Harvest season lasts all year long at Endless Summer Harvest in Purcellville, Virginia. Thanks to a sophisticated hydroponic system, the 12,000-square-foot farm produces lettuce, herbs, and other greens equivalent to 12 acres of typical production.
“That is the future of farming,” says Mary Ellen Taylor, the farm’s proprietress. “You have that right here in our community. More farms will need to be able to harness whatever the environment is giving us in the future to continue to have food.”
On the #LoudounPossible Pod, Taylor explained how Endless Summer Harvest is able to skip the supply chain and bring fresh greens directly to Loudoun County residents and families.
Eight thousand plants are ready for market each week and as they’re rotated out, Endless Summer Harvest farmers germinate another crop of 8,000 seeds. The controlled agricultural environments are state-of-the-art greenhouses that ensure the plants receive exactly the right amounts of water and light.
The farm is celebrating its 20th anniversary, making Endless Summer Harvest the longest continually-operating hydroponics farm in the state of Virginia.
But Taylor won’t rest on her laurels. She resolved to cultivate her connections with local shoppers this year by focusing on the farm’s social media presence, an extension of its customer relations.
“Customer service is critically important to us in ensuring that when you purchase something from us, it is to your satisfaction,” Taylor says definitively.
The strategy enabled Endless Summer Harvest to quickly pivot from upscale restaurants to selling directly to local households.
“We’re finding that our lettuce, our salads, the greens and the herbs that we’re growing here, are becoming ever more valuable to people,” Taylor observed. “We’re just churning it out over here.”
Endless Summer Harvest continues to innovate its business model by opening up for online orders through the Loudoun Made, Loudoun Grown Marketplace in May. The Marketplace is a virtual farmers market that offers shoppers the choice of delivery or pickup from Loudoun County farmers, artisans, brewers, and more.
As part of the Take Loudoun Home campaign, the Marketplace aims to streamline the logistics between consumers and local businesses. Take Loudoun Home also maintains interactive maps of Farms & Rural Businesses and Restaurants, Retail, & Services to find local vendors in your neighborhood.
“We have had to reinvent ourselves and it’s working!” Taylor exclaims. “Because of that, I believe that maybe a silver lining has come through this disaster: that we will have a surge of local customers. And maybe this whole farm stand is just a great business opportunity that I was missing.”