When Brittany Whitelaw moved from San Diego back to her native Highland County to raise her twins, she was happy to be back home, but she noticed one thing was definitely missing—convenient access to high-quality produce. At her new house, though, Brittany had good soil and plenty of open space, so she took matters into her own hands and started planting her own vegetables. “Turning a seed into food seemed like magic to me,” she says.
Fast forward eight years and Brittany is now the owner of Thrive 365 Farm, a small commercial operation selling locally grown produce and nursery plants. At the farm, which sits on just over seven acres, a mile south of Monterey, Whitelaw mainly grows no-spray greens and herbs, and the community in Highland has certainly been appreciative. She’s selling her products at the Farmer’s Market at the Highland Center, the nearby Real Deal Market & Grill and to local catering companies. Her greens are also being purchased by the Omni Homestead Resort in nearby Hot Springs, which means her veggies are being eaten by the many guests that visit the world-renowned destination.
Helping Hands in Highland
Running a small farm is a lot of work, and Brittany gives a lot of credit to her friends and neighbors. “I could not have made it this far without their support,” she says. “Whether it’s borrowing a tool, having help cutting firewood, plowing the driveway in a big snow or just buying the food we grow, this community is certainly what makes my business keep going.”
Quality of Life
While she puts considerable effort into strengthening Highland’s local food network, Brittany is definitely grateful for the peaceful life she has in the mountains of western Virginia. In San Diego she lived in a small apartment with no yard, and now she’s in a beautiful house on 80 acres.
“I feel like I can breathe, stretch out, raise my children and grow vegetables,” she says.
As an owner of one the many local businesses thriving in Highland, Brittany is proud to be a part of an ambitious community of self-starters. As she puts it: “We’re seeing a shift towards a strengthened network in Highland, becoming more elevated in our quality of life for everyone who calls these mountains home.”