Crop Talk, April 17, 2017  

First Asparagus

   Early this morning, before the rain started, we planted snow peas in the big field by the black raspberries. Then we walked across the road and cut the first asparagus of the season, bright green and purple spears that emerged practically over night, with the weekend's warm weather. Last year we cut asparagus for six weeks -- it was a great crop. Let's hope for a repeat this year.

   We're still picking spinach this week. It's fall spinach, meaning it was planted in October, and it wintered over. That's why it's sharing space with a lot of non-spinach fellow-travelers. If temperatures stay high, that crop will probably bolt soon, but our spring spinach, the crop we planted a month ago, is up and should be ready soon.

      Our Members Open House is this Saturday, April 22. The farmers will come in from the fields to welcome all of you back and talk about what's growing. Complimentary Pancake Breakfast from 10:00 to 11:00. Bring your friends and neighbors!

   Spring hours are 10:00 to 5:00 daily, with wagon rides at 11:00, 1:00, and 3:00, and the cow train going out at 12:24 and 2:45. Roosteraunt schedule: 11:00 to 3:00 every day except Monday.

   Remember that membership cards will be waiting for you in the market on your first visit.

   Brews 'N' Bones

   Appalachian Air Canines, a dog-and-people club that organizes frisbee catching competitions throughout Virginia and Maryland, is hosting an event they're calling Brews 'N' Bones at GCF and Dirt Farm Brewing on April 29, from 11:00 to 3:00. Come on out and watch some amazing animals compete for prizes. Advance tickets are available on our website.

   Special Event for Moms

   Bluemont Vineyard, our sister property, will be celebrating mothers with a rustic spin on the traditional English Tea. Take part in a memorable afternoon tea experience at our private event space, The Stable at Bluemont Vineyard. Seatings are at 11:00 & 11:15 or 2:00 & 2:15.  More information and tickets available here.

Esteemed Agricultural Economist John Ikerd on Certified Organic

By The Cornucopia Institute

  There was little farmer agreement on ‘organic’ before the USDA was asked to create and enforce the organic standards, but organic consumers understood it to include holistic, regenerative practices. John Ikerd, a Cornucopia policy advisor and Professor Emeritus at the University of Missouri, contends that soil is the “very foundation of authentic organic production.” 

Some of the production practices now allowed under organic certification would perhaps better be described as “Produced with Organic Materials.” Cornucopia staff will continue working to restore and protect the integrity of organic food and farming at the National Organic Standards Board meeting this week. 

Read more here.

Agricultural All-Stars

By Lindsay Smith on April 17, in Modern Farmer

   Move over, A-Rod. In playgrounds across America, kids still swap trading cards of baseball players, NFL running backs, and Pokémon characters. Until recently, though, none of those decks contained farmers. But one devoted Washington Nationals fan, Becky Domokos-Bays, 62, also happens to be the Director of School Nutrition Services in Loudoun County.

   Two years ago, Domokos-Bays and her team were brainstorming ways to get students interested in local produce when they struck upon the novel concept. And last April, on the opening day of baseball season, fifth graders in the county’s public schools received a total of 72,000 cards—doled out in partial sets to encourage trading—featuring 12 area ag heroes. A joint project of the school district and the Loudoun County Economic Development Department, tied to a USDA Farm to School planning grant, the cards sport photos of farmers on the front and “stats,” such as crops grown, on the back. Tyler Wegmeyer, who cultivates pumpkins and strawberries on 250 acres in Hamilton, Virginia, was shocked to discover that one child traded a Tom Brady card for his, a fact he gleaned from his 8-year-old son, Tucker.

Read more here.

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