Even though Holiday classic, “The Twelve Days of Christmas” said nothing about jam, it doesn’t mean that Plum Granny Farm jam wouldn’t make a delightful gift for your true love or for anyone else on your gift-giving list (hostesses, neighbors, teachers, stocking stuffers, ...)! And at $8 per jar, it’s a lot less expensive than any of the gifts mentioned in the song!
To help you with your Holiday gift-giving, here are two options this week to take care of your last-minute gift-giving needs:
- Krankies Coffee in Downtown Winston-Salem (3rd and Patterson) tomorrow (Tuesday, December 18th) from 11:30-2. Stop by, grab a cup o’ joe and pick up a few gifts for friends and family (maybe one for yourself too!).
- Dixie Classic Farmers Market at the fairgrounds on Saturday, December 22nd from 7-11:00 am.
Pre-orders are cheerfully accepted! Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 336-994-2517. Don’t want you to be disappointed that your favorite flavor is sold out! And those flavors are Old Fashioned Raspberry, Old Fashioned Blackberry, Raspberry-Baby Ginger, Raspberry-Extra Baby Ginger, Raspberry-Chipotle Chile, Raspberry-Cranberry, and Sweet Potato Butter (Yam's Jam) plus Raspberry-Chipotle Molé Sauce and Old Fashioned Blackberry Sauce in limited quantities. All are delightfully yummy!
In addition to the jam, we still have some beautiful garlic braids available -- what a lovely (and practical and also edible!) gift this would make! Quantities are limited, so better hurry!
If you need some packing help, we are also happy to ship your jam selections anywhere you’d like (shipping extra).
Hope to see you at one of these Holiday venues this week!
Making your Holidays tastier,
Cheryl & Ray
Punxsutawney Phil, the prognosticating groundhog, said yesterday that we will have 6 more weeks of winter. 6 more weeks? That feels like Alice and the March Hare - - we’ve had nothing yet, so how can we have more? The warm days have been nice for working outside and napping in the sun (we wish!), but we’re afraid our raspberries and garlic miss the winter. Most of them need a good long cold spell to get charged up for the coming season. On the other hand, the Italian garlic we planted in the Test Bed seems to be loving our Mediterranean winter. So as always, we don’t know what’s in store and we continue to plant and tend with the perennial hope and trust of farmers.
Well, two days earlier than last year and we got the 2011 garlic crop out of the field! Hurray! This year our secret weapon was the undercutter that Ray had fabricated to cut the roots off of the garlic so that it is easier to lift out of the ground by hand. Ray estimates that this nifty tool saved about 200 hours in harvest time since we didn't have to use a digging fork to loosen the soil around each bulb.
We harvested nearly twice of what we planted last year (almost 40,000 bulbs) and are now scurring around trying to get it ready for curing. We'll be storing our seed garlic in the barn while the market garlic will be cut and placed in the "garlic hammocks" in the old tobacco barn and the old log barn. We are very pleased with how the garlic sized up this year -- the largest bulbs we have ever grown. Of course that can be attributed to the extra time spent in soil preparation -- all that leaf mulch does really make a differnce!
Thanks to our great Plum Granny Farm team for working together to make the harvest happen: Nick, Austin, Chad, Jen, Derrick, and Zach.
After we finished the harvest, we brought in the terrific volunteers from the Society of St. Andrew to glean the remaining bulbs. A great team of seven volunteers and the Triad SOS Coordinator, Jen Garrison, spent several hours this morning getting out the garlic we had left in the field. This garlic will be put to good use at food banks and soup kitchens. And we had quite a load to share!
Just wanted to let our great customers know that
Yesterday a whole bunch of folks came to the farm to split bulbs of seed garlic into cloves for planting. It’s not hard labor, but it sure is time consuming when we’re talking about 650 pounds of garlic bulbs needing to be split, or as garlic growers say, cracked or popped or clove. So some raspberry and garlic fans from Krankies Framers Market and Slow Food Piedmont and other friends of Yam came to the rescue! We set up straw bales, cooked up some green chile stew (with Plum Granny organic green chile and onions, and Gary & Kay Owen’s Naturally Grown potatoes), put on some music, and enjoyed a beautiful Sunday afternoon in the NC Piedmont chatting and cracking garlic. The kids worked on elephant garlic the size of softballs, and they loved having bigger garlic than the grownups. Then they were off to play Duck Duck Goose and run in the raspberry rows and devour berries wherever they stopped while the rest of us talked and turned bags of bulbs into bags of cloves. A bit of a farm tour rounded out the day. Come evening, we were pretty tired and very thankful for that big dent in our pile ‘o seed garlic. A bushel-full of thanks go out to:
Blaine & Pat Ferguson
Don & Paula & Sophie & Ana Jennings
Andrew & Fill Lloyd
Kathy & Matt & Vivian & Nic Mayers
Susan & Harvey Moser (Moser Manor)
Kenneth & Dawn Nelson
Jennifer & Lucy Ong
Kay & Gary Owen ((Gary’s Produce)
Ken Van Hoy (Rail Fence Farm)
Jim & Michelle & Katherine & Elizabeth Walter (Walter Farm)
It’s how we grow garlic. One at a time. That sounds like a Napa Valley cliche. Except that it really is true. 24,548 cloves of garlic split from their mother bulbs, one at a time. Plant them by hand one at a time. Weed by hand one at a time. Cut the scapes by hand one at a time. Now we’re pulling them out of the ground, brushing the dirt from their roots, and putting them in the barn. By hand. One at a time.
Harvest is a grand time, despite it being hot and humid. It’s a thrill to see the product of any crop, but especially something like garlic. We monitor it all year long and even pull samples now and then, but we don’t really know how big and healthy the bulbs are going to be until we dig into the soil and they come out of the ground. It’s kind of like Santa Claus came to town. And this year either we were good boys and girls or he goofed and came to the wrong farm. We’ve only pulled 3,936 bulbs and some of our favorite kinds are still out there in their mulch wrappers, but so far we’re smiling.
Inchellium Red is looking very good. Lortz Italian is huge. Music has that gorgeous mother of pearl sheen. Even the Korean Red turned out well, and we thought it would be a total loss. A lady who bought some at Krankies said she roasted it for dinner and “it was like dessert!”
That helps keep us going as we dig and pull and store the other 20,612. One at a time.
Scapes! It’s that time of year when these tasty but little known parts of the garlic make a brief appearance in the field springing up above the foliage of the plants. We only have a couple of weeks to enjoy them young and tender, so we get busy gathering and bundling and rushing them to market. So what exactly is a scape? There are lots of descriptions out there is but I like this one by Washington Post blogger Kim O'Donnel (A Mighty Appetite):
Here's the anatomy lesson: Garlic and its relatives in the allium family (leeks, chives, onions) grows underground, where the bulb begins its journey, soft and onion-like. As the bulb gets harder (and more like the garlic we know), a shoot pokes its way through the ground. Chlorophyll- green like a scallion (maybe even greener), the shoot is long and thin and pliable enough to curl into gorgeous tendrils.
This stage of growth is the garlic scape, folks. If left unattended, the scape will harden and transform from green to the familiar opaque white/beige color of garlic peel. Keeping the shoot attached will also curtail further growth of the bulb. So, in an effort to allow the garlic to keep growing, the farmer is getting a two-fer with this edible delectable that cooks are just beginning to discover.
The amazing thing about scapes is that they shoot up quickly (one day they aren’t there, then the next day there they are!) They stand up, bend over, and curl around like a little piggy tail. That’s when they’re tender and tasty. But after a few days of whimsy they know it’s time to get back to garlic work, so they stiffen their backs and straighten right up again. Of course, stiff means tough, so if we don’t harvest them before that point, you won’t enjoy them very much.
Scapes are incredibly tasty and are quite versatile in the kitchen. You can use them in stir-frys, chopped in cream cheese, as well as in some yummy scape-centered recipes like the pesto or bean dip that you’ll find on our recipe page. Ray’s favorite is grilled scapes – quick, easy, and really good. The folks who sampled his cooking at market thought so, too.
Last Tuesday at Krankies Farmers Market, Michelle Ferrier of Locally Grown News paid Ray a visit to find out what these bunches of strange curly things were at our table. Here’s a link to her article and photos: http://locallygrown.live.communityq.com/detail.html?sub_id=26300
Thanks for the coverage, Michelle!
So run right out and get a scape while you can!