Western Loudoun County is home to 1,200 farms, and twice a year many of them like to show off by inviting visitors to stop by.
This weekend is the Loudoun Spring Farm Tour, with more than 135 participating farms and rural businesses, all growing, brewing, distilling, making and sourcing what they do in Loudoun County.
Loudoun Economic Development and Visit Loudoun are promoting a Take Loudoun Home campaign this year for the spring and fall farm tours, and a list of participating farms and rural businesses anxious for visitors this weekend are posted online.
The campaign, which allows consumers to get responsibly raised meat and freshly picked produce, is a collaborative effort between Loudoun Economic Development and Visit Loudoun to support the Loudoun Made, Loudoun Grown program.
Agritourism is big business year-round for Loudoun County.
“Agritourism is tremendous. We are one of the top destinations in the Commonwealth of Virginia, and it is a very important part of our economy,” Buddy Rizer, Loudoun Economic Development’s executive director, told WTOP.
Loudoun’s agritourism businesses hosted 1.2 million visitors last year, according to the Institute for Service Research, generating a total economic impact of $413.6 million. More than 40 percent of those people traveled from outside of the region.
Loudoun County’s many vineyards and wineries are big draws. But not the only ones.
“There are great breweries and distilleries and all kinds of farms growing fresh vegetables and organic foods,” Rizer said.
About 13 percent of Loudoun County’s farms participate in agritourism, defined as any activity carried out on a farm or ranch that lets members of the public view or enjoy rural activities. That includes everything from history and culture to harvest-your-own activities to vineyard tours and wine tastings.