News and blog

Welcome to the blog.
Posted 4/29/2016 9:58am by Cheryl Ferguson.

Hello Farm Friends!  Happy Friday! 

The past 24 hours have been a whirling dervish!  What started as a calm, cloudy Thursday ended in a roar with a huge hailstorm and lots of rain. 

Huge hailstones  Shoveling hail off the shadecloth

The storm packed a one-two punch and dumped 1.1 inches of rain in less than an hour along with the biggest hailstones I've ever seen here.  The surge of water created some pretty serious erosion in the Flat Shoals field.  Our other fields fared just fine.  We have been working on stabilizing Flat Shoals for several years and have implemented erosion control practices to improve it.  This was caused by a rookie plowing error that allowed the water to flow at a different (bad) angle -- oh, the things you need to know to farm!  We've got to deal with this soon as we have more significant rain predicted over the next few days.

Channel in Flat Shoals field  Debris from Flat Shoals

Andrew had been planting beans in the field right before this hit -- we're not sure where those beans ended up! 

The good news is that we are all okay and there was no significant property damage.  We just have some beat-up plants and fruit...  We haven't started picking strawberries today but given the hail, we are sure that the fruit suffered damage.  That will likely limit what we bring to market this week.

Speaking of strawberries, did you know that strawberries are the #1 item on the Environmental Working Group's (EWG) Dirty Dozen? Conventionally grown strawberries are loaded with pesticides and the soil is fumigated with toxic gases.  In a new report, the EWG cited data from California showing that in 2014, nearly 300 pounds of pesticides were applied to each acre of strawberries – an astonishing amount, compared to about five pounds of pesticides per acre of corn, which is considered a pesticide-intensive crop. 

So what should you do?  Well, we know where you can get berries that don't have these issues!  But we cannot supply the strawberry needs of our area -- our 2,000 plants are working hard but can't produce enough for everyone to get as many berries as she wants.  When you explore other options, ask questions about the strawberries you buy.  Learn about the growing practices: fumigants? pesticides? herbicides?  Buying Certified Organic is your assurance that your food is safe but unfortunately there are not many local options.  If you go to the other strawberry growers in our area, encourage them to adopt organic practices and seek certification.  Customer pressure is a key reason for growers to make the switch to Certified Organic.

The week hasn't been all about hail and strawberries!  Take a quick tour to see what we've been up to:

The LaRatte fingerlings and other potatoes are really starting to pop up!

LaRatte potatoes  Row of LaRatte fingerling potatoes

Getting more beds shaped and covered has been a key task for the week.  Since we are moving into warmer weather, we're using white plastic on the beds to keep the soil cooler than black plastic would.

Covering the beds in North 2

Our little orphan tomato plant is now very huge and has a permanent home in the greenhouse -- and is starting to produce RIPE fruit!

Ginormous tomato plant in the greenhouse

 

Market Updates!

We'll be at Cobblestone Farmers Market in Old Salem (Saturday) and King Farmers Market at the Stokes Family YMCA (Wednesday) with lots of Certified Organic tastiness including Spring Garlic, purple and green Asparagus (limited amounts), a limited supply of Organic & No-Spray Strawberries, Sugar Snap Peas, Snow Peas, Swiss Chard, Kale, Garlic Powder and Granules, Blackberry and Black Raspberry Plants, lots of transplants (tomato, veggie, herb) and Strawberry Hanging Baskets (with fruit!)  We will also have our tasty jams and popular Raspberry-Chipotle Molé Sauce (it's grilling time!)  We hope to see you at Old Salem from 9-noon and King from 11-1.

Pick-Your-Own Update

Our planned Strawberry PYO on Sunday has been postponed due to the forecast of heavy rain & thunderstorms.  Our current plan is to hold one on Sunday, May 8.  Stay tuned!

Hope to see you at market -- and the lambs ask that you not buy any peas...that means more for them (not!)

BB & Tony with pea vines

Until next week,

Cheryl & Ray

Posted 4/22/2016 8:49am by Cheryl Ferguson.

Hello Farm Friends!  Happy Friday! 

Happy Earth Day everyone! As organic farmers, every day is Earth Day to us -- each action that we take is done with the intent of protecting our planet and its resources.  We try to be good stewards of the Earth with everything we do.  And we know you care as well -- by supporting a small, local and Certified Organic farm, you are making a statement and contributing to the health of the planet.  With your purchasing decisions, you take positive steps to reduce our impact on the Earth.  We thank you for your support and Mother Earth thanks you as well!

We do not inherit

The great news this week is that the strawberries have started coming in!  They are coming in slowly but the crop is looking good (and tasting amazing!).  We will have some at market this week and hope to have a pick-your-own event in early May.  Watch this space!  Or should I say, watch this busket!

First strawberries of 2016

Here's your educational moment for today:  the berry pictured below is deformed due to inadequate pollination -- enough bees weren't able to get to the flower to ensure even movement of the pollen to the female parts of the flower.  Honeybees are the most efficient pollinators of strawberry plants -- and in this case, they were likely closed out of the field when it was covered due to the cold weather a couple of weeks ago.  So by covering the plants, we lost some berries by excluding pollinators.  See how important bees are?  But you knew that!

Misshapen strawberry

The week has been filled with lots of irrigation (it is amazingly dry for this time of year!), seeding, planting, harvesting and getting the shade cloth on the greenhouse.  This is the earliest we have put shade on the greenhouse -- and it felt like we were running late in getting it covered!  This spring got suddenly hot and it was really impacting the plants inside!  We had conveniently forgotten about the huge hole in the fabric so Ray had to do some fancy needlework (using a twist-tie for a needle!) before we could get the building covered. Who says farmers aren't Jacks (and Jills) of all trades?

Ray mending the shade cloth  A covered greenhouse

And lots of stuff is blooming -- from the lilacs to the fava beans to the blackberries!

White lilac blossom  Fava bean blossoms

Market Updates!

A HUGE thank you to everyone who came out to our Open Greenhouse & Plant Sale!  Wow! What a great day -- and we even got some news coverage!!  Despite an overwhelming turnout, we still have lots of plants left and we'll be bringing them to market this week. 

We'll be at Cobblestone Farmers Market in Old Salem (Saturday) and King Farmers Market at the Stokes Family YMCA (Wednesday) with lots of Certified Organic tastiness including spring garlic, purple and green asparagus (limited amounts), a limited supply of Organic & No-Spray Strawberries, swiss chard, kale, garlic powder and granules, Blackberry and Black Raspberry plants, tomato & herb transplants, and strawberry hanging baskets!  And we will also have lovely irises and delectable jam!  We hope to see you at Old Salem from 9-noon and King from 11-1.

Quick Schedule Update:  We are postponing our Turmeric Workshop scheduled for May 1 to a later date (TBD).  We will likely have a PYO that day instead.

Enjoy the Full Pink Moon which appeared at 1:24 a.m. today.  It is the smallest Full Moon of the year, as the Earth and Moon move to their furthest points from each other.

Until next week,

Cheryl & Ray

Posted 4/15/2016 9:24am by Cheryl Ferguson.

Hello Farm Friends!  Happy Friday!

Today is that magical day that gardeners look forward to -- no, not Tax Day -- Frost-Free Day!  This is the day that everyone sets as the day that it is okay to plant out frost-sensitive plants such as tomatoes and peppers.  What gets forgotten is that April 15 is the average frost-free date, not the absolute frost-free date.  Since it's an average, there's is a 50% chance that we may get some freezes before we move into consistently warmer weather.  Having said that, the long range forecast shows the weather through the end of the month as looking pretty warmBut it's always a good idea to give your transplants a chance to get used to being outside before planting. And be prepared for a cold snap.  Old-timers always said that May 10 was the best date to be sure.

This will be a great weekend to get transplants and get your garden ready to go.  We'll have some tomato plants and strawberry hanging baskets at Cobblestone Farmers Market but will have most of our plants at our on-farm Open Greenhouse and Plant Sale on Sunday (4/17) from 1-5 p.m.  We'll have hundreds of tomatoes, tomatillos, peppers, herbs, kale, and chard transplants along with blackberry and black raspberry plants and strawberry hanging baskets -- all Certified Organic!  We'll also have soil amendments and some fresh veggies.

Perfect transplant

This week we finally got the potatoes planted -- nearly 500 pounds of spud heaven!!  The first step is to cut the seed potatoes into smaller pieces -- and boy, we sure got some lunkers this year!  Chris and Andrew have fun racing each other to see who can finish planting a row first and they have turned laying out the driptape into a competitive sporting event!  It's Team Plum Granny Spring Training!  They planted 3,000 feet of potatoes (15 rows) and hopefully, we'll be harvesting about 3,500 pounds of potato-y deliciousness starting in late June!

 

  Planted row of potatoes  Chris running out the driptapeDetroit gets in on the act of cutting potatoes  What a big potato

Last weekend's freeze (and wind!) were quite brutal.  We were able to get a double field blanket on the strawberries so they could be protected.  A HUGE thank you to Deb, Don, Matt, Andy & Lisa for coming out on such a blustery and cold afternoon to help us get the berries covered.  A challenging task with 30 mph winds but we got it done handily.  When we went to remove the cover on Sunday, the verdict was good -- all the flowers looked just fine!  And the proof was in the tasting...

Ray tasting a strawberry after the freeze  Victory in the berries!

Market Updates!

Thanks to all of you who braved last Saturday's less than ideal conditions for the opening of the Cobblestone Farmers Market in Old Salem!  We didn't completely blow away (but our tent collapsed!). We'll be back this week in our repaired purple tent packed with lots of Certified Organic tastiness including spring garlic, purple and green asparagus (limited amounts), swiss chard, kale, salad mix, red and green lettuce, Pink Beauty & White Icicle radishes, garlic powder and granules, tulips, heirloom tomato transplants, and strawberry hanging baskets!  And we will also have lovely irises and delectable jam!  We hope to see you there from 9-noon -- it's supposed to be a beautiful (and not windy) day.

Irises

The King Farmers Market at the Stokes Family YMCA will open on Wednesday, April 20 at 11:00 am!  The market has several new vendors this year and has moved to the lower parking lot at the Y.  We should have the same items as are listed for the Cobblestone Market.

We had a great time with our friends at Old Salem Museum and Gardens yesterday for our talk on growing small fruit.  Thanks to Vonnie Hannah for the invitation and for making us feel so welcome!  As I was walking to the greenhouse after we returned, I got a glimpse of why we love to grow berries -- seeing the first buds of blackberry flowers!  Stay tuned, folks -- it won't be long!

Ouachita blackberry flowers

Until next week,

Cheryl & Ray

Posted 4/7/2016 3:13pm by Cheryl Ferguson.

Hello Farm Friends!  Happy Thursday! 

Covering the strawberries

Would someone please let the calendar know that she is confused?  Despite it being April, March winds decided to stay around long past their expiration date and the temperatures seem to think it's February!  We hit a low of 28 on Tuesday night and another cold one is expected Saturday.  Times like these send a strawberry grower into a blithering panic.  Our strawberry plants are LOADED with flowers and berries and are very susceptible to a freeze.  We got things covered up on Tuesday and will be covering again tomorrow just to make sure that we don't lose many berries.  Keep your fingers crossed!!

Lots of planting has been going on this week.  We got kale, broccoli raab, escarole, artichokes and leeks into the fields. Then we transitioned the hoophouse from winter greens to summer produce.  The first tomatoes and basil are now tucked into cozy beds in Raz House.

Planting in Flat Shoals  Raz House after removing lettuce  Chris planting tomatoes in Raz House  Raz House with tomatoes

More Bees, Please!

Ray got another package of 10,000 bees from Tate's Apiaries and we got to install them this afternoon.  Not the best day for installing bees into their new home because of the wind but we didn't want them to stay in their transport box (the "bee-mobile") any longer.  It was a great opportunity for Chris and Andrew to have an up-close view of the process.  We are using the beautiful hive body that Jen Garrison gave Ray when she moved to Mebane.  Take a look at this incredible process:

Ray waxing the hive body with beeswax

Waxing the hive body

 Getting ready to open the box

 Getting ready to open the box

Pulling the queen cage out of the box

Pulling the queen cage out of the box

Putting the bees into the hive

Putting the bees into the hive

That's a bunch of bees!

That's a bunch of bees!  At least they have a snack to get them ready to set up housekeeping.  Ray set up a bowl of honey complete with little wooden "piers" to help them get to the honey without drowning.

Putting the lid on the hive

Tucking them into their new home.  Since there are still bees in the transport box, it is propped up against the entrance to the hive so they can find their way inside.

Isn't this the most amazing thing?  And none of us got stung.

 

Cobblestone Farmers Market Starts This Weekend!

And now for the moment that many of you have been waiting for... Opening Day at the Cobblestone Farmers Market in Old Salem is Saturday (4/9) from 9-noon!   The market is located adjacent to the Single Brothers Garden at the intersection of Salt and West Streets in Old Salem.  For the latest updates on the market, check out Cobblestone's Facebook page.

We are already getting ready for the big day with our first spring garlic harvest of the year!

First spring garlic harvest of 2016

We'll be back in our usual spot (near the intersection of West Street and Old Salem Road).  Our purple tent will be packed with lots of Certified Organic spring goodness including spring garlic, purple and green asparagus (limited amounts), swiss chard, kale, salad mix, red and green lettuce, Pink Beauty & White Icicle radishes, salad turnips, garlic powder and granules, tulips, tomato transplants, and strawberry hanging baskets!  And we will also have our delectable jam!  We hope to see you there on Saturday -- bundle up and come on down to Old Salem!

Just a few reminders of upcoming dates:

Hang on to your hats, bundle up -- and be patient about planting those tender plants outside -- it's still 8 more days until the official frost-free date (we hope!)

Until next week,

Cheryl & Ray

Posted 4/1/2016 11:27am by Cheryl Ferguson.

Hello Farm Friends!  Happy Friday!  Happy April Fool's Day!

Spring is really coming on strong!  This morning I had to make a trip to Danbury.  I always enjoy the drive there because it is so pretty to see the "other side of the mountain."   Today it was even more so.  The woods were tinged with that incredible spring green (the one in the Crayola box doesn't compare), and the dogwoods, redbuds, wisteria and wild cherries were decked out in their finest.  The rhododendron leaves were shiny in the mist and the meadow at Moore's Springs had a perfect pop of yellow flowers.  It was almost enough to make me want to ditch my long to-do list and head over to Hanging Rock for a hike.  If you haven't been up to Stokes County lately, please take the opportunity to see her beauty in the spring -- you'll really enjoy it!  Our County may be lacking in some of the economic fuel that some of our neighbors have, but our County does have incredible beauty and magnificent open spaces.  Come check us out!

When I got back home, a quick walk around showed our own version of Spring's beauty:

Dogwood tree in bloom  Tulips in Raz 1  Poppa Johnny's Apple Tree scion  Pea flowers on the trellis

Okay, back to work!  A main focus of this week has been ginger!  We were fortunate to have some great volunteers from the Triad Buying Co-op help us get the bags ready on Saturday -- they spent several hours folding bags and filling them with coir mixture.  Thanks so much to John, Amy, Rob & Roxanne!

Amy & Roxanne folding bags

We've started the planting process and are pleased to say that we have planted 168 bags so far!!  That's about half of our ginger crop and we still have the turmeric to go (it is a little slow to wake up in pre-sprout. Team Ginger (minus Ray) shows off some of the progress:

Chris, Andrew & Cheryl with the ginger bags

With the invasion of all of these bags, Detroit was worried that he wasn't going to have a place to nap!  Better move, buddy!

Detroit napping on a pallet

On Wednesday we had a group of farmers from Franklin County come up and learn about growing ginger and turmeric.  We had fun sharing some of what we've learned in our 5 years of growing the crops.  We'll be doing an on-farm workshop on May 1 to help folks learn how to grow turmeric at home.

Markets Start SOON!

Now that the calendar has flipped to April, we are really starting to kick into high gear getting ready for markets!  Cobblestone Farmers Market in Old Salem starts next Saturday (4/9) and the King Farmers Market begins on April 20.  It's looking like we will have asparagus along with salad mix, radishes and other greens for market opening!  Looking forward to seeing all of our market friends again!  We've missed you!

At market, we will also have additional information about our PlumFresh! Harvest Subscription Program.  There are only a few slots left and we'd love you to be part of our inaugural season!  This is a great program if you'd like to get a box of veggies & fruit weekly but want the flexibility to skip a week (or several).  Plus you don't have to pay for everything upfront! And we'll even deliver the box to your door*!  Depending on the weather, we hope to start at the end of April.

*within our delivery area

Wishing you an April Fool's Day filled with happy laughter - no foolin'!  Until next week,

Cheryl & Ray

Posted 3/25/2016 10:14am by Cheryl Ferguson.

Hello Farm Friends!  Happy Friday!

Welcome Spring!  We are so glad that you are officially here -- although we would have preferred that you had left your blustery companion, Wind, behind!  Spring is definitely making herself known around the farm -- take a peek at some of the sightings:

Pansies in the bathtub planter  Robin's egg shell  Radishes ready for restaurants  Violets  Strawberry flowers in March

It is such a privilege to be able to experience the change of the seasons here on the farm.  The flora, fauna and tasks all ebb and flow depending on the time of the year.  Nature is a great teacher if we let her!

Speaking of tasks, one of this week's priorities was to get the artichokes mulched with hay.  We roll out round bales of hay over the plants and aisles to keep them cooler since they are planted in landscape fabric.  Just don't tell Brix and the lambs that we used their hay!

Chris and Andrew rolling out hay

Another task this week was to plant the onions.  Thanks to Chris and Andrew, we've got about 4,000 bulb onions, 500 shallots (from seed) and 2,000 bunching onions in the ground!

Chris, Andrew & Cheryl planting onions  Onion transplants  Chris and Andrew planting  Newly planted onions in the field

At this time of year we get lots of deliveries -- seeds, plants, soil amendments and supplies are coming in all the time.  Many of the large orders are delivered with a tractor-trailer.  Earlier this week, we got a delivery of a pallet of coconut coir -- we use this for planting ginger and turmeric. We are quite accustomed to large loads and full pallets -- but this was exceptional.  The pallet was 8 1/2 feet tall and weighed about 2,700 pounds.  And then it fell...

Pallet of coir on lift gate of truch  After it fell

Luckily no one was hurt (had a close call though!).  Later we joked that we've never seen a truck driver speed away from a delivery like that guy did.

Now that we've broken down the pallet into smaller pallets and bricks of coir, we have most of it stored and some at the greenhouse ready for ginger planting this weekend!  We have a great group of volunteers from the Triad Buying Co-op to help us with this task!

77 bales of coir in greenhouse

Dates to Remember

Here are a few dates to note as the season starts to get into full swing!

PlumFresh!

We have updated our website with a few sample boxes to give you a better idea of the goodness that awaits with our PlumFresh! Harvest Subscription Program.   There are only a few slots left and we'd love you to be part of our inaugural season!  This is a great program if you'd like to get a box of veggies & fruit weekly but want the flexibility to skip a week (or several).  Plus you don't have to pay for everything upfront!  Depending on the weather, we hope to start at the end of April.

 

Whew!  That made me tired!

Detroit snoozing on the potting bench

Wishing you a wonderful Easter weekend and until next week,

Cheryl & Ray

Posted 3/18/2016 10:31am by Cheryl Ferguson.

Hello Farm Friends!  Happy Friday!

Another gorgeous week on the farm!  We hit a high of 88 on Wednesday.  Wow!  Everything seems to be blooming at once -- wild plums, red maples -- and the bees are very happy for all the nectar.

Wild plum tree

Our solitary plum tree (quite ancient) is putting on its spring show as well.

Lonely old plum tree

Here's an interesting astronomical fact -- the Vernal Equinox is the earliest this year than it has been since 1896!  Spring officially begins at 12:30 a.m. on Sunday.  Its early arrival is more complicated than space allows but our friends at the Old Farmer's Almanac explain it all for you here.  An extra early Spring...no wonder we feel so far behind already!

A sure sign of spring is working in the asparagus.  We mowed the old foliage earlier in the week and have been trying to tackle the weeds.  While cleaning out the beds, we found some early shoots -- won't be long until we are harvesting every day!

Chris & Andrew weeding the asparagus  A few early spears of asparagus

We are continuing to get fields ready for planting and maintaining the ones that are planted.  Cheryl bush-hogged Ruth's Field and we are clearing clumps of grass from Bee Field.  Onions get planted on Monday and the freshly weeded garlic is looking GREAT!

View from the tractor in Ruth's Field  Onions ready to go in the field  Garlic in South

We had an extra set of hands around here this week -- Ray's sister, Linda was visiting from California.  Of course, we put her to work!  She decided this was her Farm Fantasy Camp experience (and she wants to come back!)

Linda harvesting spring garlic  Linda potting up tomatoes  Linda & Ray feeding the lambs

Spring Open Greenhouse Day

We are just a month away from our Spring Open Greenhouse & Plant Sale on Sunday, April 17 from 1-5.  One of the things that we'll have are our beautiful Strawberry Hanging  Baskets.  Chris has done a terrific job on these -- from harvesting the tips to planting the baskets.  Don't they look great?

Chris and the strawberry basket  Bunches of strawberry baskets

PlumFresh!

We have a few more slots available for our PlumFresh! Harvest Subscription Program and we'd love you to be part of our inaugural season!  This is a great program if you'd like to get a box of veggies & fruit weekly but want the flexibility to skip a week (or several).  Plus you don't have to pay for everything upfront!  For more information, please check our website or email us your questions.  If you are ready to sign up, just mail in the registration form.  We are offering only a limited number of subscriptions this season, so get your registration in today!  The program will likely start at the end of April.

More Lovely Lettuce Available!

We still have some tasty lettuce in our hoophouse.  If you are interested in purchasing some, please contact us -- they are available on-farm by appointment only and are $3 per head.

Red oakleaf lettuce

Enjoy the early Equinox.  And Brix says, "Happy Spring!"

A talking Brix

Until next week,

Cheryl & Ray

Posted 3/11/2016 9:29am by Cheryl Ferguson.

Hello Farm Friends!  Happy Friday!

Trying to get back on schedule with our weekly chats -- we hope to push them up to Thursdays in a few weeks.  Fingers crossed!

Wow!  What a beautiful week this has been!  Incredibly warm temps and lots of sun have given us extra energy to tackle all the things that need to be done.  And the bees are definitely into overdrive gathering pollen from the maples and the other early flowers.  Check out all of the pollen on that one bee!

The Well-Bees bringing in the pollen

While we're not hauling pollen into the hive, we are just as busy our winged friends.  We've had a couple of extra hands on the farm this week so it has been great to get a few projects moved off of the "to-do" list!  The Prelude raspberries have finally been pruned and remaining landscape fabric and drip tube is out of the fields.  Hurrah!

Getting fields ready for planting is a big priority.  Chris used the Grillo to till up this field -- he went through 2 sets of plow points in the process!  We'll be putting cover crops here this summer to help minimize weed pressure.

Chris and the Grillo in Bee Field

The peas we planted a couple of weeks ago just didn't seem to be emerging, so we checked and found that they just couldn't break through the crust.  Ray used the tine weeder to gently break up the crust and uncover the pea shoots -- there's lots there!  The last picture shows them the next morning - just popping out of the soil!

Ray working on the peas  Unclovering the peas  Peas next day

With the warming days, it was time for the greenhouse to shed the "inner sanctum" and to open up the entire house for the ever increasing number of plants. 

Chris & Ray removing the ceiling on the inner sanctum

We've been potting up tomatoes and planting more seeds!  Don't forget to mark your calendar for our Spring Open Greenhouse & Plant Sale on Sunday, April 17 from 1-5.  We'll have hundreds of Organic transplants ready to go -- everything from tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, herbs and more!

Tomato seedling in Juffy pots

PlumFresh!

We're hearing from LOTS of you about our PlumFresh! Harvest Subscription Program and registrations are coming in!  This is a great program if you'd like to get a box of veggies & fruit weekly but want the flexibility to skip a week (or several).  Plus you don't have to pay for everything upfront!  For more information, please check our website or email us your questions.  If you are ready to sign up, just mail in the registration form.  We are offering only a limited number of subscriptions this season, so get your registration in today!  The program will likely start at the end of April.

Lovely Lettuce Available!

If you have the hankering for some tasty salad, we have an abundance of beautiful red and green lettuces in our hoophouse.  If you are interested in purchasing some, please contact us -- they are available on-farm by appointment only and are $3 per head.

Lettuce in the hoophouse

Enjoy this beautiful Johnny Appleseed Day!  And don't forget to stop and smell the flowers (RIP Ajo - we miss you, buddy!)

Until next week,

Cheryl & Ray

Posted 3/6/2016 11:37am by Cheryl Ferguson.

Hello Farm Friends!  Happy Sunday!

The business (and busy-ness) of farming really goes into overdrive in March.  As the temperatures warm and the days brighten, farmers kick things up a notch to get ready for the soil preparation, planting, weeding and harvesting days ahead. Let's take a quick (virtual) walk around and see some of the things that are happening:

Mom's daffodils are starting to show their sunny yellow.

Mom's daffodils

The grape vines and the apple trees waiting to be pruned this week.

Apple & grapes waiting to be pruned

We are removing the primocane raspberries (fall-bearing) and are replacing them with a great early summer-bearing variety (Prelude), more black raspberries and a new blackberry (Osage).  Here are the beds getting ready to be prepared for an early April planting.

Raz 1 rows getting ready for planting

The hoophouse (aka Raz House) is full of beautiful plants!  Kale, lettuce, chard, radishes, tat soi (and Detroit!).  The peas are starting to put out tendrils so it is time to get them trellised.

Beautiful colors in Raz House  Snow peas and radishes in Raz House  Tat soi & Detroit in Raz House

Here are some of our potatoes waiting to be planted - still have 150 pounds of additional fingerlings coming!  Should be planting by the Equinox.

Potatoes in the walk-in waiting for planting

Look at this tomato!  We have absolutely no idea what variety it is -- it was growing in a bucket at the garage until December. We rescued it and moved it to the greenhouse.  Later this week it will be our first tomato plant in Raz House!

Tomato plant

The greenhouse is working VERY hard!  There's a forest of onions, an army of artichokes and lots more!  And we are adding more seeding trays every day.  We will be potting up tomatoes this week and finishing the initial seeding of field tomatoes.  Getting ready for our big Open Greenhouse Day on April 17! (Mark your calendar!)

Sea of onion transplants  Artichoke seedlings  Shishito pepper babies  Tomato seedlings ready to be potted up  Strawberries for hanging baskets  Seeding NM chile peppers

Plum Fresh!

We are just plum tickled over your response to our Plum Fresh! Harvest Subscription Program!   We've gotten LOTS of interest, and subscription registrations are coming in!  This week we've been working out some of the details and now have a registration form on our website.   This program lets you get a weekly box of farm-fresh organic veggies, fruits and specialty items without the big up-front charges and with the flexibility of getting a box when you want it -- going on vacation for a few weeks, no problem!  Only want early season veggies?  No problem!  Click here for more details!  We will be offering a limited number of subscriptions this season, so get your registration in today!

On Tuesday (3/8), there will be a Total Solar Eclipse! Unfortunately it won't be visible in North America but if you are a real eclipse nerd (like us!), you might be interested in a live video feed of the occurrence provided by The Old Farmer's Almanac.  Totality begins at 7:37 PM EST, when the Moon will completely block out the Sun's light and enshroud the coverage area in darkness.   You can watch the broadcast at their Eclipse page starting at 6:00 p.m.

That's it for this week!  And is it true that March comes in like a lamb?

AB and BB in the pasture

Until next week,

Cheryl & Ray

Posted 2/28/2016 8:56am by Cheryl Ferguson.

Hello Farm Friends!  Happy Sunday!

What a week of wild weather!  We were watching our greenhouse and hoophouse like a hawk because of the wind was blasting through here like crazy -- sustained winds of over 20 mph!  Our houses held up to the wind but unfortunately we know of several folks that did have damage to their houses.  And then there was the the rain -- about 1.5".  Thank goodness it was less than the 2.5" predicted!  These blustery, wet days kept us mostly indoors but we've been doing a lot of work on the Capella Community Kitchen project this week.

Before the rain, we were able to get Daddy's Garden prepped for planting.  You may recall that I learned about a way to fix our walk-behind tractor at the Southern Sustainable Agriculture Working Group Conference a few weeks ago.  Mr. Fix-It (aka Ray) ordered the parts from the great folks at Earth Tools and has transformed our 7 year-old Grillo into an even better machine!  I have always been challenged with the clutch because I have small hands.  The new clutch is SO easy to operate that even a klutz like me can do it!  Check it out!

Cheryl & the new & improved Grillo

So with the beds tilled, we were able to get sugar snaps, snow peas and fava beans in the ground.  Yay!  Our first outside planting of the year!

Chris & Ray planting peas

With yucky weather, the greenhouse provides a nice place to work.  This week, in addition to lots of seeds going into trays, the onion transplants got a haircut.  By trimming the onions, they become more stout and sturdy and will do better in the field.

Ray trimming the onions

On Friday, we joined about 10 other local farms at the first-ever "Meet Your Farmer CSA Sign-Up Day" where we met lots of terrific folks who are interested in local food.  Thanks so much to Mary Jac Brennan at the Forsyth County Cooperative Extension Office and the Forsyth Community Food Consortium for sponsoring this event!

Cheryl at the Meet Your Farmer Day

And speaking of CSAs (Community Supported Agriculture), we have decided to offer something similar but definitely NOT the same.  Our Plum Fresh! Harvest Subscription Program lets you get a weekly box of farm-fresh organic veggies, fruits and specialty items without the big up-front charges and with the flexibility of getting a box when you want it.  Click here for more details!  We will be offering a limited number of subscriptions this season, so voice your interest today!

TK found a home!

We are SO excited that TK has found a home! Thanks so much to Linda for reading our newsletter to know about him and to Ralph for opening his heart and his doors for this special kitten! May you enjoy many years of great companionship!  We appreciate all of our readers' help in spreading the word!

TK and Ralph

Wishing you a terrific Leap Day -- enjoy this extra 24 hours -- sounds like it is going to a be a sunny and warm one!

Until next week,

Cheryl & Ray

Pick Your Own Update

It's almost Strawberry Pick-Your-Own time!  Our Certified Organic (and no-spray) strawberries are starting to produce!  We are tentatively planning to have our field open on Sunday, May 8 from 1-3 p.m. depending on weather and field conditions.  Please check back here or call our Strawberry Message Hotline at 336-994-2517 to confirm the event and exact time.

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!

Flavor NC logo

 

Mailing list sign-up




We're on Instagram!

Follow us on Instagram @plumgrannyfarm