An Inside Look at Green Maple Market
Posted on January 26, 2016 by Admin
It was with plenty of passion and a distinct mission that Kathy Holster opened Green Maple Market last May. Located in Vint Hill, the farm-fresh, local foods store is built on a foundation of commitment to preserving rural farmland and making fresh, local products more readily available to the public.
There is a growing local food movement happening across the country, indicating that more and more consumers are beginning to share Holster’s disapproval of the state of consumer health nationwide.
Much of the food available in grocery stores comes from a highly industrialized system designed to benefit its producers and big agriculture, not consumers. One result, Holster says: ingestion of too many substances that are completely foreign to the human body.
“Consuming meat from animals raised in CAFO’s (Confined Animal Feeding Operations) and processed foods full of artificial ingredients over the course of many years creates a constant inflammatory state in the body, and constant inflammation creates disease,” said Holster. “It is my belief that our industrial food system is contributing to our national health crisis.”
Green Maple Market is doing its part to counteract the trend by offering fresh food from farms in and around Fauquier County. Holster works with farmers who raise pastured animals without hormones, antibiotics or GMOs, crops that are grown using organic farming methods and other local artisanal foods made without artificial ingredients.
“Probably 50% of the products in her store are from farmers within Fauquier County,” said Doug Linton, owner of Angelic Beef, one of Green MapleMarket’s primary vendors. “The rest of it is not very far away.”
Green Maple Market also is playing a role in boosting the local economy. It is located in a growing cluster of product-focused businesses based in Vint Hill, including Old Bust Head Brewing Company, beauty products manufacturer Simply Pure, and tea maker MTO Kombucha. The businesses are part of a growing hub on and around the former Army base that includes a community center, cafe, post office, barber shop, office buildings, and homes.
“When I was looking for a location for my store, I saw exciting things happening in Vint Hill,” Holster explained. “I envision that Vint Hill will one day be the epicenter of New Baltimore. I wanted to be in on the ground floor as all of these wonderful businesses were opening.”
Holster’s passion to start her own farm market began back in her days as a student at Virginia Tech, but she was exposed to the world of healthy eating long before that.
“My mother used to buy food directly from the farm closest to our home when I was young, and the taste and quality was always so much better,” she said. “I’ve always had an interest in nutrition and the healing properties of food, which drew me to open my own farm markets in the past.”
After running an organic produce stand, Maple Tree Market, in college, she learned that her grandfather, who died shortly before she was born, had opened a grocery store called the Green Tree Market when he came to America.
The incredible coincidence told Holster that she was in the right field, so she went on to open Countryside Farm Market in Amissville, Virginia, when her three sons were young.
In 2013, Holster met Linton, the beef producer, at a farmer’s market in Gainesville. They soon discovered a shared vision for a farm store that sold local products and supported farm sustainability. Though they shared the same vision, as a cattle farmer Linton “had no interest in running it.” He did, however, have the contacts that helped Holster make her vision a reality.
Linton’s 300-acre Piedmontese cattle farm near Remington has supplied beef to Green Maple Market since the market opened. The owners ofFields of Grace Farm, which operates practically next door to Linton, milk their own pasture-raised cows. You can find the cheese from these cows in Holster’s store.
Yet another neighbor is Kenny Smith, owner of Kinlock Farm and regionally renowned ice cream destination Moo Thru. Kinlock Farm supplies Holster with premium milk and ice cream products. Her produce comes from Berry Simple Farm, Over The Grass Farm and Willolyn Farm, all located in Fauquier County.
“It’s really pretty cool to see all these things come together in her store,” said Linton. “Everything from cheese to milk to ice cream to honey… It’s unusual for me to be standing there and not hear someone walk in and say, ‘Oh wow!’ She’s been very successful in creating something that feels special and unique. The positive response and the local support have been overwhelming.”
Prior to opening her store, Holster spent almost a year researching, going from farm to farm to talk to people, study their practices, and see who would be willing to collaborate.
“It took a lot of effort on her part,” said Linton. “After a lot of homework and research, she talked to [Vint Hill President] Ed Moore and the Vint Hill group. I put the building together and transformed it into what you see now.”
Holster has made great strides, but when it comes to making her dreams a reality, she says she’s just getting started.
“I want to create more of an educational aspect to the business,” she said. “I want to help people understand what is happening to our food system and how many health issues, diseases and allergies can be corrected and even cured by changing what we put in our bodies.
“My favorite part of this journey has been developing relationships with my vendors and customers,” Holster continued. “Helping people make better food choices is my favorite part of the day.”
About Green Maple Market: Green Maple Market was established in Vint Hill, Virginia in May 2015 to provide local, farm-fresh produce, pasture-raised meats, eggs, cheese, baked goods and other local artisanal products. Their mission is to source local, all-natural, earth-friendly food and products for the community while helping to protect and preserve rural farmland and support local farmers by easing their distribution burden. To learn more, visit Green Maple Market on 7172 Lineweaver Road in Vint Hill or visit www.greenmaplemarket.com.