The Latest: Events and Updates

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  • A quiet Valentine’s Saturday

    Photo: A stream of golden cider flows from a bottle into a Willow Oaks glass.

    We’ll be open Saturday, February 11, noon-4pm. Bring a picnic lunch and find a cozy, quiet spot in our lovely tasting room. Or we can set up a spot by the fire pit.

    Photo: Seating area in the loft of the tasting barn, featuring armchairs, carpeting and a television.
    The Loft
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  • Musings from the barrel room

    Happy New Year and thank you to so many of you who visited last season. And a special thank you to those who helped with various orchard chores like pruning, picking, pressing, and bottling. It is soooo much more enjoyable with a little help from our friends!!!!

    We are well into Winter chores – The last of the fruit is pressed and beginning its 10-month fermentation journey in barrels. I can hear the bubbles of CO2 occasionally breaking the surface as the yeast beasties eat lunch on the sugar of the apples and pears. I am already looking forward to tasting the varietals and blends next fall to check on progress. The Black Twig and Pippin juices were particularly nice – rich, dark and sweet as we pumped them into the barrels. Maybe some of you would like to join us in the annual barrel tastings – more on that in a Spring musing.

    Clean-up and pruning has begun early due to more-gentle-than-usual January weather. The last orchard mowing allowed for checking for vole guards before the snows of February. Lori has been vanquishing honeysuckle and bittersweet from the blueberries and apples. Eric has been sawing and loping branches and suckers from pears, apples, and apricots to let in the sunshine. Friends Katie, Julian, and Carly got garlic in the ground. And we have been prepping the hoops for winter work and growing, from closing the tunnel ends to double-digging and top dressing the garden beds. We even are expanding our ever-bearing blackberries and strawberries in response to your requests for an increasingly adequate supply throughout the summer and fall.

    We have just started our first blueberry wine intended as an off-dry blueberry wine. So far, the fermentation is wonderful – rich and clean with a bit of residual sweetness. It should be finished for the Spring season since it does not benefit from long-aging.

    Next up for us is bottling!! We have a new Harley’s Keep ready as well as Hoppin-In and Juliet. More on that in next month’s Musing from the Barrel Room.

  • Local Wintertime Exhibits with Valley Craft Network

    Local Wintertime Exhibits with Valley Craft Network

    If you love local art as much as we do, there are two fabulous winter exhibits in our region to enjoy during these cold months!

    “pushing boundaries”

    A painting in 3 panels from the "Pushing Boundaries" exhibition.
    A painting from the “Pushing Boundaries” exhibition of the Valley Craft Network.

    From our friends at the Valley Craft Network:

    Kirke Martin is one of 10 featured artists taking part in the “Pushing Boundaries” exhibition at the Gaithersburg Arts Barn. The exhibit started January 13th and will be going on until March 5th with a special reception on February 26th from 2:30 – 4:oo pm.

    “Pushing Boundaries” Exhibition Info

    “when a tree falls”

    About the exhibition from the Valley Craft Network:

    The Valley Craft Network is excited to report that three of our talented members will be participants in the “When a Tree Falls” exhibition at the Delaplaine Arts Center in Frederick, MD this February. An artist’s talk will be held from 2 to 3 pm, with an opening reception following from 3 to 5 pm on February 4th. The exhibition runs through February 26 and is free to the public. Our participating members include Kesra Hoffman, Dan Rudy, and Dave Swiger.

    “When a Tree Falls” Information

    Here’s a taste of the exhibit:

    See you there!

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  • On the Year Past, Looking to 2023

    On the Year Past, Looking to 2023

    Beginning, with gratitude, for your generous support over the last year. Thank you, to all of you who enjoyed our cider, tried our dessert wines, or offered our produce and meats at your table. The smiles of enjoyment, and your kind words, make it a distinct pleasure to continue our works here.

    A fluffy brown and white cow appears to pose for the camera on a silvery-grey winter day in Maryland.
    A cow on Country Pleasures Farm poses for Lori’s camera, January 2023

    Our tasting room will be open by appointment only January-March. You can order for curbside pick-up anytime. There is quite a drop off in visitors during inclement weather. It seems that most people don’t want to go out for drives in the country, up icy or muddy gravel lanes, in the cold and wet. So, we take this opportunity to catch up on some tasks, and visit with family and friends.

    Eric, hard at work on end-of-year administrivia

    Farming is always a fickle endeavor. Organic orcharding adds its own challenges. There are parts of running a business that are even less fun than your run-of-the-mill farming frustrations, keeping up with record keeping, tax filings, organic certification inspections, and navigating the world of digital demands.

    Eric and Lori both have off-farm jobs. Our time in the orchard and barrel room are a balm for our busy brains. The administrivia, not so much. Our wonderful little webhosting platform was purchased by “Deluxe.” You know, the check people. Apparently, they do some hosting, albeit quite badly. What had been an easy, intuitive, task; maintaining, and updating a fairly simple set of websites, turned into a many months long, maddening saga.

    We were finally rescued by the most wonderful “Webbed Presence.” They built us our lovely new website, integrating our farm, and winery information. All about us, in one website. Please let us know what you think!

    We will be adding some special events and classes to our 2023 schedule. Workshops on caring for fruit trees, growing figs, and how about adding some berries to your backyard garden? Look for information on the website, and keep in touch on Facebook and Instagram.

    Cheers to a healthy, and joyful 2023
    ~Lori & Eric

  • Winter Hours

    Winter Hours

    Closed until January, except for online orders for curbside pick-up.

    January through March, we’re open by appointment. We’d love to have you — connect with us by phone or email in advance to set up your visit.

    curbside pick-up anytime!

    Place your order online for curbside service.

    We return to regular hours in April, 2023. To stay updated on our events for 2023, be sure follow us on Instagram, keep tabs on this website, or ask to join our email list. See you soon!