Agriculture at Home: Jefferson County Ag. Update
August 1, 2022
A Focus On Local
When shopping for food, drinks, craft beverages, and other items, how much of what you buy is local? Often, it is hard to figure out what is local and what is not. Some shops have a standard for local products, others have a radius they follow as to what they call local, others shop for the best quality at the best price. Each of these decisions reflect and respect the goals each company has. The JCDA is taking a new look at local foods, food systems, and the agriculture economy, in an effort to better understand the climate of agriculturally based businesses and other organizations within Jefferson County. However, today’s article is focusing on a deal made between a beginning farmer and an established business. Deals like these happen often, and learning more about these business decisions can help shape the agriculture economy.
Devil’s Due Distillery, located in the Burr Business Park, is a champion of buying from and supporting local businesses. Over 50% of the merchandise in the store is purchased from local artisans and cottage food vendors. When an item can’t be sourced within Jefferson County, they search within West Virginia, then into Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Virginia. However, the spirits distilled truly shine in local flare. All of the corn used is purchased locally from a farm in Shenandoah Junction. Wheat, rye, and malted barley are also purchased from farms within Jefferson County when they are available. Devil’s Due Distillery is also not afraid to try new things. With constant new arrivals and flavors, they truly highlight why craft beverage producers can be successful. In addition to fun new flavors, they also work with local farmers to diversify their offerings.
Rose Hill Farm, a new small farm is one of the organizations Devil’s Due is working with. Over the winter, they brokered a deal with the distillery to grow an heirloom variety corn. This corn will be used by the distillery in an upcoming spirit, yet to be determined. With the help of a custom farmer, Rose Hill was able to get nearly 12 acres of corn planted. They are actively monitoring growth in this field up until harvest this fall, when the grain will be sent to the distillery.
Farming is a business, and making deals like this helps us understand more about how the agricultural economy works and where money goes. Seeing how, where, and what transactions are for can also help identify needs in the community, and areas in which we can strengthen the agricultural economy. With today’s growing emphasis on local foods, the farmers market may not be the only place to sell local goods. More and more local businesses are looking to add locally produced goods to their offerings, and like Devils Due, inputs are only one part of the equation. Locally produced artisan items, like T-shirts, candles, screen printing and embroidery are also goods various businesses may be seeking.
If you have questions about ways to diversify your farm business, or need to find local farmers to work with, please don’t hesitate to reach out to the JCDA. We are here to help your business feel at home.