Crop Talk
The Newsletter of Great Country Farms
March 4, 2015: Public Group Site in Purcellville
March 2015
Sunflower Logo
Dear members and friends,
   For me it's when daffodils begin to break through frozen ground along the path between the woodpile and the back door, just the green part. "Pretty soon," they seem to say. Pretty soon you'll switch from hauling firewood to hauling compost, from hot tea to iced tea, from shivering to sweating.
   Not yet, though: Weather Bug says we should look for ten more inches of snow tonight and tomorrow. Ten more? But the asparagus field is still ice-bound from the last storm. You won't see purple spears break through that crust any time soon.
   Yes you will.
   W e open for the season in 24 days.
In This Issue
Whose Baby Chicks?
The answer to that question could be: Yours! If you'd like to get better acquainted with  Gallus gallus domesticus,  a.k.a the chicken, why not bring some home for spring vacation? Our Peep Program allows you and your children to see how fast yellow balls of fluff turn into fully fledged explorers, and then, when they get rambunctious, you can send 'em back, like chicken grandparents. Or keep them in the back yard and put them to work laying eggs. Mini-flocks of four will be available for pick-up from March 28 through April 4, but supplies are limited, so order soon.
Purcellville Public Group Site

A few years ago, Chuck and Cindy Izzo had the kind of realization you can build a business on: outdoor recreation is a natural wellness technique, so people who buy hiking boots and sleeping bags are likely to buy essential oils and other products that enhance their health and happiness without pharmacology. That insight was the start of Appalachian Outdoor Readiness & Essentials, a first-rate gear-and-goods shop nestled under Magnolias at the Mill.
   Cindy sees their store as an endeavor in yin and yang "because Chuck's side deals with being prepared in the physical sense while my side takes care of preparedness in terms of health and wellness." People who like to be ready for emergencies may be drawn to essential oils because they help you manage and control your own wellness, Cindy says. They have a salutary effect in non-emergency circumstances, too: as I write this, we're infusing the office air with orange oil, which seems to make even the wireless router work better.
   Beginning in June, Chuck and Cindy will host the first GCF Public Group Site in Western Loudoun. To buy a share and pick it up at their store, click here. To read more about Appalachian Outdoor Readiness & Essentials, click here.

Come run with the luck of the Irish in one of the most picturesque areas of Northern Virginia. The out and back course winds through the scenic country roads of beautiful Western Loudoun County. Offering both 5k and 10k distances, this race has something for everyone. Bring the whole family to enjoy food, refreshments and FUN, including a Leprechaun Chase for the kids. The race will benefit The Bluemont Community Center.
Who Wants Meat?
We've been talking with a farmer whose work we admire about offering his meat CSA as an add-on for our members. Andrew's mission is "to operate a sustainable, ecologically friendly farm dedicated to providing the finest foods that our earth can naturally produce." His CSA shares include pasture-raised and forest-finished pork, grass-fed beef, meat goats, rabbits, and honey. Shares would be available for pick up at Great Country Farms on a two-week rotation.
Email us if that sounds good to you.
The Cheese Maker's Art

   Those luscious creamy-looking things are rounds of Picnic Woods, which Molly Kroiz, their maker, describes as "a semi-soft, bloomy rind cheese named for a road near the farm." The farm is Georges Mill Farm, where Molly and her husband, Sam, tend a small herd of Alpine goats and make delicious cheeses from their milk. This year Great Country Farms is partnering with Georges Mill Farm to  offer our CSA members a cheese add-on

   Offerings will include cheeses like Catoctin, "a pungent cheese with a creamy paste ... whose character is shaped by the white Penicillium candidum mold allowed to grow on its surface," Kroiz explains on the farm's  website, and Calvary Camp Ash, which is "named for the 6th NY Cavalry which spent the winter of 1864-65 camped on our property." That property has been in the Kroiz family for  nine generations, ever since the days of Lord Fairfax.
  To read more about the goats at Georges Mill Farm, see our recent post on  Barn Talk . To learn more about the cheese CSA add-on, call Mark at 540-554-2073.

Note: This option is available only for pick-up at GCF.
About Sustainable Agriculture

A New Generation of Dairy Farmers
From  Modern Farmer

By Andrew Amelinckx


   In third grade, Sarah Chase was asked what she wanted to be when she grew up. Her answer: a dairy farmer and the president. While the second quest has yet to come to fruition, she did indeed grow up to be a dairy farmer. And she isn't alone. She is one of several young, female dairy farmers featured in a recently released video series by the National Young Farmers Coalition (NYFC). The videos give a glimpse into the lives of these first-career dairy farmers as they persevere in a business not known for being easy.


   The women in these videos represent a new generation of farmers whose concern for sustainability, community engagement and the importance of the tradition are matched by their drive to succeed in this business. In the face of the increasing average age of America's farmers (now 58, up from 55 just a decade ago), NYFC is working to "sustain young, independent and prosperous farmers now and in the future," according to the organization.


Read more here.
Farm Market Feature
Come on in...
Upcoming Events
Bluemont Shamrock Run
March 21

Opening Day
March 28

Egg Hunt and Marshmallow Harvest
April 11 & 12

   "Lentil stew -   wholesome, nourishing and filling - makes for an inexpensive and satisfying meal.  I serve it in late autumn and winter, using up all the sturdy  root vegetables we keep in cold storage. 

   I bake a loaf of no-knead sourdough, open up a jar of sauerkraut, and ladle lentil stew into my family's waiting bowls. I drizzle a bit of olive oil over my stew and toss in a splash of balsamic vinegar, which bring a bit of their brightness to the stew's humble earthiness."