Staff News April 15, 2016
Building Projects
Cabin on the Hill

   Daniel Fleming and Sean Zurschmeide were busy with the interior woodwork in the new wedding night chalet when I wandered in on Thursday. The stone structure, which is just below the Stable near the Arkansas Black apples, will the first venue on any of the three properties available for over-night use. With its own bathroom and kitchenette, this charming cottage will offer newly-weds a beautiful place to spend their first night of wedded bliss, and give other visitors a chance to wake up to the best view in Northern Virginia. The venue should be ready for guests before the strawberries come in.

Second weddings of the 2016 Season:

Maureen Tumulty & Zach Fraley, Friday, April 15, 5:00 to 10:30 

Ashley Valenting & Brain Harting, Saturday, April 16, 5:00 to 10:30

Emily Horin & Mike Holbrook, Sunday, April 17, 5:00 to 10:30

Wedding wine tastings with Hailey Saturday:

Hillary Leister & Nick Scialli, 6/4 wedding

Emily Olsen & Doug Raymond, 5/29 Wedding

Weekend Special  at the Vineyard:  bratwurst with sauerkraut and potato salad  
Five-Star Egg Hunt

   Our thanks to everyone who worked the chilly egg hunt on April 2 and 3. Here's what Meredith V., from Alexandria (who has 210 friends and has written 693 reviews) had to say about the event:

    "I brought my 2 and 4 year old here for their egg hunt (that they still held 1 week after Easter, which I greatly appreciated) and I couldn't be more pleased. I had this place bookmarked a while for their annual Pumpkin harvest fest but was excited to see what their egg hunt was all about. Despite the unusually cold temps in April, they still held the egg hunt and were very prompt about getting back to me to confirm times. They had their egg hunt by age, which is the best way to do it, and stuck little marshmallow Peeps in the trees. After the egg hunt, they had a little bonfire area to roast peeps and marshmallows. Too stinking cute. 

   Admission is pretty reasonable given all the activities; $12 for adults, $10 for children, and 2 and under are free. Their grounds are very expansive so my kids enjoyed the hayride, the moon bounce, the pirate ship playgrounds, the petting zoo, the cow train, the tube slides, the playgrounds, and the myriad of other play areas on the farm. They have a nice general store with a lot of homemade goods, products and toys, as well as a very well-kept restroom. The mini-golf course is a nice touch but you need 4 quarters to retrieve the little golf balls. Womp womp.

I have to say, I was beyond impressed with this place. We've done the egg hunt and fall fest at Ticonderoga Farms before, which is more expensive, yet didn't have nearly as many cool features and activities that Great Country had. Workers were super friendly and everything was clean and taken care of. An added bonus for the parents: Bluemont Vineyards is right across the street! So go get some wine after running around with your kids all morning. You deserve it!"

News from Meredith Roberts

Hello there GCF friends!!

   I hope everyone is doing extremely well and gearing up for a great season!! I have been loving getting the newsletters while many exciting things happening at all three venues. (Put me down for wine and Girl Scout cookies next year!!)

   My trip is going so well! I have learned so much already. Mark D. will be happy to hear I have full experience with several different compost and drop toilets! I have also done a lot of work in the garden, built a fence, and learned to completely harvest duck from start to finish...just a few of be exciting jobs!

   Due to my love of Oceana and already being on this side of the world I have decided to stay a while. I will be in New Zealand, Australia, and possibly Thailand until mid November now, so unfortunately I will not be back for this season on the farm. I just wanted to let you all know so there was no mystery behind my return.

   I am wishing the best for the 2016 season on the farm, and as always, sending everyone my love!

Farm News   

   I ce Berries

   Extreme temperatures continue to call for extraordinary measures on the farm. After temperatures in the 70s last week, we were back down around 25 on Saturday night. The crew had enough warning to re-cover the strawberries we put in last fall, but Mark decided to try another technique on the older plants: ice coating. They created a localized ice storm, irrigating the field through the night so the plants developed ice jackets, which kept them warmer than the air. After an hour or two of sunlight the next day, the jackets fell off, and the plants got back to making blossoms.

    Squashes are going into the ground today, along with some fava beans. Kale, leeks, eggplant, and peppers are flourishing in the greenhouse.

   Vineyard News

Beautiful Weekend Scheduled

   Perfect spring weather is on tap for three weddings in the Stable this weekend:

Maureen Tumulty & Zach Fraley on Friday
Ashley Valenting & Brain Harting on Saturday
Emily Horin & Mike Holbrook on Sunday

You Might Like to Know

   Dr. Vinny over at the Wine Spectator recently fielded a question regarding one of our favorite wine varietals: Viognier.  Dr. Vinny notes that the varietal is generally associated with France’s Northern Rhône appellation of Condrieu, but is also grown in other parts of the world – including Virginia. According to Dr. Vinny, there is also a tradition of blending a “smidgen” of Viognier with what other varietal? Answer: Syrah (in case anyone asks.)

   Brewery News

Bends and Brews

   I think if would be fair to tell people that a pint of Fluster Cluck enables anyone to achieve the pose at right on the brewery's wall. Not true, but fair.
   Colleen Gillis will help you strike that pose on April 24 between 10:30 to 11:00 -- right after the Super Hero 5K! That's a truth you can tell your friends.

   Also true: This week Wes and Nick went to work on the first-ever batch of Cider Doughnut Stout, using what Bruce refers to as "free-mentables." They're making two test-varieties: one with just doughnuts and one with doughnuts plus vanilla and cinnamon. Those beers might make a test appearance in July, but their regular run probably won't start until the fall. Next free-mentable on the schedule: kettle corn.
Great Country Farms | 540-554-2073 | |
Bluemont Vineyard | 540-554-8439 | |
Dirt Farm Brewing | 540-554-2337 | |