Great Country Farms makes every effort to use organic and sustainable farming methods, such as plasticulture, companion planting, and no-till planting; however, our crops are not certified organic. We grow our CSA garden without synthetic chemical fertilizers or herbicides, and we enrich our soils extensively with compost, but we do use an integrated pest-management system in our orchards and on some of our field crops when pest pressure threatens the yield. We are constantly researching and implementing sustainable growing practices to better care for the land with which we have been blessed.
How many deliveries do I get each season, and when does the season start?
We deliver 20 boxes, starting early in June and continuing through the middle of October.
How much is in a share each week?
A share is one box per week. Each box measures 10″x12″x19″, roughly the size of a paper grocery bag. Boxes are lighter in the early spring, when items such as lettuces, radishes, asparagus, and strawberries are available, and heavier in the summer and fall, when crops such as potatoes, squashes, and apples are in season. Check out our Sample Produce List for a sense of what we pack each week.
What do I get each week in my box?
We pack what’s in season during any given week — more than 50 varieties of fruits and vegetables in all. Common items such as corn, squash, and tomatoes may be included in several deliveries, while items with a shorter season, such as strawberries, may be available for only one or two weeks. Each week we send out our e-newsletter, Crop Talk, with farm news and preparation tips for the items in the week’s box.
Can I pack my own box?
Yes, you can pack your own box at our farm market Tuesday through Saturday. We will post a list of select items and quantities each week.
Can I pick and choose what I want?
No. All of our pre-packed shares are the same. If you pick up at the farm and choose to pack your own box, we will have a list of items and quantities to pack. You may donate items you wouldn’t use to Loudoun Interfaith Relief. However, we don’t offer the option to trade your leeks for another pint of strawberries, for example.
Can I U-pick if I am a CSA member?
Yes. In fact, that’s one of the best things about our CSA — a weekly pick-your-own bonus is included with your CSA membership. We post to Facebook each week and send a weekly e-newsletter listing what we have available for pick-your-own, including the quantities allotted to each share. Pick-your-own items above that allotment can be purchased with your 10% discount. Because members and guests pick on a first-come, first-served basis, we can’t guarantee that pick-your-own items will always be available. If the weather is beautiful and the crop is a popular one, like strawberries, then we may not have much left by noon on Saturday. We try to recommend the best times to pick, and we give some items member-priority, such as blueberries, blackberries, hot peppers, and okra. Pick-your-own bonuses can’t be delivered or claimed in the store or made up if you miss them.
Do I have to take the wagon ride to U-pick?
For your safety, we do ask that you ride the wagon to our pick-your-own fields. That way we can guide you to the areas where fruits and vegetables are ready for picking, and we can know where guests are in the fields. Storms may come up very quickly, and when they do we want to get everyone out of the fields safely. And when members walk to a field and then go straight to their car with their bonus, non-members may become confused about paying for the produce they’ve picked. We also want to ensure that people don’t pick produce we’re planning to pack in CSA boxes.
Can I have a friend U-pick for my CSA membership?
Yes. As long as your friends are members of the farm, they can pick for themselves and for you, with your permission. All they need to do is sign out your share. Friends who are not members of the farm will have to pay admission.
Can I split a share?
You are welcome to share your produce with anyone; however, your CSA membership includes only immediate family members who live in your household. We do offer a discount for group drop sites.
When is the produce picked before I receive it?
It depends on the item. Fragile items such as greens and tomatoes may be picked in the morning and delivered that same day. Items that ripen all at once such as apples or fall squashes are clear picked and held in our cooler until delivery. On Thursdays we pick for Friday and Saturday shares.
Can we get replacements for any items that are damaged in transit?
Yes. Fragile fruits and vegetables can easily be damaged if not handled with care. Please let us know if you have any concerns about the quality of your produce, and we will be happy to send you replacements with your next box.
What day of the week and what time of day will my delivery arrive?
You will receive your delivery on Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday each week, depending on your location. Once your delivery day is set, it will remain the same each week throughout the season. We deliver between 9:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. If your delivery has not arrived by 5:30 p.m., please call the farm so we can research the situation. We cannot accommodate requests for a specific delivery day, since the routes are set by address and intended to balance our drivers’ loads. You can choose your pick-up day at the farm.
If I miss my pick up day, can I come the next day to pick it up
If you are running late or are unable to pick up your box the day you are scheduled, please contact us or the manager of your group site immediately so we or they can make arrangements. Each group site sets its own guidelines for missed pick-ups, and most lack refrigeration, so please familiarize yourself with your site’s pick-up hours and rules so you can plan accordingly. We hold boxes for pick-up members at the farm until Sunday at 5:00 p.m. Any left over boxes are then donated to Loudoun Interfaith Relief food pantry.
What do I do when I am on vacation?
At least a week before you leave for vacation, log into your account, click the Vacation Request link, and follow instructions there. We’ll deliver two boxes the week you return from vacation, or the week specified in your request. You may also opt to donate your share to Loudoun Interfaith Relief when you are out of town. We do not offer refunds, credits or replacements for unscheduled absences, or for weekly U-pick Bonus items.
When does the farm open to the public?
The farm opens March 24, 2018. Check out our calendar of events!
Is Wine Tasting at Bluemont Vineyard included with our membership?
Bluemont Vineyard offers CSA members a 10% discount on wine purchases.
Are all festivals included with our membership?
Yes, festival admission is included, but extra items such as food, cow train, and gem mining are not included with membership.
Are all field trips included with our membership?
No. Field trips are not included in your membership because each field trip has a private guide and additional activities. However, adult members who are chaperoning, may check in and follow along with their child’s group.
Are all parties included with our membership?
No. Members hosting a Farm Party receive a 10% discount on the cost (excludes promotional packages).
Are dogs allowed?
Yes. Please keep them leashed and make sure they are wearing their rabies tag and have all other necessary shots. We also ask that you bring your own dog water bowl and clean up bags. Dogs are not allowed in the you-pick fields.
When do payment plans begin?
Members can pay in one lump sum or in three installments, the first of which is charged to a credit card at the time of purchase, with the others charged automatically at monthly intervals.
Why are payments due in January when deliveries don't start until June?
Many of the farm’s biggest expenses occur in the first few months of the year; we require payment before deliveries begin so we can cover those expenses.
What happened to the half share and full share?
We have eliminated the terms “half” and “full” share to make sign-up less confusing and simplify our payment options. We now call our single boxes just shares; if you want two boxes, you can purchase two shares.
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