For 24 years, visitors have flocked to Great Country Farms on Loudoun’s western boundary to experience farm life up close and bring some fresh produce home with them. Today, Virginia’s agricultural and tourism leaders stopped by to recognize that work.
Secretary of Agriculture Basil Gooden and Rita McClenny president and CEO of Virginia Tourism were on hand to help the Zurschmeide family officially open the farm’s fall corn maze.
This year, organizer Kate Zurschmeide got special permission to use the state’s tourist marketing motto and the challenge was designed with a “Virginia is for Lovers” theme.
“What a great destination for travelers to come and experience the great outdoors and all the activities there are for the entire family, especially for kids. This is what families are looking for,” McClenny said.
Gooden, who raises beef cattle in Buckingham County, said “agri-tainment” operations like those built by the Zurschmeide family—whose members also run a winery, brewery and wedding center on and around the homestead—are important to the commonwealth’s $91 billion farming and forestry industries.
“You can see the Blue Ridge from my farm, but it is nothing like this,” Gooden said. “What you have here is so idyllic. It’s very, very impressive. It’s what Virginia agriculture is all about.”
He said that creativity and innovation were important to the state’s economic growth.
“That work is being done by the people like the Zurschmeides here on this farm and the small farms across the commonwealth of Virginia,” Gooden said. “That’s what it is all about—to keep the innovation going and to keep the creativity going. You people really get it here in Loudoun County. You really understand what needs to be done.”
Great Country Farms is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. Addmission is $8 per child and $10 adult on weekdays and $10/12 on weekends. Learn more at greatcountryfarms.com.