By Frank Klimko
Although Cox Farms is well known for its pumpkin-blasting Fall Festival, the farm also runs a bustling summer fruit and produce stand that sells farm-grown vegetables while providing a bucolic retreat from the urban rat-race.
The farm, located off of Braddock Road and Pleasant Valley Road, is one of Centreville’s most popular tourist attractions – sponsoring Fields of Fear, a haunted field, and the Fall Festival which attracts tens of thousands of people every year. The family opened a small farm in Herndon in 1972 and in 1979 moved to Centreville.
The homegrown Cox Farms tomatoes seem to be one of the most popular offerings with customers this summer, said Jeremy Weakley, a farm staffer.
“People really seem to like the tomatoes, that is real popular right now,” Weakley said. “We’ve been pretty busy all summer.”
In addition to the tomatoes, the farm also grows assorted sweet and hot peppers, eggplant, okra, squash, zucchini and cucumbers, Weakley said. Corn is not grown on the farm, but is shipped in from local growers, Weakley said.
Even though the farm is located between the suburban centers in Western Fairfax County and Loudon County, it has the unrushed feel of an old-country feed and tack shop. No one cuts in line or is rushing you at the soda machine if you pause, lingering between the choices of Coke or Sprite.
“We love it here, this is a hide-away,” said Erica Amrhein, of South Riding. “We love all the produce and we love the animals and staff. They are just great. We have been walking around, what, an hour?”
Amrhein brought her daughter, Taylor, 5 ½, and her dad, Frederick Dove, to sample the produce, buy a few things and walk through an eclectic collection of animals, including sheep, goats, alpacas and the farm’s "guard" llama, named “Chewey.” Goat food is $1 a cup.
“This place is really special, it’s our little getaway,” Amrhein said.
Even as the staff sell produce, they are also getting ready for the fall festival, to open in less than two months, by packaging preserves and re-painting the picnic tables.
The hours for the summer market are 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. on the weekends and 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on weekdays. The summer season at Cox Farms ends on Labor Day.