Get Ready for Deliveries and Pancakes!
Crop Talk: April 21, 2014
The Newsletter of Great Country Farms
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U-Pick, U-Play, U-Grow
Word From Your Farmer
Maybe You've Been Wondering...          


Q: Can I come to the farm even though I don't have my membership card yet? 

A: Yes! We have members' names listed in a binder in the Farm Market, so even if you haven't yet received your membership card - or you left it at home - you can still come and enjoy a day on the farm. The next batch of membership cards is being printed this week, so you should receive yours by the end of the month.


Q: When do I start receiving my CSA box? 

A: CSA begins the first week of June. If you are getting your CSA delivered, we will establish your delivery day by May 16th, and we'll update it on your account. Once deliveries begin, you will receive your box at roughly the same time each week, between 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. on your specified day. 

Photo by Clarke Daily News

Q: Do you have anything to pick yet? 

A: Our first u-pick item will be strawberries and we are just starting to see a few blooms in the field.  We expect to have strawberries mid-May as temperatures begin to warm up.  


Q: When do CSA U-pick bonuses start? 

A: Keep reading Crop Talk for updates on bonus amounts as strawberries are usually the first bonus item of the season.


Peas, please!
Sweet Spring Peas
Young sweet peas are delicious and nutritious, but that's not the only reason to like them. 

According to the website The World's Healthiest Foods, "pea crops can provide the soil with important benefits. With the help of bacteria in the soil, peas and other pulse crops are able to take nitrogen gas from the air and convert it into more complex and usable forms. This process increases nitrogen available in the soil without the need for added fertilizer. Peas also have a relatively shallow root system which can help prevent erosion of the soil, and once the peas have been picked, the plant remainders tend to break down relatively easily for soil replenishment. Finally, rotation of peas with other crops has been shown to lower the risk of pest problems. These environmentally friendly aspects of pea production add to their desirability as a regular part of our diet."


Traditionally peas are planted here at GCF when the forsythia blooms in the spring indicating that the soils are at the right temperature for good seed germination.

Here's a recipe for spring peas from Nicole Holovach, a registered dietitian at Nova Medical & Urgent Care Center, one of our CSA Group Sites. Nicole lives on a 33-acre farm, where she and her family raise chicken for meat and eggs and grow grapes for local vineyards. They hope to add cattle soon. "Nothing screams spring to me more than Spring risotto," Nicole says. "I love this Food 52 recipe."


3 cups chicken broth (homemade even better!)

1 medium onion, chopped

1 garlic clove, minced

6 teaspoons unsalted butter, divided

� teaspoon salt

� cups arborio rice

� cup dry white wine

� pound asparagus

1/3 cup peas

2 teaspoons finely chopped Italian (flat-leaf) parsley

2 teaspoons lemon zest

1 teaspoon lemon juice

1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese


1. Heat the broth in a saucepan and keep warm.

2. Melt 4 teaspoons of the butter in a medium-sized saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and salt, and cook for 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally. 

3. Add the garlic and cook for another 2 minutes.

4. Add the rice and cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally. 

5. Add the wine and cook until almost all the wine is absorbed, about 2 minutes.

6. Add � cup of the hot broth and cook, stirring occasionally, until almost all of the broth has been absorbed - this will take about 3 minutes. Repeat this process until the risotto is slightly al dente. You may not need to use all of the broth.

7. While the risotto is cooking, prepare the asparagus. Snap off the tough ends and discard them. Cut the stalks into 1" pieces. Put the asparagus into a microwave-safe bowl and cover the bowl with a microwave-safe plate. Cook on high power for 2 � minutes.

8. When the risotto is done, remove the pot from the heat and add the remaining 2 teaspoons of butter, and the asparagus, peas, lemon juice, and lemon zest. Stir to combine.

9. Divide the risotto evenly among two plates. Top each plate with half of the grated cheese and half of the parsley. Serve immediately.

Farm News
Upcoming Events

April 25
Paradise Springs Wine Dinner at Open Kitchen in Falls Church 
April 26
Members' Open House Pancake Breakfast at Great Country Farms

April 27
Spanish cooking class at Open Kitchen in Falls Church 

May 10 & 11
Asparagus Mother's Day at Great Country Farms

Learn How Your Business can Earn Points for Loudoun's Healthy Business Challenge!
The Healthy Business Challenge was created to recognize and honor businesses that have implemented innovative programs and policies to promote the wellness and productivity of their employees. Click Here to learn more about the challenge.

You can earn 3 points by having your business host a CSA group site! Contact us today to learn more about it.
Contact Us
Great Country Farms
18780 Foggy Bottom Rd.,
Bluemont, VA 20135
Know someone who is not a member but would like U-pick Availability Alerts?
Send them here.

Main Event: Members' Open-house Pancake Breakfast ~ April 26th
Photo by Jo-Lynne Shane.

We invite CSA members, Friends of the Farm, and friends of friends to join us on Saturday, April 26 for a chance to get better acquainted with the farm, with us, and with each other. Farmer Mark will be on hand to answer questions about our crops and our growing practices, including plasticulture, integrated pest management, and his favorite topic: compost! Enjoy samples of products we feature in our farm store, such as sausages made by Steve Baker of Baker Pork, and hickory syrup made by Travis and Joice Miller of Wildwood Hickory Syrups, and enjoy complimentary pancakes in the Roosteraunt from 10:00 to 11:30. Admission to the event is included for CSA and Fan members, and $10 for others ($8 for children). If a guest buys a CSA share or a Fan membership this weekend, we'll credit their admission toward the membership purchase.

Here's the day's schedule for this Rain or Shine Event:
10:00 to 11:30 -- Pancake Breakfast in the Roosteraunt
11:00 to 1:00 -- Farm Market -- Meet our partner farmers and local vendors
11:00 to 3:00 -- Wagon rides with Farmer Mark Zurschmeide
11:00 to 3:00 -- Bonfire and marshmallow roasting with Farmer Bob

For more information, visit our website.

Be sure to like our facebook and follow us on  Twitter  @TheFarmerSay and @ElmerThePig for the lastest news of the farm.  We appreciate it when you share our link on your page showing your friends how you support local. It helps keep our CSA running strong.

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