Meet Ben and Heather
Ben and Heather first met in 2012 at a music festival and quickly bonded over their mutual passion for producing healthy, clean food.
Heather earned a Ph.D. in plant ecology and, as a diversion in grad school, she started baking bread and delivering it by bicycle around Toronto, where she was living.
Ben started his career in education after graduating from college, but got hooked on farming after doing several internships through World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms (WWOOF). Eventually he spent two seasons at Waterpenny Farm, a well-know vegetable farm in Sperryville, Virginia.
Together we have built a successful farm business. Community is a big focus of our efforts. We prefer the inconsistency of selling at farmers markets, versus the predictability of wholesale, because we love personal interactions with a community committed to local, fresh food.
Little Hat Creek Farm is a small diversified ecological vegetable farm and wood-fired bakery nestled in the rural Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. We are about one hour from Lynchburg, Charlottesville, and Staunton. Our goal is to drive change in our regional food system by forging one-on-one relationships with our community of eaters, providing them with bread and vegetables that are directly linked to the land. 2021 is our eighth season; we have grown 30-40% every year selling primarily at three fast-paced farmer’s markets.
In our fields, we use ecological farming practices on about one acre of annual vegetables. We grow dozens of varieties of vegetables, focusing on building soil health and producing nutrient-dense food for our community. In our bakery, we specialize in using regional flours to produce naturally-leavened breads, croissants, and other pastries, and everything is baked in a 5’x7′ wood-fired oven that is housed in a 1000 sq-ft climate-controlled bakery building on the farm.
Our passion for regional grain motivated us to help found the Common Grain Alliance, a non-profit that seeks to revitalize the grain economy in the Mid-Atlantic. We are now offering products that allow us to use even more regionally grown and milled grain, including crackers, granola, and cookies. Wheat can be grown sustainably only in combination with other crops like buckwheat, millet, and rye. Thus, our research and development stance is to focus on finding products that make good use of what is available, drawing heavily on old world bread styles as well as current innovations. We don’t mill in-house; instead, we use our purchasing power to support our regional millers.