Upside down fireworks
Crop Talk: November 3, 2014 
The Newsletter of Great Country Farms
Sunflower Logo
U-Pick, U-Play, U-Grow
Bonuses Continue
Members' Bonus in the market this week:

1 crown of broccoli
1 cauliflower
1 #4 bag of potatoes

spinach and kale

Boulder Crest Fund Raiser Nets $4,000

After gathering contributions from generous members
 and guests all season, on Sunday we presented Boulder Crest Retreat with a donation of $4,000. Members and guests raised that money by buying hundreds of numbered rubber ducks, which were plucked at random from our cider tank on Sunday and matched with prizes donated by local businesses. To culminate the fund-raising effort with a big splash, Farmers Mark and Scott hoisted a giant pumpkin nearly 100 feet into the air -- with the help of a construction crane provided by H&R -- and dropped it into our pond, producing a spectacular burst of orange pumpkin chunks and black pond silt. (Check out the video on our website.)The monster pumpkin, which was donated by David Nalls, weighed in at 1400 pounds. On Monday we recovered its seeds from the shores of the pond so we can plant some of them next spring in hopes of raising our own enormous pumpkins.

About Giant Pumpkins

Pumpkins don't get that big by over-eating or by hanging around on the vine for three or four extra years. To produce a 1400 pound squash, you have to start with an extraordinary genome, which means seeds from an enormous pumpkin. Most giant pumpkin seeds won't germinate unless soil temperature is 85 degrees or higher, so in this climate you have to start them indoors in April and transplant them to a sunny, well-drained location by the middle of May. The pumpkin we dropped on Sunday grew for 150 days, which means that once the fruit was set, it gained ten pounds a day on average. This time-lapse video offers a sense of what that rapid growth looks like, though the star of this show is a relative dwarf compared to ours.
Giant Pumpkin Time Lapse.wmv

Pumpkin Chunkin!

Old jack-o-lanterns aren't much good for pie, so a lot of people brought them to the farm for Pumpkin Chunkin last weekend. We're offering three destructive disposal options through Tuesday: the pumpkin drop zone, which Farmer Jake describes as upside down fireworks; the jack-o-line, which sends your pumpkin from the top of the silo into a large pumpkin smashing-post; and the impaling wall, where you can test your skill at skewering your pumpkin on a spike.
Jack-o-lanterns explode in the drop zone.
The impaling wall, where you can test your skill at skewering your pumpkin on a spike;
The wall of pumpkin woe.
And the Jack-o-line, which sends your pumpkin from the top of the silo into a large pumpkin smashing post.
jack-o-line victims

Spinach and Kale love cold weather, so don't let low temperatures discourage you from coming out to pick! We're open from 10:00 to 5:00 daily until November 24, with wagon rides to the kale and spinach patches every hour on the hour.


Farming News

New Report Finds Farmers Harmed by Decline in Nation's Public Seed Supply

   Everything starts with seeds.  Whether you're an organic farmer looking for seeds that will work with your specific organic growing practices or looking for wheat varieties adapted to your specific growing climate, seeds are the foundation of every piece of food we put on our plate and central to everything crop farmers do.


   The continued growth of sustainable and organic agriculture and local, healthy food systems across the country - along with farmers' ability to meet the challenges of climate change and food security - depends on this critical first building block.


   That's why NSAC is very excited about a much-anticipated analysis of the state of our country's plant and animal breeding infrastructure and seed supply that was released today, marking the first such analysis in over ten years.  The proceedings from the Summit on Seeds and Breeds for 21st Century Agriculture were published today by the Rural Advancement Foundation International (RAFI), a farmer-based non-profit organization based in Pittsboro, NC and an NSAC member group.


   In the proceedings, RAFI and other key stakeholders within the agricultural research community express their increased concerns about farmers' limited access to seed, the narrowing of our country's agricultural plant and animal genetic diversity, consolidation within the seed industry, the decline in public cultivar development (i.e. developing new crop varieties for the public good that can continue to be shared and improved by farmers and researchers), and how these trends are impacting farmers' abilities to confront the unprecedented challenges of climate change and global food security.


   There has been a steady decline in our nation's public investment in public sector breeding programs housed primarily within our nation's land grant university system and USDA research facilities.  Over the past 20 years alone, we have lost over a third of our country's public plant breeding programs.  This slow atrophy of public funding to support improved plant varieties means that farmers have been left with fewer and fewer seed choices over the years and are ill-prepared to meet 21st century needs.

Read more here.


Farm News
Fresh Turkeys
Sunrise Farms of Stuart's Draft VA has reserved 50 fresh turkeys for GCF members.

Place your order in the market or by calling the farm office.

In The Market This Week
 Apples $1.29/lb
Potatoes $.89/lb
Variety of winter squash $.89/lb
Green peppers $2.79/lb
Broccoli $1.79/lb
Cauliflower $1.49/lb
Neck pumpkins $.59/lb
Radishes $3.00/dozen


Weekly CSA Bonus:
1 neck pumpkin
 1 large bag of spinach
1 large bag of kale
1 butternut squash
1 bag radishes

It' a great week to come upick!  We have wagon rides scheduled at 11am, 1pm and 3pm daily in November and the Farm is open 10am-5pm.

CSA Bonus Ticker
This Week 16.00
Year to Date: $140.59
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.