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Posted 12/9/2016 12:58pm by Cheryl Ferguson.

Hello Farm Friends!  Happy Friday!

Even though Winter's official arrival is 12 days away, the temperatures didn't seem to get the email -- it's cold out there!  The morning temperature was 28 degrees -- and it will be colder tomorrow.  And I'll remember to turn the faucet off.

Frozen water hydrant  Icicle at sink

Ray and Chris worked on getting things winter-ready on Wednesday (covering wells and draining water lines) and yesterday morning, the strawberries put on their winter coat.  They seemed to appreciate it this morning!

Covered well  Well #2 covered  Strawberries with field blanket

Before the cold came in, we were able to get more bulb garlic planted -- there's only Nootka Rose left to go!  The field is really starting to sprout tags (each step-in post marks a change in variety)...

Step in posts in Bee Field

... and garlic!  Some of the earlier planted varieties already have gotten quite tall -- the Shandong (planted November 11) has a 3" top and the Lahontan, which was planted on November 29, has a 1" stem and 1" roots but it hasn't emerged yet.  Here's some of the Shandong this morning:

Shandong garlic emerging

Much of the week was spent in pulling together files and records for our organic inspection.  Because of Tuesday's rain, we rescheduled it for yesterday -- a much better day to walk all over the farm.  From the inspector's comments, it seems that everything was fine and that we passed.  We'll be getting their final determination in a month or so.

The on-site inspection is very thorough and involves a complete farm walk as well as reviewing our documentation -- half a day at least.  One of the parts that we have to be prepared for is to show our all crops from seed to sale -- a complete audit of when we seeded, when and how much was planted, what was harvested and how much we sold.  

For the newer readers of our newsletter, you may ask, "why do you do this?"  Great question.  We believe it provides an important assurance to our customers regarding how we grow our crops.  Unlike vague terms like "naturally grown" or "no spray", what we produce is regulated through an extensive Federal certification process. From the seed we plant to our tent at market, we have specific requirements that we must meet to ensure that the food you enjoy from us is grown in a way that nourishes the land (and you!).  We deeply appreciate your trust in us and thank you for supporting a Certified Organic farm!  

Files of materials for the organic inspection

With the inspection behind us, we can now breathe a little bit.  We are trying to get in the Holiday Spirit by doing some special things.  We took a break last Sunday afternoon to go to Mitchell's Greenhouse and Nursery in King for their annual Poinsettia Open House.  They are the largest grower of poinsettias in the Triad (over 9,000!) and grow 81 varieties.  Because of their prolific poinsettia passion, they are one of 33 greenhouses in the U.S and Canada to participate in the North American Poinsettia Trials.  Go check them out -- they still have beautiful flowers for your home or office!

Poinsettias at Mitchell's

This week, we hope to move our Christmas tree from the greenhouse (where it has been since the Holiday Market) to the living room and deck the farm sign with our traditional purple lights!  It's so much fun getting in the spirit!

Christmas tree in the greenhouse

And, yes, it's time to take a nap or two.  Brix recommends it highly.Brix lying down on the job

Need a few more gifts?

Don't head out to the Big Boxes! We make it easy to shop local without leaving your house!  Our jams, garlic braids and gift boxes are ready for giving and are perfect as a hostess gift, a teacher, or even for yourself!  Looking for a custom option?  Give us a call (336-994-2517) or send us an email (farm@plumgrannyfarm.com) and we can put something together for you!  We'll even take care of the hassle of shipping them!  Check out our updated online store and see what we have to offer. 

Jam gift boxes

And we'll leave you with a mystery... sort of.  Our dear little black lamb, BB, has a secret.  She's not really black... she's GREY!  It really is a weird thing!  She started getting lighter and lighter after she was sheared but now she is getting really grey!  We've heard that some black sheep turn grey or even white as they age because of genetic factors.  We suspect it might be Big Brother Tony that is causing those darn grey hairs!  What do you think?  Should we change her name to GB (Grey Beauty)?

Grey BB

Until next week,

Cheryl & Ray

Posted 12/2/2016 1:07pm by Cheryl Ferguson.

Hello Farm Friends!  Happy Friday!  Happy December!

Rain, glorious rain! Yes, we finally got some desperately needed moisture this week.  A nice rain over a couple days -- .8 will help our garlic and other overwintered crops immensely!

As much as we needed the rain, we were very grateful that it did NOT come on Saturday!  A beautiful day was in store for our Small Business Saturday Holiday Market and it was a HUGE success!  Lots of folks (~350-400) from around the Triad (and beyond) came to the farm to kick off the Holiday Season by shopping small!  We really appreciate everyone who came out to show some love to small businesses!  Our vendors were terrific:  Greenberries Farm, Truffles NC, Mystic Wolf's Den, KanoKano Studio, Mount Olive Elementary School, Bunny's Trees, Bill and Jeanne Talich (Bill Talich Photography), and La Vie en Rose Food Truck!  Thanks to each of them for making the day fantastic!  Take a look at some of the photos (thanks to our terrific volunteer, Kirsten Dowell for taking pictures and handling the Christmas tree concession):

Jane and customer  Big crowd in the greenhouse  Food truck was popularBill's Barns calendars and cards  Mitsui of KanoKano is ready with her jewelry  Looking at the okra ornaments

And thanks to your generosity, Mount Olive Elementary raised $610 for its Lion's Den!  That's a lot of okra ornaments!! Thank you so much for your support of this important program!

Lots of Okra Santas

Also a special thanks to Amanda Dodson of The Stokes News for writing a wonderful article on the event.  Check it out!

After trying to put things back together after the Holiday Market, we've been plowing through other things on our to-do list.  Planting garlic is one of the top priorities and we have over 8,000 cloves in the ground.  Yay to Chris for getting most of them planted!  We've been stuck inside getting things ready for our annual Organic Inspection next week.  Chris is THE. BEST. GARLIC. PLANTER. EVER!

Chris planting garlic    Chris' flying fingers planting garlic

Conditions are great for the garlic to begin to sprout -- and that's what they are doing.  Here's the Georgian Crystal garlic that was planted last Wednesday.

Shandong garlic sprouts

This week also marked the clearing of Raz House, our hoop house that has been the home for our tomatoes and so much more this year.  Chris harvested the remaining tomatoes and got all of the plants pulled up -- what a pile of debris for the compost pile!  Seventy-five pounds of tomatoes went to the greenhouse where they can continue to ripen.  And there's also a big pile of snow pea vines for the lambs (BB and Tony offered to go over and take care of them for us, isn't that nice?)

Raz House plant debris  Tomatoes ripening in the greenhouse

We'll be sowing cover crop in the house to build up more nutrients and help prevent disease in the soil.  We want to give it a break from production mode this coming year.

Plum Granny Elves are at Your Service!

If you looking for gifts for the foodie on your list, something edible is always a great choice.  Our jams, garlic braids and gift boxes are ready for giving!  We'll even take care of the hassle of shipping them!  Check out our updated online store and see what we have to offer.  A gift from Plum Granny Farm is always in good taste!

Jam jars

Guess we had better sign off and get back to working on our Organic Growers Plan!  Keep your fingers crossed for us!

 

Until next week,

Cheryl & Ray

Posted 11/22/2016 8:58am by Cheryl Ferguson.

Hello Farm Friends!  Happy Tuesday!

Since many of you receive your newsletter at work, we wanted to make sure that you got all of the news before you head out for your Thanksgiving holiday.  Honest, we aren't trying to confuse you!

What a busy week it's been already. We're trying to do the juggle of getting real farm progress made (can you say garlic?) with getting things ready for Saturday's Small Business Saturday Holiday Market!  Clearing and rearranging the greenhouse, putting seed trays in their new storage area, harvesting vegetables and turmeric, making jam -- the week has a very packed to-do list.

Before we dive into a sneak peek at our Small Business Saturday event, we wanted to pause for a moment to say a heart-felt Thank You!  Thanks for being a part of the Plum Granny Farm family. Together we’re building a community that shares a passion for sustainable, organic agriculture and together, we CAN make a difference in our food system. Thank you for standing with us in good times (huge turnout for Farm Tour) and in tough times (losing most of our strawberry crop due to hail).  Happy Thanksgiving from our family to yours.

Thank you   

Here are the details of our 3rd Annual Small Business Saturday event on Saturday, November 26 from 10-3 at the farm greenhouse.  The weather forecast is looking good and we've got a terrific line-up of vendors offering beautiful, handcrafted products perfect for your Holiday giving and decoration:

  • Bunny's Trees will provide fresh Fraser Fir Christmas trees along with beautiful handcrafted wreaths and fresh white pine roping perfect for decking the hall!  Get started on your Holiday decorating here!
  • Greenberries Farm makes creative and useful items out of recycled items. They will have recycled wine box/cork birdhouses, wine cork ornaments, reclaimed barnwood coasters, and coloring book totes. You are sure to find a perfect gift among their offerings!
  • KanoKano Studio will bring a brand new batch of one-of-a-kind jewelry created in Winston-Salem.  Their signature wire-wrapped jewelry with subtle accents will make great holiday gifts!
  • La Vie en Rose Food Truck will provide a taste of France for your lunch and snacking pleasure!  They are known for their incredible crepes and authentic French food -- rave reviews everywhere they go! This year you won't have to shop hungry!
  • Mount Olive Elementary School is bringing adorable Santa ornaments that are handmade from okra.  Every child at Mount Olive (300 K-5 students!) painted one of these ornaments and they were decorated by faculty, staff, volunteers and older students!  The Student Council will be selling these as a fundraiser for the Lion's Den program at the school.  In addition, children and adults alike can make their own Santa Angel ornament on-site!
  • Mystic Wolf's Den (formerly MW Herbs) will be bringing handmade soaps, pain relief and healing salve, and soy melts. New this year are bath bombs, including the "soothing skin" version with aloe, goat's milk, honey, oatmeal, cocoa butter, & coconut oil infused with chamomile & calendula.
  • Truffles NC will be bringing three delicious products to the market: Pure creamery butter with black winter truffles, sea salt with black winter truffles and creamed clover honey with -- you guessed it-- black winter truffles. All natural truffle products. Never flavored.

What's on Our Table?  In addition to the great products that our guests will be bringing, we'll have gift items and fresh veggies for your Holiday and home needs.  In the gift department, we'll have lots of Jams (Old Fashioned Raspberry, Old Fashioned Blackberry, Raspberry-Baby Ginger, Raspberry-Cranberry, and Baby Ginger-Strawberry-Mint) - several varieties will be available in stocking stuffer sizes.  There will be Jam Gift Boxes, Garlic Lovers Gift Boxes, garlic braids, fragrant Paperwhite Narcissus, and Mistletoe (each bunch tested and guaranteed to work!)

Since we know you also need to eat, we'll have lots of fresh veggies including fresh Baby Turmeric and Baby Ginger, Swiss Chard, Powdered Turmeric, Powdered Ginger, Garlic Powder & Granules and Garlic Sampler bags and several varieties of Culinary Garlic.  There will also be Fresh & Roasted Ancho Chile, Pac Choy, Sunflower Shoots, Pea Shoots and hopefully a few tomatoes -- all Certified Organic!

This is our last event for 2016.  Help us make it a great day! And don't forget that our friends at Buffalo Creek Farm and Creamery in Germanton has teamed up with us for a simultaneous event!  They have 12 vendors with a wide array of products! It's a pleasant 20-minute drive between the two farms.  Come shop small, ya'll!

Shop Small

Wishing you a wonderful Thanksgiving with your family and friends.  We have many blessings to count as we begin to close out 2016 - and you are among them.

In appreciation,

Cheryl & Ray

Posted 11/18/2016 9:11am by Cheryl Ferguson.

Hello Farm Friends! Happy Friday!

Busy, busy week! Garlic has been on our mind (and hands!) a lot this week as we move through our planting plan.  We've had to crack a lot of garlic to get it ready to plant.  Then it's just a matter of getting out in the field and planting!  What is really strange this year is how dry it is.  We have actually had to irrigate the field to get it wet enough to be able to plant.  A far cry from last year when we had to wait until the field dried out.  Here are some scenes from planting last Friday with our friends from Siler City as well as Chris and Ray planting yesterday.

Cracking garlic before planting  Planting garlic with the Andersons  Planting garlic with the Andersons  Howard planting garlic  Susan planting garlic  Chris and Ray planting garlic

Our Holiday Market is just 1 Week Away!

Okra Angel ornament

Wouldn't you love to make one of these lovely Okra Angels?  Or maybe take a Santa Okra home for your tree?  You'll be able to do this and find MUCH more at our 3rd Annual Small Business Saturday Holiday Market on Saturday, November 26 (10-3)!  We have a great line-up of vendors with wonderful local products -- stay tuned for an email on Tuesday that will feature more information about our vendors and what they are bringing.  If you want a sneak preview, check out our Facebook event page that also provides more details.  And don't forget our friends at Buffalo Creek Farm and Creamery -- we are partnering with this to host this great day.  Shop Small Ya'll!

Hanging the Holiday Market sign

Last Old Salem Market Tomorrow

Yes, that sad day is upon us.  Saturday will be the last day of the Cobblestone Farmers Market in Old Salem!  But it is going to be a great one!  We'll be there tomorrow with lots of Certified Organic tastiness to keep your Thanksgiving tastebuds happy!  Here's what you'll find on our table:  Bubba Blue and Hawaiian Yellow Baby Ginger, some Baby Turmeric, Tomatoes, Swiss Chard, Ancho Chile Pepper (fresh and Fire-Roasted) and herb bunches for your Thanksgiving cooking (Rosemary, Garlic Chives and Oregano)

In the Garlic Department you'll find:  Garlic Powder and Granules (Purple Italian and Lorz Italian), Garlic Sampler Bags, bulb Garlic (this week's feature is the heirloom Inchelium Red, an Ark of Taste variety, plus we'll have 5 other varieties), and Garlic Braids. And don't forget the Garlic Scape Pesto -- this could have a nice role in your Thanksgiving feast!

Last week for Seed Garlic!  We have Lahontan Early (softneck) and Georgian Crystal (hardneck) remaining.  If you've ever wanted to grow garlic at home, let us help! 

And did I say JAM?  Yes, we've been jamming this week and it's back!  Just in time for the Holidays, we'll have several of our yummy raspberry jams on the table!  This week we'll have Old Fashioned Raspberry, Raspberry-Baby Ginger and Raspberry Cranberry.  They are available in regular and gift-size jars. 

Making jam

 And we will even have that seasonal favorite, Mistletoe!  It's tested and guaranteed to work! ;-)  As Ray says, "This stuff is so good that even a nerd like me can get a kiss!" 

Ray and Cheryl under the mistletoe

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 Thanksgiving, we want to let you know how thankful we are to you for your business, your encouragement, your cheerfulness and your friendship.  We could not do this thing we call Plum Granny Farm without you -- and we are most grateful.

Until next Tuesday,

Cheryl & Ray

Posted 11/11/2016 7:14am by Cheryl Ferguson.

Hello Farm Friends! Happy Friday!

Today is Veteran's Day.  It's an important day for our nation that is about more than a day off work or school and big sales at stores.  Veteran's Day honors all members of the Armed Forces who served this country. They served and fought to protect us, to keep our country safe, and to preserve our way of life. Veterans gave their time, and risked their lives for you and me. In some cases, they made the ultimate sacrifice.

Please take a moment to remember our veterans and say a word of thanks. Both Ray and Cheryl's fathers were part of the Greatest Generation, serving their country during World War II. We owe a huge debt of gratitude to all of our veterans.  Thank you for your service!

It's garlic planting time!  Today we will start planting garlic -- hooray!  The field is ready -- the beds are nicely shaped and the irrigation lines have been laid out.  And much of the garlic has been cracked and is ready to go into the ground. And our dear friends Susan and Howard and their family are coming up from Siler City to help!  What great friends!

We are very excited to be planting.  The past few years we have been slowed down by a lot of rain right when we want (and need) to plant.  Well, this year's drought is taking care of that! We'll be planting about 18,000 cloves this year plus about 12,000 cloves for spring garlic.  This is a far cry from what we started on Thanksgiving weekend 2007 when we planted our first cloves in the little bed by the barn (aka the Test Bed).  Ray, Cheryl and Mike Sprinkle planted about 2 pounds of cloves -- took us about 15 minutes to crack it.  Now our porch is filled with crates of seed garlic and there's still more in the barn!  I guess we liked growing it!

Ray and Mike planting garlic
  Garlic bulbs ready to be cracked

We'll see if RingBob gets into the act of planting this year.  His predecessor, Wally, was always ready to jump in to supervise whatever planting tasks we had. Ummm, I think RingBob will probably have a wait a year!

Wall the Bosscat You don't see me, do you?

Just 2 weeks Away!  Holiday Market!

Don't forget to mark your calendar for Saturday, November 26 (10-3) for our 3rd Annual Small Business Saturday Holiday Market here at the farm!  Pick up a flyer at Cobblestone Farmers Market (or several places around town) -- it has the full list of participants.  Between us and Buffalo Creek Farm and Creamery, we have more than twenty vendors!  You'll be able to take care of your Holiday shopping needs LOCALLY!  All kinds of items will be available from goat cheese to truffle butter, from jewelry to baskets, from jams to garlic gift boxes, from Christmas trees to fresh pine wreaths and roping.  Don't forget -- Shop Small!

Market Update

We are in the final stretch for Cobblestone Farmers Market in Old Salem!  This week and next week are the LAST two markets of the year.  We'll be there tomorrow with lots of Certified Organic tastiness!  A special treat will be our Fire Roasted Ancho Chile Peppers!

Ray roasting green chile for market

Here's what else you'll find on our tables:  Bubba Blue Baby Ginger, some Tomatoes, Tomatillo Salsa Kits and Green Beans.  And of course there's all things garlic:  Garlic Powder and Granules (Purple Italian and Lorz Italian), Garlic Sampler Bags, bulb Garlic (this week's feature is German Red and we'll have 5 other varieties), and Garlic Braids. And don't forget the Garlic Scape Pesto -- this could have a nice role in your Thanksgiving feast!

If YOU want to plant garlic, you'd better hurry to get your bags of Seed Garlic -- this is our biggest garlic that we save for planting (bigger cloves yield bigger garlic).  If you've ever wanted to grow garlic at home, let us help!  We even have home-sized bags of soil amendments available.

If you'd like us to save something for you, please send us an email by 10 p.m. prior to market.

Enjoy these sunny warm days while they last -- the bees are trying to squeeze out every drop of sunshine!

Bumblebee on sunflower

Until next week,

Cheryl & Ray

Posted 11/4/2016 10:38am by Cheryl Ferguson.

Hello Farm Friends! Happy Friday!  And Happy November (wow!)

Before we get too far into the newsletter, there's just something that we have to say (don't worry, it's not political!):

Wrigley Field sign with "Cubs Win"GO CUBS!  Ray is a life-long Chicago Cubs fan, so he was very excited about the Cubs winning the World Series.  But he is a bit concerned that they will lose some of their adorable(?) goofy bad luck tendencies.  Sounds like a Cubbies fan, don't ya think?!  Or maybe he just sounds like a farmer, since we stick with it, good times and bad, and always hope for next year.

Now back to our regularly scheduled newsletter!

The weather has been amazing!  We hit 90 again this week and it feels more like early September than November.  And rain -- what's that?  We have had less than 2 inches in the past 75 days.  Despite our concerns, the weather has been great though for getting fields prepped.  We are making great progress on getting the Bee Field ready for garlic -- hopefully we can start planting next week!

Ray working on Bee Field with Sauratown Mountain in background  Garlic beds in Bee Field

On Monday we got beds ready in Daddy's Garden.  This field is our main over-wintering field since the soil is very good, has easy access to water, and is fenced.  We were in a rush to get this done because a photographer from the Winston-Salem Journal was coming to get some shots of how we use low tunnels for season extension.  Amy Dixon wrote an article (which was published today) about using hoops for protecting plants from winter's cold.  Thanks to both Amy and to Andrew Dye for coming out to visit and for sharing some of our farming techniques!

It's been a busy week for the lambs, too!  On Sunday they moved to their new pasture (they would say thanks but their mouths are too full).

Toney and BB in their new pasture  Brix is checking out the lambs' old pasture

And then on Wednesday, Laura Frazier (FarmGirl Arts) came out to shear them.  They always look SO little after losing all of that fleece!  After their haircuts, they got to take a walk for ...sweet potato leaves! (Sorry BB, no ice cream!)

Tony getting shorn  BB's long locks  Post-shear walk in sweet potatoes

Just 3 weeks Away!  Holiday Market!

Don't forget to mark your calendar for Saturday, November 26 (10-3) for our 3rd Annual Small Business Saturday Holiday Market here at the farm!  This year we have a new addition:  a food truck!  La Vie en Rose of Winston-Salem will be joining us along with 7 other vendors to help you jump start your Holiday Season!  Now you will be able to shop without an empty, grumbling stomach!  Our partners at Buffalo Creek Farm and Creamery have put together a great line-up of vendors as well!  Stay tuned for more details!

Market Update

Just THREE more weeks of Cobblestone Farmers Market in Old Salem!  We'll be there tomorrow with lots of Certified Organic tastiness!  Here's what you'll find on our tables:  Bubba Blue Baby Ginger, Garlic Powder and Granules (new batch:  Purple Italian), Garlic Sampler Bags, bulb Garlic (this week's feature is German Red and we'll have 5 other varieties), Garlic Braids, Swiss Chard, young Kale (Dino and curly Vates), some Tomatoes, a few Pie Pumpkins (plus a recipe for savory stuffed pumpkin), a few bags of Snow Peas, Ancho Chile Peppers (maybe even roasted ones!), Basil, some Green Beans and Microgreens

We will also have bags of Seed Garlic -- this is our biggest garlic that we save for planting (bigger cloves yield bigger garlic).  If you've ever wanted to grow garlic at home, let us help!  We even have home-sized bags of soil amendments available.

If you'd like us to save something for you, please send us an email by 10 p.m. prior to market.

And if you haven't voted early, don't forget to exercise your most important duty as a Citizen in our democratic process:  VOTE!I voted sticker

Until next week,

Cheryl & Ray

Posted 10/28/2016 9:06am by Cheryl Ferguson.

Hello Farm Friends! Happy Friday!

Halloween is in the air -- decorations seem to be everywhere!  Around here, we are a little less into celebrating Halloween and a lot more into celebrating Fall.  Although last year, we did dress up as bees for Cobblestone Farmers Market!

Bee Ray with Golden Retreivers at Cobblestone in 2015

This year, to celebrate the season, we had a Fall Festival of Thanks Party for our wonderful volunteers and PlumFresh Harvest Subscription Program members!  It was a beautiful Sunday afternoon filled with cornhole, hay rides, playing with BB, food and pumpkins!

Pumpkins for Fall Festival   Picking the biggest pumpkin

A project we have been trying to get to for a while is to create a new space for the lambs.  Our plan is to have the pasture divided into 3 sections so we can rotate them every few weeks.  In addition to getting the fencing erected, we also have to build shelters.  We are almost ready to move the lambs -- their shelter is almost done -- and they are very interested in seeing what this new building is!

Building the new lamb hutch  Lambs anxiously awaiting their new home

We are also getting ready for garlic planting! The seed garlic we have ordered is coming in (trying a couple of new varieties this year) and Ray is working on getting the field prepared.  We'll be using the field that grew this year's potatoes and okra for our 2017 garlic crop.  By the way, the garlic that we planted with our workshop group 3 weeks ago is rocketing out of the soil!  Check this out!

Demo garden garlic plot

We've also been planting some other fall crops (kale, broccoli, collards, pac choi, scallions) so we will have greens into the winter.  RingBob has decided that he likes to help plant too.

RingBob and the plants

Plans are coming along for our Holiday Market for Small Business Saturday.  The paperwhite narcissus are now planted and should be nicely formed for the Holidays!

Paperwhite narcissus in bowls

Market Update

 We'll be at Cobblestone Farmers Market in Old Salem (Saturday from 9-noon) with lots of Certified Organic tastiness!  Here's what you'll find on our tables:  Baby Ginger, Garlic Powder and Granules, Garlic Sampler Bags, bulb garlic (this week's feature is K's Backyard and we'll have 5 other varieties), garlic braids, Swiss Chard, "teen" and baby kale (Dino and curly Vates), some tomatoes, a few pie pumpkins (plus a recipe for savory stuffed pumpkin), rosemary bunches, a few bags of snow peas and the first of our kale and arugula microgreens

We will also have bags of Seed Garlic -- this is our biggest garlic that we save for planting (bigger cloves yield bigger garlic).  If you've ever wanted to grow garlic at home, let us help!  We even have home-sized bags of soil amendments available.

If you'd like us to save something for you, please send us an email by 10 p.m. prior to market.

Happy Halloween!  Be safe out there!

Cat in the tree  Porch spider

Until next week,

Cheryl & Ray

Posted 10/21/2016 10:13am by Cheryl Ferguson.

Hello Farm Friends! Happy Friday!

As we settle into late October, it is really starting to feel more like autumn (if you ignore the 90+ degree temps of the past couple of days!).  The leaves are starting to show more color and a whiff of woodsmoke can be detected some evenings.  This is a great time of year to head up to Stokes County and Hanging Rock to see the leaves!  We really have a spectacularly beautiful County -- come visit!

Tree in Autumn

The change in seasons also signals a change in crops.  We are swapping out our okra, squash and cucumbers for garlic.  This week our okra beds went from a lush green forest to looking like a chainsaw massacre had ensued.  Okra has a really large and tough stalk (trunk?) and it takes some serious effort to get them out -- but we didn't actually have to use chainsaws! 

Okra after  Okra field getting ready for garlic

We'll all miss the beautiful okra flowers (Cheryl will really miss the actual okra!) and the bees were taking advantage of them until the very end.

The okra flower and the bee

We have an exciting use for the leftover large okra.  One of our customers, Maggie Monteith, is a kindergarten teacher at Mount Olive Elementary in King.  Her students (along with other students at the school) will be making adorable Santa ornaments with the okra!  The okra is drying now in the barn and will soon be transformed into these cute santas! Maggie and her helpers will be selling these cute ornaments at our Small Business Saturday Holiday Market on November 26.

Okra drying in barn  Okra ornament

Baby Ginger and Strawberries -- what a delightful combination!  We've had a lot of both of these going on this week!  Michael Hastings did a great story in the Winston-Salem Journal on local baby ginger on Wednesday.  He featured us along with Shore Farms in Yadkinville.  We were the first farm to grow baby ginger in the area starting in 2010 and the only Certified Organic one!  We love growing ginger -- and hope you will love eating it!  Check out our recipes sheet at market!

Baby ginger

The strawberries are finally planted!  They are now tucked into their new home in the Flat Shoals field.  We got the deer fence up on Monday (first things first) and planted Tuesday.  They were then treated to a nice drink of fish emulsion water!  Yum!  Grow, little plants, grow!

Strawberry security crew  Chris the planting machine  Yay!  All done!

And coming soon will be our Baby Ginger-Strawberry-Mint Jam!  Look for it on Small Business Saturday!

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!  Here's what you'll find on our tables:  Baby Ginger, Garlic Powder and Granules, Garlic Sampler Bags, boxes of Teeny Tiny Taters and Creamer Potatoes, garlic (5 varieties), garlic braids, sunflower shoots and Swiss Chard.  We will also have bags of our Seed Garlic -- now is the time to plant!  And don't forget our tasty, garlickly Scape Pesto -- perfect for Pizza Night!

We hope to see you at Old Salem from 9-noon and at King from 11-1.  This Wednesday (10/26) is the LAST market of the King Farmers Market season.  If you'd like us to save something for you, please send us an email by 10 p.m. prior to market.

Even though the days are getting shorter and the Autumn reds and golds are moving in, make sure you look around to catch these last bursts of summer glory.

Pink zinnia flowers

Until next week,

Cheryl & Ray

Posted 10/14/2016 9:28am by Cheryl Ferguson.

Hello Farm Friends! Happy Friday!

Flat Shoals field during Hurricane Matthew

This is a picture of our Flat Shoals field on Saturday afternoon -- a good bit of rain had fallen but nowhere near what we could have experienced with Hurricane Matthew.  Here's what the field looked like on Tuesday as we got the landscape fabric on the field for strawberries -- the conditions were perfect for getting the sod staples through the fabric!

Flat Shoals field after Hurrican MatthewAll in all, we only got about 1.8 inches in the storm and, although we had some strong wind gusts, the winds were pretty mild compared to what we were fearing.  Unfortunately our friends down east did not fare as well, especially with the post-hurricane flooding.  Our hearts and prayers go out to our friends affected by Hurricane Matthew.  The NC Department of Agriculture yesterday issued a statement that many crops such as sweet potatoes, soybeans, peanuts and cotton, were in the early stages of harvest so it is likely that a large portion of those crops are destroyed.  Additionally, it is estimated that at least 1 million chickens died as a result of the storm.  Even though the weather has been beautiful, let's remember that rescue and recovery operations are still underway and that they need our support.

flooded fields from CFSA

Photo:  Carolina Farm Stewardship Association

So what's been going on around the farm?  Monday is the day!  The strawberries will be planted!  We've got their beds all made for our new residents -- nice landscape fabric sheets along with a fluffy comforter of hay!

Landscape fabric on strawberries

Andrew and Chris getting more of the fabric on the field 

Rolling out the hay

Chris and Ray clowning around while rolling out the hay

Picking up the extra hay clumps

Picking up the extra clumps of hay -- looks like a Grant Wood painting!

Some of the extra hay made its way to Brix.  Sorry, she can't say "thank you" -- her mouth is full.

Brix and the hayDon't worry - we are equal opportunity -- the lambs got something better than hay -- BEANS!  Since our beans have stopped producing, Tony and BB get to eat the plants -- yum!

Ray with the lambs and beansBut they did deserve a little special treat since they had their hooves trimmed this week.  Never a fun experience -- for either of us!

Ray trimming BB's hooves

Several folks have asked about RingBob -- he is doing great!  He seems to be enjoying his time roaming free outdoors but he never wanders too far away from his home base -- and that's good!  And Detroit seems to keep a watchful eye.

RingBob and Detroit in the beans

 RingBob playing with toy

Garlic Growing Workshop - What a Great Time!

We had a terrific time Sunday at our sold-out Garlic Workshop -- what a beautiful day to plant some garlic!  Fifteen folks got to learn about the fun and challenges of growing garlic and then got to crack and plant some themselves!

Garlic growing class  Participant 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!

After last week's market washout, this Saturday is supposed to be gorgeous.  You'll find several NEW Certified Organic items this week including BABY GINGER, GARLIC POWDER, GARLIC GRANULES and GARLIC SAMPLER BAGS!  Believe it our not, but we are starting to run out of potatoes!  Better get your tasty Bintje potatoes and LaRatte fingerlings while you can and we'll have boxes of Teeny Tiny Taters and Creamers as well!  We'll also have garlic (5 varieties), garlic braids, escarole plus a few other items.  Don't forget the Garlic Scape Pesto -- oh so good on a steaming bowl of Minestrone!

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 Sunday's Hunter's Moon -- the name for the October Full Moon.  It rises at 12:25 a.m.

Until next week,

Cheryl & Ray

Posted 10/7/2016 10:23am by Cheryl Ferguson.

Hello Farm Friends!  Happy Friday!

As farmers, we are pretty attuned to the weather.  So as you might imagine, we are watching the path of Hurricane Matthew closely.  The most recent predictions show that we will most likely be spared the brunt of the storm but we are watchful.  And we are especially keeping those who are in the storm's path in our thoughts and prayers -- we have family in Florida and Charleston.  And our hearts go out to those in Haiti who have endured so much --

As we watch the weather reports, farm life continues on.  So what's been happening this week?  We began on Sunday evening with quite a start.  Getting a knock on the door with someone saying, "Your donkey is out of the pasture!" is never what you want to hear -- especially after dark. It seemed that Brix had gotten her hoof tangled in some fence wire which spooked her, causing her to get out of the fence.  She really didn't want to be out, but she really didn't think she could get back in (donkeys have a strong sense of boundaries).  So after 5 (FIVE!!) hours, we finally got her in the pasture.  We are incredibly grateful to our dear friends, Jenny and Bob Bates.  They answered the call (despite it being a weird 505 area code!) and came out at 10 p.m. to help us.  And they didn't leave until she was safe in the pasture (eating the carrots that Jenny brought her) at 1:30 a.m.  Those two are destined for Donkey Owner sainthood!  They are definitely on the Plum Granny Farm saint line-up!

So after all of that craziness on Sunday night/Monday morning, we spent most of Monday getting the pasture back in shape.  We repaired the fences, mowed the pasture, readied some of the unused pasture for the new grazing area, and even picked up Brix' "gold."  The fence is now very secure (and quite hot electrically!) so she should be safe.  Whew!

Mowing pasture

[Sorry for the lack of pictures this week -- we are having difficulty with our email program!]

The strawberries are getting closer to being planted -- the beds have been shaped and have drip-tape so all we need to do now is to get the fabric on them. That will be a quick task after the rain -- and then we plant!

Garlic Growing Workshop - only 2 more slots!

We've had a great response to our Garlic Workshop which will be held here at the farm this 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 and the cost is $30.  Please email us at farm@plumgrannyfarm.com for a registration form or pick up one at market.

Garlic in the field

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!

On Saturday, pull on your galoshes and join us under the dry and cheerful Plum Granny Farm Purple Tent!  You'll find several NEW Certified Organic items this week including BABY GINGER, GARLIC POWDER, GARLIC GRANULES and GARLIC SAMPLER BAGS!  We'll also have our tasty Bintje potatoes, LaRatte fingerlings, garlic (5 varieties), Swiss Chard, tomatoes, escarole plus a few other items.  Don't forget the Garlic Scape Pesto to remind you of an early May dinner as the nights start to cool!

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.

Save the Date!

It's hard to believe, but it won't be long until our annual Small Business Saturday Holiday Open Greenhouse and Market will be here!  Mark your calendar for Saturday, November 26 from 10-3 -- that's the Saturday after Thanksgiving.  We'll have several vendors and lots of great NEW things to share this year!  We will be partnering once again with our friends at Buffalo Creek Farm and Creamery in Germanton -- stay tuned!

Welcome mat

Today is World Smile Day!  It celebrates the ever popular yellow smiley face. It also offers us an opportunity to do an act of kindness. According to the World Smile Day website, a proclamation of this day was made by the U.S. Congress. The intent of World Smile Day is to do an act of kindness or help one person to smile. Why not do both!?

 

 Keep on smiling, our friends!  Talk with you soon,

Cheryl & Ray

Our Holiday Online Store Is Open!

Jam is ready to ship

Looking for a tasty, local item for your friends and family?  Look no further than our online marketplace!  We have jams, garlic braids and gift boxes ready for Holiday giving!  Click here to see what we have in the store.  And we'll even ship it for you!  It's like finding the North Pole in North Carolina!  Happy Holidays!

Jars of jam

 

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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!

Flavor NC logo

 

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