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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 

Posted 5/22/2015 7:51am by Cheryl Ferguson.

Hello Farm Friends!  Happy Friday! 

Brix says good morning

Brix says it's a beautiful day in the neighborhood!  And indeed it is!  And the weekend forecast is for more of the same - so we have some special things planned for this Holiday weekend.

Since it is a Holiday weekend, we encourage you to take a short drive up to Stokes County to see one of the most beautiful places on earth.  Did you know that Hanging Rock State Park (just 9 miles north of the farm) was named one of the nation's top 20 "Most Stunning State Parks"?  USA Today bestowed that honor last summer and there's no better time to see it than now!  This spring has been kind to the flora and fauna of the County's woods, creeks and trails.  You've missed the rhododendron but the mountain laurel is putting on quite a show.  We have a few patches of it around the margins of the woods here at the farm.

Mountain laurel in bloom

We really got to see a show of it yesterday when Team Plum Granny headed up the road a bit to Carolina Ziplines Canopy Tours.  Yes, believe it or not, we actually got off the farm for some fun!  It was a combination team-building adventure/farewell to Jen/job well-done outing that was a blast!  Check out a few of the pictures -- it was a blast!  Thanks for the great tour, Lauren and Noah!

Zipline #1    Zipline #2   Jen & Noah at Zipline

And if you happen to wander up to Stokes County on Monday, we will be having another pick-your-own strawberry day from 10:00 a.m. until noon!  This past Monday's picking was a lot of fun and the extra day of rest/ripening for the berries is good.  Here's Sandy with one of her buckets of strawberry treasure!

Sandy with strawberries

Another bit of news we'd like to share with you.  Last night, we were honored at the Stokes County Soil & Water Conservation District's Annual Awards Banquet as their 2015 Farm Family of the Year!  We are deeply grateful and touched by this honor -- we will do our best to live up to the accolades!

Ray & Cheryl at Stokes County SWCD awards   PGF and Farm Family signs

Market Updates

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).  There will be  strawberries (Limit 2 quarts per customer), salad mix (2 types -- mixed lettuce and lettuce-frissé-wild spinach-edible flower blend), sugar snap peas, 4 varieties of red and green head lettuces, beets, baby Swiss Chard, baby kale, White Russian kale bunches, artichokes, baby pac choy, onions, lamb's quarters, garlic granules, along with basil, pepper and herb transplants, and blackberry and black raspberry plants -- all Certified Organic!  We'll also have our full assortment of tasty jams. Lots of choices for your grilling and picnic pleasure!

Enjoy this Memorial Day weekend -- and take a moment to remember why it exists.  One of the most moving moments of my life was on Memorial Day in 2004 when we took my father to the dedication of the World War 2 Memorial in Washington, DC.  Seeing all of those amazing men and women who had given much of their youth in service to this country was awe-inspiring and powerful.  This is a picture from that event -- the little girls were asking all those who served for their autographs, so my father humbly obliges.

Daddy at WW2 Memorial Dedication

Until next week,

Cheryl & Ray 

Posted 5/15/2015 9:48am by Cheryl Ferguson.

Hello Farm Friends!  Happy Friday! 

Another incredibly beautiful week here at the farm!  So many things are blooming and bursting to life!  Check out all of the wild blackberries -- almost like snow -- and the amazing peonies!

Wild blackberries behind bee hive       Peonies in the front yard

Strawberries!  Strawberries have been on our minds (and hands!) a lot this week!  The berries have been a huge hit at markets and with restaurants -- no surprise since they are so good!  We also got a nice boost about the berries in the media this week.  Thanks to Michael Hastings at the Winston-Salem Journal for featuring us in his great article on strawberries Wednesday. In case you missed it, here's a link.  Cheryl's grandniece is even a big fan -- here she is after eating a huge chocolate-covered one at market last week:

Danielle and Ray

So here's the deal:  Our Mother's Day PYO was a huge success with 105 pounds of berries going home with folks -- we were picked clean!  The field has been trying to recover from the heavy picking and hasn't really produced as much ripe fruit this week.  In addition, the Sweet Charlie variety is in its mid-season slump (it will pick back up again around the end of the month).  So we are going to postpone having another PYO until Monday, May 18 from 4-6 p.m. to give the plants an opportunity to catch up with demand!  We hate turning people away at our fields but we only have 3,000 plants and they can only produce so much!

Boxes of strawberries headed to market

Other farm doings this week have included cultivating and hilling the potatoes, and lots of weeding.  The potatoes are looking really good!  We are trying to reduce the number of huge weeds in the aisles of the lettuce, kale and other veggies so we are experimenting with putting row cover down in the aisle to smother some of the weeds -- we'll let you know how it goes!  Next week we will plant tomatoes, tomatillos, some peppers and okra and basically try to get the greenhouse cleared out. 

Ray hilling the potatoes in Terrace 2   Row cover as weed barrier

Market Updates

We'll have a nice looking table this week!  This will be the first week for the long-awaited garlic scapes!  If you haven't tried these delights, make sure you grab a bunch along with a recipe for our yummy White Bean Dip! Good thing that Chris eats his Wheaties, with all of the scapes we'll be hauling out of the field!

Chris with the first scapes

There will be asparagus (green & purple--last week), strawberries (Limit 2 quarts per customer),  salad mix (2 types -- mixed lettuce and lettuce-frissé-wild spinach-edible flower blend), beets, baby kale, White Russian kale bunches, sugar snap peas (a few), baby pac choy, Lamb's Quarters Gratin Kit, garlic granules, along with basil, pepper and herb transplants, and blackberry and black raspberry plants -- all Certified Organic!  We'll also have our full assortment of tasty jams.

Make plans now to celebrate "No Dirty Dishes Day" on Monday.  You'll be able to find a lot of tasty treats to eat out of hand at market or our pick-your-own to get you set for the day!

Until next week,

Cheryl & Ray 

Posted 5/8/2015 6:40am by Cheryl Ferguson.

Hello Farm Friends!  Happy Friday! 

We've really been enjoying the gorgeous weather this past week -- haven't you?  It's nice to have a real spring!

In case you are wondering, we made it through Garlic-a-palooza relatively unscathed!  We actually got through the entire process and had the boxes ready to go before 8:00 p.m. on Monday evening -- a far cry from last year's marathon session that went deep into the night (and wee morning hours).  We owe a HUGE debt of gratitude to Chris & Jen -- the A+ team really knocked it out of the park this year!!  Go Team Plum Granny!!

Chris & Ray washing garlic      Boxes of garlic in walk-in

Left:  The power washing duo of Chris & Ray -- these guys can wash 25+ pounds per hour each -- a good thing when you have to wash over 525 pounds!  Right:  If someone was looking for cabbage in these boxes, they'd be in for a garlicky surprise!

 

It always takes a day or so to recover from the 'Palooza but we have been filling our time in harvest mode -- picking strawberries!  Last week, the season was just beginning but now we are really in the midst of it.  We'll have more berries at markets this week and have scheduled a Mother's Day Pick-Your-Own Strawberry & Open Greenhouse Day for Sunday, May 10 from 1-4.  This is bound to be a popular event so come early!  Our berries are Certified Organic AND no-spray -- and incredibly delicious! 

 

Big strawberry in hand

The strawberries will be a main attraction but we still have lots of plants, so our Greenhouse will be open as well!  We have a great selection of heirloom tomatoes, tomatillos, peppers, herbs, berry plants, other veggies and a few ginger plants.  Now is the time to plant these warm weather favorites!  How about an herb garden for your Mom?

If we're not out picking, we're noticing that lots of things are happening in the fields -- here's a preview of coming attractions (from left:  sugar snap peas, Prelude raspberries, artichokes, Ouachita blackberries, garlic scapes)

Sugar snap pea flower  Prelude raspberries  Tavor artichokes  Ouachita blackberries  Elephant garlic scapes

 

Market Updates

The tables will be full of fresh Spring favorites this week with some items taking a final bow.  There will be asparagus (green & purple--likely the last week), spring garlic (last week), salad mix, baby beets, baby kale, White Russian kale bunches, strawberries, garlic powder and granules, along with basil, tomato, pepper and herb transplants, and blackberry and black raspberry plants -- all Certified Organic!  We'll also have our full assortment of jams (don't forget:  Moms LOVE jam!).

Take advantage of "Eat What You Want Day" on May 11 -- chocolate-dipped strawberries perhaps?

Until next week,

Cheryl & Ray

Ajo in strawberries

Cat?  What cat?

 

Posted 5/1/2015 8:50am by Cheryl Ferguson.

Hello Farm Friends!  Happy Friday -- and welcome to May! 

The beginning of May usually has one consistent date for us here at Plum Granny Farm -- Garlic-a-palooza!  For our newer readers, this event is a all-hands-on-deck spring garlic harvest/clean/bundle process that lasts about 5 days.  Why?  We provide upwards of 2,000 bunches of our organic spring garlic to our friends at The Produce Box in Raleigh.  They, in turn use it in some of their wonderful boxes of NC produce that is delivered across the state (including the Triad).  We love working with our friends there -- and even though we are one of the smallest farms they purchase from, we have developed a garlic niche with them.  Here are Chris and Ray harvesting some of the spring garlic -- we use the undercutter bar to cut the roots and then pull the garlic out cleanly. Twelve down, 11,988 left to go....

Chris & Ray harvesting spring garlic

Before the 'Palooza began, we started planting ginger.  We will be growing the white "Big Kahuna" and the new (to us) yellow "Khing Yai."  We will also grow Galangal and turmeric.  The greenhouse is starting to fill up again --with different stuff!

Chris & Cheryl planting ginger

Forecasted warmer days and nights have us anxious to start getting the tomatoes in the field.  Ray got the beds made and we started covering them with plastic (a new method for us this year).  The plan is for about 850 plants in addition to the  tomatillos.  We have a few new varieties that we are trialing this year -- heirlooms and some new introductions. We are excited about bringing those to market.  Meanwhile, in the hoophouse, the early tomatoes are doing great -- there are flowers on several plants!

Strawberries!  Yes, the beginning of the strawberry season is here!  The first couple of weeks will be a bit sparse but we hope to have a good crop this year.  We'll even have a few on our tables at market this week and will have a pick-your-own event very soon.  Our berries are Certified Organic AND no-spray!  One of the benefits of working here is that you get to sample the crops before they start to come in -- here is Chris getting the first dibs at the berries!
 
Chris eating his first strawberry of 2015

Thanks so much to so many of you for coming to our Open Greenhouse and Plant Sale last Sunday.  Even though the weather wasn't great, we had a great day talking with folks and helping them find the perfect plants for their garden.  We are likely to have another Greenhouse Day, so stay tuned!

 

Market Updates

Check out Amy Dixon's great article in today's Winston-Salem Journal about the King Farmers Market.  Thanks for giving a shout out to this hidden gem in the farmers market world!

We'll have lots of fresh Spring favorites on our tables!  There will be asparagus (green & purple), Spring garlic (likely the last week), salad mix, baby beet greens, cilantro (small amount), baby kale, White Russian kale bunches, rapa, strawberries (a few!), garlic powder and granules, and basil, tomato, pepper and herb transplants, blackberry and black raspberry plants, and strawberry hanging baskets -- all Certified Organic!  We'll also have our full assortment of jams (and samples).

All kinds of early May happenings -- Derby Day, Cinco de Mayo (and anniversary day for Cheryl & Ray!), and National Teachers Day (5/6).  And it sounds like sunshine will be in abundance -- get outdoors and plant something!

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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