Crop Talk
The Newsletter of Great Country Farms
February 10, 2015: Winter Farming
February 2015
Sunflower Logo
Dear members and friends,

   The photo above is a reminder that spring will arrive shortly after we finish our next cup of coffee. We'll be watching the cherry trees bloom before lunch, and the asparagus will be up in time for dinner -- that's how fast time seems to move!
   We hope this first issue of Crop Talk 2015 whets your appetite for farm food and farm fun. Opening Day is March 28 -- hope to see you then! 
In This Issue
Wheat Grass in the Greenhouse
   Looks like a stretch of rolling prairie in a high tunnel, doesn't it? That's more or less what it is -- super prairie. If your free-range cattle spent their lives feeding on that stuff, their meat would be a highly-touted health enhancer -- and it would cost a fortune. 
   We've been learning a lot about wheat grass in the last few weeks -- how to grow it, how to extract its juice, and how we might expect its juice to affect our health. We've also been wondering how many of our members might be glad to see a steady supply of wheat grass in the farm market. We're even toying with the idea of installing a juicer.
   The on-line discourse surrounding wheat grass is extensive and spirited, and we've begun a survey of conflicting positions on Barn Talk, our farm blog. If you'd like to add your voice to the conversation, you can leave a comment there.
Sweet Winter Greens
Common sense would suggest that the growing season ends when temperatures begin to fall below freezing on a regular basis, as they've been doing out here since the end of November, but kale and spinach don't follow common sense. The fields we planted in September are are still producing new growth, some of which has been protected from the coldest nights by snow, and some of which has been protected by cover cloth, but most of which has been protected only by its own cell structure and tenacious resilience. Frost is known to sweeten kale and spinach, but even Mark, who's been growing winter greens for more than twenty years, is surprised by the flavor of this extraordinary crop. "It's like candy," he says. I recently took a bag of spinach to AOL headquarters so people could sample what grows at the farm, and some of them doubted that what they were eating was really spinach. Watch Barn Talk for updates on how these greens fare through the rest of the winter.

New Public Group Sites
We've added two new Public Group Sites which members are welcome to join. Olio2go, which is located in Fairfax near Gallows Road and Lee Highway, sells artisanal olive oils, balsamic vinegars, and other Italian food products. Brew LoCo, which is located in Landsdowne near Belmont Road and Leesburg Pike, sells brewed beverages and all manner of brewing supplies. If you find yourself near one of those shops, we hope you'll stop in and sample their wares -- and consider picking up your box there.

About Sustainable Agriculture

Businesses Request Immediate Action to Protect Pollinators 

From The Cornucopia Institute

   One Hundred and eighteen businesses, including Amy's Kitchen, Lundberg Family Farms, and Eden Foods, sent a letter this month to the Obama administration, seeking protection for pollinators from

Photo by John Bennett

neonicotinoids, a class of pesticides increasingly linked to bee declines. Because pollinators are necessary for two-thirds of the world's food production, the businesses expressed concern for the food supply, ecosystem, and economy if this class of pesticides continues to be used at the current rate. Beekeepers have lost an average of 30% of their hives over the last 8 years, and the cost of pollination has increased 20%. The letter also urges regulators to invest in sustainable methods of pest control.


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

Any of last year's potatoes left in your pantry?

"We ran out of cheese (I know, sad day) and, so, I got a little creative with our appetizer with these roasted potatoes and mushrooms. I'm new to the miso craze (ok, maybe it's not a craze... but I feel like I've been seeing it used more and more). It makes for a wonderful glaze on fish or vegetables, especially when some brown sugar is whisked in..."