam and Molly Kroiz, which sells a variety of goat cheese, soap, caramel and gelato.
Molly Kroiz helps organize the weekly market and says Wheatland Spring is the perfect place to fit their goals of hosting a curated market with the “best of all that western Loudoun has to offer.”
“There are so many wonderful things that are grown and made here, it’s been really nice,” she said.
“It feels really nice to be part of a small community of vendors that live so close by and it is a great selection of products. Everyone is great at what they do,” Stacy Carlberg of Fireside Farm added.
Carlberg says business is going well at Fireside Farm and they have expanded to sell homemade pizza at Wheatland Spring on the second Friday of the month using their homegrown products.
“We don’t feel like you should have to drive to eastern Loudoun or other suburbs to go to a farmers market when the farmers are out here,” she said. “We also want to be a local resource for the farmers so they can sell near their farms.”
Wheatland Spring Farm and Brewery is located at 38506 John Wolford Road in Waterford. For more information, visit wheatlandspring.com.
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