Loudoun Tops Berry Producing Counties in the Commonwealth
According to a new Virginia Cooperative Extension Publication, Loudoun County has the largest number of commercial berry producers in the state.
Researchers in the Department of Agriculture and Applied Economics at Virginia Tech conducted a mail-based survey to better understand the structure and organization of berry crop production in the Commonwealth. Berry crops include strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, and some elderberries as well gooseberries. Production systems, farm characteristics, marketing strategies, producer socio-economic characteristics and educational needs of commercial berry crop operations were analyzed in the recently released “Describing Commercial Berry Crop Production and Marketing in Virginia: Results of a 2006 Survey.” This publication is available online here or at the Loudoun County Extension Office in Leesburg.
The results of the publication indicate that the typical berry crop grower in Virginia has an average of two acres in production, is more involved in organic practices, and markets directly to consumers. Berries are currently grown in 75 counties in Virginia. According to the Virginia Tech survey and the NASS 2004 Census, berry crop production is more heavily concentrated in Northern Virginia with Loudoun County accounting for the highest number of operations at more than twice as many as the next highest county, showing that the innovative and persevering spirit of the Loudoun agricultural community continues to thrive in many unconventional crops and markets.
Berries offer a high-value market option that can be produced on smaller scale farms. For more information on commercial berry production, please contact Leslie Blischak, Commercial Horticulturist for Loudoun County, at 703-737-8978 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. Melissa Piper Nelson, Agriculture Marketing Manager at the Loudoun County Department of Economic Development, can provide information on small fruit marketing. She can be reached at email@example.com or 703-777-0426.
Article taken from loudoun.gov