CHARLES TOWN – Visitors who turn out Saturday for the annual Jefferson County Farm Day will come away with a first-hand look at area farms that are home to raspberry plants, top-flight race horses, lemon, apple and Christmas trees, and other vital contributions to the local economy.
Anyone can take part in the day-long, self-guided tour. In its 11th year, the free event happens from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. For the first time, Farm Day will include the newly revamped and expanded Charles Town Farmers Market that’s set up on the 100 block of Samuel Street downtown.
There, visitors will have the chance to connect with a number of local farms, including both new and long-established farms, from Tudor Hall Farm, Shepherd’s Whey Creamery, Wysong Farm, Rainbow Hill Farm and others.
The market stop also will allow visitors to learn more about
Mountain Momma Pies, Good Stuff Breads & Sweets, Sister Sue’s and other small businesses that create desserts, jams and other products using locally grown ingredients. Live music and a variety of special events also are scheduled at the market, which will offer extended hours on Saturday.
Other stops on Saturday’s tour:
• Bloomery Plantation Distillery. Linda Losey and Tom Keifer fell in love with the after-dinner drink, limoncello, during a trip to Italy and then perfected production of hand-crafted fruit cordials on a 12-acre site near the Shenandoah.
There’s a tasting room in the couple’s restored 1840s log cabin, which also is home to an entertainment area.
Visitors will get to see Bloomery’s lemon trees growing in a greenhouse as well as their raspberries ripening on hillside plots. From 4 to 8 p.m., anyone can stop by Bloomery’s tasting room for samples and live music.
Getting there: From the intersection of W.Va. 9 East and U.S. 340, travel 1.9 miles on Charles Town Road (Old State Route 9), a quarter-mile mile past Cattail Run Road to 16357 Charles Town Road.
For details: Call 304-725-3036 or visit www.Bestlimoncello.com.
• Ridgefield Farm and Orchard. Over the last decade, Alan Gibson and Scott Beard have created a family agri-tainment center on 33 acres outside of Harpers Ferry. Through the year, Ridgefield offers a flower cutting garden, pick-your-own apples and Christmas trees, a corn maze, a pumpkin patch and more.
The couple invites anyone interested to bring a lunch and picnic on the grounds Saturday. The picnic area includes a train and pirate ship, perfect for young visitors who love to climb.
Getting there: From U.S. 340, take W.Va. 230/Shepherdstown Pike toward Shepherdstown. At stop sign, bear right to stay on W.Va. 230/Shepherdstown Pike and travel another 3.7 miles. Turn right onto Kidwiler Road and drive a quarter-mile to the farm at 414 Kidwiler Road, Harpers Ferry.
For details: Call 304-876-3647 or visit www.RidgefieldFarm.com.
•Coleswood Farm. Horse lovers can see thoroughbred mares and foals in the Ranson farm established in 1983. Jeff Runco, who co-owns the farm with his wife Susan, is the six-time Trainer of the Year at Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races. Two winners of the West Virginia Breeders Classic have trained at Coleswood.
Visitors can check out the farm’s “Equi-Gym,” where horses training for Charles Town and other East Coast tracks get daily workouts.
Getting there: From W.Va. 9 just west of Charles Town, take the Currie Road Exit into Ranson. Turn left onto North Mildred Street and travel 1.4 miles onto Old Leetown Pike. Go another 1.2 miles to the farm entrance on the left. Coleswood is at 3330 Old Leetown Pike, before the entrance to the Jefferson County Fairgrounds.
For details: Farm Day doesn’t provide contact information for Coleswood; questions should be directed to the Jefferson County Extension Service (304-728-7413, Ext. 4 or Jane.Tabb@mail.wvu.edu).
Saturday’s tour comes thanks to a collaboration of the Jefferson County Farm Bureau, the Potomac Headwaters Resource Conservation and Development Council, the Jefferson County Development Office and the West Virginia University Extension Service.
For more details on the tour, contact Jefferson County Extension Service program assistant Jane Tabb (304-728-7413, Ext. 4 or Jane.Tabb@mail.wvu.edu) or visit www.jefferson.ext.wvu.edu.
The county boasts more than 300 farms that produce specialty products as well the traditional fruits, vegetables, dairy, chickens, beef and the like.
Want to go?
What: Jefferson County Farm Day
Where: Self-guided tour with four stops in Charles Town, Harpers Ferry and Ranson. For directions, download the comprehensive brochure at www.Jefferson.ext.wvu.edu.
When: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday
How much: Free
To know more: Call Jefferson County Extension Service at 304-728-7413, Ext. 4 or email Jane.Tabb@mail.wvu.edu.