It’s been a thoughtful winter break for us here at Great Country Farms. Today’s world seems to be a bit off the rails. From frequently empty store shelves to flight cancellations, cracks are appearing in our mechanized systems of efficiency. We see people yearning for community and connections and real food and laughter.
As farmers, we grow food and fun here at Great Country Farm and have taken a fresh look at our Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) programs in light of today’s world.
A CSA Program that helped us buy this land back in 1993. We are blessed to be able to steward this ground and want to welcome your family to nourish and flourish with a Farm Club Option that works best for you.
A Bit of History about CSA & Great Country Farms
Community Supported Agriculture began as a gamble. In the 1970s, a handful of Japanese housewives began to suspect that their country’s industrial food system was making their families sick. For the sake of their children, they asked a few local farmers to abandon factory farming and sell their crops directly to people in the neighborhood. And to minimize the risks inherent in that kind of paradigm shift, they offered to pay in advance.
The new model was a big success — for producers as well as consumers. Its focus on cooperation for mutual benefit prompted those pioneering women to say that they were now feeding their families “food with the farmer’s face.”
Great Country Farms was an early adopter of that model and has been a — in fact, our first crops in 1993 were planted with community support and it is CSA that helped us purchase this land we are blessed to steward. We’ve been raising food for our neighbors for almost 30 years and the connections and community have sustained our members and our family to flourish.
Industrial agriculture forces farmers to prioritize rapid growth, uniformity, and durability, qualities that facilitate mass marketing but may diminish vitamin, mineral, and phytochemical content. The CSA model, on the other hand, allows us to select seeds and varieties with higher nutritional value and better flavor — and to grow them using methods that regenerate our soil rather than depleting it such as cover crop cocktails, rotational grazing, composting and compost tea fertilizer. While we are not a certified organic farm, we believe we are better than organic by avoiding genetically modified seed, and minimizing or eliminating chemical use.
The CSA model provides a reliable, predictable cash-flow, much of which is front-loaded so we have the money we need to cover expenses early in the season, when costs are highest. That allows us to avoid debt and send the money you invest in us back into the community, where it continues to grow among our neighbors. In that sense, food with the farmer’s face is good for everyone.
A Fresh Look at CSA
When we founded Great Country Farms in Bluemont, VA in 1993, we created the following mission statement to guide our efforts:
As we update our CSA model, our goal is to continue to grow and expand upon that mission by providing three membership options to enable our members to choose the experience and means of securing their local, farm fresh produce. We want to be your Bluemont station for all things food and fun.
Farm Club Fan Membership ~ Pick exactly what you want. Play exactly how you want.
Fresh air| Sunshine | Playing in the Dirt
Pick your own has always been a fundamental part of Great Country Farms and our classic “Fan of the Farm” membership remains much the same. This Farm Club option welcomes families to extend experiences beyond the picking bounty to include regular romps in our 12 acre farm play area. Share the seasons with us. From picking your own cherries, peaches, blackberries, apples, pumpkins and more to laughing, running and jumping, Fan Membership is designed so your immediate family can harvest memories as often as you like.
The farm play area opens March 2022 and we will open through December for a full 10 months of family fun on the farm. We have our eye on growing in the winter months in high tunnels and updating some of the farm barns for indoor winter play with a goal to expand our winter offerings and be a year-round farm. Let us know what fun-tivities you would like to see: greenhouse classes, wild life experiences, who knows – maybe even an ice skating rink at Henway?!
Farm Club Market Membership ~ The Farm Market to Your Door
CSA has alway been about a shared commitment between farmers and their neighbors. With the Farm Market Club option, we ask for your commitment to purchase $100/month in our Farm Market for our season but you choose when to shop, what to purchase and how to receive your order.
Want apple cider donuts and estate ground beef along with your fresh apples and tomatoes? This is the farm market bounty that you know and love with the option to add everything from estate meats, farm fresh eggs, honey and more. Come shop the market and pick up or have it shipped to your home and apply your monthly $100 Farm Market store credit to your purchases.
One big change here is a combination of shipping & delivery instead of all personal delivery by our Great Country Farmers.
The truth is, it has been hard to keep drivers because of the seasonality of our farm to your table produce. Gas prices are spiraling and supply chains are impacting everything from seed to fertilizer. With shipping, our plan is to spend more time focusing on growing the things you love most with a regenerative approach while bringing health and wellness back to its roots.
Farm Club Market Membership is our classic CSA with a convenient twist– you choose 100% of what goes in your shipment and how often you want to pick up or have it shipped.
Farm Club MEGA ~ Fan + Market = The Best Value
Harvest the best of all worlds with this combination of the Fan and Market Clubs.
MEGA membership is for those who want to nourish and flourish on the farm and have it all. With this membership option, we break down the walls of a traditional CSA and combine Fan and Market membership into one MEGA membership. Pick as often as you like, play all day, bask in the sunflower fields and shop the Farm Market to take home the bountiful harvest.
When you make the MEGA commitment to Great Country Farms, we make the commitment back to you to provide the curated experiences you expect. MEGA members will have the added benefit of enjoying exclusive access to items that are not as plentiful or may be limited due to frost, varmints, rains… all the things that make farming a challenge and ever changing. This year, one limited crop will be strawberries and MEGA members will have the first and perhaps only access to the pick your own strawberry field this season.
The sky’s the limit when you come Pick & Play as often as you like and shop the Farm Market on site or from the convenience of home when life gets a bit too crazy for a farm visit. Fan & Market Clubs are combined in one easy subscription. Pick, Play, Market… It’s all waiting for you to flourish and nourish your family.
Ready to join Farm Club?
Who’s Your Farmer? For years, that has been our tagline and we have been honored to farm here in Bluemont, VA for almost 30 years. As we welcome the next generation of family to the leadership roles here Great Country Farms, a new energy is invigorating our experiences and farming process.
We are as committed as ever to growing, producing and sharing good food with good people, and that’s where you come in. We hope you will skip the trip to the grocery store and tackle your list locally with sustainably sourced produce and family fun on the farm. Getting your kitchen in sync with the season is only one benefit of our sustainable Farm Club subscriptions.
We want to be your farmer and look forward to welcoming you as a Farm Club Member this season.