The program is a collaboration between the Loudoun County Department of Economic Development and Loudoun County public schools’ nutrition services department. It also coincides with the U.S. Department of Agriculture-funded Farm-to-School program, which promotes partnerships with farmers to increase locally grown food on school menus.
“In the county we live in, about half is densely populated and the other half is rural. These cards help reinforce that we do have farms and that people can get quality farm products close to home,” said Spring House Farm owner, Andrew Crush, who is one of 12 farmers featured on the cards.
Crush’s card depicts him leaning on a fence in front of a farm truck and lists the farm name, his name and his nickname, “Boss Hog.” On the back are facts about his farm such as what he produces: pork, grass-fed beef, eggs, rabbits, goats and honey. It also lists what’s special about his farm: “Our pork has been ranked one of the most flavorful meats in the country!”
Molly Kroiz, co-owner of George’s Mill Farm Artisan Cheese, is featured on a card with her daughter, Mabel, who was 6 months old at the time, strapped on her back. Kroiz’s card says she has been farming for four years, and what makes the farm special is that they make all the cheeses by hand using milk supplied by their own goats.
Kroiz started making cheese as a hobby after finding a recipe for homemade mozzarella in Barbara Kingsolver’s book, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life. “Then I just got hooked,” Kroiz said.
Crush and Kroiz, who are both Loudoun County Farm Bureau members, were asked to visit a local elementary school and autograph the cards for the students. “Hopefully they went home and talked to mom and dad about it,” Crush said.
The trading cards “not only help personalize our local farmers, but they do it in a fun way to help students learn about farming,” said Loudoun County Economic Development Director Buddy Rizer. “Maybe for the first time.”
The 72,000 farmer cards feature a variety of local farmers including livestock producers like Crush; cheesemaker Kroiz; produce growers; a cut flower farmer; a honey producer; and a pick-your-own strawberry farm. “The cards feature just a sampling of Loudoun’s hard-working, creative and thoughtful agricultural business leaders,” Rizer said.