Crop Talk
The Newsletter of Great Country Farms
November 9, 2015: Cameo Apples

18780 Foggy Bottom Road
Bluemont, VA 20135
Cameo Apples
November 9 -- November 15

As we approach the end of the 2015 season, thousands of unclaimed Cameo apples wait for your hand in the orchard. Said to be a freak derivative of the Red Delicious, which it vaguely resembles in color, and the Golden Delicious, which is doesn't resemble at all in my opinion, the Cameo comes on late in the year and waits patiently while everybody does the pumpkin thing, but sooner or later even patient Cameos must fall. Don't let that happen! Come for your bonus and stay to pick!

Cameo tasting notes 
A complex acid/sugar blend that begins with a lemon spritz at the front of the mouth and slides toward a sweeter, apple-saucier flavor as it moves toward the back of the mouth. Crisp, butter-colored flesh that breaks from the core in large chunks, leaving divots that fill with juice before your eyes. Pair your Cameos with arugula, or roasted almonds, or a salty yellow cheddar. 

Cameo storage notes 
Eat them now! Or store them at like 34 degrees for two or three months.

Bake with them? Sure. Or turn them into apple butter. Or juice them, or soup them with squash. Just don't leave them for the deer and the worms.

Member Bonus
Broccoli, Winter Squash, Potatoes, and Apples. 
While supplies last.

We're open 10:00 to 5:00 daily through November 24.
New Market Feature!

Consensus seems to be that the little cabbage-like nuggets that grow on the long broccoli-like stalks are called Brussels sprouts because they first became popular in Belgium at the end of the 16th century -- but how does anybody really know that? 
   Whatever mist may shroud the origin of their name, we do know that "Brussels sprouts are a storehouse of several flavonoid anti-oxidants such as thiocyanates, indoles, lutein, zea-xanthin, sulforaphane and isothiocyanates. Together, these phytochemicals offer protection from prostate, colon, and endometrial cancers." (
   We also know that they are an excellent source of vitamin-K, which "promotes osteotrophic (bone formation and strengthening) activity. Adequate vitamin-K levels in the diet help limit neuronal damage in the brain and thereby prevent or at least delay the onset of Alzheimer's disease."
   If you don't like Brussels sprouts, you've probably eaten them boiled, which turns them into gray sulphurous mush. Much better to cut them in half and braise them in hot olive oil for three or four minutes, which leaves them brown-seared on the bottom and bright green on top.
   They're hard to grow because bugs love them, but we managed to bring a few stalks to maturity this year. Take some home and give them a try.

The Awful Reign of the Red Delicious
How the worst apple took over the United States, and continues to spread

By Sarah Yager
   At the supermarket near his home in central Virginia, Tom Burford likes to loiter by the display of Red Delicious. He waits until he spots a store manager. Then he picks up one of the glossy apples and, with a flourish, scrapes his fingernail into the wax: T-O-M.
   "We can't sell that now," the manager protests.
   To which Burford replies, in his soft Piedmont drawl: "That's my point."
   Burford, who is 79 years old, is disinclined to apple destruction. His ancestors scattered apple seeds in the Blue Ridge foothills as far back as 1713, and he grew up with more than 100 types of trees in his backyard orchard. He is the author of Apples of North America, an encyclopedia of heirloom varieties, and travels the country lecturing on horticulture and nursery design. But his preservationist tendencies stop short of the Red Delicious and what he calls the "ramming down the throats of American consumers this disgusting, red, beautiful fruit."
   His words contain the paradox of the Red Delicious: alluring yet undesirable, the most produced and arguably the least popular apple in the United States. It lurks in desolation. Bumped around the bottom of lunch bags as schoolchildren rummage for chips or shrink-wrapped Rice Krispies treats. Waiting by the last bruised banana in a roadside gas station, the only produce for miles. Left untouched on hospital trays, forlorn in the fruit bowl at hotel breakfast buffets, bereft in nests of gift-basket raffia.  

Read more here.
Giant Pumpkin Meets Farm Pond 

Dateline: Great Country Farms, November 1, 2015 

     An august Atlantic Giant was laid to rest here Sunday, or maybe we should say that it was dropped to rest -- from a crane. The behemoth had recently completed an arduous journey from its home field in Pennsylvania to the Nalls Farm Market in Clarke County, and it was slated to travel over the mountain ceremoniously, in a wagon pulled by a dozen oxen, but the oxen found a field of Brussels sprouts at the Holy Cross Monastery, and they refused to leave it until all the cabbage-like nuggets were gone, so the orange monstrosity came through Snickers Gap on a flatbed trailer behind a GMC. Weighing in at 1,058 pounds, which is almost as much as your average SmartCar, the pumpkin hit the water with the aplomb of, well, a giant pumpkin hitting water. The impact created a splash crater of spray and plastic duckies that reached almost to the Roosteraunt. (Not really.) 

     The pumpkin drop was the culmination of a seasonal fund-raising effort in support of the Boulder Crest Retreat, a renewal center for military veterans and their families. With prize donations from several local businesses and generous contributions from many area residents, we were able to present Boulder Crest with a check for $4,500. That's the real news! Our thanks to everyone who participated in this event, and our best wishes to Boulder Crest for continued success in its important work.

Which Broccoli Is Better: Raw or Cooked?
By Fiona Kenny
   Broccoli frequently earns a top spot on "superfoods" lists. This is partly because it delivers a healthy dose of sulforaphane, a compound thought to thwart cancer by helping to stimulate the body's detoxifying enzymes. According to recent research in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, raw broccoli provides significantly more of this beneficial nutrient than cooked. (Cooking locks sulforaphane in, making it unavailable to your body.) In the small study, men were given about 1 cup of broccoli, raw or cooked. Those who ate the raw broccoli absorbed sulforaphane faster and in higher amounts compared to those who ate it cooked. The findings add to growing evidence that links diets rich in cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli, kale and cauliflower, to lower rates of cancer.

Read more here.
Sunflower Logo
In This Crop Talk:
Featured Recipes

   "This recipe is from my mother. It may sound strange, but these are really good and very easy to make. The Brussels sprouts should be brown with a bit of black on the outside when done. Any leftovers can be reheated or even just eaten cold from the fridge. I don't know how, but they taste sweet and salty at the same time!"

Read more here.

Bella's Brussels Sprouts with Bacon
   "Never did I think I would rate a brussels sprouts recipe as 5 stars. I thought about tossing the sprouts when I got my weekly delivery of organic veggies and saw those in there, but not wanting to be wasteful I figured I would try to find a good recipe to use them in. This was a perfect recipe! I added some cooked quartered red potatoes with the sprouts during the last 10 minutes of cooking and it was so good. Be sure to use good quality balsamic. I used an 18 year aged BV that was slightly flavored with cassis which worked well."

Read more here.

   "Any German can tell you that wurst and cabbage go hand in hand. Any Spaniard will say the same of chorizo and beans. But it takes a special, international inclination to make the case for kielbasa with Brussels sprouts, white beans, and mustard. I'll tell you that it works wonderfully! The saltiness of the pork combined with the bitter, gentle crunch of the Brussels sprouts and mildness of the beans is well-balanced perfection. Plus, it's cheap, easy, and looks good on a plate!"

Read more here.

   "For meat lovers, omit the butter and cook 4 slices bacon in skillet. Drain bacon on paper towels, then saute brussels sprouts in the rendered fat. Top pasta with crumbled bacon."

Read more here.

   "Combining chickpeas with steamed broccoli makes for a quick and delicious dish that's rich in fiber and protein and can be served as a main or a side. As it can be made up to two days in advance, it's a nice salad for a desk lunch -- though we like it plenty for a fast weeknight meal over a bed of greens or in a toasted pita."

Read more here.

   Contrasting flavors and textures make this surprising salad taste as good as it looks.

Read more here.

  "Everything about this recipe has my name on it! I never thought apples and broccoli would pair up but they are fabulous together!"
Read more here.
 Russian Mushroom and Potato Soup 
   "I make this soup every Halloween -- it's the signal to the family that the cool weather has arrived. I've been making it for 15 years now, and out of all the soups I make, it's still everyone's favorite. Enjoy!" 
Read more here.

   "This is absolutely amazing! My husband and vegetarian daughter asked for it not once but twice this week. My daughter, who is very picky, declared that the flavors were a "symphony." She also told me that this was the best thing she had ever eaten. My away-from-home daughter asked for the recipe as soon as I told her about it. Now she can't wait to try it. A Home-Run!"

Read more here.
This Week in the Farm Market
Sweet Potatoes
Buttercup Squash
Carnival Squash
Delicata Squash
Acorn Squash
Brussels sprouts

2015 Bonus Ticker
What is this?  Each week we offer a bonus u-pick item for members visiting the farm and this ticker  tracks the dollar value of the bonuses. Many members find that month picking adds a nice extra value to their CSA share. 

This year's U-pick bonuses added $187.94 
in extra value to each share.That's nearly half the cost of a farm pick-up membership!