Local food aficionados won’t want to end a trip to the Fredericksburg VA region without taking the scenic drive out Orange Plank Road to Spotsylvania’s Miller Farms Market.
The Miller Family has owned this farm since 1946, and it was a dairy farm until the family decided to sell the cows in 2003 and focus on produce. But if you called Miller Farms just a produce farm, you’d be missing a lot of the story.
The farm offers pick-your-own blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, strawberries and pumpkins and cut-your-own Christmas trees, along with a market that stocks cheeses, meats, dairy and other products that are “as local as we can get,” according to third-generation farmer Ben Miller.
Ben’s mother, Jo Miller, calls Miller Farms Market “a food and farm experience,” and since 2003, the family has been listening to customers, watching the development of the local food movement and making changes at the farm to ensure it provides an oasis of local, lovingly produced food for those who are passionate about it.
“We know that people want to have an experience when they come to the farm,” Jo Miller said.
This time of year, that experience could be heading out into a serene patch of raspberries to pick your own basketful. The Millers grow red, black and purple raspberries, which Ben Miller says are so sweet, “it’s just like picking candy.”
You can also pick blueberries at Miller Farms, and blackberries should be available in July.
Families with kids will want to make a stop at the sand pile next to the market building. This is a great place to take pictures, with scenic countryside and tall farm silos in the background. There are plenty of picnic tables nearby, or you could grab a chair on the shady porch of the market building.
While you’re there, why not have a snack? Inside Miller Farms Market, you’ll find a carefully curated array of meats, jams, baked goods, home goods, cheeses and much more.
The Millers are committed to sourcing products locally, so you will find brands such as Route 11 Potato Chips, Orange County Coffee Roasters, Papa Weaver’s Pork, Roseda Beef, lamb and goat from the Lippert Family Farm. You’ll also find local honey, a large array of jams and jellies, cheeses and many other products.
And ice cream. The Millers stock dairy products from Trickling Springs Creamery, based in Chambersburg, Pa. Their rich, creamy ice cream has quite a following, and a popular pastime for visitors to the farm is to buy a pint at the market and enjoy it out on the porch, surrounded by pots and hanging baskets of summer blooms.
While you’re at the market, don’t miss one of the little touches that make it such a charming place: Jo Miller’s hand-written market newsletter, which includes notes on the berry field, the farm’s CSA (community-supported agriculture) program and recipes, like this one she shared for the perfect shortcake for summer berries.
You could source the butter, milk and eggs for this recipe from the cooler at Miller Farms Market, along with the berries to serve on top.
Lazy Daisy Shortcake
Recipe courtesy Jo Miller
2 cups sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 cup hot milk
3 tablespoons melted butter
¼ teaspoon salt
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large mixing bowl, beat eggs until lemon-colored. Slowly beat in sugar and vanilla. Blend in flour and baking powder. Slowly beat in hot milk (not boiling), melted butter and salt. Pour batter into a buttered and parchment-lined 13”x9” pan. Bake for about 30 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted in center of cake.