THIS ARTICLE FIRST APPEARED ON LOUDOUN TIMES.
Loudoun County and surrounding area residents who love local foods now have another option to bring farm fresh products to their tables. With the opening of the Farm Stand at Long Stone Farm, Casey and Justin Wisch make their pasture-fed meats and eggs more accessible to buyers. The self-serve stand, located at 38212 Long Lane in Lovettsville, will be open daily from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. year round. In a rare still moment for the Wisch family, the Times-Mirror sat down with the couple and their baby daughter, Piper, to learn about this exciting addition to the Lovettsville area.
How did the farm stand come about?
When we began offering our pastured meats and eggs we weren’t confident retail cuts would be a popular choice given the numerous farmers markets and CSA’s [Community Supported Agriculture] in the area. But, we’ve actually seen an increased demand for our individually packaged cuts and felt we needed to make them more available. We both still work full time and must have our weekends to tackle more time-consuming farm projects and run the business. Our freezers were previously in our basement and the home/farm blend wasn’t ideal with the baby coming. We felt the store would be a great way to address these challenges.
What sorts of products can visitors expect to find there?
We have dedicated fridge & freezers that hold our heritage pastured pork, pastured mash-fed beef and chicken and duck eggs. We’re also partnering with other local farms and businesses, such as Hackett Woodworking, who will provide grill scrapes made from local wood. The stand enables us to pre-package orders for pick-up at anytime and allows us to better educate our buyers about our farming practices and additional products. We dedicated an entire wall to information about the farm, our livestock, and our whole/half meat shares and events. Visitors can really get to know the farm, which is important to us.
Regularly scheduled farm food deliveries through CSA’s are a good fit for some households. How does a self-serve farm stand differ from CSA’s?
Unlike a CSA, the farm stand allows customers to purchase product at their convenience. They can select various sized cuts in a comfortable retail setting and handle the meats before purchase. The stand’s location onsite is a unique opportunity to share our farm. We care for our animals and take pride in how we manage them and our pastures and customers have the opportunity to witness this first-hand. They can truly see where their food is coming from. That is special.
You’ve been collaborating for some time with your neighbors, Georges Mill Artisan Cheese, who have a popular farm store as well. Will an additional stop in the Lovettsville area be mutually beneficial?
Yes, over the last year and a half we’ve worked collaboratively with Georges Mill to help provide more options at their store. By opening our store, we’re able to provide additional products for the surrounding area. We are planning to co-market the stores — especially to eastern Loudoun and the D.C. area — and have also talked with some local wineries about marketing ideas as well. Ultimately we both feel the two stores will benefit each other — two stores are better than one.
THIS ARTICLE FIRST APPEARED ON VISIT LOUDOUN.
There’s nothing quite as delicious for breakfast than fresh fruit that your picked with your own two hands. With Loudoun’s rich agricultural history, there are so many beautiful, picturesque farms and fields that allow you to bring family and friends for a pick-your-own adventure! Tis the season for fresh strawberries, cherries, raspberries and more. Start planning your weekend trip to Loudoun to test out your green thumb at one of these locations throughout the year:
Crooked Run Orchard
Crooked Run Orchard is a small family farm on the outskirts of Purcellville, Virginia in Western Loudoun that grows fruits, some vegetables, herbs and sunflowers. Head over this Spring & Summer to pick your own asparagus, spinach, cherries, gooseberries, vegetables, blackberries, peaches and apples.
Great Country Farms
2017 is a record year for an early start for strawberry picking and Great Country Farms is a great place to begin your picking adventure! Grab a wagon ride out to the fields to see all of the beautiful strawberries and other fruits ripe for the picking. You can even sign up for picking alerts to find our when your favorite fruits are ready.
Wegmeyer Farms – an authentic pick-your-own family farm located in the beautiful rolling hills of northern Virginia – is open for some great picking with family and friends.These juicy, delicious and healthy strawberries are waiting to picked and savored in our hillside field. Keep them in mind for great pumpkin picking in the Fall too!
Oatlands Historic House & Gardens
Speaking of Wegmeyer Farms, they also have another field located at the stunning Oatlands Historic House & Gardens. Catch a hayride to the field from the Oatlands’ Visitor Center and Museum Store upon arrival and don’t forget to mark your calendars to celebrate at their Strawberry Fesival.
Temple Hall Farm Regional Park
Discover Loudoun County’s agricultural roots on a 268-acre working farm at Temple Hall Farm Regional Park in Leesburg. Not only can you play with farm animals, pick fruits and veggies or sign up for fun and educational classes, but your can also pick beautiful sunflowers from their fields.
THIS ARTICLE FIRST APPEARED ON SMALL FOOTPRINT FAMILY.
Many regions have declared September “Local Food Month.” It’s not a national celebration yet, but let’s hope it doesn’t become one. Every month should be local food month, and here’s why…
When I was a kid, it was considered a very special thing that my Uncle Kane shipped us a solitary, brown coconut from Hawaii every year. And my Aunt and Uncle in Florida would send us a crate of grapefruit every winter too because it was simply too rare or too expensive in the stores.
Now you can find coconuts and grapefruit readily stocked in any health food store, year-round. In fact, when we shop at the grocery store today, we take for granted that there will be strawberries or perfect tomatoes—in the middle of winter.
In the space of a single generation, we’ve become accustomed to eating food that’s never grown roots in local soil. In fact, most produce grown in the United States travels an average of 1,500 miles before it gets sold.
This must change if we hope to have the resources necessary to feed our growing numbers in the future.
THIS ARTICLE FIRST APPEARED ON HUNGRY FOR CHANGE.
Just one week on a diet composed mostly (but not entirely) of organic foods can reduce adults’ exposure to pesticides by an astonishing 90 percent, according to a study conducted by researchers from RMIT University in Australia and published in the journal Environmental Research on April 29.
Lead researcher Dr. Liza Oates said, “Our results show that people who switch to eating mainly organic food for just one week can dramatically reduce their exposure to pesticides, demonstrating that an organic diet has a key role to play in a precautionary approach to reducing pesticide exposure.”
Neurotoxin Exposure Plummets
Although some studies have estimated the effect of organic diets on body burden of pesticides in children, the new study is the first published research on the same phenomenon in adults. The researchers randomly assigned 13 adults to eat a diet composed of at least 80 percent organic food or at least 80 percent “conventional” food (produced using pesticides, synthetic fertilizers and genetically modified organisms). After seven days, all participants were switched to the other diet for another week. Urine samples were taken the day after the conclusion of each diet intervention.
“Pesticide exposure in Australian adults is mainly through their diets, but there are other sources of exposure, so we wanted to find out the difference going organic could make,” Dr. Oates said.
Participants’ urine was tested for six different chemicals in the family known as dialkylphosphates (DAPs), which are produced as the body attempts to break down organophosphate pesticides.
THIS ARTICLE FIRST APPEARED ON LOUDOUN TIMES.
Jaclyn and Kenny Jenkins fulfilled their greatest dream two years ago with the purchase of One Day Farm in Hamilton. The 13-acre property featuring a late 18th-century house was in need of some tender loving care but the Jenkins felt up to the challenge.
“We thought we’re young, we can do this,” said Jaclyn Jenkins. “My husband and I are high school sweethearts and it was always ‘one day we will go to college, one day we will get married and have kids’ and the last ‘one day’ was we will have a farm.”
As “legacy Loudouners” the Jenkins felt right at home making renovations to the property so they can raise their three children in the same rural environment they enjoyed as youngsters. With a large garden and farm animals including a cow, mini pony and a sizable flock of chickens, friends and family began inquiring about bringing their own children out for a visit. The Jenkins were happy to oblige.
“Every day my kids come and collect eggs with me and help me in the garden and my friends and co-works started to ask if they could bring their families out,” said Jaclyn Jenkins. “They moved to Loudoun to experience that, but still don’t have these resource.”
With the goal of turning the property into a business, the Jenkins went through several iterations of ideas including a hard cidery. While they decided against working in the liqueur industry, they still planted a large apple orchard in a backfield. Eventually, they circled back to how they could enjoy their farm with their children and the idea of farm education blossomed.
“We thought what if we did a farm school where these kids could come to us year round and see the process from beginning to end,” said Jaclyn Jenkins. “It will be 100 percent farm education.”
Jenkins has spent the last nine months creating a curriculum with her cousin who has been brought on as a teacher, that merges farming and kindergarten prep. One Day Farm will open its doors Aug. 29. Ten children, ages 2 to 5, have already enrolled.
THIS ARTICLE FIRST APPEARED ON PBS.
Have you ever noticed how happy everyone is at the farmers market? The vendors are smiling, the community comes together in a joyful way, and it just feels good to be there! Kids pick up on that energy and it can set the tone for meals later that day.
Here are four reasons that consistent exposure to the farmers market can encourage healthier eating habits with even the pickiest kids:
Kids are not only exposed to new foods, they are encouraged to explore! Start the day by helping kids color and decorate their own canvas bag to bring home treasures from a variety of vendors. When children have their own bag, they have more opportunities to pick up the produce, exploring the texture and fresh aroma of cut herbs, corn husks and unusual offerings like bundles of purple asparagus. Plus, they are more likely to ask questions about fruits and vegetables that are new to them, creating teachable moments about food and nutrition. Allowing children to pick out what they would like to try gives them ownership in the process, which carries over into mealtime.
Samples, samples, samples! Many of the growers at farmers markets encourage customers to buy new varieties of food by offering samples. Start by giving kids samples of produce varieties they already love, like a yellow or orange watermelon instead of the usual red. Even if a child doesn’t ever taste the sample he’s offered, just carrying the morsel in a paper cup or in his bare hands builds familiarity – the first step in food exploration!
Give kids an introduction to gardening. At many markets, you can also find an array of fruits and vegetables to grow at home. When children pick out their own plants to nurture, it not only fosters a sense of responsibility, but also raises their awareness of what a community farmer does on a daily basis to provide food for our tables.
Farmers markets are about family. Too often, we run into the grocery store for a quick bag of lettuce or a carton of orange juice, taking for granted that food is always available, day or night. In contrast, weekly family outings to the local farmers market are a special event for everyone to look forward to and enjoy. Turn the outing into a family game by planning a scavenger hunt to see how many colors of peppers you can find, or who can name the most varieties of tomatoes.