In an email going out this week to Mount Vernon Farm’s many direct-buying customers, owner Cliff Miller is announcing that the farm’s operations and marketing will soon be taken over by Mike and Molly Peterson.
“On or about Oct. 1, Mike and Molly Peterson will begin a new LLC, Heritage Hollow Farms, and they will essentially continue producing the same strong products on the same farms in the same manner as we have, and also gain the creativity and energy that comes with working for themselves,” says Miller’s email. “In doing so, they will take over the growing and marketing of products produced on Mount Vernon Farm.”
Mike and Molly Peterson are well known in the county. Molly is a gifted photographer, capturing the beauty of Rappahannock, while Mike has been the capable manager of Mount Vernon’s animals and retail operations for the last four years. Many of you have appreciated the quality of his work when you buy your beef, lamb, pork and eggs from Mount Vernon’s farm store. Or if you were really lucky, your car has been stopped briefly by deputies while you get to see the ease with which Mike quietly moves the cattle and sheep across U.S. 211 to get to the new grass that awaits them on the other side.
Mike joined the farm as an intern out of the culinary arts. Cliff soon recognized his inquisitiveness, work ethic and ability to communicate with customers and animals alike. Mike quickly became the manager of Mount Vernon Grassfed and has been instrumental in its steady growth, taking more responsibility each year until it was clear he was ready to branch out on his own.
For years now, Cliff Miller says he’s been looking for a young farm family with a holistic approach to the management of the soils, water and animals to manage their own operation on his farm, much as Rachel Bynum and Eric Plaksin at Waterpenny Farm do so well just across the highway.
“My and my family’s main goal is to continue to own this land we have for 186 years and to build its health each and every year,” Miller wrote to his customers. “The best way to do that is to practice strong conservation practices and rotate animals naturally through our grassland. In Mike we have found a young farmer who has a strong respect for animals and nature. Molly and he will certainly continue to improve the quality of the meat they grow and sell.
So the plan is for Mike and Molly to seamlessly move the farming and marketing operations of Mount Vernon Grassfed to their new LLC, and build on the strong sales to the Northern Virginia and D.C. markets, as well as other successful ones in Virginia.
Locally, where there is already a strong loyal base, they hope to open a new farm store by late October at the Sperryville Schoolhouse, in the smaller building that already houses Coterie. They will be in the bottom section, the former home of Rae’s Place. There are three rooms there: One for Molly’s bustling and successful photography studio, one for a large walk-in freezer and the other naturally for the retail outlet to be manned by Molly’s delightful mom Suzee, who’s moving here from Wisconsin and is a successful veteran of retail operations.
Molly says their vision is to enjoin similar businesses to showcase their meats and produce there as well. Molly and Mike are all about community and sharing success and new ventures. We look forward to patronizing their new venture and wish them the best of luck.