Friday, May. 29
Kathy Fuerst Holster left the corporate world behind to follow her lifelong dream: selling fresh organic produce.
Holster has always been passionate about making local fresh fruits and vegetables available to the public. She making that dream a reality by opening Green Maple Market in Vint Hill.
Keeping items as affordable as possible so that everyone can enjoy healthy food is important to the shop owner.
“One of my goals is to make farm fresh food available to anybody. I don’t think its fair that only people with money can afford it,” Holster said Monday afternoon while her crew was busy putting the finishing touches of the shop together.
“I think everyone has the right to enjoy and have access to healthy wholesome foods,” she said.
While Holster was studying horticulture at Virginia Tech, she supported herself with a roadside organic produce stand.
“I loved it. I had so much fun owning my own business,” she said. “I loved providing a valuable service to the community. It was always in my heart and on my mind.”
Holster opened her first market, Countryside Market, in Amissville in the '90s. When her circumstances changed, she had to let go of her beloved shop in 1999.
“I was going through a divorce, so I went running back to the security of a job with benefits and a steady salary,” she said.
Now that her children are grown, Holster says it’s time to get back to her dream.
“After 16 years at a corporate job, I decided it was time to go back to what I really want to do,” she said.
Because of the recent and continuing growth of Vint Hill, Holster decided to plant her business right across the street from Old Bust Head Brewery.
“Old Bust Head has put Vint Hill on the map,” said Holster. “They’ve created a lot of foot traffic. It’s become a destination spot. On the weekends it gets very crowded.”
Organic and conventional
The primary focus of Green Maple Market will be fresh produce, both organic and conventional, said Holster.
The market will carry local honey, Virginia maple syrup, Laconiko olive oil, local roasted coffee, chutney, Virginia peanuts, chips and salsa, hummus, Moo Thru ice cream and raw milk cheese.
Holster said that besides fresh produce, another main focus of the market will be local pasture-raised beef.
Doug Linton, owner of Angelic Beef in Remington, will provide humanely raised beef for the market. His cows aren’t fed antibiotics or any genetically modified (GMO) feed.
“I don’t like what conventional commercial operations are doing to our food,” said Linton. “You have hundreds of thousands of animals living in confined areas. They live on antibiotics in bad conditions.”
Linton said that his animals live on grass and spring water year round. He takes his cattle to a USDA butcher shop just four miles away from his farm.
“I take as good of care of them as I possibly can,” he said. “To have more control over how the animal was raised, from its health to the humanity of it, it’s really important. Taking Mother Nature out of the equation is not a good thing.”
The cattle farmer said that he is happy to see the market provide an outlet for other local farmers to sell their products.
“It’s a wonderful opportunity for farmers,” he said. “A lot of farmers would rather stay home and take care of the farm and not have to go out and sell their products.”
Holster said that farmers and gardeners are welcome to stop by and inquire about selling their products. She also looks forward to getting feedback from her customers about what they want to see the market carry.
“The community is craving fresh, local food,” she said. “I hope I can make that connection between people who want to grow and people who want to buy.”
Green Maple Market
7172 Lineweaver Road, Vint Hill
Tuesday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Saturday, 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Sunday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.