Agriculture is Samantha Stern’s life. Literally. Both of her parents come from farming families, she grew up on a farm, and her husband and business partner is an arborist.
“We met working at the hospital [in Winchester during college breaks] where we served food to patients,” Samantha said of her husband, Tim Stern. Considering her life she said, “Everything involves food, doesn’t it?”
Tim now works the couple’s Holy Cow Delivery business full time, and Samantha works the business around her responsibilities as an agriculture teacher in Frederick County, Virginia. The business is almost three years old, but this is its first summer at the Kingstowne Farmers Market.
“How we find our clientele is by meeting them at farmers markets,” Stern said. “We know that farmers markets are only open seasonally, so we know that by meeting them at farmers markets they may want to switch to home delivery in the winter.”
Most of what Holy Cow Delivery sells at farmers markets or via delivery is from Stern’s family. The delicious dairy products from Maryland’s South Mountain Creamery? That’s her father’s family.
They also supply fresh eggs and chicken, and encouraged the Sterns to start the business. Her mother’s side of the family supplies fruits and vegetables grown in Virginia. The Sterns raise their own beef, pork and lamb. Goat is coming soon.
“We sell out of lamb every week,” Stern said. They only sell lamb at the farmers market so they will not compete with other meat vendors there. However, customers have access to everything they supply through home delivery.
The glass-bottled milk is also a very popular item. “You would not believe the difference that glass-bottled milk makes,” said Stern. “It makes it colder. It makes it taste fresher. The difference is unbelievable. … Especially with the chocolate milk. It’s like a melted milkshake.”
In addition to her family, Stern credits the Future Farmers of America with her love of agriculture. She was a member from 7th through 12th grade, and earned scholarships that paid her way through Virginia Tech.
“It’s kind of like a way I’m giving back to the community,” she said, “because I didn’t have to end up paying a penny for college. I’m now serving the community by providing them with fresh product.”
Stern readily admits the challenges of running a small farm. “It’s definitely lively, but it’s hard to support yourself on just that income,” she said. But that doesn’t keep her from treating Holy Cow Delivery customers like family.
“I think that the customers know me,” Stern said, “and they feel that they have a connection with me so then they know where their food is coming from.”
Vienna, VA 22182, 540-465-4742, http://holycowdelivery.com/
Kingstowne Farmers Market Hours: Fridays, 4:00 p.m.-7:00 p.m.
NOTE: Holy Cow Delivery will NOT be at the Kingstowne Farmers Market on August 5th and August 12th.