Crop Talk, March 6, 2017  

Strawberry Stout?

   While our plums and apricots have been trying to figure out whether it's spring or winter, some of last year's strawberries have found new life at Dirt Farm Brewing, one of our sister properties up on the mountain. Brewmasters Wes and Nick added GCF strawberries to a milk stout base which had been developed as part of a promotional event in collaboration with 15 other Loudoun County breweries.

        The deal was that each brewery took that milk stout base back to their brewhouse and developed their own special recipe on that foundation. The Dirt Farm recipe included strawberries, vanilla beans, and secret ingredients and skills known only to Nick and Wes. Then on the last weekend of February, all the breweries got together with their best efforts and invited Loudoun's beer drinkers to taste and vote.

   Dirt Farm won! Quite an honor for a brewery that hasn't even reached its second birthday yet.

   Read more about the great FeBREWary LoCollaboration here.   

Only 30 Peep Packages Left!

   Our annual foster chicken program is up and running -- and the peeps are going fast. If you want to take home 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. 

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.

The Wisdom of Wes Jackson, Founder of The Land Institute
By  Brian Barth, From Modern Farmer

   Last fall, West Coast beer drinkers took part in what historians may one day view as the moment modern civilization embarked down the path toward a future agricultural system fully aligned with the laws of nature. In October, Long Root Ale made its debut at Whole Foods locations in California, Oregon, and Washington. Yes, the beer is organic, but its story—its purpose in society—goes much deeper than that.

   Long Root Ale is the first beer offered by Patagonia Provisions, a five-year-old offshoot of the outdoor clothing company. What’s truly notable about it, however, is that it is the first ever commercial food product made from Kernza, a new grain developed from a wild Eurasian wheatgrass. Kernza is a perennial plant, meaning it sprouts from the same roots year after year, unlike wheat and almost every other commercially produced grain, which are annuals that require replanting.  

   This is no minor detail, but an Earth-shattering paradigm shift, as Wes Jackson, the 80-year-old botanist behind Kernza explained in a recent conversation with Modern Farmer. Kernza’s 10-foot roots are more than twice as long as those of annual wheat, so the crop needs far less irrigation and fertilizer to thrive. Even more significant is that perennial Kernza plantings sequester immense quantities of carbon from the atmosphere, unlike the immense swaths of corn, soybeans, wheat and other commodity crops blanketing the earth today, which release carbon from the soil every time they are tilled for a new planting.

Read more here.

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