For the past several weeks, the Collegiate Times has been profiling various venders who sell goods at the Blacksburg Farmers Market. Check out the previously published profiles online.
STERLING BRIDGE DAIRY
Husband-and-wife team Randy and Nancy Crompton, owners of Sterling Bridge Dairy, have come a long way in the past 10 years.
Although Randy had dreamed of owning his own farm since he worked on his uncle’s as a teenager, Nancy Crompton cites Richard David’s book, “The Man Who Moved a Mountain,” which chronicles the life of the Rev. Bob Childress, as their inspiration for visiting and ultimately starting their farm in Floyd County.
“I would probably never have thought to move to Floyd County otherwise,” Nancy Crompton said.
After moving from Fredricksburg — where Randy Crompton commuted to his government job in Washington, D.C. — to Floyd in 2005, the Wisconsin natives didn’t kick their dairy farm into full gear until 2007.
While Nancy Crompton has her bachelor’s degree in art and Randy Crompton has his master’s in national defense and strategy, Nancy Crompton said “making cheese is a full-time effort,” and both of them dedicate all their time and energy to the farm.
Their son, Elliot Crompton, is a Virginia Tech student studying industrial design. He helps his family at the farmers market on weekends and spent the past summer working on the farm.
The farm itself has four milking cows, a couple of heifers (cows that haven’t had babies yet), a bull and about 30 goats, none of which are producing milk yet.
The Cromptons mainly produce and sell raw aged cheese, a variety of goat cheeses including chevres, spreadable goat cheese that can contain a variety of herbs. They also make butter and feta cheese.
Their raw aged cheeses include a brick-style cheese called “Rock Church” (named in honor of the Rev. Childress Church), a cheddar they call “Gold Rush,” a colby called “Homestead” and a pepper jack aptly named “Jack Pot.” They also have a fresh cheddar curd, which is quite popular at the beginning of the summer.
When it comes to bread, there are few places that can compete with Sweetwater Bakery.
Founded in 1995 by Jolynn and Saul Schwartz, it has been owned by Sam Siller, Jolynn Schwartz’s brother, and his wife, Allison, since 2004.
Allison Siller said they took over the bakery when the Schwartz family decided to move “to keep the bakery going.”
With 10 different kinds of bread, ranging from more traditional breads such as oatmeal or seed bread to the more unique prairie brown, this bakery is worth the half-hour trip to Floyd.
Luckily, thanks to the farmers market, no one has to make the drive.
The bakery also makes granola, biscotti, cookies, energy bars and cinnamon rolls.
All of its products are organic, and baking occurs twice a week.
The difference between grabbing a loaf of bread from a local bakery like Sweetwater and just stopping by a grocery store is the lack of perservatives and improved overall freshness of the Sweetwater bread.
Allison Siller said the bakery takes pride in “just having the bread turn out weekly.”
Sweetwater is at the farmers market on Saturdays.