Butterflies and Berries
Crop Talk: May 5, 2014
The Newsletter of Great Country Farms
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U-Pick, U-Play, U-Grow
Word From Your Farmer
Monarch Waystation
Monarch butterflies, the ones that look like rulers of an insect kingdom, are disappearing -- not because countries are getting rid of kings and queens, but because we're getting rid of milkweeds.
Adult monarchs sipping nectar.
Wait: milkweeds?

Milkweeds. That's where monarchs lay their eggs and that's what monarch larvae eat. But drought, deforestation, and the increasing use of genetically modified seeds in industrial agriculture have eliminated most of the milkweed in middle America. So the monarchs are dying -- an 80% decline in population over the last 20 years. We're helping them rebound by building a monarch waystation on the farm, a garden space combining milkweed plants for eggs and larvae with nectar plants for adults. If you'd like to help too, visit the Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy's website for advice on restoring monarch habitat using native plants, and save the date of
for our Butterfly & Blackberry celebration at the farm.  


My grandfather called it spear grass. In his part of the country, it grew wild alongside country roads, in ditches that would fill with tiger lilies later. In fact, asparagus is part of the lily family, and it grows like the proverbial weed: under ideal conditions, an asparagus spear might grow as much as ten inches in 24 hours, according to MAAB (the Michigan Asparagus Advisory Board). Asparagus is prized for its delicate flavor and its many health benefits, which include high concentrations of folic acid and B vitamins, significant anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties, and prebiotic qualities that may be "associated with better nutrient absorption, lower the risk of allergies, and lower risk of colon cancer," according to the World's Healthiest Foods. Our freshly cut asparagus is available in the market this week, and it will be featured in our celebration of Mother's Day -- second only to moms themselves!

Here's an easy asparagus recipe:

Mediterranean Pasta Salad 

Prep and Cook Time: 25 minutes 


1/4 lb fusilli (corkscrew) pasta

1 large bunch asparagus cut into 1-inch lengths, discarding bottom fourth

1/2 medium onion, minced

1/2 basket cherry tomatoes, quartered

5-6 medium cloves garlic, pressed

3 TBS chopped fresh basil (or 1 TBS dried basil)

1 TBS chopped fresh tarragon(or 1 tsp dried tarragon)

3 TBS fresh lemon juice

1 TBS balsamic vinegar

3 TBS extra virgin olive oil

salt and cracked black pepper to taste

*optional 4 oz goat cheese


1. Cook pasta according to instructions on package.

2. While pasta is cooking, prepare rest of the ingredients. Place everything but asparagus in a bowl and set aside.

3. When pasta is about 3 minutes from being done, add asparagus to cooking pasta. (If asparagus is thick you may want to add 4 minutes before it's done. Or if it is thin, add 2 minutes before it's done.) Drain and rinse in cold water in colander when done. Make sure it drains well so it doesn't dilute flavor.

4. Toss with rest of ingredients, and season with salt and pepper.

Serves 4 


Farm News
Upcoming Events
May 10 & 11
Asparagus Mother's Day at Great Country Farms

May 24 & 25 and May 31 & June 1
at Great Country Farms
If you join the group site hosted by Leesburg Chiropractic, Dr. Sampson will thank you with a chiropractic wellness assessment followed by a 60-minute massage therapy session at a discount rate of just $78 -- that's half price!
Learn How Your Business can Earn Points for Loudoun's Healthy Business Challenge!
The Healthy Business Challenge was created to recognize and honor businesses that have implemented innovative programs and policies to promote the wellness and productivity of their employees. Click Here to learn more about the challenge.

You can earn 3 points by having your business host a CSA group site! Contact us today to learn more about it.
Contact Us
Great Country Farms
18780 Foggy Bottom Rd.,
Bluemont, VA 20135
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Reminder: Celebrating Mothers
Great Country Farms and Bluemont Vineyards will offer a number of ways to show your mom how much you love her on Mother's Day. The farm will be celebrating Asparagus Mother's Day Weekend on May 10 and 11, with fresh asparagus bouquets and strawberry sundaes. 
Across the road, Bluemont Vineyard will welcome mothers to spend part of their special day in the beautiful Bluemont Vineyard Tasting Room. Seated tastings with a souvenir glass and full food and wine service will be available, along with live music by Joey and the Waitresses. If you're looking for something a bit more formal, why not reserve a table at The Stable? Your $75 reservation fee buys picnic privileges, a table with linens, a seated tasting of four wines by a knowledgeable wine professional for five adults, a souvenir glass, and live music by Nathaniel Davis. Bring your own brunch to this location.

Enjoy the terrace and the view at Bluemont Vineyard.

Get Your Picking Fingers Ready
This year's Strawberry Jubilee is a two-weekend extravaganza featuring a tart toss, a pie eating contest, live music, and a lot of strawberries! 
With a little bit of warmth and sunshine, we anticipate that the fields will open for picking at 9:15 on Saturday, May 24 and May 31. Remember that weather and picking volume will determine how long the fields remain open each day (last year we closed the fields at 11:30am on Saturday), so plan to come early or on a weekday for a less crowded picking experience. To keep up with field conditions, follow us on Twitter at  Twitter @TheFarmerSays  and at facebook/greatcountryfarms for up to the minute news.




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