Local craft beer maker Jester King Brewery has purchased 58 acres of rural land surrounding its operations at 13187 Fitzhugh Road, founder Jeffrey Stuffings said.
Jester King Brewery is preserving the rural land from becoming residential subdivisions, while at the same time securing space for future farming and food production.
“Although Fitzhugh Road today is still pretty rural, we feel that it’s inevitably going to change as the area grows around us,” Stuffings said. “That’s not an entirely bad thing, but one of the main appeals of coming to the brewery is enjoying the outdoors and the scenery, bringing your dog and kids with you.”
Stuffings added that development around the brewery would make the surrounding natural microflora – bacteria and yeast – less robust than it is now.
The brewery plans to plant crops on the land such as grains, herbs, fruits and vegetables for brewing, wine making and distilling, he said.
In the short term, Jester King will start growing grapes and peaches when the weather warms. In the long term, support for a farm-to-table restaurant, break baking, coffee roasting, composting, dairy farming, horticulture and production of cheese, cured meats, honey, fermented vegetables, olives and olive oil are also in the works.
“Jester King will be a place for all things fermentation,” Stuffings said.
The long-term vision also includes small-scale lodging, wedding and event space, nature trails, farmers markets, art fairs and an education center for fermentation and sustainable farming, according to a Jan. 6 news release.
Stanley’s Farmhouse Pizza, which is located adjacent to the brewery, was not part of the land purchase and will remain a separate business from Jester King.