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Posted 7/31/2015 10:15am by Cheryl Ferguson.

Hello Farm Friends!  Happy Friday!

Okay.  We give in!  There's been something tugging at us for the past few weeks.  The heat and the humidity have taken their toll (the RealFeel heat index was 107 degrees yesterday).  As Alex Hitt, a fellow farmer from Chatham County, said "you can see the fatigue in the eyes of most of the farmers at market now and we are no different."  Yep, we're pooped and we need a break!  So that's exactly what we are going to do -- it's not a vacation but it will be a "pause."

So here's the deal:  we are taking a break from markets for the next two weeks.  Our crops say they are not ready for prime time so we will listen to them.  We will not be at Cobblestone Farmers Market tomorrow (8/1) or next Saturday (8/8) and we will not be at King Farmers Market on 8/5 or 8/12.

Despite the market pause, we will be doing lots of things around the farm to get it (and us) ready for the busy fall season.  There are fields to ready, plants and seeds to plant, berries to tend, equipment to maintain and our annual Organic Systems Plan to submit.  But it will be different.  We will be a bit more on our schedule and not be driven by market preparation and market days.  It will actually be a break!  Expect to see more cheerful, less stressed and rested farmers when you see us next at market on August 15!

Other Farm Doings

There has been a lot of activity in the fields this week!  We are closing in on getting the tomatoes cleared and giving them some breathing room.  We're getting them all ready for the Winston-Salem Journal's Tomato Tasting next Friday, August 7!

Red Pearl tomatoes in the field      Lollipop tomatoes

The Shishito and chile peppers are coming along nicely!  Roaster time soon!

Shishito pepper plant    Joe E. Parket chile

We are also working on keeping the weeds in check BEFORE they take over.  We have been hoeing the okra, sweet potatoes & beans as well as flame weeding.  But to get the weeds on the side of the beds and in the aisles, a tractor does a good job.  Here's Chris doing some cultivating with the Cub in Flat Shoals.

Chris cultivating Flat Shoals field with the Cub 

And remember the sunflowers that the kids planted during the Farm Tour?  Take a look now -- it's amazing that they are this big at just 3 weeks!

3 week-old Sunflower plants

A Farewell...

We are sad to say goodbye to our terrific employee, Jen Garrison.  Jen started with us in June 2011 and has been a key asset in the 5 seasons that she worked with us.  She has been so many things -- field hand, jam maker, garlic braider, sign maker, idea generator, cheerleader, foodie and most of all, friend.  We'll miss you Jen as you head off to your new job in your new town!  There's always a place for you here!

Jen harvesting turmeric

Market Updates

Don't forget -- we'll be missing markets for the next two weeks but we'll be back at Cobblestone Farmers Market at Old Salem on Saturday, August 15 and King Farmers Market at the YMCA on Wednesday, August 19!

 

Blue Moon

Take a look in the sky tonight for that rare Blue Moon -- the 2nd full moon of the month.

Moon over the fields on July 30

 

Stay cool and hydrated!

Until next week,

Cheryl & Ray 

Posted 7/24/2015 9:10am by Cheryl Ferguson.

Hello Farm Friends!  Happy Friday!

I think they call it "Summer Slump" -- that point in mid-summer when the plants seem to be giving up, the weeds are doing their happy dance, and the farmers are just plain tired.  Yep -- sounds like the state of things here at Plum Granny Farm!

It's hard after you get through the rush of an amazing blackberry season, a phenomenal farm tour and great garlic harvest.  There's always a bit of a let-down.  But we have to keep on moving forward!  So what do farmers do when the slump hits?  Plant more things!!  (well, we would LIKE to go to the Outer Banks.... but since we can't.....)

Yes, we have been busy planting!  The okra and sweet potatoes that we got in the ground last week look amazing and the beans -- Wow!  Just take a look! I keep wondering if the beans were planted by Jack.

Newly planted green beans  Flat Shoals field with beans & sweet potatoes

We've also been busy seeding in the greenhouse -- kale, swiss chard, lettuces, kohlrabi, brussels sprouts, pak choy, tat soi and even pansies and johnny jump-up violas! A preview of things to come.

With a newly planted field, now is the best time to get the weeds under control.  We use our flame weeder for a lot of these tasks -- we were able to knock down any of the weeds in the beans the day before the plants emerged!  It's all about timing!  Here's Chris demonstrating his skill with the flamer!

Chris flame weeding Flat Shoals

We continue to plant more strawberry tips for our 2016 crop -- we need about 3,500 plants so we can expand our strawberry field and have plants for sale this fall.  Another group of youth from the Leadership In Training program at YMCA Camp Hanes visited yesterday as part of their week of community service activities.  They helped us get more plants out of the field and into trays!  Thanks so much for your help, Campers!

LIT youth in strawberries  LIT youth planting strawberry tips    Counselors Alex & Addie plant their strawberries  Camp Hanes LIT group shot

Other Farm Doings

Potato harvest has begun!  Those delicious little packages of yummy potato-iness will show up on our table at market this week.  Here's Ray bushhogging the field to get ready for the harvest.

Ray and the bushhog in potatoes

We also got up the shade structure on the east side of the greenhouse to give some relief to the turmeric and rhubarb.  I think the plants are happier already!

Shadecloth off the greenhouse   

Market Updates

Find us under the purple tent at Cobblestone Farmers Market at Old Salem (Saturday, 9-noon) and King Farmers Market at the YMCA (Wednesday, 11-1). We will have the first of our potatoes!  We'll have LaRatte fingerlings as well as a new potato to us, Binjte.  These heirloom potatoes are of Dutch origin but also widely cultivated in Belgium, the country that insists it invented frites.  We tried an early batch and are happy to report they are excellent!

We'll also have cured garlic -- Inchelium Red, Music, Chesnok and Lorz Italian.  There will be lots of French Red Shallots, Tomato Fruit Boxes, Cabbage (Caraflex - a European favorite), Swiss Chard and artichokes -- all Certified Organic!  And back by popular demand -- we'll also be sampling Yam's Jam Sweet Potato Cheesecake and will have special pricing on Yam's Jam Sweet Potato Butter. 

We are happy to hold an item for you -- just let us know no later than 9 p.m. the day before market (Friday evening or Tuesday evening).

Tomorrow is Culinarians Day -- a special day for anyone who cooks. You don't have to be a chef, or a graduate of a culinary institute to celebrate this delicious day. You simply have to cook and enjoy the results - and we know that applies to all of you!  And thanks for using local and Organic produce in those dishes!

Until next week,

Cheryl & Ray 

Posted 7/17/2015 8:57am by Cheryl Ferguson.

Hello Farm Friends!  Happy Friday!

WOW!  You blew us away!

The response to the Northern Triad Farm Tour on Sunday was absolutely astounding!  More than 300 visitors came to our farm during the tour!  Folks of all ages and from all over the Piedmont came out to see our farm and the 4 others participating in the event.  Billions of blackberries headed home with guest, snowcones were slurped, sunflowers were planted and tours - both hayride and walking -- went on nonstop!  We couldn't have pulled off this effort without the stellar volunteer work of our wonderful farm friends:  Annette Helsabeck (market tent), Sandy & Orville Woodard (Welcome tent), Kirsten Dowell (snowcone queen), Lisa Menafee and Andy Cromer (turmeric & ginger demo and sunflower planting), Jen Garrison (hay ride master & sign-maker extraordinaire), and Bill & Jeanne Talich (fantastic photography).  We owe a HUGE debt of thanks to these wonderful friends!

Let's let Bill's pictures show you a bit of the day's events:

Picking blackberries  Three baskets full  Lisa talking about tomatoes  Jen leading the tractor-hayride tourTasty snowcone  Plant marker for kid's sunflower garden

As you can see, it was a lot of fun!  The Stokes News did a very nice story on the tour and all of the farms featured -- thanks to reporter Diane Blakemore for covering the event! 

Thanks to all of you who visited and we hope you'll come back!  There is talk of another farm tour in the fall.

Other Farm Doings

It did take us a while to recover from the weekend but once we did, we got back into gear planting some fall crops.  The former garlic field is now filling up with okra, sweet potatoes, green beans, pumpkins and winter squash!  Matt, Chris & Ray readied the field earlier in the week by shaping beds and laying drip tape and yesterday we got to planting.  Check it out!

Ballet for two tractors - putting in irrigation line  Annette, Chris & Cheryl after planting  Ray covering the beans

Market Updates

Find us under the purple tent at Cobblestone Farmers Market at Old Salem (Saturday, 9-noon) and King Farmers Market at the YMCA (Wednesday, 11-1). We will have the first of our cured garlic -- Inchelium Red, Music and Lorz Italian!  There will be lots of French Red Shallots, Tomatoes, Cabbage (Caraflex - a European favorite), Swiss Chard and Blackberries (VERY FEW this week) -- all Certified Organic!  We will also be sampling Yam's Jam Sweet Potato Cheesecake and will have special pricing on Yam's Jam Sweet Potato Butter. 

We are happy to hold an item for you -- just let us know no later than 9 p.m. the day before market (Friday evening or Tuesday evening).

Sunday is National Ice Cream Day!  I'll bet gelato or sorbet count too.  Ciska at Cafe Gelato made a killer black raspberry sorbet from our black raspberries -- check out her cart at Cobblestone or her store on Reynolda Road!

Cafe Gelato black raspberry sorbet

Until next week,

Cheryl & Ray 

Posted 7/10/2015 8:19am by Cheryl Ferguson.

Hello Farm Friends!  Happy Friday!

It's Blackberry Summer here at the farm!  Blackberries, blackberries, BLACKBERRIES!!  Our Triple Crown berries are really outdoing themselves this year - both in terms of production and flavor.  Lots of people are getting their first taste of a REAL blackberry -- sweet, juicy and amazing -- and they keep coming back for more!  We'll have lots of berries at market this week and will be hosting another Pick-Your-Own on Sunday with our farm tour (more info below).

Last Sunday's PYO was terrific -- nearly 20 parties picked 110 pounds of fruit!  And pickers ranged in age from about 18 months to well, we won't say!  Check out these cuties before they got to taste the berries -- they were a bit more purple after being in the field!

Cute kids at pick your own blackberry day

We have been getting things done around here in addition to blackberries.  The peppers and tomatillos went into the field (better late than never!) and we got work done on the ginger and turmeric.  The garlic field has been cleared, disked and fertilized and is almost ready for the sweet potatoes, okra, pumpkins and winter squash.

Chris checking Ray's dibbling for peppers

We had some help with a few of the tasks on Wednesday when a group of youth from the YMCA Camp Hanes' Leadership-in-Training (LIT) program visited the farm.  They helped fertilize and hill the ginger and turmeric in the greenhouse and moved some of the turmeric to its new outside home (thanks Matt & Chris for leading this task!).  They also harvested strawberry tips and planted them in seed trays (the beginning of the 2016 strawberry crop!).  Oh, and they also got to pick some....BLACKBERRIES to take back to camp!  Thanks so much to Alex, Addie and the LIT crew for including us in your adventures!

Planting strawberry tips    LIT campers with their handiwork

Farm Tour!!

One of our big tasks this week is to get ready for Sunday's Northern Triad Farm Tour.  The farm is far from perfectly manicured and lush but visitors will still get a chance to see what an organic, working farm is like in the middle of summer -- a bit weedy, dry and in-between crops but there will still be lots to see -- like BLACKBERRIES!  We'll be doing both walking tours and a hayride tour of the place.  A tour is a great opportunity to ask questions of the farmers that you might not normally have time to do at market -- bring us your questions!

Just a reminder that the tour is Sunday, July 12 from 1-5 p.m. In addition to us, there are 4 other farms in Forsyth, Stokes and Surry Counties:  Buffalo Creek Farm & Creamery in Germanton, Minglewood Farm & Nature Preserve in Westfield, Truffles NC at Keep Your Fork Farm in King and Yellow Wolf Farm in Walkertown.  This free tour gives you a chance to go behind the scenes of 5 very diverse farms.  In addition to the guided tours here, we'll have pick-your-own BLACKBERRIES, snowcones, seed planting and more!  For more information check out our Facebook page or get directions here.  We will also have flyers at market.  Spread the word!  Here's a scene from last year's tour:

Planting sunflower seeds at last year's Farm Tour

Market Updates

Find us under the purple tent at Cobblestone Farmers Market at Old Salem (NOTE:  Hours go back to normal this week -- 9-noon) and King Farmers Market at the YMCA (Wednesday, 11-1). There will be lots of Blackberries, Fresh Garlic, French Red Shallots, lots of Tomatoes, and Swiss Chard -- all Certified Organic!  We will also have our gorgeous Stargazer Oriental Lilies - a bouquet on a stick! 

We are happy to hold an item for you -- just let us know no later than 9 p.m. the day before market (Friday evening or Tuesday evening).

And -- in case you missed it -- today is National Teddy Bear Picnic Day (I know, how did you miss that date in bold on your calendar?!)  So grab your favorite bear and head out under the shade or twilight for a tasty picnic.  Summertime living at its best!

Until next week,

Cheryl & Ray 

Posted 7/3/2015 7:18am by Cheryl Ferguson.

Hello Farm Friends!  Happy Friday!

Welcome to July! Although, I must admit that this morning doesn't feel very July-ish.  Cool, foggy and damp.  Perfect conditions for blight. :-(  How is it that farmers can take a perfectly lovely day and turn it into a bad thing?

Lots of things going on as usual!  The blackberries are bursting into ripeness so we are picking like crazy!  Before the rains hit yesterday afternoon, we already had 85 pints of berries in the walk-in cooler.  Look for them at Saturday's market!

Blackberries in walk-in for market

Pick-Your-Own Blackberries!

Since those berries are really coming in, come out to the farm and pick-your-own!  We'll be open on Sunday, July 5 from 1-4 for picking.  We provide picking trays but bring a container and cooler to carry your treasures home.  Blackberries are $4.50 per pound and they are Certified Organic AND No-Spray.

Other Farm Doings...

Tomatoes are also getting a lot of attention.  Ray has been working on pruning and trellising the field tomatoes -- they are looking good and will be much happier after a "haircut" and another line of trellis.  We think we are on track to be seeing production by the end of the month.  Unfortunately the tomatoes in Raz House (our high tunnel) aren't faring as well.  Blight moved in and is quickly taking the plants down.  Late blight is caused by a fungus, Phytophthora infestans.  Phytophthora in Latin means "plant destroyer" and plant tissue dies quickly. We are harvesting lots of tomatoes as quickly as possible and then we will be destroying all of the plants and sanitizing the house for a couple of weeks.  Despite the fact that the plants look terrible, we are getting a lot of beautiful fruit (and they are perfectly safe to eat).

Boxes of tomatoes for market

Last week we told you about the bees coping with the heat and looking for water.  Well, no sooner than "Send" was pressed on this newsletter, I got a call from Ray saying that we had a swarm in the blackberries!  Maybe they were also looking for a new home!  When you find a swarm, you drop everything else.  Here are a couple of pictures from the event -- it was very exciting as Ray quickly and calmly worked to capture the swarm and give the girls a new hive.  We posted a video of the capture and put it on our Facebook page.

Swarm of honey bees in blackberries  Ray removing the swarm of bees from the blackberry canes  Placing the bees in the hive box  Bees in their new home

Farm Tour!!

Don't forget that NEXT weekend -- Sunday, July 12 from 1-5 p.m. -- will be our Farm Tour.  Come visit us and 4 other farms in Forsyth, Stokes and Surry Counties.  This free tour gives you a chance to go behind the scenes of 5 very diverse farms.  We'll have a wagon tour of the farm, walking tours, pick-your-own blackberries, snowcones and more!  For more information check out our Facebook page or get directions here.  We will also have flyers at market.  Spread the word!

Market Updates

Find us under the purple tent at Cobblestone Farmers Market at Old Salem (NOTE:  Different hours this Saturday ONLY, 8-11 a.m.) and King Farmers Market at the YMCA (Wednesday, 11-1). There will be lots of Blackberries, Fresh Garlic, French Red Shallots, Tomatoes, Black Raspberries,  Swiss Chard, basil and Allium flowers (last week!) -- all Certified Organic!  We will also have our gorgeous Stargazer Oriental Lilies - perfect for your Holiday table!  You can also order Organic Sweet Potato SlipsAnd don't forget the jam! 

Stargazer Oriental Lily

Celebrate your Independence this weekend from tasteless, factory-farmed food -- Make it fresh and local and Organic! 

Until next week,

Cheryl & Ray 

Posted 6/26/2015 7:11am by Cheryl Ferguson.

Hello Farm Friends!  Happy Friday!

I goofed.  Numbers are very important to us here at the farm and I seemed to have a wrong one stuck in my head.  Instead of planting 35,000 cloves last fall, it was more like 25,000 (don't you round to the nearest 10,000?).  So when I tell you that our harvest was 23,867 bulbs, the difference isn't nearly as big between what was planted and what was harvested.  It's actually a pretty great return.  But given that we had our Garlic A-Team planting last fall, it's no surprise.  It feels SO good to have the garlic harvested -- a full 3 weeks ahead of the usual time.

Empty garlic field    Happy harvesters    Ray putting seed garlic in the Tobacco Barn hammock    

Now that all of the garlic is out of the ground, we are busily trying to get it trimmed, graded, cleaned and hung in the barn (we have garlic tucked into every nook and cranny that we can find right now!)  Here's where you can come in!  We'll be hosting another Crop Mob on Monday, June 29 starting at 9 a.m. to handle those tasks!  This work is quite pleasant -- sitting under the shade of the Tobacco Barn or in the Yam Barn with the fan blowing.  And Monday's temperatures are supposed to be very pleasant (mid-80's!!).  We need about 8-10 volunteers to help us blast through -- are you available to help?  We'll provide lunch, music and pleasant conversation!  You'll be helping us move through an important part of the garlic harvest.  Please let us know if you would like to be part of the Mob -- either respond to this email or call 336-994-2517.

Cleaning garlic

Yes, it has been a dreadfully hot week here at the farm.  Humans and critters have all been laboring under what feels like a hot, wet wool blanket with temps in the upper 90's (2 days were 100+).  The honey bees have also been trying to cope with the heat.  They have been hanging out on their porch a lot and searching for water anywhere that they can find it.  Heard them buzzing around this knot in a tree -- thought that maybe they had swarmed but they were just looking for water.  Ray helped them out by putting a container with water just outside their hive -- have to keep the girls comfortable!

Bees hanging out on the hive    In search of water

Farm Tour!!

Mark your calendar for Sunday, July 12 from 1-5 p.m.  We have joined with 4 other farms in Forsyth, Stokes and Surry Counties to host the first Northern Triad Farm Tour!  This free tour gives you a chance to go behind the scenes of 5 very diverse farms -- it will be a lot of fun for the whole family.  For more information check out our Facebook page or get directions here.  We will also have flyers at market.  Spread the word!

Market Updates

Find us under the purple tent at Cobblestone Farmers Market at Old Salem (Saturday, 9-noon) and King Farmers Market at the YMCA (Wednesday, 11-1). There will be lots of Fresh Garlic (Red Toch and Chesnok), French Red Shallots, Black Raspberries, Blackberries, Swiss Chard, artichokes, frissé, Allium flowers (last week!) and beautiful Oriental Lilies -- all Certified Organic!  You can also order Organic Sweet Potato SlipsAnd don't forget the jam!  Heads up on the Old Salem Market for next week -- market starts EARLY (from 8-11) due to Independence Day activities at Old Salem.

Stay cool and keep smiling -- this sweltering heat is about to break!  Until next week,

Cheryl & Ray 

Posted 6/19/2015 8:20am by Cheryl Ferguson.

Hello Farm Friends!  Happy Friday!

There's only one word that describes this week.  Garlic!  (I'll bet you thought I was going to say "Hot!") Yep, garlic has been on our minds, hands and backs as we have harvested, trimmed, sorted, cleaned and hung some of the 35,000+ bulbs that await us in the field.  The crop is looking good and many of you have already tasted the results with our fresh garlic that is available at market.

Garlic harvest is not a simple task.  We have developed methods and tools over the years to make it easier -- like the undercutter bar on the tractor -- but it is very time-consuming and detail-oriented.  Growing the number of varieties that we do (24 to be exact), you can't casually pull garlic out and throw it all together in a pile.  We want to know how many of a variety that we've harvested (and frequently by source of seed) and then keep the variety together for curing and sale.  There's lots of counting and labeling.  But those of you who know us, probably aren't surprised by that, right? ;-)

We have been blessed with a group of terrific volunteers that have come to our rescue along with our great team members, Jen, Chris and Matt.  A special thanks go to Sandy & Orville Woodard, Annette Helsabeck, Sally Hirsh and Jack Stack for helping us bring in the garlic!  These folks were absolute Rock Stars coming out to volunteer on the hottest days we have seen this year!!  Mil Gracias!

Take a look and see what a grand time we had!

Harvesting garlic  Matt pulling samples as Ray undercuts garlic bulbs    Jen & Annette harvesting    Annette cleaning Chesnok    Sandy hanging Elephant garlic in the Yam Barn    Monday's "Mob"

The sweet potato slips we told you about last week are doing great!  Check out the vigor of the plants -- and these great roots in just 2 weeks!  We'll be taking orders for slips at market starting this week.  Now is the time to plant sweet potatoes!

Sweet potato slips in tray   Sweet potato slip roots growing out of tray cells

Berry Update:  The later variety of black raspberries is starting to ripen as are the blackberries!  We hope to have them available soon.  As a reminder, we are not open for pick-your-own days on an ongoing basis.  These are special events that we plan based on berry availability and our other farm schedules.  We don't want to disappoint someone who is planning to come out for a picking day only to find that we are not open for PYO.  We will always announce these events in this newsletter, on our website, on Facebook ("Like" us if you haven't already!) and our phone message.  If you don't see something in these locations, we do not have berries available.  We appreciate your understanding!

Market Updates

Find us under the purple tent at Cobblestone Farmers Market at Old Salem (Saturday, 9-noon) and King Farmers Market at the YMCA (Wednesday, 11-1). There will be lots of Fresh Garlic (Music and Chesnok), garlic scapes (last week), Black Raspberries, Swiss Chard, artichokes, lamb's quarters, frissé, Allium flowers and garlic granules -- all Certified Organic!  There MAY be a couple of additions and surprises on the table as well -- you'll just have to stop by and check it out!  You can also order Organic Sweet Potato SlipsAnd don't forget that Dads Love Jam -- Father's Day is Sunday so surprise your Dad with one of our tasty jams!

This weekend marks both the Summer Solstice  -- the longest day of the year -- and Father's Day -- a great confluence of two bright spots!  According to The Old Farmer's Almanac, the timing of the summer solstice depends on when the Sun reaches its farthest point north of the equator. This year, it occurs exactly at 12:38 P.M. EDT on June 21.  It is also, coincidentally, the best time to see a conjunction -- the triangle of the crescent moon, Jupiter and Venus in the western sky near the horizon around 9 p.m. on Saturday evening.  For more information on this celestial event, click here.

Happy Summer!  And until next week,

Cheryl & Ray 

Posted 6/12/2015 8:04am by Cheryl Ferguson.

Hello Farm Friends!  Happy Friday! 

Even though the Summer Solstice is more than a week away, it is starting to feel as if Summer is moving in -- temps in the 90's this week.  But those not conditions are just what several of our crops like sweet potatoes and okra want!  This year, we are trying something new with our sweet potatoes -- we are growing our own slips (essentially transplants) for planting. We usually purchase our organic slips but one of our suppliers stopped selling them this year so we decided to try growing them ourselves.  There are several methods to propagate the slips -- everything we read said that it was pretty simple to do so we decided to give it a shot.  We started with whole sweet potatoes in a tray with coir and let them sprout out for a couple of months.  This week, we took the sweet potatoes and cut off the sprouts and put each little leaf node into a seed tray for them to grow roots.  Sweet potatoes develop roots very quickly (did you ever grow one in a jar when you were a kid?).  We should have slips in a couple of weeks!

Planting sweet potato slips

It's Crop Mob Time!

We need your help!  As I mentioned last week, our garlic crop is ahead of schedule and the time is NOW for harvest!  If you would like to have a fun day at the farm and help bring in the garlic, we are having TWO Crop Mob Days next week:  Monday and Tuesday (6/15 and 6/16).   The tasks vary from getting the garlic out of the field to readying it for hanging in the barn.  We'll start both days at 9 and will work until mid-afternoon -- we'll provide lunch.  There is a limit of 10 people per day and all volunteers must be at least 14.  If you are interested in volunteering, please reply to this email or call 336-994-2517 -- we need to know how many people to plan on each day.  Garlic harvest is a lot of fun -- you get an up-close, behind-the-scenes look at one of our farm's key crops and get to meet some really neat people!

Crop Mob from 2013

 

Market Updates

Our tables will be full of all kinds of goodies this week!  As usual we'll be at Cobblestone Farmers Market at Old Salem (Saturday, 9-noon) and King Farmers Market at the YMCA (Wednesday, 11-1). There will be lots of Fresh Garlic (Music and Inchelium Red), garlic scapes, Black Raspberries, 2 types of salad mix  -- mixed lettuce and the "Fancy Pants Blend" (lettuce-frissé-wild spinach-edible flower blend), Swiss Chard, artichokes, napa cabbage, lamb's quarters, frissé, Allium flowers and garlic granules -- all Certified Organic!  We MAY have some red raspberries and strawberries.  And we'll also have our full assortment of tasty jams -- not too early to think about Father's Day gifts!

Freshly harested garlic     Allium Flower in the field

Have you seen the lightning bugs yet??  I first saw them in late April and then they went away when it got so dry.  They are coming back now since we've had a bit of rain.  Check out this great project which enlists regular folks to help count lightning bugs (aka fireflies).  We just missed the first census evening but the next one is scheduled for July 4!

 

Until next week,

Cheryl & Ray 

Posted 6/5/2015 8:08am by Cheryl Ferguson.

Hello Farm Friends!  Happy Friday! 

And Happy World Environment Day!  As organic farmers, we work to protect the planet every day through our farming practices.  And by your support of organic farms, you help protect our fragile planet as well.  Thank you!

I read this week that June is the busiest month for farmers.  I'm not sure if it is the busiest for us, but it sure has a long to-do list!  We try to balance harvesting crops for market with keeping the crop pipeline filled so that we can keep bringing great organic products to you.  It's a tough balancing act -- especially when you add berries to the mix.  Harvesting a fair-sized crop every other day can get in the way of much additional activity!

Berries -- those sweet little packages of flavor and joy!  We love growing them for you -- and you sure seem to love them back!  The strawberries are moving towards the exits while our red raspberries ("Prelude") and black raspberries are starting to make their appearance on stage.  "Prelude" is a very early and late berry -- but we are transitioning it to be early only in order to avoid those nasty spotted wing fruit flies that plague later season crops.  It has a pretty concentrated harvest so we should be getting them for a couple of weeks -- the rain we've had really plumped them up over last week's berries!

Prelude raspberries in a box

So what's a black raspberry?  We get that question a lot from folks -- especially those who have not grown up in areas where they are more prevalent.  They go by several names including black capsthimbleberry,and scotch cap.  The flavor is unique -- richer than a red raspberry with a sweet-tart taste.  The plants are quite thorny and as such, are more difficult to pick than a raspberry or our thornless blackberries.  We seem to be one of the few growers of black raz in our area -- and these little jewels have a loyal following!  Black raspberries are just starting to ripen so we hope to have them at market next week.  We grow two varieties -- Jewel, which is ripening now, and Mac Black.  If you haven't tried these special berries, make sure that you add them to your market list!

Black raspberry

In other crop news, the garlic will need to be harvested earlier this year due to the dry spring conditions (we didn't get irrigation to it).  Keep an eye out for an announcement for our Garlic Crop Mob!  It's a great way to have lots of fun, meet people -- and do a VERY useful job for the farm!

Garlic crop mob

And take a look at this!  Tomatoes!!!!!!

Hand full of Red Pearl tomatoes

Our scrumptious Red Pearl tomatoes are starting to produce in the hoop house! Ray has been spending a lot of time there trying to wrangle the plants and get them trellis and pruned.  His hands are proof of the work!

Ray with tomato hands

Market Updates

Full tables will abound!  As usual we'll be at Cobblestone Farmers Market at Old Salem (Saturday, 9-noon) and King Farmers Market at the YMCA (Wednesday, 11-1). There will be lots of garlic scapes, sugar snap peas (last week), 2 types of salad mix  -- mixed lettuce and the "Fancy Pants Blend" (lettuce-frissé-wild spinach-edible flower blend), head lettuce, beets (baby & full-size), Swiss Chard, White Russian kale bunches, raspberries, artichokes, napa cabbage, lamb's quarters, garlic granules, and a limited number of strawberries (limit 1 quart per customer) -- all Certified Organic!  And we'll also have our full assortment of tasty jams.

As the calendar turns to June, we are treated to the first blooms of our farm's namesake -- appropriately found growing by the farm sign!

1st Plum Granny flower of the year

Until next week,

Cheryl & Ray 

Posted 5/29/2015 8:40am by Cheryl Ferguson.

Hello Farm Friends!  Happy Friday! 

Wow!  What a week!  It started with a terrific pick-your-own strawberry day on Memorial Day with great weather and a great crowd and quickly moved to trying to make hay -- plus a million other things along the way.

Strawberry PYO field on Memorial Day

Part 1 of our hay making was a success - and we were very lucky that we were able to avoid the rain (despite the fact that we need it desperately).  Beautiful round bales of Certified Organic clover, fescue, orchard grass and lespedeza are heading off to the Riverwood Therapeutic Riding Center to provide excellent nutrition to their special horses.  After the upcoming rain, we'll we'll finish the spring hay season.

Why organic hay?  We are told by our horse customers (and their owners) that they LOVE it!  Plus our customers don't have to worry about persistent herbicides passing through the horse and into their garden. Makes (horse) sense, don't you think?

Raking hay  Ray with hay  Round bales in storage

You never know what might await you..... last Saturday at Cobblestone, we were approached by Heidi Billotto, one of the organizers of the NC Competition Dining event to potentially provide some product for Round 1 of the competition. By Tuesday, we had harvested 40+ pounds of lamb's quarter (aka wild spinach) and were on our way to meet with the two chefs to reveal the "Secret Ingredient" that they had to include in their dishes!  Chef John Bobby of Noble's Grille and Chef Tammy Harper of Belle at the Jones House made some amazing dishes in this Battle Organic Greens and Grains! That evening, we got to taste some incredibly creative food, judge each of the six dishes, and meet some terrific people! What a fun evening -- and an honor to be included!

Battle Greens and Grains  Cheryl & Ray with Competition Dining teams

Market Updates

Once again, lots of great stuff on our tables at the Cobblestone Farmers Market at Old Salem (Saturday, 9-noon) and King Farmers Market at the YMCA (Wednesday, 11-1). Our big news is that we are having a special SALE on our gorgeous head lettuces!  We have 6 varieties -- red and green butter, oakleaf, and sweet crisp!  They are not going to hold in the field for many more weeks, so we want you to have them while they are at their tasty peak.

Chris & Jen with lettuce

There will be lots of sugar snap peas, 2 types of salad mix  -- mixed lettuce and the "Fancy Pants Blend" (lettuce-frissé-wild spinach-edible flower blend), beets (baby & full-size), baby Swiss Chard, White Russian kale bunches, garlic scapes, baby pac choy, lamb's quarters, garlic granules, and a limited number of strawberries (limit 1 quart per customer) -- all Certified Organic!  This will be the last week for our blackberry and black raspberry plants. And we'll also have our full assortment of tasty jams.

Tuesday (6/2) will be the Strawberry Moon -- the full moon of June.  It is referred to as this because this is usually the full moon when strawberries are in their peak -- although ours passed that point a couple of weeks ago :-( This moon is also referred to as the Rose Moon in Europe, while other cultures named it the Hot Moon for the beginning of the summer heat.

Until next week,

Cheryl & Ray 

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Certfied Organic by QCS since 2010

Watch Us!

Ray talks ginger with Lisa

Check out the terrific feature that Flavor, NC did on Plum Granny Farm!  You can view the episode at http://video.unctv.org/video/2365069548/  They did a great job showing our garlic, ginger & berry production - plus a few other surprises! We are paired with Chef Jay from Lucky 32 Southern Kitchen who makes some wonderful garlic recipes!  Enjoy!

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