Keeping farmland in the family—and keeping it from becoming a subdivision—was the original inspiration for this bucolic country store in bustling Fairfax County.
But, since he got “the bright idea at age 60 to work 100 hours a week” three years ago, Jeff Waters has become a dogged salesman for the local fare, filling wooden crates at The Market at Whitehall Farm in Clifton.
“The best thing we sell are our eggs ,” says Waters, who attributes their vibrant yolks to a diet of pasture and produce scraps. “I tell the school kids that our animals eat more vegetables than they do.”
Along with eggs, the store sells meat from heritage-breed mulefoot hogs and angus cattle, all from the 200-acre farm that’s been in the family of Nadine Vazquez, Waters’ wife, for 60 years.
Housed in a quaint rambler structure built by Waters, who’s previous career was in construction, the store is one part of a growing farm venture that includes school trips and CSA subscriptions.
Alongside produce and meat grown at the farm, the market’s shelves feature a collection of local fare hard to find in one place. Dairy products from Pennsylvania’s Trickling Springs Creamery share the refrigerated section with Phil’s Dills pickles from Westminster, Maryland. Also on the shelves: sweets from Dave’s Candy Kitchen in Fairfax, Whitleys Peanut Factory nuts and pantry staples from Manassas Olive Oil Company and McCutcheon’s canned goods.
Vazquez drives to Aldie each week to pick up pies from Little Apple Pastry Shop for the store, which regulars have come to expect.
“Our store, it looks like a small house,” says Waters. “It’s an inviting place, and customers become devoted.”
In the summer, the market is open 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Wednesday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday.