Crop Talk
The Newsletter of Great Country Farms
March 8, 2016: Opening Soon

18780 Foggy Bottom Road
Bluemont, VA 20135
Opening Run

Our 2016 season kicks off with the Second Annual Bluemont Shamrock Run, an event offering courses of 5K and 10K, both of which begin at the GCF market. Last year's runners braved wintry conditions, but spring is asserting herself here on the farm, so we expect warmer weather this year. Learn more here.

Post-race celebration includes Irish music and beer tasting at Dirt Farm Brewing.
Coming Up

Join us this weekend at the Healthy Chicks Pop-up Show, "featuring wellness partners for the health of your body, mind, and soul." Find the full list of presenters here.

Two More Weeks to Buy Peeps
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.

Thanks for the memories, Mike!
Farmer Mike and the Pumpkin Princess

   After driving thousands of guests out to the strawberry fields and the apple orchard over the past 6 years, Mike McLaughlin is hanging up his tractor keys so he'll have more time to spend with his grand children. Many of you have told us that Mike's friendly smile and easy-going manner rank among the things that most effectively define your GCF experience, and that's true for those of us who have had the good fortune of working with him for all these years as well. Mike will be driving one more round of wagon rides at the Members Open House on April 30, so come on out and give him your best wishes.
New Group Sites Extend Our Reach

Five new Community Group Sites opening this season will allow us to serve areas we couldn't access previously, including Gainesville, Manassas, and Lorton. Email to join one of these sites:

5630 Davis Ford Road, Manassas VA 20112

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

Flamborough Road Group, near Comptons Corner in Centreville

Lupo Group, near the Huntington Metro Station in Alexandria

Pohick Village Group, near Route 1 in Lorton

We also encourage Arlington residents to try our market-style group site where you pack your own box at the  Clarendon Farmers Market.

Visit our website for more information on these new partners. 

One Farm's Clean(er) Water Story
By American Farmland Trust, from Modern Farmer

   Elton Lowmiller knew there was a problem on his family's Ohio dairy farm. When it rained hard, water flowed through the farm's barnyard, washing manure into a nearby stream. But it was tough to find the money to improve the barnyard and redirect the flow of water.

   The Lowmillers found the help they needed through an award-winning pilot program underway in the Ohio River Basin. American Farmland Trust, the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI), and other partners established the nation's first interstate water quality trading market, which allows industries to purchase water quality "credits" from farmers in the watershed. In turn, farmers use the funds to pay for conservation practices that reduce the amount of fertilizer running off their farms.

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.

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In This Crop Talk:
Featured Recipes

   On Saturday we tried a cranberry and chickpea salad from the PlantPure Nation cookbook. It was supposed to feed six people, but Janet and I ate the whole thing in one sitting.

Read more here.

   "How do I love thee, hummus? Let me count the ways:

I love my  zucchini hummus. I love my  digestive-friendly hummus. I love hummus  in wraps, on salads, and served up with veggies for dipping. I love it almost as much as I love  my guac, and sometimes more. No matter how you slice or dice it, I'm a hummus fiend.

   My friend  Caroline is a hummus fiend, too. And as it turns out, she's also a lover of broccoli (in fact, that most beloved of crucifers is nestled snugly in her  blog title). Recently, as I was reading Caroline's blog, I thought, "Hmm. Broccoli+hummus. Broccoli hummus?" Heck, if I could make it out of  raw zucchini, then surely I could make it out of broccoli, too?"

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.