Crop Talk, March 27, 2017  

Signs of Spring

   The strawberries we planted last July spent the winter under field covers, which protected the young plants from hard freezes and foraging deer. On Saturday we took those covers off and found a lot of vigorous foliage and a few white blossoms. It's always surprising to see how much growth takes place under cover out of sight, even when everything on the farm seems to be dormant.

     With a little luck and the right combination of rain and sun, we'll all be gorging ourselves on little red gems in a few short weeks. I have a great recipe for strawberry salsa which I'll save until the time is right.

Starting Saturday!

   Our 2017 season opens on April 1 with our annual Egg Hunt and Marshmallow Harvest. Admission to all festival events is included with CSA memberships, so come on out to search for eggs and reconnect with the earth. 

   Non-members may purchase advance tickets to our celebration of the egg and the marshmallow here.

      Remember that membership cards will be available in the market on your first visit.

DFB's Janell Zurschmeide Talks International Women's Day
   Pan Asia Resources, "a women-owned marketing boutique firm located in Ashburn," recently published an extensive interview with Janell. She discusses the origin of the brewery and her experience as a woman working in a field dominated by men.  

   The last question in the interview involves the theme for this year's International Women's Day, which is Be Bold for Change. "That means to me just speak from your heart and speak your truth," Janell says. "Don't be afraid to be the minority in the room. What you feel is right is what you should strive to be, and be that change." 

   Amen to that.

    Read the whole interview here.      

Dining out in Loudoun Gets a Healthy Makeover
    (Long-time GCF group site host Jen Pantall eats our food whenever she can, but sometimes a girl just has to go out for dinner. In this article from Posh Seven magazine, Jen profiles a few delicious, healthy restaurant choices in Loudoun County.)

   As a personal trainer, health and nutrition coach, and busy mom, I know eating well is the key to staying healthy. For adults, the right foods are critical for reaching and maintaining a healthy weight and body composition, providing energy to get through your day, and supporting your immune system. For kids, the same factors apply, plus we’re helping our kids establish the eating habits they’ll have for life. We want to set them up for health by modeling good choices and helping them choose the best foods for their growing bodies.
   The best foods are what I call “first generation,” or foods that come either straight from the ground or from an animal that ate from the ground—like fruits, vegetables, whole unprocessed grains, unprocessed meats, dairy, and eggs. These are your best choices when eating at home or choosing from a restaurant menu. We all know that traditional dive-thru fast food is far from a nutritional meal, but is the food at restaurants much better? Follow these guidelines to make the best choice for you and your family when eating and drinking out.    

   Read more here.

A Possible Bee Replacement: Tiny Drones Covered In Sticky Goop

   With the mass bee extinction showing no signs of stopping—we lost 44 percent of all bee colonies last year—efforts to save the bees might need some supplementation.

   Eijiro Miyako, a researcher at Japan’s National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology, has crafted what he thinks might be a temporary solution, or part of a solution, to the difficulties farmers may have pollinating their crops: a tiny, sticky drone.

   It is possible to hand-pollinate plants; home gardeners might be familiar with the Q-tip method, in which you rub off pollen from the stamen of a male flower onto the stigma of a female flower. But this is an extremely labor-intensive job, slow and delicate, which is why farmers tend to rely on bees. They’ve been doing it longer, after all.

   Miyako, though, has created a drone that could function in a similar way to a bee. At only 1.5 inches wide (and about the length; it’s kind of square-shaped), the tiny drone is nimble enough to perform the duties of a bee. To collect and transfer pollen, the drone is outfitted with a patch of horsehair bristles on its underside, coated with a stick gel. Essentially, this is a bee-drone.

   Read more here.

About Our Bee Keeper

   The Wall Street Journal runs an article series called Second Acts, which profiles people who have taken up second careers later in life, and last fall they included Bill Bundy, our beekeeper, in that series. Julie Halpert’s  article begins thus:

   “When Bill and Sue Bundy bought an eight-acre farm in Leesburg, Va., in 1996, it was to help Ms. Bundy pursue a dream of raising sheep. Mr. Bundy had no idea it would lead to a second career for him as well."

Read more here .

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