MEET A COX FARMER! Q AND A WITH NATHANIEL

IMG_3681You’d have to search far and wide to find anyone who doesn’t adore Nathaniel. He’s hardworking, polite, smart, energetic and just happens to have the most infectious smile you’ve ever seen!

Q: How many Fall Festivals have you worked?

A: Two, 2016 will be my third. I’ve also worked winter and I’m working this summer at the Corner Market.

Q: Where do you go to school?

A: Freedom High School

Q: Do you participate in any extracurricular activities?

A: I manage the basketball team at my high school.

Q: What is your main job during the Fall Festival?

A: I’m an Animal Helper. I get to help take care of the smaller animals-rabbits, ducks, chicks and chickens. I really like talking to the customers about the animals. The rabbits are my favorite. The first year I worked I adopted a rabbit from the Fall Festival and she, Georgia, lives in my house.

Q: Why did you decide to work at Cox Farms?

A: Honestly, I was 14 and really wanted to work but there aren’t many places that hire 14 year olds! It was a great first job and that’s why I’m still here. They really instill responsibility and intiative while keeping it all fun.

Q: What’s your favorite Fall Festival food?

A: Easy-NACHOS!

Q: Do you have a favorite Fall Festival memory?

A: Getting a Green Card last year. (A Green Card is given as a reward to an employee who has gone above and beyond expectation. The card gives you $10 to spend in the Fall Festival Market. It’s a big deal.)

Q: What is your favorite movie?

A: “13 Hours”

Q: What do you like to do on a day off?

A: I like to play soccer, go paintballing and play Pokemon GO, of course.

Q: Favorite vacation spot?

A: Anywhere in the Carribean!

Thanks, Smiley! Keep making us smile! Only 45 days to go until Fall Festival 2016! http://www.workingatcoxfarms.com/

MEET A COX FARMER-Q AND A WITH JENNY!

Meet Jenny, diligent plant-waterer and enthusiastic donut cook! She’s a ray of sunshine, and there’s nothing she can’t or won’t do. Bubbly and outgoing, she’ll help make your visit to the Fall Festival spectacular!IMG_2741Q: How many Fall Festivals have you worked?

A: 2016 will be my 4th. I’ve also worked a few winter, spring and summer seasons.

Q: Why did you decide to work at Cox Farms?

A: One of my sons had worked here and I had brought my kids here for years. It’s close to  home, outside, flexible hours and a great job for a mom!

Q: Favorite things at the Fall Festival?

A: The kids, the animals and the food-especially the Rueben Dog!

Q: Hometown?

A: Springfield, Virginia

Q: Family?

A: I have 5 kids and I’ve been married for 25 years.

Q: Any hidden talents?

A: You should hear me do bird calls!

Q: Do you have pets at home?

A: Dachshunds, lizards, and ducks. We had one duckling named Winston and he was very attached to us. When we released him and his siblings into a pond near to our house, Winston kept coming back. So sweet.

Q: Do you have any fears or phobias?

A: Any body of water that I can’t see through to the bottom! And spiders.

Q: Favorite Fall Festival memory?

A: Making the very first apple cider donuts at Cox Farms with co-worker Jeremy!

We love you, Jenny! Don’t forget- our first Employment Open House is July 24th from 1-3. Details: Working at Cox Farms. Hope to see you there!

 

We’re Having a Heatwave!

2016-07-06 14.15.30When the “feels like” temperature reaches above 90 or 100, like it has this week, we urge our employees to drink plenty of water and we supply them with free popsicles to keep them cool. We also make sure that our animals get the same treatment. Animal popsicles and fans to the rescue! They all get the royal treatment! Animals can become stressed in extreme heat and they don’t all have sweat glands like we do. Freezing their favorite snacks in water not only keeps them entertained, it also keeps them hydrated. The chickens and rabbits love herbs and fruit combinations and the angora goats thoroughly enjoy cabbage and peach popsicles.

IMG_2517 Our sheep really appreciate their industrial-size fan that gives them a breeze on a sweltering day. And there’s nothing better than a cool foot bath as far as Equinox, our alpaca, is considered!

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Check out our chickens discovering their first popsicle! The first chicken just jumps right on it while the others are a little more tentative but in the end, they loved their frozen snack: Chickens and Popsicles

Stay cool out there, it’s going to be another hot week!

AROUND AND AROUND WE GO…

IMG_1313…and where we stop, nobody knows for sure, but we’re getting the hang of it!

Corner Market 2012 Taste of SummerIt all began in April 2015 – a roundabout was to be constructed at the corner of Braddock Road and Pleasant Valley Road, the heart and soul intersection in front of the Corner Market at Cox Farms. The roundabout would take the place of the 4-way stop sign that had existed for years and would, hopefully, relieve the traffic backups that have frustrated drivers for years.

To get a better idea of what this meant on the Cox Farms side of the road, I sat down with farm resident and manager Sam Fairl.

The first challenge was preparing for Christmas at the Corner Market 2015. There was little downtime between the end of the Fall Festival and the Christmas season. The tree lot would be much smaller due to the construction and every aspect had to be reconsidered or reworked.  Water and electricity, for example, would lead to the digging of 300 feet of trench to get us up and running.

The most challenging moment, according to Sam, happened a few days before the Christmas season. Our main water pipe was broken during construction and Sam and his crew had 20 minutes to repair the pipe or it would be encased in cement!

The next most challenging moment was this: MOVING DAY!

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Moving this barn a bit west from its original location was a daunting task. According to Sam, a former Cox Farmer by the name of Matt Gibbons built this barn at the corner and had the forethought to make it in such a way that is was somewhat move-friendly. It’s all about sustainability! Construction contractors aided with the move using an excavator, a crane, chains and hooks.  It was nerve-wracking for all involved. After the relocation was successful, how did Sam celebrate? “With a burrito and some Chunky Monkey ice cream.”

Now that the barn is settled on solid ground, it’s time to get ready for spring. I asked Sam for his opinion on the traffic flow and he had a very positive outlook.  “It’s already working, the traffic issue will be better.” Woo hoo!

IMG_1317There is still plenty of work to do but come Thursday, April 21st, the Corner Market will be opening for spring with all your favorite things – plants, herbs, veggies, hanging baskets and combo pots galore!

 

 

MEET A COX FARMER – Q&A with ROSIE, THE BBQ QUEEN!

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Rosie and her smoker. It’s her favorite piece of Fall Festival kitchen equipment, as it should be! Customers rave about our pulled pork and chicken BBQ as well as Rosie’s homemade vinegar sauce. It’s delish!

Q: When did you start working at Cox Farms?

A: Oh my gosh! In 2001!

Q: Job title?

A: That depends on the season, I’m a manager in the spring and winter but in the fall I am the Food Captain.

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Q: Where did you go to high school?

A: Woodbridge HS

Q: Family?

A: I’ve been married for almost 24 years and have two kids in college.

Q: Do you have any hidden talents?

A: I can cut hair and I’m pretty accomplished at training my cats to do tricks.

Q: What’s your favorite TV show?

A: Reality shows – Survivor, The Amazing Race, etc.

Q: Do you have a guilty pleasure?

A: Going to bed early if I want to.

Q: How do you spend your day off?

A: Canning pickles and tomatoes, working in my garden and cooking!

Q: Name one place you’ve never been but you’d like to visit.

A: Palau in the Western Pacific Ocean.

Q: Since you work all the seasons at Cox Farms, which one is your favorite?

A: Christmas! The smell of the trees and wreaths, the lights, Santa and our firepit…Love it!

Q: What’s new in food at the 2015 Fall Festival?

A: We now make our own seasoning rubs for our BBQ pork and chicken. And we’ve added more donut machines! More cider donuts!

Q: What is your favorite part of the Fall Festival?

A: Honestly? It’s seeing our employees grow and meet their potential. Whether it’s a teenager or a retired person, it’s just great to see them shine!

Thanks, Rosie! I personally look forward to a gourmet rueben hot dog this weekend! You are a huge reason that this is the best Fall Festival ever!

 

MEET A COX FARMER – Q&A WITH CAMERON

Remember the scene from “The Wizard of OZ” when Toto pulls back the curtain and exposes the “real” wizard who is making all the sound, lighting and visual effects? The famous line that’s spoken, “Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain!”? That’s our Cameron-the mastermind behind all our tech “stuff”! You may have even seen him whizzing by you on his bike on the festival grounds, his favorite mode of transportation.

CAMERON

 

Q: How long have you been at Cox Farms?

A: 2015 will be my 8th Fall Festival.

Q: What is your actual job title?

A: I’m the Technology Manager.

Q: What do you like to do on your day off?

A: That depends on the season. During the fall it’s binge-watching something on Netflix but the rest of the year I like to go hiking and camping.

Q: Where did you grow up?

A: I was born in Utah but went to high school in Vienna.

Q: Pet peeve?

A: Noodles that are not cooked “al dente”.

Q: Do you have a favorite meal?

A: It’s an African dish called “Fufu”, you dip corn balls into a peanut sauce. We ate it a lot when I was growing up.

Q: Name a place you’ve never been but hope to see.

A: Antartica

Q: What was your biggest challenge for this year’s Fall Festival?

A: The Forest – Imaginature Trail during the day/The Forest: Back 40 during Fields of Fear. So many props, so much technology/special effects, things we’ve never done before. It’s really cool.

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Q: What do you love the most about the Fall Festival?

A: Being outside, on my bike and seeing all the kids having fun.

Thanks, Cameron! We’re very appreciative of our man behind the curtain!

 

MEET A COX FARMER – Q&A WITH SUNSHINE!

SunshineWe’ve never known anybody so aptly named. Sunshine is a pint-sized human full of enthusiasm, perkiness and smarts all rolled into one! Of course, the first question has to be about her name!

Q: Is “Sunshine” your real name or a nickname?

A: It is my real name, my middle name. My mom had 4 kids in 4 years. Eight years later she had me and it was shortly after her own mother passed away. My mom named me Maria Sunshine because sunshine=happiness.

Q: How long have you been a Cox Farmer?

A: I started in 1993. Took a few Fall Festivals off when I was busy with babies, like 2007-2008.

Q: What is your job title and description?

A: I’m the Fall Festival Retail Market Manager and buyer.

Q: Where did you go to high school?

A: Centreville HS – I’m a Wildcat!

Q: If you weren’t working at Cox Farms, where do you think you’d be?

A: At home with my four boys, for sure!

Q: Favorite current song?

A: “My Way” by Fetty Wap

Q: Do you have any hidden talents?

A: Does touching my nose with my tongue count?

Q: Any pet peeves?

A: Complaining!

Q: What’s your favorite thing to eat at the Fall Festival?

A: Easy – a bacon-wrapped hot dog!

Q: Anything new to the Fall Festival Market this year?

A: We’ve moved our cashiers out of the market and into these little cottages which means 700 sq. feet of extra retail space! One of our new retail items is this slap bracelet!

Slap bracelet

 

Q: Best Fall Festival memory?  You must have a slew of them!

A: Meeting my husband here in 2002. You can’t top that!

Thank you, Sunshine! We can’t wait to see you in the market during Fall Festival and Fields of Fear. You brighten our day!

MEET A COX FARMER-Q&A with JEREMY W.

Cupcake JeremyToday we are getting to know another Cox Farmer and if by some small chance you don’t recognize him immediately, we know you are a big fan of his work! Although Jeremy works all the seasons at Cox Farms, he is probably best know for bringing those scrumptious cider donuts to life at the Fall Festival!

cider donuts

Q: So Jeremy-how many years have you worked at Cox Farms?

A: 5, this will upcoming Fall Festival will be my 6th.

Q: Do you have a nickname? If so, please explain.

A: “Cupcake Jeremy”. A coworker gave me the name because cupcakes are one of my baking specialties and I often bring them to work to share.

Q: Favorite thing to do on your day off?

A: Gardening and baking. I also like watching documentaries with friends. We call them “docuparties” and we bake and decorate cookies that go with the theme of the documentary.

Q: Favorite TV show?

A: “Doctor Who” 

Q: Do you have any pet peeves?

A: People who don’t enjoy the moment.

Q: If you could only make dinner with one person who would it be?

A: Cooking in and of itself is a journey of learning, creativity and expression. Sharing that opportunity with anyone is an opportunity your should never refuse. That being said and if I can only pick one; Batman.

Q: Name one place that you’d like to visit and have never been?

A: Mars

Q: What was your first job and worst job?

A: My first job was delivering a free local newspaper. Sometimes people didn’t want it so they’d throw it back at me.

Q: I hope that was your first and worst job!  Something worse than that?

A: The worst was spending a couple of days as a replacement window telemarketer. It wasn’t worth it. Hence why I only did it for a couple days.

Q: What’s your favorite Fall Festival food and cider donuts don’t count!

A: The grilled cheese sandwich.

Q: Favorite memory from any Fall Festival?

A: Smashing pumpkins from the hi-lift during Pumpkin Madness weekend.

Q: Who is your favorite coworker? No pressure!

A: That’s easy. It’s our farm cat, Black and White. She’s happy to see me every morning.

For the record, we are all happy to see Cupcake Jeremy every morning – even when he doesn’t bring us cupcakes. Thanks, Jeremy!

 

 

 

MEET A COX FARMER!

IMG_9299You all recognize us at the Fall Festival by our “fashionable” red smocks and our smiles, but you probably don’t really get to know the employee behind the smock. Just like our customers, Cox Farmers have interesting talents, tastes and lives… some of us are downright fascinating!

Today I sat down with “Farmer Rick” Sickmen for a little Q&A. If you’ve been to the Fall Festival during the week, you’ve probably seen him at The Milking Show with his partner, Janet, or on the weekends when he often rocks the main stage with “The Rick Sickmen Band”.

Q: You wear many hats at Cox Farms. How would you describe your job?

A: Well, that depends on the day. There’s Farmer Rick, the entertainer that does The Milking Show during the Fall Festival, there’s Rick the musician that plays and sings with the band and I’m also a mechanic, a gardener/landscaper and cow lover.

Q: How many years have you worked at Cox Farms?

A: This year will be my sixth Fall Festival.

Q: Married with children?

A: I’ve been married for 37 years, 4 kids, 7 grandkids.

Q: What do you like to do on your day off?

A: Work in my yard and think. I also like to write stories and music.

rick sQ: How long have you been making music?

A: I’ve had bands as long as I can remember.  When I was 9 I played my guitar at recess to impress the girls. I played “Johnny B. Goode” on WDON, a radio station in Woodbridge, Virginia when I was 10 years old. I had to stand on a box to reach the mic.

Q: Any hidden talents?

A: Cooking. Especially Italian and seafood.

Q: Favorite movie and song?

A: “Good Fellas” is my favorite movie. Song – “Into the Mystic” by Van Morrison.

Q: What’s your favorite part of the Fall Festival?

A: Singing and playing with the kids.

Q: What is it about cows that you love so much?

A: I think of them as big puppy dogs. I’ll never forget the time when one of them jumped right through the opening in the back of the stage at The Milking Show and onto a small roof outside of it, then jumped right back through.  Big puppy dog.

Thanks, Rick!  We look forward to seeing you at the 2015 Fall Festival!  Only 30 more days!

 

 

You Say Tomato, I Say Tomato Sauce!

IMG_6792Imagine the possiblities…Tomatoes are in abundance right now and we need to savor them at their peak flavor.  As late summer and early fall turn into winter, fresh, ripe, locally grown tomatoes are something that we will all dream about until the next summer.  That’s a sad state of affairs, unless you learn how to make those tomatoes to comfort you throughout the winter.  One sure fire way is to make homemade tomato sauce.  It’s not as intimadating as it sounds.  What a delight to know that you have homemade tomato sauce in your freezer in the middle of those cold months!

It’s not difficult to make tomato sauce but you’ll have to commit to a few hours of your time for the cause.  Most recipes will call for Roma or San Marzano tomatoes, but any meaty tomato will work and your sauce will be just as delish!

Here’s a Tomato Sauce recipe for you to try and the timing could not be better – our tomatoes are now available for $29 a box!  Come grab a box at the Corner Market, the possibilities are endless!  We are open daily until 7 daily.