This feature on Farmers Stacey and Casey is part of Loudoun Economic Development’s award-winning Farmer Trading Card series, spotlighting farmers as heroes to our community. For more information on the Farmer Trading Card 2023 starting lineup, please visit Loudoun Farms.
Loudoun Farmers Stacey Carlberg and Casey Gustowarow do everything together. They met while working together at The Farm at Sunnyside in 2009, when both were just starting their careers in agriculture.
A shared vision for what farming can (and should) be led to connection, friendship, marriage and a shared farming career, which now happens on their own property at Fireside Farm near Purcellville.
Using hoop houses that shelter the plants from the cold, Farmers Stacey and Casey extend their growing season through even the coldest weeks of the winter in Loudoun County. Throughout the year, they grow 40 to 50 different types of vegetables, including chard, kale, bok choy, lettuce, radishes, turnips and cucumbers.
But their work doesn’t end at the point of harvest.
“I love to cook, and I get to use all those delicious vegetables and share recipes with our customers,” Farmer Casey said. “I love to make Mexican food and make some delicious tacos with corn and tomatoes and hot peppers like jalapenos. I also like to make delicious Thai stir fries, with local things like lemongrass and ginger and eggplant.”
If you like farm to table, you’ll love their spin on it: harvest to hearth! Once the agricultural work is done for the day, Farmer Casey puts his culinary talents to good use in their mobile pizzeria.
“One of my favorite things to make is pizza, and we sell our pizzas to our customers,” he explained. “We use wheat that we grew on the farm to make the dough. We use vegetables like tomatoes and peppers to make the sauce. Then we top the pizzas with our vegetables and local cheese and meat from other farms in the area.”
Beyond the food their produce becomes, the paid have a passion for nurturing the environment. This has been a lifelong pursuit for Farmer Stacey in particular.
“When I was a kid in school, I cared about the environment and did things like recycling, saving electricity and picking up litter,” she said. “When I started working on a farm, I realized that this was a job I could do, AND help take care of the environment every day.
“We do that on our farm by taking care of the soil, taking care of the land we use, and taking care of our plants.”
Those plants, in turn, will take care of you and your family.
Instead of pesticides and herbicides, they rely on pest-resistant varietals. Instead of fertilizer, they use locally made compost and compost. Whenever they can, they collaborate with and support other local farmers.
“We are in a suburban neighborhood bordering five other farms,” Farmer Stacey said. “We grow in the community and share food with neighboring land stewards. We can work together to preserve land and opportunity for future generations of farmers.”
If you’d like to meet and support Farmers Stacey and Casey, please buy their produce or prepared food at any of their local farmers markets and restaurants.
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