Pick-Your-Own Produce at Hollin Farms

First, a couple of random tidbits from yesterday…

- I didn’t recognize Lady Gaga on Ellen {it was a rerun from 2013, I think?}.  She looked beautiful in a pink dress with her hair down, although her shoes were over the top.  Two things I learned: (1) her costumes are her way of coping and (2) she still hasn’t bought a house…  Because that would make her feel like a grown-up and she’s not ready to be a grown-up yet.

YES.  Exactly.  That’s how I feel too, Lady.  Except I’m having a baby in 4 months…

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- I love companies with great customer service.  Sunday night we ordered pizzas from Dominos and I was bummed that they messed up my order.  I ordered a veggie pizzas and requested the addition of bell peppers and jalapenos, but they must have read it as ONLY bell peppers and jalapenos because that’s all that was on it.  Imagine: dough, pizza sauce, a few bell pepper strips, and boat-loads of jalapenos.  After a quick tweet to the company, someone responded and the store owner called yesterday to apologize and graciously offered to make it up to me.  Thank you!

- Going to the movies by myself is one of my favorite ways to spend some “me time.”  Not only are movies cheaper in the morning/middle of the day, but the theaters are nearly empty so it’s like you’re at a private screening.  Yesterday afternoon I saw Begin Again with Keira Knightley and Adam Levine.  I wasn’t expecting much going into it, but it was surprisingly good.

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On Saturday afternoon, Ryan and I drove west to a little town called Delaplane to a pick-your-own produce farm called Hollin Farms.  For the past two years, we’ve enjoyed picking apples in the fall so we thought we’d try picking some other produce.

Why You Should Pick-Your-Own Produce

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From the Hollin Farms website:

Hollin Farms is a four-generation family farm next to Sky Meadows State Park in Fauquier County, Northern Virginia, about 45 minutes from the Washington, DC Beltway.  We specialize in grass-fed natural Angus beef, hay for horses, and a variety of pick-your-own fruits and vegetables throughout the seasons.  Hollin Farms was started by the late Robert C. Davenport in the early 1950s.  The farm is named after Hollin Hills, an award-winning community of modern houses that he developed in Fairfax County in the 1950s and 60s.

When we arrived at the farm we were greeted by a few employees wearing bright yellow aprons and wide brimmed hats.  They informed us of what fruits and veggies were ripe for picking, pointed out where the different crops were located, and then let us free to roam the fields on our own.

We spent about an hour exploring and gathering – Japanese plums, sweet corn, peaches, cucumbers {only saw tiny ones}, peppers {couldn’t find any}, berries {weren’t ripe}, tomatoes, summer squash, zucchini, and green beans.

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For just $20 we got all of the produce above {plus an ice cream for the road}.  All of the cherry tomatoes and plums {SO juicy!} have been eaten, half of the corn is gone, and the peaches are just beginning to ripen.

If you’re interested in finding a pick-your-own farm near you, this website is awesome –> PickYourOwn.org.  It provides a list of pick-your-own farms in the US, Canada, Britain, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, and more.

Question:  Have a delicious recipe for pie?  Leave a link!  We’re hoping to go back to the farm at least once this summer and I’d love to bake a fresh fruit pie – not much beats a slice of pie with vanilla ice cream on a hot summer night!

Question:  Do you ever go to movies by yourself?

— Allison

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Thinking Out Loud: OMG Tuna Fish Salad

1.  It seems like every time my local barista memorizes my drink order, it’s time for us to move.  I love walking up to the counter and having my drink already made, waiting for me.

2.  Speaking of coffee – are all people that work at coffee shops called baristas or is that just at Starbucks?

3.  This week my students are so happy because I added CHARMS candies to the prize box.  They describe them as a mix between Light Sabers {aka Life Savers} and Starburst.  The red ones are supposedly the best, the white are the worst.

4.  At 7AM on Saturday morning I’ll be anxiously waiting at the starting line of the Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon – my first half marathon of 2014!  I still haven’t written my race recap of the Reston 10 Miler…

5.  For Lent I gave up candy and soda, specifically gum and Diet Hansen’s {Cherry Vanilla Crème}.  I’m addicted.  I was going strong until Tuesday when I decided to make an exception for dark chocolate because, well, it’s basically a health food.  Read more about why including dark chocolate in your daily diet can actually be beneficial here.

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6.  I’ve outlined three posts this week a – a recap of the Reston 10 Miler, a weekend recap for MIMM, and a handful of food pictures for WIAW…  But they’re still just drafts because I either fell asleep asleep with my computer on my lap or had to run out the door to a meeting before school and I didn’t have time to finish later.  Hopefully I step-up my game next week.

7.  I’ve had a serious hankering for tuna fish this week.  I packed it for lunch on Monday, again on Tuesday, made a tuna melt for dinner Tuesday night, and made another wrap for lunch yesterday.  All because I learned a little secret…  Tuna fish + hummus is a life changing combo.  With every bite I repeatedly said {to myself} “OMG.  This is so good!  OMG!  OMG!” so I’m calling it OMG Tuna Fish Salad.

OMG Tuna Fish Salad

Ingredients {serves 1}:

  • 1 small can of tuna fish
  • 2 tbsp hummus
  • 1 tsp honey mustard
  • 1/4 c shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1 – 2 tbsp sundried tomatoes
  • seasoned salt *to taste*
  • black pepper *to taste*

Directions:

In a medium bowl, flake the tuna into chunks.  Add the remaining ingredients and mix well.  Refrigerate if not eating right away.

8.  Runner’s World is “running” {so punny!} a sweepstakes with Iceland Naturally.  One lucky winner will receive the following:

  • Economy round-trip air on Icelandair for 2 people
  • 3 nights accommodation in Reykjavik at Hotel Nordica for 2 with Scandinavian buffet breakfast daily
  • 2 72 hour Reykjavik Welcome Cards providing free access to the City of Reykjavik world famous thermal pools, museums and public transportation
  • 2 entries to the Reykjavik Marathon
  • 2 roundtrip bus transfer from the airport to the hotel
  • 1 case of Icelandic Glacial water for your hotel room
  • 2 Experience Comfort entries to the Blue Lagoon Spa
  • 2 award winning Snaefell jackets

To enter, visit this website and enter the requested information.  The contest will remain open until April 1st.

9.  Have you seen these Portable Protein Packs from Oscar Mayer {aka the adult Lunchable}?

Portable Protein Pack

10.  After my students finish their classwork or a quiz, I let them “play” with math flashcards to keep quiet until everyone is done.  On Monday one student started singing “Everyday I’m shuffling.  Everyday I’m shuffling.  Everyday I’m shuffling.” while shuffling his flashcards.  And then the other students joined in.  It was hilarious!

Thinking-Out-Loud

Thanks Amanda for hosting another link-up!

Question:  Tuna fish – yay or nay?  Tuna fish out of a can is a yay {obviously}, but the raw stuff is a nay for me.

Question:  If you could drop everything and go anywhere in the world right now, where would you go?

— Allison

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Apple Picking at Stribling Orchard

On Saturday morning Ryan and I enjoyed a relaxing pancake breakfast before we headed out west towards the Blue Ridge Mountains to meet a few friends at Stribling Orchard in Markham, VA.  We visited this orchard last year and brought home a great bushel of crisp and juicy apples, so it was a no-brainer that we needed to go back again this year.  The skies were full of clouds but thankfully it wasn’t too cold and it didn’t rain.

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We walked around the orchard for about 2 hours, picking a variety of apples – Golden Delicious, Fuji, Stayman Winesap, Granny Smith, and Rome.  Golden Delicious apples are my favorite, but I tried a Stayman Winesap for the first time and loved its slightly tart flavor, not to mention they are HUGE apples!

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10-22 Country Store

After we filled our bags (we got a 1/2 bushel!), we did some shopping in the Harvest House and I grabbed a jar of No Sugar Added Apple Butter – we bought a jar last year and went through it within a week.  The others had to get back for a prior commitment but Ryan and I hung around a bit longer and enjoyed lunch at one of the picnic tables.

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10-22 Apples

On the way home we made a detour to stop at a neighboring orchard because Ryan saw online that they had a corn maze.  The signs weren’t clear as we were driving up so we drove all around the property, but it gave us a chance to see the pumpkin patches (my first time ever seeing one!), blueberry bushes (we’ll have to go back in the summer), lots of cows, their apple orchard, and the corn maze.  After circling around, we parked near the corn maze and walked over to a white tent that was selling tickets, only to find out that tickets cost $25 with access to the corn maze, a hay ride, fall themed games.  We agreed to wait until we have kids…  Oh well, one day!

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Our roundabout ways continued our whole way home.  Ryan took the back roads and drove by his old elementary school, winding through Mananas.  As long as I’ve lived in Virginia, I’ve hardly spent any time in Mananas…  Ryan gave me a brief overview of some of the most notable historical moments such as the First and Second Battle of Bull Run.  I suppose I should take a drive out thataway soon and learn more about my surroundings.

10-22 Driving

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After we got home we plopped back into bed and didn’t emerge until dinnertime.  Apparently, apple picking takes a lot out of you ;)   A few other friends asked us to go apple picking with them this coming weekend and I’m very, very tempted.  I guess we’ll be eating apples for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and every meal in-between for the rest of fall!

Question:  What’s your favorite type of apple?

Question:  Corn mazes – yay or nay?  I’ve never been in one (at least that I can remember), but I’ve heard a lot of people don’t like them for a variety of reasons…  The smell, the thought of being “trapped” and never getting out, the maze closes before you finish…

— Allison

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