Crop Talk, March 13, 2017  

Record Lows?

   We're looking at some unusual numbers out here on the Blue Ridge this week: 16, 17, 13. Those are the upcoming overnight low temperatures. The good news is that those numbers are coming in March, not April as they did last year. The bad news is that we had temperatures in the 70s in February, so our trees think it's April. 

   Our strawberries are covered, and they're about to get ten inches of snow insulation, so they should fare pretty well. Most of our apples grow on a southern-facing slope, where the soil functions as a thermal mass, catching more of the sun's heat during the day and releasing it at night to warm the air in the orchard. Most of the stone fruits are on level ground at a slightly lower elevation than the apples, so they're likely to get the brunt of the cold air sliding down from the orchard. Many of them are already blooming, but they've been hardened by several cold blasts already, so these dead-winter temperatures won't catch them entirely by surprise.    

   The record overnight low for this time of year is 11 degrees, from March 13, 1914. We may get close to that number on Wednesday or Thursday, but by this time next week, we're back up into the 50s.

   Mother Nature is one exciting business partner.

   One crop we don't have to worry about at all is our marshmallow peeps. Those tenacious morsels are protected by a crust of sugar that's impervious to atmospheric fluctuation, and we'll be picking them on April 1 and 2. You can buy advance tickets to our egg hunt / celebration of the marshmallow here.

Only 15 Peep Packages Left!

   Our annual foster chicken program is up and running! Take home four cheeping fluff balls, keep them until the kids lose interest -- or the HOA finds out -- and then bring them back. Order from our website  today, because we have only 15 packages left. Pick them up at the farm between April 8 and April 15. 

Third Annual Bluemont Shamrock 5k/10k

   Come run with the luck of the Irish in one of the most picturesque areas of Northern Virginia. The course winds through the scenic country roads of beautiful Western Loudoun County. Offering both 5k and 10k distances, this race has something for everyone. Come enjoy food, music, and FUN. The race will benefit The Bluemont Community Center Advisory Council scholarship fund. 

When:  Saturday, March 18, 2017, 10k start time 9am, 5k start time 9:10am

Where:  Great Country Farms,18780 Foggy Bottom Rd, Bluemont, VA 20135

Registration here.

Our Friends At Goat Yoga Now Have Their Own Beer!

By Dan Nosowitz from Modern Farmer

   You might remember our friend Lainey Morse from her brilliant idea of combining goats with yoga. She called it "goat yoga."

   After we wrote about her yoga classes featuring friendly, curious goats wandering around, the world took an interest in her lovable activity. And as a direct product of that, goat yoga now has its own beer: Goat Yoga IPA, produced as a collaboration between two local Oregon brewers, Yachats and Claim 52 Brewing.

“I think the whole project was just to have some fun with it,” Morse told us in an email. “They only brewed a limited amount thinking that it would just be a fun one time thing. Now that it’s snowballing and everyone is finding out about it they’ll be brewing up more!” The beer is a Brett IPA, which we were semi-disappointed to learn was not named after a goat named Brett, but instead is a type of beer named for Brettanomyces, a wild strain of yeast used to brew it.

Read more here .

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