Civil War? Farmer Fights Town’s Takeover

Stepen Mackey of Notaviva Vineyards, left, interviews Sam Brown of Crooked Run Orchard.

Stepen Mackey of Notaviva Vineyards, left, interviews Sam Brown of Crooked Run Orchard.

A gem of green space like Crooked Run Orchard should be cherished and protected by its local elected officials, but unless more citizens and business owners of Purcellville, VA rally to Sam and Uta Brown’s cause, they are fighting an uphill battle against powerful forces that desire their land for development. It is my hope that citizens of both parties can come together to help Sam and Uta Brown of Crooked Run Orchard in Purcellville whose land and business are under attack by town officials who seem hell bent on destroying the twenty five year old orchard on historic farmland. For the left, this is an issue of environmental impact and access to green spaces.  For the right, this is an issue of personal property and business owners rights against entrenched government power. For the Browns, it is simply a matter of survival.

Endagered apples at Crooked Run.

Many mature apple trees will be lost with the impending road.

Crooked Run Orchard contains acres of pick-your-own apples, peaches, plums, raspberries, blackberries and pumpkins, but seven acres of the Brown’s land have already been condemned by the town through eminent domain for construction of a road that will cut the land in two, destroying mature apple and priceless elder boxwood trees. For the last many years, the Browns have stoically bore the time and cost of litigation against the full might of the town’s legal assault, but allies are now gathering in support for the besieged orchard led by Stephen Mackey of Notaviva Vineyards.


Fresh local blackberries, but for how long?

Starting with a press awareness event on July 17th, Mackey interviewed the Browns for a video presentation of Crooked Run’s plight. While none of the invited Purcellville town officials were present, many of the press and bloggers stayed for a stroll into the orchard to pick their fill. Not only is Mackey helping to promote Crooked Run’s legal fund, but he’s also harvesting a small mountain of the Browns’s pesticide free blackberries for use in a Notaviva blackberry wine.

Across the country, demand for fresh, local food is growing as knowledge spreads about the health consequences and environmental impact of industrial agriculture and processed food. At the same time, suburban sprawl and big box stores are eating up farmland at an alarming rate in pastoral Loudoun County, VA.

Please spread the word about the situation at Crooked Run Orchard, especially if you have any connections in the Purcellville, Loudoun County or Virginia State governments who may be able to help the Browns though actions or advice.


About Mike Ward

Connecting the digital to the local - website management, social media and event promotion.
This entry was posted in environment, farming, small business, small towns. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Civil War? Farmer Fights Town’s Takeover

  1. Kelli Grim says:

    Thank you for writing about this issue. People need to know what is really happening here. These are wonderful hardworking seniors in our Town that are being disrespected and stolen from by the local politicians under the premise it is for public use. Only they fail to admit that they are the ones handing out the rezoning and special use permits to strip mall developers to help dig them out of some very wasteful spending. Thank you for caring.

    • Mike Ward says:

      Thanks for commenting, Kelli. Yes, it is really a shame that the town officials are persecuting Crooked Run Orchard instead of protecting them. Someone has some seriously backwards priorities there, I hope the voters of Purcellville will read this and other blogs and rally to the Brown’s cause.

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