Why I love Loudoun – Todd Morrison, owner of Dawson Gap Farm, Hillsboro | Exit Loudoun

In 2009, Todd and Melissa Morrison purchased a 17-acre farm in the shadow of Short Hill Mountain near Hillsboro to grow healthy, all-natural foods to feed their growing family of six children. They named it Dawson Gap Farm and from humble beginnings – a few laying hens in 2011 – they now produce grass-fed, non-GMO, chemical-free eggs, chicken, pork, beef and turkeys from Thanksgiving for local markets. To order your turkey straight from the source, go to dawsongap.com.

How old is the farm?

We are first-generation farmers inspired by the local all-natural food movement and public figures such as Joel Salatin. Although the farm is not old, it is named after the Dawson Gap road that was used during the Civil War to cross Short Hill mountain.

What’s the secret to raising a great Thanksgiving turkey?

Fresh air, sun and grass. We move our turkeys to pasture in mobile sheds and electric fences, and they love to feed on chemical-free grasses. We also supplement their diet with Dawson Gap Naturals premium non-GMO foods. The birds are available fresh and not frozen before Thanksgiving.

What is the best stuffing recipe?

We enjoy a family recipe that features old fashioned southern cornbread and we switch between my wife’s family recipe and my family’s. Our turkeys include giblets, so the gravy is made the old-fashioned way without any packaging from the grocery store.

Turducken – yes or no?

We haven’t personally made turducken, but our customers have them and seem to like them. We have also had customers who have fried their turkeys or brined them. There are many ways to prepare turkey, but we just roast ours in the oven and as long as it’s not overcooked, it always turns out juicy and flavorful. … I never really enjoyed white meat on a turkey until we raised our own. Now it’s my favorite.

Your favorite place in Loudoun to eat?

There are so many. We are never disappointed with Magnolias in Purcellville, and were thrilled the other night to try something different at Finn Thai in Purcellville. Often we have breakfast or lunch at Stoneybrook Farm & Market in Hillsboro.

Favorite place in Loudoun for a craft drink?

We don’t drink alcohol, but if I can include ice cream in the craft “drink” category, I should mention the Tipped Cow in Purcellville. Our family is now filled with ice cream connoisseurs and we still enjoy the artisanal ice cream they make.

What a must visit place for an out of town visitor

There are so many choices. It is always pleasant to walk the streets of the historic town of Middleburg. For the kids, Great Country Farms in Bluemont offers pick-your-own, farm animals, and year-round activities. We also usually take out-of-town guests to the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum in Dulles.

Favorite event in Loudoun to go to

Good food and community can be found weekly at one of Loudoun’s local farmers’ markets.

What is a fun fact to share about Loudoun

Many people come to Loudoun to get married. Our sons make amazing videos for weddings, from pastoral scenes, vineyards, classy historic barns and culinary masterpieces from talented chefs. There is no better place to start a new family than to get married in Loudoun.

Visit Loudoun strives to bring tourists to the county, but locals can be tourists too. In this series, we ask the people of Loudoun to tell us about the joys, secrets and delights of their own backyard. Discover something new and share your local adventure with Visit Loudoun using #loveloudoun.

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