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Posted 9/23/2016 9:11am by Cheryl Ferguson.

Hello Farm Friends!  Happy Friday!

Colorful leaf
 
Happy Fall, ya'll!  The cooler, cloudy days definitely announce a season change but probably nothing makes so clear a statement as the shorter days!  It's a bit hard to get used to not having daylight until 8:45 p.m.!  But the lambs and Brix are glad to be getting their dinner sooner.
 
Probably the biggest news on the farm this week has been the arrival of BEANS!  We finally get a crop of one of our favorite veggies!  These poor plants probably have a bit of a complex because we have been watching them so closely -- but they didn't get stage fright and have started producing bunches of beautiful, tasty goodness.  We are growing some really wonderful varieties this year including a couple of new ones.  There's round pod (Jade), French filet (green Tavera and gorgeous dark purple Velour), Italian flat pod (Pension, sweet Northeaster and the purple-flecked Dragon Tongue).  Look for them at market this week!
 
Chris picking beans  Hands full of beans
 
The next big thing is planting strawberries.  We are moving them to another field this year so we have to get the beds prepped and covered in landscape fabric.  We are reusing the fabric from the strawberry field -- this will be its 3rd year of use!  Before we move it, we have to remove all of the plant materials and sod staples and then sanitize it to make sure we aren't carrying any disease to another field.  This is a very important step especially since we don't use fungicides like conventional growers do!
 
Empty field where the strawberries were
Where did the strawberries and pumpkins go?!
 
We are also continuing work on the shed we are building on the greenhouse. Slowly but surely, it is getting done.  And it is going to be SO useful!  Right now it is at an awkward stage -- looking somewhat like a cross between a school bus shelter and a confessional booth....
Ray working on the shed  Chris working on the shed  Current state of the shed

Our little RingBob is doing great!  He is gaining weight and is becoming very socialized.  We hope to be releasing him from his crate next week.  Then he and Detroit will be able to roam the farm freely as co-Chief Rodent Control Officers!

RingBob

Garlic Growing Workshop -- Register Soon!

We've had a great response to our Garlic Workshop which will be held here at the farm on Sunday, October 9 from 2-5.  The workshop will provide extensive information on garlic growing as well as an opportunity to plant garlic in a raised bed.  In addition to instruction, participants will receive 1/2 pound of seed garlic.  Class size is limited to 15 participants and registration and prepayment is required.  Cost of the course is $30.  Please email us at farm@plumgrannyfarm.com for a registration form or pick up one at market.

Garlic

Market Update

We'll be at Cobblestone Farmers Market in Old Salem (Saturday) and at the King Farmers Market at the Stokes Family YMCA (Wednesday) with lots of Certified Organic tastiness!  We'll have those great BEANS, LaRatte Fingerling Potatoes, Bintje Potatoes, Teensy Weensy Taters Boxes, boxes of Creamer Potatoes, Garlic (6 varieties -- we are starting to run out of some of our most popular varieties including Music and Lahontan!), heirloom Okra (Burgundy and Cajun Jewel), a few squash, Garlic Braids and more.  We'll also have our Garlic Scape Pesto which adds garlicky goodness to your early fall soups!

We hope to see you at Old Salem from 9-noon and at King from 11-1.  Please note that we may not always have every item at all markets.  If you'd like us to save something for you, please send us an email by 10 p.m. prior to market.

Enjoy the break in weather -- and delight in rainbows wherever you find them.  This one popped up yesterday evening over Cook's Wall - such great light!

Rainbow over Cook's Wall

Talk with you soon,

Cheryl & Ray

Posted 9/16/2016 9:03am by Cheryl Ferguson.

Hello Farm Friends!  Happy Friday!

Tonight is the Harvest Full Moon, so we are trying to do our part by harvesting as much as possible -- at least the hay!  The recent dry weather has created terrific conditions for making hay, so it was time to get some out of the field this week.

Typically we devote at least a week to the process of mowing, tedding (fluffing the hay so it dries better), raking, baling and getting it in the barn.  We really don't have that much time to devote to hay now (a VERY long to-do list -- strawberry plants are on the way!), so we decided to approach the task in smaller chunks.

After spending most of Monday trying to fix the sicklebar attachment for the tractor (unsuccessfully), we went to Plan B on Tuesday.  Chris mowed about 2 acres using the walk-behind tractor with its sicklebar attachment. He powered through that in about 2 hours -- Way to go, Chris!  With the warm, dry conditions essential for getting quality hay, we were able to get it all raked, baled and in storage by yesterday afternoon!  And our little livestock family is 53 bales better for their winter feed!

Raking hay

Raking hay

Picking up hay behind the baler

Chris and Andrew picking up hay behind the baler

Detroit on the baler

Everybody has to get in on the act

Ray with a sample of some of the grasses

We even have some purple grasses in our hay mix -- how appropriate!

 

We are still getting more fall crops seeded and transplanted to keep the pipeline full as we move into the fall.  And we are excited to report that the green beans are almost ready!

Green beans in hand

Garlic Growing Workshop

It's time to think about planting garlic!  Mid-October is the traditional start date for garlic planting in this area.  We are holding our 2nd Annual hands-on garlic growing workshop here at the farm on Sunday, October 9 from 2-5.  The workshop will provide extensive information on garlic growing as well as an opportunity to plant garlic in a raised bed.  In addition to instruction, participants will receive 1/2 pound of seed garlic.  Class size is limited to 20 participants and registration and prepayment is required.  Cost of the course is $30.  Please email us at farm@plumgrannyfarm.com for a registration form or pick up one at market.

Planting garlic

Market Update

We'll be at Cobblestone Farmers Market in Old Salem (Saturday) and at the King Farmers Market at the Stokes Family YMCA (Wednesday) with lots of Certified Organic tastiness!  It's Okra-Palooza under our purple tent at Cobblestone tomorrow!  We'll have special LOWER pricing on lots of heirloom okra (Burgundy and Cajun Jewel) along with samples of some the tasty pickles you can make with the okra!  If you are thinking about canning pickles, NOW is the time!

We'll also have other Certified Organic goodness including LaRatte Fingerling Potatoes, Bintje Potatoes, Teensy Weensy Taters Boxes, boxes of Creamer Potatoes, Garlic (6 varieties including the amazing Lahontan), Tomato Fruit Boxes, Sunflower Shoots, a little bit of summer squash, Garlic Chives and Garlic Braids.  We'll also have our Garlic Scape Pesto which adds garlicky goodness to your early fall soups!

We hope to see you at Old Salem from 9-noon and at King from 11-1.  Please note that we may not always have every item at all markets.  If you'd like us to save something for you, please send us an email by 10 p.m. prior to market.

And don't forget -- today is the Harvest Full Moon and it is even a Lunar Eclipse! And I dare you to keep a certain song out of your head...

Almost full moon over the farm

"Shine on, shine on Harvest Moon, up in the sky. I ain't had no loving since January, February, June or July...."

Talk with you soon,

Cheryl & Ray

Posted 9/9/2016 8:23am by Cheryl Ferguson.

Hello Farm Friends!  Happy Friday!

Hints of Fall tease us with delicious tastes of cooler weather -- ah!  And then we get blasted with 96+ degree temps!  What?  I guess we just have to be patient, huh?

As the temperatures swing, we are at an in-between time in terms of crops.  Most of the pumpkins came out of the field on Monday and are curing in the barn -- we couldn't leave them in the field since the place was crawling with squash bugs! All in all it was a respectable harvest for a first year's effort. 

Harvesting pumpkins

Here are some of the pumpkins putting on their final color in the sun -- the rest are tucked away in the barn loft.

Pumpkins curing in the sun

While some things are coming out of the field, others still wait for their harvest moment like this Delicata Winter squash...

Delicata winter squash

And green beans -- LOTS of flowers hopefully mean LOTS of beans!

Green bean flowers

We've even got Snow Peas planted in the hoophouse -- tucked alongside of the Ancho peppers and some Rosie basil.  It's an experiment for a fall crop.

Snow peas in the hoophouse

Waiting in the wings are lots of transplants of kale, chard, beets, frisse and lettuce to be planted out soon.

Transplants in the greenhouse

In addition to seeding, planting, weeding, mowing and harvesting, there are lots of building and repair projects underway here at the farm.  It seems that we have had the circular saw and other tools out a lot over the past couple of weeks -- and that is good!  One of our projects is to build a storage shed on the greenhouse for storing seed trays and supplies.  It's amazing how much space is taken up by these things inside the greenhouse!  We hope to knock this one off the to-do list early next week!

Ray working on the greenhouse shed

And we can't forget out Kitten Rehab project!  We were able to get Ringbob Grey Pants (we keep adding to his name!) in a crate and have been working to acclimating him to people (he's eating out of my hand now).  He's doing very well and Detroit has been a great help to this process (especially since it means that he gets canned cat food as a reward!)

Ringbob and toy

Market Update

We'll be at Cobblestone Farmers Market in Old Salem (Saturday) and at the King Farmers Market at the Stokes Family YMCA (Wednesday) with lots of Certified Organic tastiness!  It's a great time for POTATOES!  Try roasting our fingerlings (LaRatte) or standard POTATOES (German Butterball and Bintje) on the grill.  You'll also find Teensy Weensy Taters Boxes, boxes of Creamer Potatoes, Garlic (Red Toch, Music, Georgia Crystal, Purple Italian, the amazing Lahontan and Lorz Italian), Summer Squash, Baby Heirloom Okra (Burgundy and Cajun Jewel), Tomato Fruit Boxes, Sunflower Shoots, a little bit of chard and several herbs:  Rosie Basil, Garlic Chives and Papalo.  For those who are thinking ahead for the Holidays, we’ll be taking orders for Garlic Braids and will have several options to choose from.  Snag a taste of our yummy Garlic Scape Pesto – mangia bene!

We hope to see you at Old Salem from 9-noon and at King from 11-1.  Please note that we may not always have every item at all markets.  If you'd like us to save something for you, please send us an email by 10 p.m. prior to market.

That's it for this week!  Sunday is Grandparents Day, if you are fortunate enough to have them in your life, be sure to pay them a visit or at least give them a call.  Our grandparents were very important as we were growing up.  Both of us owe our farm connection to grandparents -- Ray to his maternal grandparents in Kansas and Cheryl to her paternal grandparents who farmed the land that we farm now. We miss them and sure wish we could have them here -- we'd definitely be asking them millions of questions!

Talk with you soon,

Cheryl & Ray

Posted 9/2/2016 10:50am by Cheryl Ferguson.

Hello Farm Friends!  Happy Friday!

Welcome to September!  It sounds like we are going to be spared Hermine's impact here in the Triad.  But it sure is nice to be looking at a day with high temps in the 70's!  Been a while!

Local food.  We hear and see those words a lot these days.  And what the term means varies wildly.  In the definition used by some grocery stores, it can mean up to 300 miles (or more!) away. Some even consider Florida to be "local."  I can't accept that.

We had the opportunity to attend a celebration of Local Food in its true sense on Sunday evening.  Michael Hastings invited us to attend the Winston-Salem Journal's "Farm to Fourth Harvest Dinner."  This event was an amazing celebration of local farms, local chefs, local flowers, local music, local wine and beer and local supporters of all of these things. Michael's vision to pull this event together highlighted the fantastic food community that we have right here in Winston-Salem.  We were honored to be included in the guest list AND to have some of our products included on the menu (thanks Chef Harrison and Chef Jared!)

Farm to Fourth Harvest Dinner

And "on the menu" is at the crux of the local food discussion.  Since "local food" is a buzzword these days, there are many restaurants that talk about serving it.  Some chefs buy a local item here and there, and then substitute a non-local item.  As farmers, we are fortunate to have relationships with a number of local chefs who truly support local farms and highlight local food on their menus.

Our first restaurant client was Meridian back in 2009. Chef and Owner, Mark Grohman bought garlic scapes from us and we've been selling him produce consistently ever since.  He even suggests things for us to grow.  And he just doesn't buy from us.  He supports several other farmers in our area -- everything from meat to mushrooms.  Mark is a true believer in local.  Can he get this stuff cheaper from other places?  Absolutely.  Is it easier just to place a big order with a distributor?  Totally.  But Mark values the quality, freshness and variety that he can only get from us and our fellow farmers.

Chef Mark Grohman and Cheryl at Meridian Restaurant

Other Winston-Salem area chefs and restaurants with a strong commitment to local farms include Chef Travis Myers of Willow's Bistro, Chef Harrison Littell of The Honey Pot, Chef Jared Keiper of The Tavern in Old Salem, Chef Curtis Hackaday of 1703 Restaurant, Chef Mary Haglund of Mary's Gourmet Diner, and Chef John Bobby of Rooster's: A Noble Grille.  We are honored and grateful to have the opportunity to work with each of them.

But there's a third side to this triangle:  You!  For these chefs to take the risk to work with local farms, they need the support of local customers.  Dine out at one of these great restaurants and let them know how much you appreciate their commitment to local food.  Let them hear it from their most important voice -- their customers.  Without local support, our terrific local restaurants cannot last.  And that will have a big impact on the local farming community.  Let's all work together to keep our local food economy humming!

W-S chefs and Cheryl & Ray after the Farm to Fourth dinner

Market Update

We'll be at Cobblestone Farmers Market in Old Salem (Saturday) and at the King Farmers Market at the Stokes Family YMCA (Wednesday) with lots of Certified Organic tastiness including boatloads of fingerling (LaRatte) and standard POTATOES (German Butterball, Bintje and the last of the Nicola and Russet), boxes of Creamer Potatoes, CURED GARLIC (Red Toch, Music, Georgian Crystal, Purple Italian, Metechi and Lorz Italian), Okra (Heirloom Burgundy and Cajun Jewel), Concord Grapes, Papalo (a Mexican herb similar to cilantro), Basil (Genovese), and a few Beets.  We'll also have Garlic Braids plus we are now taking orders for your Holiday gifts!  Don't forget the Garlic Scape Pesto -- brush some on what you are grilling for the Holiday Weekend! 

We hope to see you at Old Salem from 9-noon and at King from 11-1.  Please note that we may not always have every item at all markets.  If you'd like us to save something for you, please send us an email by 10 p.m. prior to market.

In the spirit of Labor Day, we can't think of anything that works harder than bees.  Wishing you a wonderful Holiday Weekend -- get out there and enjoy (and smell) the flowers!

Honeybee on a sunflower

Talk with you soon,

Cheryl & Ray

Posted 8/26/2016 10:29am by Cheryl Ferguson.

Hello Farm Friends!  Happy Friday!

Kind of a hodge-podge week here at the farm.  A bit of this and a bit of that.  Perhaps it started with us trying to rid our pantry of miller moths and ending up with a complete makeover of the shelves!  Yes, it was a bit of an extreme approach to clearing the pantry, but it is SO much better now!

Ray cutting shelves for pantry

We had a great visit from the Mount Airy Garden Club on Tuesday.  We toured the farm and they got to learn about some of the crops that we currently have growing as well as our history and farming practices.  These ladies were really fascinated by the okra!  Most of them had not seen our heirloom Burgundy okra before!  If you are part of a garden club or some other organization, we are always happy to give tours or presentations at your group's meeting.  Just drop us an email and we can work out the details!  We are already booking dates in 2017 now!

Burgundy okra flowers

Our little kitten is still around the farm!  We have taken to calling him, "RingBob" (don't ask me why -- because I really don't know!).  He and Detroit are becoming pretty good buddies.  Now the task is to try to trap him so we can have him neutered and start the process of getting him more acclimated to us.

Detroit & Ringbob

Summer's waning days bring different light and a different feel to the air.  The past few days of cooler weather have been a balm but we can't get too comfortable yet!  Being on the cusp of Fall (just 25 more days!), we are between worlds -- some summer, some fall.  A few photos of both...

Beans in Daddy's Garden

Cucumber plants on a trellis

Butterfly on mailbox planter

Rows of okra, squash and covered cauliflower

Sunflowers

Dogwood berries turning red

Market Update

We'll be at Cobblestone Farmers Market in Old Salem (Saturday) and at the King Farmers Market at the Stokes Family YMCA (Wednesday) with lots of Certified Organic tastiness including boatloads of fingerling (LaRatte) and standard POTATOES (German Butterball, Bintje and the last of the Nicola and Russet), CURED GARLIC (Red Toch, Music, Georgian Crystal, Purple Italian, Metechi and Lorz Italian), Okra (Heirloom Burgundy and Cajun Jewel), Tomato Fruit Boxes with our prize-winning Cherry Blossom tomatoes, Concord Grapes, Papalo (a Mexican herb similar to cilantro), Basil (Genovese, Rosie and Lemon), and a few Beets.  We'll also have Garlic Braids!  Don't forget the Garlic Scape Pesto -- have you tried it on a crusty baguette with a slice of tomato? 

We hope to see you at Old Salem from 9-noon and at King from 11-1.  Please note that we may not always have every item at all markets.  If you'd like us to save something for you, please send us an email by 10 p.m. prior to market.

Today is National Dog Day which recognizes the number of dogs that need to be rescued each year and acknowledges family dogs and dogs that work selflessly each day to save lives, keep us safe and bring comfort. We've had a grand total of 6 dogs in our lives together - each one has been a very special member of our family.  Our last two, Mocha and Gesti came to us as shelter pets -- don't forget your local shelter when you are looking to adopt a dog.  Who rescued who?

Farm dog Mocha  Farm dog Gesti

Talk with you soon,

Cheryl & Ray

Posted 8/19/2016 6:10am by Cheryl Ferguson.

Hello Farm Friends!  Happy Friday!

We are back in the blender again!  Yep, the Market Pause faded away and we've been getting back to "normal" again.  Just like our back to school days, getting back to market requires lots of lists and preparation.  We're not dusting off our backpacks and composition books, but it's somewhat the same.... Gas in the van? Check!  Cashbox balanced?  Check!  Tablecloths clean?  Check!  Produce ready?  Check!  We got to ease into it at the King Farmers Market on Wednesday but we'll be put to the Cobblestone test on Saturday!  At least we'll be more refreshed than if we hadn't had a break!

Ray and the Bintje

Do you know what today is?  It's National Potato Day!  Wow! Now that's a holiday we can really sink our teeth into (sorry...I couldn't resist!) And given the spud friends that we cultivated this year, it's a day worth celebrating!  Find your spud love at market!

Potatoe love

Okay, if it's not potatoes, then it's about beans!  I am completely fascinated (obsessed?) with how quickly they grow!  We planted Rattlesnake Pole Beans in Raz House last Friday (8/12).  Here's a timelapse series of how they have developed in just one short week:

August 14:

Sprouted bean

August 15:

Bean sprouts

August 16:

Beans day 4

August 17:

Beans day 5

Keep your fingers crossed that they keep on growing and for a great crop of beans in October!

Here's what's happening with the ones in Daddy's Garden -- equally impressive!

Rows of green beans in Daddy's Garden

And We Have A Winner -- Us!

Maybe we're just in the Olympic spirit, but competitions are always fun!  And we have great news from Wednesday's King Farmers Market!  Our Cherry Blossom tomato won first place in both the judges' and the shoppers' balloting!  Yay!  Come check them out (very limited quantity) at Saturday's market!  No gold medal, but we did get a crown for a while!  Here's Cheryl after getting her crown from Market President, Harvey Moser (Moser Manor).

Cheryl and Harvey at the Tomato Tasting

Market Update

We are back at Cobblestone Farmers Market in Old Salem (Saturday) and at the King Farmers Market at the Stokes Family YMCA (Wednesday) with lots of Certified Organic tastiness including boatloads of fingerling (LaRatte and Banana) and standard POTATOES (German Butterball, Bintje and Nicola), CURED GARLIC (Red Toch, Music, Georgian Crystal, Purple Italian, Lahontan and Lorz Italian), French Red Shallots, Leeks, Okra, Tomato Fruit Boxes, Basil, Beets and Daddy's Pickle Kits (oh, so tasty!). We'll also have our Garlic Scape Pesto -- have you tried it on pizza with fresh tomatoes? 

We hope to see you at Old Salem from 9-noon and at King from 11-1.  Please note that we may not always have every item at all markets.  If you'd like us to save something for you, please send us an email by 10 p.m. prior to market.

In closing, we want to offer the very best wishes and congratulations to our employee, Chris Overby, and his fiance, Summer Roten, who are getting married tomorrow!  We wish you all the love and happiness in the world! (And sorry we don't have a better picture of the two of you! This is from last summer's Greensboro Grasshoppers game)

Chris & Summer at the Grasshoppers game

Talk with you soon,

Cheryl & Ray

Posted 8/12/2016 5:15pm by Cheryl Ferguson.

Hello Farm Friends!  Happy Friday! 

We are in the waning days of our Market Pause.  It's felt really good to be freed from the demands of market prep for a couple of weeks! But we'll be back at it next week so we'd better try to check off those things on the to-do list in a hurry (make pickles, fix porch, vacuum, ...)!

We've been doing lots of organizing, planting, weeding, mowing and planning this week trying to get our fall crops and plans ready.  Here's a quick photo tour of some farm activities:

Our ginger crop is doing well so far -- we got it fertilized and hilled last Friday:

Chris hilling the ginger

The green beans planted last Thursday have already jumped WAY up!  When you see beans grow, you really understand the "Jack and the Beanstalk" story!  Look out Detroit - they may catch you!

Detroit trying to get away from the beans!

And Chris is doing a great job of keeping them weed-free (thanks, Chris!)

Chris hoeing the beans

We are very excited that we may have a new feline member of our family!  We have been wanting to get a kitten friend for Detroit so he can have some company -- he still misses his brother, Ajo, who was killed last year.  We thought we had been seeing a dashing kitten in the corner of our eye but we had a chance to meet him a bit more up-close on Wednesday.   He(?) is quite shy but really seems to like Detroit.  Keep your fingers crossed that he decides to stay -- Detroit seems to be just fine with it!

Detroit and the kitten  Watching the kitten and Detroit

Market Update

Just a reminder that we will NOT be at Cobblestone Farmers Market tomorrow.  If you are planning on going, the market will open at 8:00 a.m. tomorrow due to the Old Salem Community Day to celebrate its 250th anniversary.  There will be street closures so plan accordingly! 

We WILL be back at the King Farmers Market on Wednesday, August 17th -- just in time for its Tomato Tasting! And speaking of tasty tomatoes, thanks SO much for those of you who came out to the Winston-Salem Journal Tomato Tasting last Friday!  We bumped into several of you while we were there!  Even though our tomatoes weren't the top vote-getters this year, we are so grateful to be part of this community and to have such wonderful friends and customers.  Thank you!

As we move towards the end of the Dog Days of Summer, the song, Summertime, has been swirling in my head a lot.  Enjoy these late summer days and the things they bring.  We'll miss them in February.

The squash is blossoming...

Summer squash plant

The grapes are ripening...

Ripening Concord grapes

The bees are buzzing...

Honeybee on okra flower

And the tomatoes are high...

Red Pearl tomaotes on a trellis

It's summertime.... time to enjoy a glass of iced tea on the porch, don't you think?

Talk with you soon,

Cheryl & Ray

Posted 8/5/2016 12:37pm by Cheryl Ferguson.

Hello Farm Friends!  Happy Friday! 

What a strange Friday!  Besides hearing the rain pouring down outside the window, it is so odd to feel...dare I say, relaxed!  Yep, we're in our "Market Pause" so we aren't running around like crazy people trying to get ready for Cobblestone Farmers market tomorrow.  Ahhhh.....

It's not like we are sleeping until noon but we are a bit more on our own time without the pressures of markets directing our activities.

And we're catching up on some things that have been neglected for the past few months.  Like washing the tractor.

Ray washing Jules, the tractor

Here's a quick tour of some of the sightings at the farm this week:

Our Concord grapes are starting to ripen up -- should be good timing for market in a couple of weeks!

Concord grapes starting to ripen

And it's always so great to find bird nests in our plants -- and maybe some of them have an egg...or not!

Bird's nest in grapevine   Fake egg in birds nest

The rain has been making some of the flowers really pop!  The new daylilies finally put up a flower after the initial rain on Tuesday.

Daylily after the rain

And the plum grannies seem to know exactly where to bloom!

Plum granny vine by the Soil & Water Conservation sign

It seems that something has been dining on our corn in the PYO Pumpkin Patch - guess we are going to have to try to trap a raccoon.

Torn up corn in PYO Pumpkin Patch  The evidence

Our friends down the road at Felsbeck Farm have offered to share their tips on corn-munching thieves.  We could learn bunches from them since they grow LOTS more corn than we do!

Tomato Tasting Tonight!

The Winston-Salem Journal is hosting its annual Slice of Summer Tomato Tasting TONIGHT from 7 to 9 p.m. downtown at Sixth and Trade streets.  It's a great chance to try a wide variety of tomatoes from tiny to lunkers and to vote for your favorites.  As usual, we have entered a few varieties.  Last year our Chocolate Drop and Suzanne finished 1st and 2nd in the tasters' voting.  We entered Chocolate Drops, Cherry Blossom (the replacement to Suzanne) and Red Pearl - fingers crossed!  Come on out for a fun evening downtown -- you might even see your farmers wandering around on a date night!

Box of Suzanne tomatoes

Market Updates!

And don't forget -- we will not be at Cobblestone Farmers Market for the next 2 Saturdays (8/6 and 8/13) and we will not be at King Farmers Market on 8/10.

Enjoy the cooler temperatures and rain. 

Talk with you soon,

Cheryl & Ray

Posted 7/29/2016 6:01pm by Cheryl Ferguson.

Hello Farm Friends!  Happy Friday! 

97.7  103.3  101.3 101.7  102.2  102.4  98.2  Nope, this isn't a listing of the top radio stations in the area.  These are the actual temperature readings on our weather station for the past 7 days.  And yes, it is the ACTUAL temperature, not the heat index (and the thermometer is on the north side of the house!) YIKES!

Even the bees have been forced to seek comfort on their porches with the fans going at full tilt -- good thing they have some shade.

Bearding bees in the Topbar hive  Bees on the front of the Langstroth hive

We've been guzzling copious amounts of water this week and starting even earlier in the day (6 or 6:30 a.m.) to try to beat the heat.  But it has been picking us off one at a time.  Hopefully we will be getting some relief from the blast furnace -- now if we'd only get some rain.  Our last real rain was nearly 3 weeks ago.

Despite the heat, we've still be getting some things done.  The blackberries are done for the year so it is time to get the canes that bore this year's fruit (floricanes) off of the plant.  Today Andrew worked through the Ouachita and got them cleaned up and weeded.  Looking good!

Andrew cutting out the floricanes in the Ouachita

 Our fig tree has borne the brunt of two very cold winters (that sounds REALLY good right now!) and had lost most of its canopy.  We finally got a chance to clear it out and support the remaining branches in hopes that we can keep it going -- it has produced a LOT of excellent figs!  While we won't get any this year, we are hopeful for 2017!

Ray working with the fig tree

We had a great Twilight Pick Your Own last Sunday and some of our guests had a special visit from BB!  She is getting much better with her halter and lead -- and she is so good with kids!

BB and her new friend

Although BB likes to go out on these adventures, Brix isn't so sure about it.  She is very protective of her little charge and must give her a good sniffing when she returns.

Brix is checking out BB after her PYO visit

Things continue to grow like crazy (especially the pigweed and grasses) and the PYO Pumpkin Patch continues to fill out -- perhaps the Great Pumpkin will be found here this year! You'll be able to come pick out your own great pumpkin -- mark your calendar for our Fall Festival scheduled for October 23!

PYO Pumpkin Patch

The sunflowers that our young visitors planted at our last big event, the Northern Triad Farm Tour, are really growing and some of the transplanted ones are starting to bloom!

Sunflowers from seed planted at Farm Tour  Transplanted sunflowers from Farm Tour

The Pause That Refreshes...

We are doing it again.  Last year we took a break mid-season -- a "market pause" -- not a vacation but rather a "pause."  This break was invigorating so we are making it a tradition (at least a 2nd Annual!).

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 for the next 2 Saturdays (8/6 and 8/13) and we will not be at King Farmers Market on 8/3 or 8/10.

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 next see us at market on August 17 or 20!

Market Updates!

But before the pause, we will be at Cobblestone Farmers Market in Old Salem tomorrow (7/30) with lots of Certified Organic tastiness including beaucoup LaRatte and Amarosa Fingerling and Standard Potatoes (German Butterball, Nicola, Russet and Bintje), freshly CURED GARLIC (Red Toch, Music, Chesnok, Georgian Crystal, Lahontan and Lorz Italian). French Red Shallots, Leeks, Okra, Tomato Fruit Boxes, Beets, and Kohlrabi. We'll also have our Garlic Scape Pesto -- pasta salad with fresh Chocolate Drop tomatoes! Sounds like a homerun!  And you better stock up since we won't be there for TWO weeks!

Stay cool, Friends!  We'll be catching up with you soon!

Cheryl & Ray

Posted 7/22/2016 9:40am by Cheryl Ferguson.

Hello Farm Friends!  Happy Friday! 

One potato, two potato, three potato, MORE!  Hooray!  We have finished our potato harvest and we are happy to report it was a great success!  On Monday, the last of the spuds came out of the field and were weighed, boxed and tucked away into the walk-in cooler for safe keeping. 

Chris, Andrew & Ray finalizing the potato weights

Once we tallied up all of the harvest numbers, we were blown away by the total -- more than TWO TONS of potatoes came out of the field!  That's a new record for us!  In case you are interested in precise numbers (we LOVE people like you!), the grand total was 4,462 pounds (2,269 fingerlings and 2,193 standards).  And coming off of 2 years of crop failures, it feels really great to have a good harvest.

Yesterday we took 500 pounds of LaRatte fingerlings to our friends at The Produce Box.  Our little bundles of potato love will be wandering all around the Triangle and the Triad next week!

Brandon unloading boxes of potatoes

Yesterday we hosted another great group of Leaders in Training from YMCA Camp Hanes.  As part of their community service week, they came to help us prep our French Red shallots for market.  The group consisted of twelve high school sophomores from around the state, students from South Korea and their great counselors, Caitlin and Andrew.  Thanks for coming out to the farm and lending your hands!

Working on shallots  2nd Session Camp Hanes LIT

Twilight Blackberry Pick-Your-Own on Sunday

Our delicious Triple Crown blackberries are still doing well!  They are loving this heat (as long as we keep irrigating them!)  So we're having another pick-your-own on Sunday (7/24) from 5-7.  Since Sunday is going to be hot, we'll give you the opportunity to pick in the evening when it's a bit cooler -- the blackberry field is really nice at that time of the day.  We provide picking containers but please bring a container to take your treasures home -- plus a cooler!  You can't get any fresher than berries you pick yourself and the great thing about our berries is that they are THORNLESS, Certified Organic AND no-spray!

Happy blackberry picker

Market Updates!

We'll be at Cobblestone Farmers Market in Old Salem (Saturday) and at the King Farmers Market at the Stokes Family YMCA (Wednesday) with lots of Certified Organic tastiness including boatloads of fingerling and standard potatoes (don't forget the Bintjes!), the first of the CURED GARLIC (Red Toch, Music, Chesnok, Georgian Crystal, Lahontan and Lorz Italian). French Red Shallots, Leeks, Baby Kale, Okra, Tomato Fruit Boxes, Fennel, Kohlrabi, and a few green beans. We'll also have our Garlic Scape Pesto -- have you tried it with potatoes?  Nom-nom!

We hope to see you at Old Salem from 9-noon and at King from 11-1.  Please note that we may not always have every item at all markets.  If you'd like us to save something for you, please send us an email by 10 p.m. prior to market.

Pint Clamshell Containers, Please?

Do you have any of our pint clamshell containers hanging around your house from berries or tomatoes?  If so, we'd love to get them back!  We typically can't use clamshells from other farms because the labels won't come off but we can recycle them if you want to bring them to us.

Today's special holiday is something that your tired farmers could really get into:  Hammock Day.  It's appropriately celebrated right in the middle of the Dog Days of summer (July 3 though August 11th). The creators of this event say that you are supposed to spend as much time as possible in your hammock on this day -- it is not a day for work. Hmmm... that makes it hard to harvest veggies for market!  Guess it's a good thing that we don't have a hammock so we'll still have great fresh produce on our tables tomorrow!  See you soon!

Until next week,

Cheryl & Ray

USDA Organic logo

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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