Chamber Insider Blog

Farm to Table: Even in the Winter!

By Mark Dewey, CSA Manager, Great Country Farms

It seems like a cosmic lesson: You’ve just fallen in love with eating food from the ground — That broccoli! Those beets! – And, now, there just isn’t any more!?

Seasonalism is a great adventure in nourishment and discovery, moving from the May rows of the garden through the November rows like a progressive dinner party where you want the recipe for everything they serve: Oh, the asparagus of it! Fundamental cauliflower! Blissful conjunction of sun and soil and purest water!

And then, it all just stops.  January comes and we’re supposed to eat, like, Swanson frozen dinners?  My large intestine isn’t down with that – not to mention my idealism.  Talk about a slap in the self-image!

But wait – you live in Virginia!  Even normal winters here aren’t very cold, and this year?  My daffodils are coming up already!

It turns out that eating in the neighborhood doesn’t have to mean a winter of potatoes.  Here are three ways to keep your love alive during the winter months:

  1. Cover your garden.  Spinach, kale, chard, turnips, beets, carrots, and parsnips will all defy the power of frost without your help.  And, with a cold frame or a floating row cover, they’ll grow right through January nights with temperatures in single digits.  In fact, freezes actually sweeten kale and spinach, so, you hardly even have to dress them in a salad — just add walnuts and a little feta cheese!
  2. Farm in your living room.  Germination unleashes enzyme activity that no other stage of images-5development can match, and it doesn’t last very long, so new-born plants are like the veal of veganism.Sprouts, shoots, and microgreens grow easily in jars and trays that don’t require annexes or dedicated thermostats.  A few square feet of floor space near a window or a corner of your kitchen counter will keep you in tender delicacies all winter.
  3. Support intrepid farmers.  Some small growers in Northern Virginia work their beds all year. With high tunnels, green houses, and carefully-scheduled planting, they can fill the truck and go to market even in January and February.  The Leesburg Farmers Market operates straight through the winter, and stalwarts such as Quarterbranch Farm, Shenandoah Seasonal, and Honey Brook Farms are there every Saturday, keeping the love alive with fresh neighborhood food.

So, take courage, give thanks, and keep eating.  There’s still food out there!


About Great Country Farms & CSAs

When you participate in a Community Supported Agriculture Program (CSA), you buy a “share” in the farm. Meaning, you will receive a delicious bounty of seasonal, farm-fresh fruits and vegetables each week.  This program encourages buying local, eating healthy, going green, and enhancing farm education.  

The Great Country Farms (GCF) CSA program runs from June – October.  Membership includes 20 weeks of seasonal farm fresh produce with u-pick bonus available into November.  GCF is committed to using sustainable growing practices and non-GMO seed, and to enriching the land with compost and fish fertilizers.

Contact GCF and ask them about CSA program information for your employees. Your company can even host a group pickup site where the farm will pick, pack and deliver produce weekly to you – added bonus: you can save money on the cost of the share!

Want to Learn More?

– Join Our Committee!  The Chamber’s Health & Wellness Committee is a dedicated group of local professionals with a passion for wellness!  We spearhead the Annual Healthy Business Challenge and equip chamber members with important health-related information and valuable wellness resources.  Our goal is to engage employers, convey the importance of wellness in the workplace, and cultivate a thriving, healthy community.  Come see what we’re all about – we meet on the 3rd Wednesday of each month at 10 a.m. at the chamber office.

– Be Informed.  Interested in creating a culture of wellness within your company, but not sure where to begin?  Sign up to receive our Healthy Tips & Tricks emails.  You’ll also receive updates for upcoming events, the Healthy Business Challenge, and the latest committee news and happenings.  You can also find us on Facebook and LinkedIn!

– Join the Challenge!  The Chamber’s Healthy Business Challenge is for everyone!  No matter your company size, you can be recognized for your wellness efforts!  The award will garner you company exposure on the chamber’s Web site, in eNewsletters, and in local newspapers.  Not to mention, the placard and physical award are great for PR and employee recruitment!  The 2016 Healthy Business Challenge is Now Open!