Here Comes the Sun
Crop Talk: May 26, 2014
The Newsletter of Great Country Farms
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U-Pick, U-Play, U-Grow
Word From Your Farmer
This week I asked a question that seems crucial to the strawberry enterprise: how come berries ripen better on warm sunny days? The answer turns out to be ethylene, a hormone that flips a number of genetic switches which cause the fruit to soften, sweeten, and redden. Because the hormone is a gas, it can spread from one plant to another, and from one berry to another, setting off a ripening cascade. And warm sunny days signal the plants that it's time to ramp up ethylene production.
Unlike apples, peaches, and pears, which continue to ripen after they're picked, strawberries stop ripening as soon as you detach them from their mother plant, which is why store-bought berries are often white in the middle: the process that turns their starches into sugars was permanently interrupted. That's also why berries you pick yourself are so much sweeter than berries that come from far away. Picking starts this week and the sunshine will ripen more berries each day.  Best picking is always first thing in the morning and the first wagon ride heads out at 9:15am.
CSA starts June 3

We are excited for CSA deliveries and pick-ups to start next week. If you're picking up your share at the farm, then you've already chosen your day of the week. (Check your account if you've forgotten.) If we're delivering your share, check this list to see which day of the week deliveries will come to your zip code:

Tuesday: 20170, 20171, 22003, 22015, 22030, 22032, 22033, 22150, 22151, 22152, 22153, 22304, 22312, 22315

Wednesday: 20132, 20135, 20141, 20158, 20164, 20165, 20166, 22027, 22031, 22041, 22042, 22043, 22044, 22046, 22066, 22101, 22102, 22124, 22180, 22181, 22182, 22201, 22203, 22204, 22205, 22206, 22207, 22209

Thursday: 20105, 20120, 20121, 20151, 20152, 20190, 20191, 20194, 22202, 22301, 22302, 22303, 22305, 22314

Friday: 20147, 20148, 20175, 20176

Note that deliveries to Large Group Sites may come on days other than the ones listed for the zip codes associated with those sites, so it you're a large group member, please log into your account and verify your delivery day.
Farm News
Upcoming Events
May 31 & June 1
at Great Country Farms

June 6

June 15
Contact Us
Great Country Farms
18780 Foggy Bottom Rd.,
Bluemont, VA 20135
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Get Hungry
On June 6, Open Kitchen, our CSA group site partner in Falls Church, will be matching flavors with our co-winecrafters on the other side of Foggy Bottom Road at the Second Annual Open Kitchen / Bluemont Vineyard Wine Dinner. Chef Katie Reineberg has designed a menu that combines local produce with wines from Bluemont Vineyard in ways that your taste buds will long remember.

The first course features Fritto Misto with shaved radicchio, Fresno chilies, and lemon cream, which Reineberg pairs with Bluemont Vineyard's 2013 Viognier. Course two includes seared pork loin with cherry BBQ gastrique and summer vegetable slaw balanced against the Vineyard's 2012 Farm Table Red. The third course: handmade smoked tomato pasta with pancetta and lamb ragu, paired with 2011 Merlot. The feast concludes with chocolate pots de creme spoons.


The cost is $79, excluding tax and gratuity, but Bluemont Vineyard True Blue Members receive a 20% discount.

Open Kitchen is a unique restaurant idea that focuses on food-centered private events -- everything from corporate team-building to wedding rehearsal dinners. Slow Foods DC has honored Open Kitchen with their Snail of Approval Award for the past two years. This special event is scheduled for June 6 from 6:30 to 9:00 at Open Kitchen's bistro, 7115 Leesburg Pike, #107, in Falls Church. For more information, call 703-942-8148, or click this link to register. 

Get Your Picking Fingers Ready for Strawberry Jubilee -- the second weekend!

Our Strawberry Jubilee continues next weekend, May 31 and June 1, and with our recent warmer weather, the berries should be ripe and sweet and ready for picking. Sign up at the gate to be in the Pie Eating contest and score a sweet slice of pie and don't miss the family games on the lawn.  Who knew hula hoops and bubbles could be so fun?!

Remember that the number of guests will determine how long the fields stay open each day, so plan to pick between 9am and 10:30am on Saturday, May 31st or come this week before the weekend crowds arrive.  Strawberries do ripen over time and we should be picking at least to June 7th.  To keep up with field conditions, follow us on Twitter at  Twitter @TheFarmerSays  and at facebook/greatcountryfarms for up to the minute news.
Be sure to like our facebook and follow us on  Twitter  @TheFarmerSay and @ElmerThePig for the lastest news of the farm.  We appreciate it when you share our link on your page showing your friends how you support local. It helps keep our CSA running strong.

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