— Area family introduces homesteading to the community.
Earlier this year, Heritage Homestead published a simple offering on its Facebook page: “We want to bless a local family with fresh produce and eggs (as we have them) this year … so we’re going to spend a few weeks taking email nominations for a family you feel could use this blessing.”
The offer was open to candidates in both Berkeley and Jefferson Counties, and went on to explain: “If you know someone who could be blessed by a year of produce, send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.”
Reaching out to owners Kathleen and Scott Miller was a no-brainer. Along with Kathleen’s mother, the duo owns and operates Heritage Homestead (formerly of Jefferson County, but now based in Hedgesville) and will choose the fortunate recipient family this March. But as Kathleen described in a recent interview, this is just the beginning.
“We just moved out here in June (2016), but we’d like to eventually teach everyone how to do it,” she explained. “Whatever your scale, you can be a homesteader in your own way; we did it on a quarter of an acre for seven years in Shenandoah Junction.”
Homesteading is the key word here—a concept that both Kathleen and Scott grew up understanding. “Scott and I have been homesteading our entire lives. I grew up on a little homestead with my parents; my mother canned and made bread, my dad hunted, and I learned a lot of traditional arts. It never felt like we had any less than anyone else because I learned so much and we were well fed. I took that skill set with me as I grew up—and made it a lifestyle. Scott grew up like I did.”
The couple moved to Jefferson County in 2009. “We were just driving through the area and crossed the bridge into Harpers Ferry and said to each other, ‘…we’re going to live here,’” Miller remembered. “We had a house in about six weeks. Heritage Homestead officially began in 2014—when we decided to turn our lifestyle into a living.”
Miller is quick to point out that Heritage Homestead isn’t the “doomsday prepping” type of thing you see on TV. “Organic is very important to us—but we go beyond the traditional standards. We call it ‘heritage grown.’ And we want to teach the community how to be self-sufficient—how to harvest their own food, bake, can, ferment, build, crochet, and even create art.”
Once Heritage Homestead is officially up and running this year, the Millers fully plan on offering all types of homesteading services to the community—in addition to a steady supply of delicious food to local markets, CSAs, and other partners. They also intend to expand their support of local families in need.
Considering the new location a perfect mid-point between Jefferson County and Berkeley Springs, the Millers are hoping that Heritage Homestead continues to grow and enhance the reputation of real food and self-sustainability. “The people in this community are wonderful—we hope to be able to add to that greatness with the Homestead.”