Made in Virginia 2012: Leaping Waters Farm Geese, Alleghany Springs

Leaping Waters Farm Geese

Sam Dean

Leaping Waters

Alec and Sarah Bradford of Leaping Waters Farm

Founded in 2004 by Alec and Sarah Bradford, Leaping Waters Farm—a 110-acre spread in Montgomery County just across a low-water bridge from the former site of the Allegheny Springs resort—has been the go-to source for chefs and home cooks looking for meat raised in fields and forests the way Appalachian farmers used to raise it.

At Leaping Waters, flocks of fowl and herds of livestock (including the Ancient White Park cattle once hunted by the British royal family), heirloom turkeys and Large Black hogs wander the farm’s fields, which are protected by patrolling Great Pyrenees. This year, four breeds of geese have taken up residence on the farm, and we’re betting the Bradfords’ new offering will be a hit.

Sarah, a practicing obstetrician, and Alec, who manages the farm with help from their four children, point out that hunters and their relatives may be familiar with wild geese, but wild geese don’t taste—or cook—like farm-raised birds. “The mistake a lot of people make is they take their fattened goose and stick it in the oven without doing something about the fat that lies under the skin,” Alec says. “The fat renders inside the bird, and then drips to the bottom of the oven; the kitchen fills with smoke, and it’s generally regarded as the worst Christmas dinner ever.”

But, says Alec, “We’re hoping that if we can do a few hundred this year and market them well, there might be a little bit of a comeback for the goose in Virginia, or at least locally.”

The Bradfords have recruited regular customer Adam Sobel, executive chef at Bourbon Steak in Georgetown, to teach the members of their CSA (a subscription-based group that receives weekly offerings from their farm) how to properly cook a goose. A video of the demonstration will be posted on their website. “What I’m hoping he’ll do is remove some of the fat beforehand, so he can use the goose fat as a confit,” says Alec. “Duck and goose fat are rather wonderful.”

The birds, which are expected to weigh from eight to 15 pounds, will cost $9 per pound, plus shipping.

View All the Made in Virginia Awards 2012 Winners:


Six-Eleven Bicycle Co., Roanoke

Lowell Haarer Flintlock Rifles, Linville

Release Reels, Reedville


Leaping Waters Farm Geese, Alleghany Springs

Gearharts Chocolates, Richmond & Charlottesville

Hubs Sweet Heat Peanuts, Sedley


Pinnell Custom Leather, Crozet

Chamblin Design Jewelry, Richmond

Ignatius Hats, Petersburg


Wasmund’s Single Malt Whisky, Sperryville

Legend Brewery Brown Ale, Richmond

Foggy Ridge Cider, Dugspur


fineCONCRETE by elbwrm, Charlottesville

Hoskins Creek Farm Tables, Tappahanock

Saba Knife Co. Cut Out Knife, Charlottesville

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