Over 170 Years Farming
Transitions in Mountain View farming since 1848
Mountain View Farm sits in "Between the Hills" of northern Virginia's Loudoun County and is a for-profit component of the non-profit Blue Ridge Center for Environmental Stewardship. Bordered by the Potomac River to the north, Between the Hills is aptly named for its location between the Blue Ridge Mountains to the west and Short Hill Mountain to the east.
In 2021, Jim became the most recent addition to the Mountain View Farm, originally established at its current site by the Mahlon Demory family in 1848.
From Ohio, Jim has always enjoyed the outdoors, as well as learning and creating new things. Before moving to Virginia, Jim was a Marine Corps officer with tours in Iraq and then civilian time in Afghanistan and Australia. When not farming, he enjoys running the trails and exploring remote areas of the 900-acre preserve.
Jim settled into Mountain View with the help of Attila and Shawna, the previous farmers at Mountain View. He also continues to work with the Arcadia Center for Sustainable Food and Agriculture, specifically its Veteran Farmer Program, as well as other farms in the area.
ABOUT MOUNTAIN VIEW FARM
Farming Between the Hills has included local homesteading, wheat production, dairy farming, and specialty markets over time.
The first European claim was made by Thomas Fairfax shortly after 1661 and established a manorial lease system. Most early migrants nonetheless wanted to own land, and bypassed the manors for locations farther west. Settlement was delayed and, when it came, it assumed a different pattern from the English tobacco plantations to the east.
In 1800, Quaker and German tenants living in interdependent wheat-growing homesteads known as "open country neighborhoods" began purchasing Fairfax parcels. An important Mountain View figure, one John Demory (quite probably an early rebel and squatter on a Fairfax manor) is first recorded hiring a wagon to Loudoun militia during the Revolutionary War. Later, John secured land title and his grandson, Mahlon, built the Mountain View farmhouse in 1848.
In the post-Civil War decades, demand shifted to dairy and the neighborhoods were abandoned to the forest as property, including Mountain View, consolidated into dairy operations. Many of these homesteads still stand on the property. Over the past 50-years, western states' dairy made Loudoun's industry unsustainable and Mountain View seemed destined for subdivision as urban wealth sought country retreats.
Remarkably, in the 1990s, the Robert and Dee Leggett Foundation purchased 900-acres Between the Hills, to include Mountain View Farm, for the purpose of creating the Blue Ridge Center for Environmental Stewardship. In the early 2000s, the Loudoun Valley Historical Archaeology and Ecology Project completed a research study. These events indicate the contemporary transition of Mountain View Farm into a mixed-enterprise family farm that is, perhaps, characteristic of some of the earliest farming settlements in Between the Hills.
It's Thyme to Turnip the Beet
From 2006 through early 2021, Attila and Shawna were the resident Mountain View farmers and the wonderful "face of the Blue Ridge Center" to all sorts of visitors.
Along with their children Ruby and Emmett, in 2021 they departed on an awesome adventure to tour the United States and dig into some of those lesser known locales.
While running Mountain View Farm, they emphasized soil fertility, all types of animal management, and hosted farm-related workshops. Their sales mostly focused on certified-organic produce market sales in Washington, D.C. In addition, they found time to imbue Jim with valuable farm knowledge and made introductions to an exciting network of local Loudoun County farmers.