Crop Talk
The Newsletter of Great Country Farms
February 22, 2016: Greenhouse Open

18780 Foggy Bottom Road
Bluemont, VA 20135
Greenhouse Leeks
   Many of the plants that wind up in CSA boxes start in the greenhouse, where electric warming mats and plastic row covers raise soil temperatures to the optimal point for germination long before Mother Nature does. The first of those plants this year are leeks. Those delicious cousins of the onion may require 120 days to reach maturity, and they don't like hot weather, so you have to start them long before the first 80-degree afternoons.
   In April, we'll transplant those seedlings into six-inch trenches, which we'll backfill gradually to keep sunlight off the shanks of the plants -- that's what makes them white. It's also why you're likely to find soil between the leaves. To get it out you have to cut the shafts in half the long way, which allows the leaves to separate.
CSA Day Bonus Package
   Buy your CSA membership on February 26 and we'll thank you with two free tastings at Bluemont Vineyard, two free tastings at Dirt Farm Brewing, and three souvenir GCF vehicle magnets. 
Best of Loudoun
We are honored and humbled to be voted Loudoun's best CSA,  Pick-Your-Own Farm, and Agritourism Destination! 

Bluemont Vineyard, our sister property, was voted Best Vineyard in Loudoun County, and Savoir Fare, our event caterer, was voted Best Caterer in Loudoun for the third year in a row!

Coming Up

Come and see what Loudoun is growing on February 27 from 10:00 to 5:00, at the Bush Tabernacle in Purcellville. Visit our booth and bring your friends!

We've been invited to participate in this day-long celebration of pathways to wellness, featuring speakers, demonstrations, a documentary on urban farming, and dozens of exhibitors. March 5, 9:00 to 5:30 at Fairfax High School, 3501 Rebel Run, Fairfax VA .

Enjoy raising baby chicks in your home -- and when they get big enough to be a nuisance, bring them back to us! Peeps will be available beginning March 19, our Opening Day. Check our website for details.

New This Season

Five New Community Group Sites 
5630 Davis Ford Road, Manassas VA 20112

Crestwood Pediatric, 14535 John Marshall Highway, Suite 201, Gainesville VA 20155 

Broadlands Nature Center, 21907 Claiborne Parkway, Ashburn VA

Clarendon Farmers Market3140 Wilson Blvd, Arlington VA 22201

Evergreen Sportsplex19623 Evergreen Mills Road, Leesburg VA 20175

Visit our website for more information on these new partners. 

Thursday Night Previews
   Last year, many of you asked that we publish the contents of the next box before the weekend, so this year we'll post Previews on Barn Talk, the GCF blog. We won't always have the complete list by Thursday night, but we should be 75% sure.

Farm and Food News 
   Many of you also asked to know more about the status of our crops in the field, so we'll keep you up to date on what's growing and how it's doing. We'll also devote more blog space to the surprising body of evidence that eating plants can change your life. 

New Home Online
   One of the most exciting changes this season is a brand new, mobile-friendly website which will improve your online experience, whether you're looking for specific information or just browsing. 
You Could Get Paid to Save Struggling Monarchs
By Andrew Amelincks, from Modern Farmer

   Once the  passenger pigeon  was the most abundant bird in North America, numbering in the hundreds of millions, if not billions. It would take several hours for flocks to pass a single spot, their wing beats so loud it was hard to carry on a conversation. But by the late 1890s, they were gone from the wild and less than 20 years later, totally extinct. Could monarch butterflies see the same fate?

Read more here.
Healthy Business Challenge 
Superhero Run
April 24

   This year Great Country Farms will be organizing a team to participate in the Second Annual Superhero 5K, the capstone event for the Loudoun County Healthy Business Challenge. Join fellow CSA members and your favorite farmers on the cross-country course at Bolen Park to show your support for community wellness initiatives. Proceeds benefit Boulder Crest Retreat.

Sunflower Logo
In This Crop Talk:
Featured Recipes

   "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.

   "I absolutely love homemade cream of broccoli soup, but what I don't love are all the calories that come along with it. My version is  a silky smooth blended soup that has a creamy consistency without any added cream.  To thicken the soup without adding flour or cream, I add a large potato which also adds a bit of bulk and makes it more filling."

Read more here.