The Piedmont Virginian attended the Twilight Tour at Wheatland Vegetable Farms yesterday evening, sponsored by the Loudoun Valley’s Office of Rural Economic Development. A follow-up to the Forum for Rural Innovation, the tour provided insights into Wheatland’s innovative farming solutions, specifically farm labor. Chip and Susan Planck, full-time farmers since 1973, are passionate about environmentally-friendly production of quality vegetables and small fruit, and it shows. Their bountiful harvest, for sale at the Arlington Farmer’s Market, is delicious. We tasted lots of varieties of tomatoes at the dinner, along with superb local foods from Fields of Athenry (divine lasagna and to-die-for sauce), ciabatta bread from Leesburg’s South Street Under, salad from Endless Summer Harvest, and apple cobbler from Vintage 50 in Leesburg.
The Plancks continue to be leaders in their field, passionate about sustainable rural development. Their latest initiative: building a small hamlet of energy-efficient houses at the edge of their property, surrounded by common open space that’s under conservation easement. Currently, they also lease land to young farmers, like Lisa and Ali Moussalli who cultivate Eight Acres Farm.