Pumpkin Princess Inaugurates Fall Festival
Crop Talk: September 22, 2014 
The Newsletter of Great Country Farms
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U-Pick, U-Play, U-Grow

Week 17 CSA Shares
New This Week: Butternut Squash 
This week boxes include butternut squash,  ears of sweet corn,  apples, Asian pears, 1 bag of potatoes, and an eggplant.


Store Bonus this week is 1 watermelon, 4 hot peppers, and 1 head of broccoli. Note: if you plan to enjoy the farm's other attractions after picking your you-pick share, please bring a cooler for those items so they don't spoil in your car.


Here's Martha Stewart's take on butternut squash soup:


6 slices bacon, cut in half crosswise

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

1 sweet onion, such as Vidalia or Walla Walla, coarsely chopped (about 3 cups)

2 1/2 pounds butternut squash, peeled, halved, seeded, and cut into 1-inch pieces (about 6 cups)

3 sprigs thyme

Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper

1 3/4 cups chicken broth

1 3/4 cups water




Cook bacon in a large pot over medium heat, flipping once, until brown and crisp, about 15 minutes. Drain on paper towels; discard fat from pot but do not wipe clean.   
   Melt butter in pot over medium heat. Cook onion, stirring occasionally, until softened and golden, about 15 minutes. Add squash, thyme, 1 tablespoon salt, broth, and water; increase heat to high and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer until squash is tender, 12 to 15 minutes. Discard thyme.

   Working in batches, puree soup in a blender until very smooth. Return soup to pot and season with salt and pepper; cover to keep warm or reheat if necessary. Divide among heatproof glasses and garnish each glass with bacon. 

   (Bacon and soup can be made up to 3 days ahead, cooled completely, and stored in refrigerator in separate containers. Recrisp bacon on a baking sheet in a preheated 300 degrees oven, about 10 minutes, while reheating soup over low heat.)


Fall Harvest Festival Begins

Our celebration of the fall harvest season begins on Saturday with the arrival of the Pumpkin Princess in her pumpkin carriage drawn by majestic Percherons. She will join farm members, friends, and guests for the Duck Swinesty Pig Races and performances by P-Rex, the pumpkin-eating dinosaur. 


The Pumpkin Princess arrives with her coach this weekend




Two-time WAMMIE Award winner Lisa Taylor will serenade the Pumpkin Princess and her friends Saturday and Sunday from noon to 3:00.


Goose Creek Music Presents - Kiss So Beautiful, by Lisa Taylor
Goose Creek Music Presents - Kiss So Beautiful, by Lisa Taylor

Farming News
From the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition

FDA's Revised Food Safety Rules for Farms Respond to NSAC's Concerns


     On September 19, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued revised proposed regulations aimed at ensuring a safe food supply under the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA).  FDA is inviting a new round of public comments to respond to its revised language on several key provisions with significant implications for farmers and food businesses.

     "FSMA represents a major change to our farm and food system, and it is extremely important for FDA to get these regulations right," said NSAC Policy Specialist Sophia Kruszewski.

     FDA's original proposed regulations, issued in 2013, included several highly problematic requirements that would have put many sustainable and organic farmers out of business, dampened the growth of local food systems and innovative supply chains, and undermined efforts to conserve critical natural resources.  In response, NSAC  and the sustainable agriculture community undertook an extensive public outreach and education campaign on the proposed rules, resulting in thousands of comments to FDA from concerned farmers, food entrepreneurs, and consumers.

     In large part due to that comment campaign last year, FDA announced that it would reexamine several critical areas of the FSMA proposed rules that have major potential impacts for sustainable farming, which are included in the revised language released today.


Read more here.


New GE Corn and Soybean Varieties Approved

     The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) approved three new genetically engineered (GE) crops for commercial sale in a Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) Record of Decision (ROD) published on the agency's website on Tuesday, September 16.

     APHIS approved three petitions from Dow AgroSciences to grant nonregulated status to a 2,4-D-resistant corn plant and two resistant soybean plants.  The agency received roughly 10,000 comments on the draft EIS, and has received petitions in opposition to the deregulation signed by approximately 240,000 people.  Now that the crop varieties have been approved, the 2,4-D herbicides to be used in conjunction with the crops must be approved by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) before the products hit the market.

     The use of 2,4-D-resistant crops could lead to a 200 to 600 percent increase in 2,4-D herbicide use nationwide by 2020.  This is particularly troubling in light of a recently published U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) study showing that pesticide concentrations in a majority of the country's rivers and streams in urban, agricultural, and mixed-land use watersheds currently exceed aquatic-life benchmarks.  APHIS did not consider increased herbicide use in its analysis, explaining that it will fall under EPA review.


Read more here.

Farm News
Wounded Warrior Corn Maze
Now Open

Join us to celebrate the first anniversary of Boulder Crest retreat for wounded warriors in Bluemont with  our annual Corn Maze.  
About Corn...

A number of people have asked whether our corn comes from genetically modified seed. The answer is no; neither is our corn treated with pesticide or fungicide, which means it's as close to nature-made as possible. It also means it's more vulnerable to worms and mold than engineered corn or sprayed corn. That damage is usually confined to the tips of the ears, which can be broken off.

In The Market This Week
 Apples $1.29/lb
Sweet Corn $5/dz or
$6/ 2 dz
Potatoes $.89/lb
Variety of winter squash $.89/lb
Green peppers $2.79/lb
Okra $2.89/lb
Asian pears $1.29/lb


CSA  Bonus
September 22 - 29
6 u-pick apples
1 watermelon
4 hot peppers
1 head of broccoli

Fall Harvest Seasonal Bonus starts this weekend!
Come pick a pumpkin of any size and take home corn stalks to decorate your home.  This seasonal bonus may be picked one time between Sept 27th and October 31st.

1 Bundle of Corn Stalks 
1 Jack o Lantern Pumpkin
CSA Bonus Ticker
Week 17: $4.25 
Year to Date: $97.35
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