Farm Happenings at Willowsford Farm
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Guess Who's Growing You Dinner...

Posted on May 29th, 2020 by anon0001 anon0001

A little social distance can’t chase away the excitement of our CSA season! Normally, at this time of year we’d be prepping to open the Farm Stand, scheduling Farm tours, and planning events for summer. Since we can’t chat with you face to face just yet, let’s do a digital introduction to our crew for 2020. Most of these names and faces are familiar, especially if you’ve been a farm share subscriber in the past or follow us on social media. These men and women are the life of the farm, and their love of growing and sharing food fuels us all.

Collin, our Farm Manager, is the master of the microgreens. His dog, Finn, is our unofficial mascot and office foot warmer in the winter. In the last two years, we’ve seen that Collin not only grows beautiful veggies, but he can also fix just about anything – from tractors to freezers. In addition to retrofitting washing machines as salad spinners, he makes a mean pie, and has a sense of humor so dry we occasionally wonder if it needs irrigation.

Second in command  is John Buckley. He’s a cheesecake aficionado, and the unofficial bug whisperer of the Farm. Did you know organic farms often introduce beneficial insects to chase away damaging pests? We also count on him for meticulous tractor work, and the widest smile in the office.

Crew member Nate is a lot of personality (and beard) in a small package. His father is our beekeeper, so they both visit Willowsford year-round. Nate has so much energy, he always jogs from one task to the next. In the height of summer, you can find him blending up watermelon milk shakes for the rest of us… by the gallon.

Alexandra is our Assistant Retail Manager; she’ll be smiling at you from underneath her mask if you pick up your veggie boxes and other goodies at the Farm Stand this year. Before she became a champion of local agriculture, she managed horse farms and a Southern café. Soups and stews are her thing; you’ll be hard pressed to find her without a thermos when the weather changes.

When we need tech support, we rely on James. His skills in the field are matched only by his proficiency with computers. He can be found doing yoga in the kitchen after lunch most days. Like Nate, he’s a been at Willowsford for years, even helping the Conservancy’s land stewards in the off season. Also like Nate, he knows the best places for local snacks!


Lex is our Livestock Farmer, the man in charge of our hundreds of chickens and some very special hogs. If bacon makes every breakfast better, then we have lots to thank him for! His thorough care is the magic beyond our growing pastured livestock program. Lex’s specialty is comfort food, from old fashioned white bread to fried chicken.

Last but not least is Rory. Since this is her second year, she’s no longer the new girl in town. Rory traveled from New York last summer to join the Willowsford team, and we’re lucky to have her back again. She’s a farming jack of all trades, from crop planning to taking photos, and the best source for gluten free recipes.

Our little troupe has men and women, hunters and vegetarians, Loudoun locals and “transplants”, young farmers and Masters’ degrees. In the field, the conversation flows easily and non-stop because we all share a common love of food and its universal ability to turn strangers into friends. At first glance, you may see rows of green plants in our fields and social media photos. Look again at those same neat lines of sprouts and imagine the meals we’ll all share this season. In our hearts, we’re foodies growing food.

Eat well and be well,

Ashley, Collin, John, Lex, Alexandra, Nate, James, Rory, and all the hens, hogs, and dogs


Meal Plan

  • Spring and the sea combine in this fresh and tasty shrimp, sugar-snap pea and potato salad with mint and pecorino.
  • Sometimes it is good to keep it simple and let the quality of the ingredients be the focus of a dish. Try this easy 10-minute garlic broccolini with little more than tender florets and garlic. Lemon, olive oil, salt and pepper along with chile flakes make this a simple and delicious side dish. If you have garlic scapes in your share, substitute those for garlic to try a slight, but equally tasty variation.
  • Arugula and lemon go together like peas and carrots. Peppery greens and bright lemon juice make this easy arugula salad a crowd pleaser for a quick weeknight dinner.
  • Garlic scapes can be a perplexing item - they have the delightful garlic flavor, but a different texture and certainly a different shape than the traditional clove. Grill them, throw them on top of a pizza, include them in a frittata, or try this garlic scape pesto.
  • Microgreens are usually reserved for a garnish, but they are full of flavor and nutrition. Sometimes it is best to let them shine as the backbone of a dish like this microgreens salad with strawberry-lime vinaigrette. Use mixed microgreens or pea shoots (or both!) for a slight twist on the flavor and texture.
  • Some people only eat spinach in its baby form as a salad, but there's a whole world of recipes using more robust mature spinach. Give this sauteed spinach (that tastes amazing) recipe a try and see what we mean.