Clarke County is a unique industrial and rural community just over the Blue Ridge Mountains from Loudoun County and just east of Winchester and Frederick County. Clarke County has worked hard to maintain and support the agricultural industry. Clarke County has also set aside specific areas to provide ample space for business and industry without diminishing the ambience and beauty of the area.
The agricultural industry in Clarke County is diversified and inclusive. Farms range from historic cattle farms to organic and 100% grass fed meat farms. There are many free range poultry operations as well as dairy farms and classic grain farms. We are fortunate to have a variety of Christmas Tree Farms, organic vegetable farms, vineyards and nurseries. Apple orchards and fruit orchards are found throughout the county and it is the home to retail and wholesale nurseries. The equine operations in Clarke County are second to none and include a number of stables providing boarding, riding, training, development and multiple programs for all types of equestrian disciplines. Clarke County is fortunate to have breeders that are active with Thoroughbred Racing, Fox Hunters, Jumpers and three day eventers.
Because of our history and agrarian heritage and a strong desire to maintain this heritage into the future, the county has taken active and positive steps to preserve its agricultural industry through a well-constructed Comprehensive Plan and Zoning Ordinances.
Agritourism is one of the fastest growing business sectors in agriculture and tourism. More and more people want to see where their food comes from, to enjoy an afternoon relaxing and enjoying wine at a local vineyard or taking a family outing to choose a Christmas tree, Pumpkin for Halloween or introduce the children to the special thrills of a day on a farm. Perhaps petting animals, walking through a maze or just enjoying picking vegetables and fruit to take home and eat.
Because of our ideal location, nestled in the Shenandoah Valley just over the Blue Ridge Mountains and about an hour from Washington DC and Northern Virginia, Beautiful Clarke County is becoming a magnet for those hungry to get away to a peaceful environment for a relaxing day in the country. We also are fortunate to have the Appalachian Trail and the Shenandoah River for those that want to include a hike or a kayak or canoe trip in their weekend fun.
Agritourism may include many aspects appealing to virtually any Agripreneur that wants to add value to an existing farm or to start a new Agritourism business on a new farm. Listed below are a number of Agritourism business types and the county is always open to learning about new ideas. Many of these business operations may be quite simple to start requiring only a zoning application and a business license. However, depending on location and the actual business type that is desired there may be requirements for additional review by the county and the state. It is suggested to contact the Zoning and Planning Department early in the planning process.
Christmas Tree Farms
Farm Based Breweries and Distilleries
Pick your own fruits and vegetables
Small scale production of Local Produce such as honey, jelly, jams, herbs and meats
Wholesale Landscape Production of Plants, Trees and Shrubs
Farm Petting zoo, maze, educational visits, pick your own vegetables
Equine Operations including boarding, training, events, lessons and trail rides.
These are just a few examples. Let your imagination take flight and contact the Clarke County Zoning Administrator at 540-955-5132 and have their staff help you get started right away!