If the fact that owner Paige Critchley will walk from behind the register, out the door of her shop and right into the garden to pull cherry tomatoes off the vine and pile them into a pint box for a customer won’t get you to drive to Waterford, then the promise of watching Critchley’s goats jumping on a trampoline probably will.
Critchley’s shop, Paige’s Pit Stop, started as a roadside stand and was so successful Critchley built a proper year-round building last year to sell the wares from her garden, plus fruits from neighboring orchards and cuts of beef, lamb and pork from nearby farms.
Her house is 75 feet away from the shop—the two goats and their trampoline are on view from Charles Town Pike—and earlier this summer, a nursery of 49 chicks lived in a pen on her front stoop. “They’ll be in the freezer in three months,” says Critchley, a woman whose life experiences prove she doesn’t need to expel more than a few sparse words. She’s an auto mechanic, worked on drag racing pit crews stateside in Australia and ran side-by-side businesses, an adult novelty shop and a gun store, in West Virginia.
Realizing her lineage—she’s at least a third-generation farmer with roots in England and Tennessee—she now focuses on chicks (she slaughters and butchers on-site, and will have turkeys later this year), egg-laying hens and beets, radishes, greens, squashes, peppers, okra and over 300 tomato plants on her 5 acres.
Partnering with Frederick, Maryland-based McCutcheon’s for a private-label line, there are shelves full of jams, preserves and pickled produce. She’s developing her own spicy barbecue sauce recipe to debut next year. There are a few other provisions, like bread baked by neighbor Inga Woods’ TaluMeansFarm and gluten-free brownies from Leesburg’s Breaking Grains.
Critchley mostly works alone, starting the day at 6 a.m. to feed the animals and ending the day at 10 p.m. locking them in. Luckily, she can basically sleepwalk to her bed. // 39810 Charles Town Pike, Waterford
Golden Rod Zucchini
The ubiquitous summer squash feels shiny and new in this brilliant shade of orange.
Raw Wildflower Honey
From local beekeeper Matt Gaillardetz, the honey changes color throughout the year depending on the bees’ floral diet. Paige Critchley keeps a personal bottle behind the register for sneaking in spoonfuls throughout the day. ($12)
This larger peach breed is particularly sweet and juicy, says Critchley. ($3/pound)
Strawberry Jalapeno BBQ Sauce
“Sweet like a strawberry, with a hint of jalapeno,” is how Critchley describes McCutcheon’s sauce, which she uses on chicken and baked potatoes. ($6)