Community Spotlight: Starting To Feel That Holiday Spirit

After closing the Fall Festival gates, Cox Farms gets the Corner Market ready for Christmas trees and treats, and special visits from Santa. We are grateful for the holiday season, especially for the time we get to spend with family and friends – and chances to see our customers, of course!

Like many families throughout the region, Cox Farms also takes time to reflect on the year and all we have to be thankful for. We think of families in the area going through difficult times, and we do what we can to support our community.

Throughout the year, and as part of our Community Support programming, Cox Farms partners with Northern Virginia Family Services (NVFS), a non-profit community service organization “dedicated to helping individuals and families find new paths to self-reliance and brighter futures.” During this past summer, for example, Cox Farms provided approximately 2,000 pounds of fresh produce to NVFS. Often, fresh summer fruits and vegetables are expensive, which makes them harder to afford.  And, because produce is perishable, it is often omitted from food assistance programs in favor or non-perishable food items, like canned goods. Cox Farms worked in conjunction with NVFS’s local campus, called SERVE, to provide weekly boxed produce, which were distributed through the food assistance program at the SERVE campus.  As a result, dozens of families in our community were able to share local and nutritious produce.

Summer Peaches at Cox Farms

Summer peaches at Cox Farms were contributed to Northern Virginia Family Service, along with other fresh fruits and vegetables in 2012.

We look forward to again supporting NVFS’s SERVE this December.  For the second year, in lieu of tips, our Christmas tree team at the Corner Market will accept donations to provide holiday gifts for the children residing in the SERVE shelter and other local families in need of support.

Cox Farms looks forward to seeing everyone this season at the Corner Market, and we join you all in the holiday spirit of gratitude and community.

If you are interested in learning more about the programming of NVFS, or ways to support NVFS, visit www.nvfs.org.

See you soon!

 

Bunnington, DC: This Place Is Hoppin’!

-By Kym Sunday, a Cox Farms Farmhand

The rascally rabbits at Cox Farms kept us on our toes this year! They loved digging through everything and, despite our efforts to keep them safe inside their home in Bunnington, DC, some of them have managed to dig themselves out of their little city and out onto the farm! Not the ideal place for them as domestic rabbits cannot survive in the wild, but rest assured we are doing our best to track them down and return them to safety!

Contrary to popular belief, rabbits are not rodents. They are lagomorphs, as are hares but a rabbit is not a hare. Hares are much larger, have longer ears, longer legs and their babies are ready to fend for themselves an hour after birth. Rabbits have good eyesight and can see almost 360 degrees around itself, except directly in front of it’s head.

A male rabbit is called a buck, a female is called a doe, and a baby is called a kitten or kit.  Kits are born hairless and are blind for about two weeks after birth. They rely on their moms to take care of them for about 8 weeks, when they are weaned. Does only feed their kits about 5 minutes a day. With a gestation period of about 30 days, a doe can have up to 8 litters per year with an average of 6 kits per litter. The record for the largest litter is 24!  Rabbits are often called bunnies, or as I like to call them, buns.

A bun’s body language will tell you a lot about how they are feeling. The average heart rate of a rabbit ranges between 130-325 beats per minute. In comparison, a dog’s is 60 – 100 beats per minute. The faster the heart rate, the more worried a bun is.  It’s nose seems to twitch a mile a minute, too! This is a bun’s way of gathering information about it’s surroundings, including about you. Fast twitching means that a bun is stressed, hot or just interested in something (like the food you are about to feed him!). Slow twitching means a bun is relaxed. If you find a bun lying on his side or belly with his back legs stretched out behind him, you can be assured that he is just chillin’. A bun’s ears will move independently in multiple directions to keep tabs on what’s going on around them.  Thumping a leg generally means there is danger or that a bun is upset with you.

Most people think rabbits don’t make any noise, but did you know that rabbits can talk? Content rabbits sometimes purr softly, slowly grind their teeth, or make soft clicking noises.  Buns who feel aggressive may grunt or growl. Loud tooth grinding may mean that they are scared, angry or in pain. If a rabbit screams it means that they are in extreme pain or terrified. Hopefully you will never hear a rabbit scream.

Rabbits love to chew!  In fact, they NEED to chew. They have 28 teeth that never stop growing – their teeth can grow up to 5 inches per year! Chewing keeps them from outgrowing their tiny mouths. That is why it is important to give them an unlimited supply of fresh hay (timothy hay is the best!) and fun things to chew on like untreated wood blocks, paper towel rolls, rabbit toys and small boxes.

The rabbits that live in Bunnington, DC are all female and come from a rabbit rescue in Winchester, VA. We have two sweet males housed elsewhere. They are all mixed breeds that will be available for adoption at the end of the festival. If you are interested in keeping a bunny as a pet, here are some things to consider:

  •  Do you have a place to house one? They can be kept indoors or outdoors, but indoors is best. The minimum recommended cage size is 4′ x 2′ x 2′ with access to a large exercise area. You shouldn’t just let them roam your house unsupervised as they will chew through electrical wires and destroy your wood furniture.
  • Rabbits only sweat on the bottoms of their feet. That is not enough to cool a bun on a hot day. If you keep your rabbit outdoors, make sure he has a lot of shade and add a frozen water bottle (a 1 or 2 liter soda bottle is ideal) to his cage so he can lay against it and cool down. Better yet, move him inside!
  • You should spay or neuter your rabbit as you would a cat. This results in a healthier and calmer pet who won’t be marking his territory all over your house.
  • Most rabbits live 6-8 years. Can you take care of it for that long? 
  • Rabbits need specialized, but varied food. This translates to unlimited amounts of Timothy hay (a must), pellets that are primarily made up of timothy hay (no “extras” in the mix), green veggies like romaine lettuce (no iceberg!), basil, bok choy, broccoli leaves, kale, dandelion leaves, etc., occasional treats like carrots, apple slices (no seeds), banana slices, and strawberries. Rabbits also need unlimited drinking water, either in a bowl that they cannot overturn or from a water bottle.
  • Rabbits are easy to litter train and their droppings make great garden fertilizer. They eat their night droppings called caecotrophs.
 These differ from the dry little balls that they constantly drop. They are sticky droppings that are usually eaten directly from their bottoms and they are full of important nutrients like protein.
  • Rabbits are very tame, but they have strong hind legs and a weak back that can break easily. Small children should not be allowed to handle them unsupervised.   It is best to have children interact with them at ground level. They can be taught commands and to play games. They tend to be most active when their people are home.
  • Rabbits can jump up to 36 inches or higher.

Other Interesting Facts About Rabbits:

  • There are about 50 different rabbit breeds worldwide.
  • More than half of rabbits in the world live in North America.
  • Rabbits are the 3rd most popular pet in the UK, behind cats and dogs.
  • Hundreds of years ago, people released rabbits on deserted islands in hopes of giving shipwrecked sailors a food source.

Famous Rabbits:

  • Easter Bunny!  Originated in Germany in the 13th century.
  • Buggs Bunny – Elmer Fudd’s Tormenter
  • White Rabbit – Alice chased him down the rabbit hole (to find out what he was going to be late for) and ended up in Wonderland.
  • Trix Rabbit – Always after sugary cereal that is “just for kids”
  • Roger Rabbit – Framed for murder.
  • Peter Rabbit – Lost his clothes in Mr. McGregor’s Garden
  • Rabbit – Pooh’s worrywart friend.
  • Energizer Bunny – this one keeps going and going and going…

Thanks for visiting our rabbits this year at Bunnington, DC!  Cox Farms buns can’t wait to see you again, next year!

A Perfect Pour: Manning The Cider Station With Tim at Cox Farms

By Paige Long, A Cox Farms’ Farmhand

What position do you hold at Fall Festival?
I work at the Apple Cider Station. 

Tim, a proud Cox Farms Farmhand

What is it like to work in your position?
Every day I come to work and fill up four 10 gallon containers of cider and make sure they never run too low.  I also make sure all the apple crates are full of good-looking, presentable apples, and answer any questions about the cider or apples themselves.

What motivated you to apply to work at the Fall Festival?
I had been looking for a job all summer, specifically one in the great outdoors where I could move around and be active, but I couldn’t find one.  One of my really good friends is actually the cousin of a manager here, and when she said Cox Farms needed staff, I decided to apply!

What’s your favorite thing to eat on the farm?
I love the funnel cakes!  Although I haven’t had an entire funnel cake, I have tried one and it was perfect.

What is your favorite memory of working at Cox Farms?
To be completely honest, I haven’t had a best experience because every day at the farm is a great day.

What is something a Cox Farms customer MUST do before leaving the farm?
Try some of the best apple cider ever!

There you have it!  Tim, and all of us at Cox Farms, look forward to seeing you next year!

Behind the Scenes With Connor, A Fields of Fear Scaretician

-By Paige Long, a Cox Farms Farmhand

What position do you hold at Fields of Fear?
I am a proud part of the Cornightmare acting team!

What is it like to work in your position?
It’s nice to work in my position. . . I come out from my hiding spot, make my approach, and yell as loud as I can.

What motivated you to apply to work at Cox Farms’ Fields of Fear?
I had nothing to do over the fall season, and I wanted an activity where I’d have some fun.


What has been your best memory of working at Fields of Fear so far?
I once made a grown man scream higher than I could ever imagine.  That’s a memory that always sticks out in my mind! 

Connor – a 2012 Fields of Fear Scaretician

What is your favorite part about working at Fields of Fear?
My favorite part of work is the great people I am privileged to work with! And getting paid is a bonus!

You were recently declared Best Cornundrum Scare of the Night.  What are you doing to celebrate (Connor was rewarded with a few extra bucks)?
My bonus has gone nowhere as of right now.  My pocket is and will be its home, at least until I figure out what I’d like to do with it!