Local Spotlight – Allder School Berries

From the desk of: Amanda

For my next installment of my Local Spotlight series, I’ve got an utterly fascinating gentleman, Warren Howell. Warren is the owner of Allder School Berry Farm in Purcellville. I had an absolute blast chatting with him. He has so many interesting stories, I have a feeling he could fill book after book with them.

leesburg, roasted peppers, allder school,

Warren has been farming for a very long time. It was a little over 40 years ago that he started his first farm. He used to work as a freelance translator for the World Bank, which left him able to set his own schedule. Warren did all of his farming during the morning and early afternoon, leaving the hotter parts of the day to his translations.

As the years went on, things shifted slightly, and he spent the better part of his time doing something I didn’t even really know existed. Keeping with his love of farming, Warren opened Four Season Farm Services. This was a custom farming business that enabled people to keep their property zoned for agriculture without having to actually do the farming themselves.

Warren has also served with the Agriculture department of the EOC of Loudoun County, but in 2009 he went into “full” retirement. I have to put quotes around “full”, because even though he has left behind the traditional workforce, Warren is anything but retired. He spends his days tending to his glorious berry farm, and working on expanding his crops.

blackberries, local, virginia

It has actually been very difficult for me to grab photos of the berries that Warren grows, since he has such a huge fanbase, he’s typically sold out very early in the Market. Blackberries, blueberries, red raspberries and strawberries are among his most popular items, but last weekend, he started something new, that I suspect as soon as word gets around, will really take off…. roasting peppers.

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Sean and I had the privilege of taking photos of some of the very first peppers to be roasted right at the Farmer’s Market. I sampled one this past Wednesday, and lemme tell ya … they’re AWESOME.

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I definitely suggest stopping by Warren’s booth the next time you head to the Leesburg Farmer’s Market. Not only does he carry a superior product, but you’ll end up with a new friend, as well.

 Ways to keep up with Warren:
Wednesdays – Leesburg Farmer’s Market, from 2:30-6:30 (he is also the Market Manager)
Saturdays – Leesburg Farmer’s Market, from 8am-Noon.
Facebook, Email or Phone (540.338.6412)

Stay tuned for more post about some of the other great vendor’s I’ve met. And remember … SPP is very proud to offer a 10% discount on any of our services to those who support any of the Loudoun Farmer’s Markets.

Want to get to know us a little better?  Facebookers can find us here, Tweeters can find us here, or if you’re a pinner, our boards are here. If you’re looking for more of ME, don’t be shy. you can find me on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest. I can’t wait to connect with you!

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Local Spotlight – Don’s Dahlias

From the desk of: Amanda

My next featured vendor is one I’ve had the pleasure of doing business with for several months now. I also work for a local florist, and Don Dramstad, of Don’s Dahlias, Etc is one of our specialty suppliers.

Before I moved out to VA, I’d been following Don on Instagram, and was completely enthralled with his dahlias. Yeahh .. the photos don’t do them one bit of justice. They are more than just a flower, they’re an experience all unto themselves. Every week, when Don brings in our buckets of blooms, we all gather around and marvel at the brilliant colors, different shapes and sizes, and how incredibly perfect they are. Aug 16 Market-15

When Don made his delivery a few days ago, I spent some time chatting with him about his business. Just like everyone else involved with the Farmer’s Market, he has come a long way. He started growing dahlias 22 years ago, and only had four different varieties. The next year, he moved up to twelve. He gradually increased the size of his Purcellville farm, not only in number of dahlia varieties, but he’s also branched out into other flower types, as well. In recent years, he added hydrangeas, peonies, and what’s called a rose lily (or double lily) to his lineup. The rose lilies are absolutely incredible.Aug 16 Market-17They have the same fragrance and coloring of a standard stargazer lily, but far more petals, giving it an utterly unique look. But, back to the flagship flower. Today, Don and his wife have 525 different varieties of dahlias growing on their land, he has recently been bestowed with an incredible honor. He is flying out to Tacoma, WA next week, to be inaugurated as the President of American Dahlia Society. I always joked that he was a local celebrity, since everyone knows of Don’s Dahlias, and I think it’s really cool that he’s garnering nationwide recognition now, too.

 

His flowers are sought after by florists from New York to North Carolina for wedding work. His flower have even decorated the White House! This is one of the most popular wedding varieties he carries, and it’s one of my personal favorites:

All about Dahlias here!

A post shared by Don's Dahlias, Etc. (@donsdahliasetc) on

 

With all of these honors, and a booming business, I asked Don what his favorite part it all is. His face lit up as he answered, “The flowers”. Good answer, Don. They’re my favorite, too.Aug 16 Market-20You can find Don and his wife every Saturday at the Leesburg Farmer’s Market, but you’d better get there early. He’s been known to sell out in as little as two hours!!

Other ways to keep up with Don: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and His website

Stay tuned for more post about some of the other great vendor’s I’ve met. And remember … SPP is very proud to offer a 10% discount on any of our services to those who support any of the Loudoun Farmer’s Markets.

 

 

Want to get to know us a little    better?  Facebookers can find us here, Tweeters can find us here, or if you’re a pinner, our boards are here. If you’re looking for more of ME, don’t be shy. you can find me on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest. I can’t wait to meet you!

Local Spotlight – Noshy

From the desk of: Amanda

Continuing on my quest to introduce to you some of the awesome vendors of the Leesburg Farmer’s Market, next up, I’d like you to meet Julie from Noshy.

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Like Alicia, who I wrote about in my previous post, Julie is just getting going with her business. She proudly informed me that she is now in week 16 of Noshy. And considering that when I went to take photos of her booth last week, she was completely SOLD OUT, I’d say she’s off to a rocking start!

She makes cookies. And who doesn’t like cookies?

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Noshy got its start when Julie left her previous career in search of something new and different. She spent some time in what she called her “pre-retirement” before her friends and family encouraged her to start making money doing what she loved the most … baking.

Aug 20 Market-9Her amazing Gingerbread Butterscotch cookie is the one that started it all (and currently MY personal fave, you can read my review of it on our Facebook page) when her fiancé insisted that she could make a killing selling them. It’s currently her best seller, though several of her other flavors are developing quite a following. There is a gentleman who makes a point to visit her every Wednesday evening for a couple bags of her Salted Chocolate Peanut Butter cookies. I’ve had them, and I definitely can’t blame him. They ARE pretty awesome!

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One of the reasons Julie loves Noshy so much is because she likes knowing where her ingredients come from. She keeps it all local buy visiting various farmer’s markets in the area to pick up her supplies for the week. But her favorite part is seeing her customer’s reaction to her cookies. The look that comes across their face as they take their first bite is something she relishes.

Aug 20 Market-12Want to check out these amazing cookies for yourself? Here’s where you can find Julie:

Wednesdays, from 2:30-6:30 – Leesburg Farmer’s Market

The second half of the week, they’re at the East Meets West Yoga Studio

OR, you can order them online (an AWESOME thing for all of our out of area readers) here.

Other ways to connect with Julie: Get Noshy Facebook, TwitterInstagram

Stay tuned for more post about some of the other great vendor’s I’ve met. And remember … SPP is very proud to offer a 10% discount on any of our services to those who support any of the Loudoun Farmer’s Markets.

Want to get to know us a little better?  Facebookers can find us here, Tweeters can find us here, or if you’re a pinner, our boards are here. If you’re looking for more of ME, don’t be shy. you can find me on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest. I can’t wait to connect with you!

Local Spotlight: Leesburg Farmer’s Market

From the desk of: Amanda

Leesburg, farmer's market

It’s National Farmer’s Market week, so I thought I give a quick shout out to our local Farmer’s Market. Here at SPP, we have always been huge supporters of small businesses. Whenever possible, we try to shop local for several reasons. One, perhaps the most important, is that we know these people are going to turn around and do the same, and it keeps our local economy strong. Other reasons include the fact that we are directly supporting someone’s livelihood (and not some big-box store’s bottom line), knowing the origin of the food, and the fresh factor. Another big one … it’s FUN.

Leesburg, Farmer's MarketHow many of you dread the grocery store? Yeah, that’s what I thought. Most of us do. We hate the crowds, the lines, not being able to find what we need … it’s usually an experience I put off as long as humanly possible. But at the Farmer’s Market, everything is so much different. Yeah, there are crowds, but they don’t feel as oppressive. Everyone is smiling and genuinely happy to be there, vendors included.

There are a ton of options for Farmer’s Markets here in Loudoun County. Check out their website to see the closest market to you. I had the pleasure of experiencing Leesburg’s Wednesday Farmer’s Market this week. If you’ve never been, I highly recommend you make the trip. It’s smaller than the Saturday Market, but that is by no means a bad thing. Less crowds mean the vendors have more time to chat with you, and it’s fun to get to know the people you’re buying from.

Leesburg, farmer's market, plants

There were cookie samples that were to die for, gorgeous plants (including hanging rosemary that I juuuust might nab for myself next time I’m there, nothing quite like the aroma of fresh herbs growing on your porch!), fresh breads, syrups, jars of salsa, and of course… the fresh fruits and veggies that farmer’s markets are known for. The scent of fresh fruit was utterly intoxicating. It’s currently peach season (one of my favorites!), and there were barrels upon barrels of them, adding up to a nearly overwhelming aroma. It was amazing.

Leesburg, Farmer's market, fruit, peaches, apples

Some of the amazing peaches (and apples) from Beechwood Orchards!

I plan on heading back to the Market on Saturday to pick up a few things. Supporting the members of our community while scoring myself some tasty treats? Sign me up! I hope to see you out there, too!

farmer's market, leesburg

Are you interested in earning a little something back for yourself, as you shop at a Loudoun Farmer’s Market? Sean and I are offering 10% off any of our services to show you how awesome we think supporting the farmer’s market is. All you have to do is show us a receipt from any vendor who takes part in any of the Loudoun markets, and the reward is all yours. Easy, right?

Amanda’s note: I had so much fun at the Market last night, that I’ve decided to expand on this blog post, and create a series of posts that will highlight the vendors who take part in the Leesburg Farmer’s Market. Sign up to receive our blog updates, so that you don’t miss any of these amazing local companies.

Want to get to know us a little better?  Facebookers can find us here, Tweeters can find us here, or if you’re a pinner, our boards are here. If you’re looking for more of ME, don’t be shy. you can find me on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest. I can’t wait to connect with you!