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Posted 12/8/2017 5:51pm by Cheryl.

Hello Farm Friends!  Happy Friday!

As I sit here writing this newsletter, swirls of snowflakes flutter down outside my window.  It's Snowing!! The weather forecast has been a-l-l over the place so we're not sure if it is just a flurry or if we really are going to get some accumulation.  But it is nice to watch the snow fall.  Even if some things didn't get the memo.

     

But Brix, BB and Tony  definitely read the weather forecast and were making sure that we knew that they needed some hay to keep them well-fueled.

Field Report

It's done!!!  Hooray!  The garlic is planted!

Monday afternoon we finished planting -- a record finish.  Nearly 18,000 cloves tucked into the ground in under 3 days.  Wow!  Kudos to Chris and Jonny for getting it done so quickly and so well!  All done by hand.  No mechanical planters here (although these 2 guys move as quickly as some machines we've seen!)

Oh, excuse me.  Detroit wanted to make sure I mentioned that HE planted too!

Now the field is adorned with dozens of tags marking the garlic varieties and sources and we await the emergence of the first plants.  

After knocking that task off our to-do list, we turned to get things prepped for the upcoming cold weather.  The forecasts have bounced around like crazy but regardless, we knew that we needed to prepare for some pretty cold temps.

A key task was to make sure that we had row cover at the ready for the strawberries and in the hoophouse.  Even though we won't have to actually cover things for a few days, it's good to be prepared so we aren't trying the find the right piece of fabric while the wind is whipping and the thermometer is heading into the teens (been there, no fun).

So now we have things staged for the Polar Express -- whether or not it decides to come into town.

 

With the garlic planted, we've been cracking the remaining garlic for powder and granules -- the aroma of dehydrating garlic wafts across the farm for days!  We'll be well-stocked!

Getting into the Season

With markets behind us and garlic in the ground, we can start to breathe a bit (but not totally until our Organic Inspection happens!).  We've been trying to get out and enjoy some of the special things that the Holiday Season offers.  Last Friday we went to TubaChristmas and on Sunday we went to Mitchell's Nursery and Greenhouse for their amazing Poinsettia Open House.  They grow 80 varieties of poinsettias and more than 10,000 plants.  Each year, they host an open house where visitors can vote on their favorite cultivars.  Mitchell's is one of 33 commercial growers in North America to participate in the trials and this information is provided to the breeders association.  Even though the open house has passed, Mitchell's still has an outstanding selection of poinsettias for your home or office!

 

Shop Local -- Without Leaving Home!

Speaking of well-stocked -- the shelves of our online store are filled with jams, garlic and ginger powder, gift boxes and more!  And new for this year, we just added our fragrant Lavender Sachets!

So don't head out to the Big Boxes! We make it easy to shop local without leaving your house!  Our hand-made, farm-grown items 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. 

Hopefully you got to see the amazing Supermoon on Sunday!  Wow, what a sight!  The cold night skies will have another special treat for us next week.  The Geminid Meteor Shower began this past Monday but will peak next Wednesday night/Thursday morning.  The great thing about this meteor shower is that is becomes visible just a couple hours after nightfall -- you don't have to wait until after midnight to see them.  So bundle up and check out the heavenly view!

Until next week,

Cheryl & Ray

P.S.  It's STILL snowing!  Glad we don't have to plant garlic today!

Posted 12/2/2017 3:02pm by Cheryl.

Hello Farm Friends!  Happy Friday!  Happy December!

Once again the calendar has flipped and now we are on the last month of the year.  Wow!  It seems that we just started 2017 -- but as they say, time flies when you are having fun -- or at least when you are busy!  And boy, have we been!

We've been reclaiming the greenhouse and putting things back together after our terrific Small Business Saturday Holiday Market.  Thanks so much to so many of you coming out to support small, local businesses!  We had well over 200 people attend and we could not have asked for a more beautiful day. Check out some of the pictures taken by our friend Matt Blalock as well as this article in The Stokes News.

     

Field Report

With our last market event of the year behind us, it is time to get the garlic planted!  It's not just a matter of planting, it's the cracking, sorting, counting, planning, prepping the field, and then planting.  And we jumped right on the task this week!  The weather has been great, so we will plant garlic while the sun shines (isn't that how the saying goes?!).

The end of one season's garlic...

...and the beginning of another.

Crack, crack, crack that garlic!

Have you ever tried counting garlic while petting a cat?  It's NOT easy!

 

Chris and Jonny getting the garlic in the ground!  Gittin' 'er done! We have over 6,000 cloves planted already and hope to be done by Monday (just before the rain!)

Just saw this picture from December 1, 2009.  Our methods have definitely changed and our soil has greatly improved (and we sure miss Mocha!)

Plum Granny Elves are at Your Service!

If you're looking for gifts for the foodie on your list, something edible is always a great choice.  Our jams, garlic and ginger powders 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.  All of our jams are back in stock -- including our new Raspberry-Lavender!  A gift from Plum Granny Farm is always in good taste!

This weekend marks the December Full Moon -- the Full Cold Moon.  It is also called the Long Nights Moon by some Native American tribes because it occurs near the winter solstice.  This moon is also a Supermoon.  It crests on the evening of Sunday, December 3 and reaches perigee -- the point in its orbit at which it is closest to Earth -- early morning Monday, December 4. When a Full Moon rises at perigee, the Moon appears larger and brighter than usual which is why it is called a Supermoon.  Get out there and enjoy it!

Until next week,

Cheryl & Ray

Posted 11/20/2017 9:27pm by Cheryl.

Hello Farm Friends!  Happy Friday!

Last weekend's freeze hit pretty hard -- it's always difficult to say goodbye to all of the plants that we've been carefully tending over the summer and fall.

But one clear lesson you learn as a farmer -- there are life cycles.  The Seasons dictate what we can do and grow (although we do cheat a bit with season extension and greenhouses).

Before the freeze, we harvested all of the peppers, winter squash and tomatoes.  They are now tucked into the greenhouse to ripen or are hanging to dry.  So all is not lost!

 

This week we have been cleaning up the dead plants -- the compost pile has a LOT to work on now!  One of our more interesting finds was a hornworm in the tomatoes!  And it was still alive!

  

Speaking of cheating a bit with the extending the seasons....we now have our hoophouse (Raz House) finished and ready to plant!  It is completely covered and we've added vents at the top that can be opened or closed as needed (instead of just cutting a hole in the plastic in the summer!).  Chris tilled in the new leaves and formed some absolutely beautiful beds!  We are going to have some mighty happy plants!!

     

Our Holiday Market Is Just 1 Week Away!

Don't forget to mark your calendar and set your clock for NEXT Saturday, November 25 from 10-3!  Gifts, fresh veggies, Holiday decorations and more will be found right in our greenhouse!  You'll even be able to get a tasty, fresh lunch.  Join us and our 9 vendors and our partners at Buffalo Creek Farm and Creamery and their 14 vendors!  Pick up a flyer at market and stay tuned for more details!  For profiles of the vendors that will be here, check out our event page on Facebook.      

               

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! 

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.

 

Make sure you are well-stocked with GINGER! We have a new batch of Powdered Organic Ginger (it's NOT your typical grocery store stuff!).  We also have FRESH BABY GINGER!  Better make sure you have lots in the freezer for your Holiday cooking needs and warm tea in January!  We are happy to provide you with care instructions and recipes.

Did you say "More Carrots, please?!"  We'll have bunches of them along with Kale, Swiss Chard, Lettuce, Pac Choi, Frisée, Radicchio, Kohlrabi and Freshly cut Herbs (Rosemary, Garlic Chives, Dill, Italian Parsley)!

In the Garlic Department, we'll have Garlic Powder and Granules and maybe a few Garlic Sampler Bags.

Think you'll have leftover turkey?  Make a big ol' pot of Green Chile Stew!  Grab a bag of our fire-roasted green chile and we'll give you a recipe to bring a little bit of New Mexico to your kitchen!

All of our products are Certified Organic and are grown by us!  If you would like us to hold an item for you, please let us know by 10:00 p.m. tonight.

As we get closer to 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 11/12/2017 8:17am by Cheryl.

Hello Farm Friends! Happy Friday!

I think Jack Frost finally located us on Google Maps.... All reports show that we should expect a visit from him Saturday morning -- and he's not being too subtle about it!  The projected low is 26 degrees.  So we are definitely doing the Hustle around the farm trying to get things tucked in, protected and harvested before a freeze.  And digging out our woolies for Saturday market! (BB? Tony?!)

One of the problems of farming in NC is that we get a lulled into thinking that really cold weather and freezes will come...eventually. Our average frost date is October 15 but it seems like we haven't been anywhere near that date since we've been back.  Farming here is a bit like our approach to life when we lived in New Mexico.  There we could put off outside tasks because we always knew that the weather would be nice and wouldn't be raining.  Car needs to be washed?  We can do that tomorrow.  Leaves need to be raked?  Manaña.  Well, just like in New Mexico, the rain or freeze eventually comes.  Better hustle!

Chris at Well #1 all tucked in for the freeze.

Despite the forecast for sub-freezing temps, the good news is there will be sunshine!  This has been a very challenging week with clouds, fog and drizzle for days on end.  Our personal solar batteries are drained!  The clouds and rain made for some beautiful pictures with nicely saturated colors, but it sure has been bleak.

 

Little Black Cat Update

We are happy to report that our temporary feline boarder has found a home!  Our customer Karen and her daughter Katie Rose decided pretty soon after they read about our little black cat that they were interested in him.  On Tuesday, we made the transition a reality.  Karen reports that he "sang all the way home...then slept at the foot of Katie Rose's bed, motor running."  They are still getting used to one another (and the the other 4-footers in the family) but these transitions take time.  Fare thee well, our little panther -- we loved having you with us for a short while.

   

Field Report

A key part of organic farming is building the soil and that's what we've been trying to do.  Increasing our use of cover crops over the winter is part of that.  Planting crops like winter wheat, oats, peas and rye helps the soil build organic matter, inhibits weeds and reduces erosion over the winter.  All good things for soil health.  Here's a shot of the winter wheat in Bee Field starting to emerge.

This year we trialed a small planting of peanuts in our Demo Garden.  Back in June, we planted Carolina Black peanuts which are a heirloom variety that we got from Southern Exposure Seed Exchange. Today we harvested the crop -- very exciting!  They need to cure for about 2 weeks and then we can sample!  We are looking forward to planting a lot more peanuts for 2018.

Holiday Market Countdown!  Just 2 Weeks Away!

Saturday, November 25 (10-3) is the B-I-G day!  It's our 4th Annual Small Business Saturday Holiday Market here at the farm!  Find everything from Holiday decorations to that perfect gift to delicious items for a festive meal.  And you can shop in the stress-free environment of our greenhouse (sure beats the mall!) all while supporting local farms and vendors. Join us and our 9 vendors and our partners at Buffalo Creek Farm and Creamery and their 14 vendors!  Pick up a flyer at market and stay tuned for more details!  For profiles of the vendors that will be here, check out our event page on Facebook.

What's Under the Purple and White Tents?

Only TWO more days to shop at Cobblestone Farmers Market this season!  Yes, it's going to be a cold day but bundle up and head out for some GREAT organic produce! 

'Tis the season for all things GINGER! We have our first of the season Powdered Organic Ginger!  It will make your Holiday cakes and cookies sing with a great ginger flavor (it's NOT your typical grocery store stuff!).  We also have FRESH BABY GINGER!  Better make sure you have lots in the freezer for your Holiday cooking needs and warm tea in January!  We are happy to provide you with care instructions and recipes.

Oh, and those Carrots!  We'll have bunches of them along with Kale, Swiss Chard, Daikon Radishes, Lettuce, Pac Choi, Frisée, Freshly cut Herbs (Dill, Italian Parsley) and maybe some Peppers and Heirloom Eggplant!

In the Garlic Department, we'll have Garlic Powder and Granules, Garlic Sampler BagsSeed Garlic and a limited amount of culinary garlic (supplies are running VERY low!).

As the weather gets colder, it's time to make a big ol' pot of Green Chile Stew!  Grab a bag of our fire-roasted green chile and we'll give you a recipe to bring a little bit of New Mexico to your kitchen!

All of our products are Certified Organic and are grown by us!  If you would like us to hold an item for you, please let us know by 10:00 p.m. tonight.

That's it for this week!  Join us as we pause to salute our Veterans on Saturday.  We are deeply grateful to so many Americans who have served our country -- and for many who made the ultimate sacrifice.   For 98 years, Americans have remembered those who served our country in uniform on 11 November – first as Armistice Day, and then, since 1954 as Veterans Day. Take a moment, remember and thank a Vet today. 

Until next week, 

Cheryl & Ray

Posted 10/15/2017 3:43pm by Cheryl.

Hello Farm Friends! Happy Friday!

Are you as confused as we are?  Is it Fall?  Is it Summer?  Is it both?  The correct answer seems to be choice #3 -- it does seem to be both!  In the past week, we have had temperatures ranging from the 40s to almost 90!  And based on the humidity, I'd swear it was July!  Hopefully we can settle on the correct season (Hello, Fall?!) soon.  It will be good to get off of the seesaw!

Field Report

This week we have been working on some of our fruit crops.  On Monday, Chris and Jonny gathered about 100 blackberry plants (in the rain) that had rooted in the aisles.  These plants will be potted up and nursed through the winter and will be available for sale next spring.  See, we are already planning for next year's Plant Sale!

We have also been working to get the strawberry field ready.  The newly planted strawberries got a nice drink of fish emulsion and are busy growing strong roots.  The plants that we are carrying over to next year need to be weeded and pruned plus the aisles need to be cleared.  Strawberries really spread out and they had completely covered the field.  Chris and Jonny did a great job yesterday of clearing the aisles and beginning the weeding process -- and they had a full truck to prove it!

Here's what the the field looked like in August when we were gathering tips for transplanting.

Now it looks much better!

There goes a truckload of strawberry trimmings to the compost pile!  Great job, Chris and Jonny!

BB & Tony Moving Day!

As we try to do every few months, we moved BB and Tony to new pasture yesterday.  We rotate their paddocks to make sure they have grass and to reduce the opportunity for disease.  Ideally we would have 3 areas to rotate them through -- but we don't have that set up yet.  And while we were at it, it was time to give Tony a hoof trim -- not his favorite thing to do on a Thursday afternoon!  But he guesses the new tasty grass is worth it! 

       

What's Under the Purple and White Tents?

Tomorrow at Cobblestone Farmers Market, we are still THINKING PINK!   We'll have lots of tasty and versatile FRESH BABY GINGER!  Baby ginger can be used for lots of different dishes -- try it with pork or to brighten up a chicken stew.  We'll be happy to provide you with a handout that has care instructions as well as a few recipes.

There will be more beans again this week!  From the delicious purple-striped Rattlesnake Pole Beans to the hearty Romano-style Beans (absolutely delicious roasted!), you'll find lots of bean-y goodness on our tables.

New this week is Baby Green Garlic!  We had some cloves that remained in the field after harvest and now have a nice crop of baby garlic -- like the spring garlic we have in April.  Tender and tasty -- come check it out!  Also in the Garlic Department, you'll find Inchelium Red, Music, Georgian Crystal, Chesnok, Lorz Italian and Elephant, Garlic Sampler Bags, Garlic Braids plus a bit of the Cream of the Crop Seed Garlic.

We'll have more of our Heritage Muscadine and Scuppernong Grapes on the table.  You'll also find Red and Green Butter Lettuce, Kale, Swiss Chard, a little bit of Okra, Daikon Radishes, Tomato Fruit Boxes, a few Heirloom Tomatoes, Heirloom Eggplant, freshly cut Herbs (Dill, Italian Parsley, Rosemary) and Sweet Charlie Strawberry Plants!

You'll also find fresh peppers of all types: Shishitos, Poblano Peppers, New Mexico-type Green Chile, Ashe County Sweet Pimentos, Purple Beauty Peppers, Jupiter Sweet Red Peppers, the sweet habenero Aji Dulce and candy-sweet Picnic Peppers. And even though the roaster has exited for the season, we'll have freshly roasted green chile (Joe Parker, Big Jim and Poblano) in our freezer. 

All of our products are Certified Organic and are grown by us!  If you would like us to hold an item for you, please let us know by 10:00 p.m. tonight.

That's it for this week!  If you are coming to Cobblestone Farmers Market tomorrow (or if you need another incentive to come to Old Salem!), check out Harvest Day!  It's a fun-filled day of activities involving favorite fall foods from the harvest!  Activities are located in the historic district from 9:30-4:30.  Celebrate the fall harvest with hands-on activities, historic demonstrations, vendors and more!  We'll be there checking out the apple vendors!

Until next week,

Cheryl & Ray

Posted 10/8/2017 3:22pm by Cheryl.

Hello Farm Friends!  Happy Friday!  Welcome October!

Watching the Full Moon rise last night was amazing.  When I first saw it peeking over the treeline, it was deep orange.  It reminded me of The Great Pumpkin, of Peanuts lore.  This Full Moon is the Harvest Moon, which is the first full moon after the Autumnal Equinox.  It's called the Harvest Moon because its bright light allowed farmers to harvest crops a bit longer during the day.  The moon rises at sunset and sets around sunrise, so this is the only night in the month when the Moon is in the sky all night long.  We farmers need our extra light this time of year!

Fair Time!

Your farmers did sneak away for a while on Monday to catch a bit of the Dixie Classic Fair.  We are big fair fans and really miss the New Mexico State Fair (if you are ever in Albuquerque in early September, put this on your Must See List).  It was great seeing the kids show off their prize cows at the Junior Dairy Cow Show. 

 

It was also great to see our friends Houck and K.B. Medford there.  They were documenting the Sifford Family's experiences in the livestock competitions during the fair.  Check out some of their posts on Instagram -- @houck_medford  or his website.  You might recognize some folks there!

Field Report

The hay has all been baled and is stored away!  Hooray!

And the Seminole Squash vines that have been steadily covering the lawn in the Demo Garden has now been safely corralled.  Bunches of little winter squashes on this massive vine!  We've been calling this the Hobbit House -- I think it is now the Hobbit House and Gardens!

 

And Detroit can always be counted on to find the highest perch possible to scout for any invading tuna.

Meanwhile, RingBob prefers the camouflaged approach.

Garlic Workshop Cancelled

We are sorry but we had to cancel this year's Growing Great Garlic at Home workshop due to the high likelihood of storms and rain on Sunday.  You'll get a chance next October to learn more about growing this amazing crop!

What's Under the Purple and White Tents?

Tomorrow at Cobblestone Farmers Market -- THINK PINK!  We'll have bunches of FRESH BABY GINGER Baby Ginger is an amazing seasonal treat to be savored!  We'll have recipes and care instructions.

There will be more beans again this week!  From the delicious purple-striped Dragon Tongue Flat Pod Beans (absolutely delicious roasted!) to the delicate Tavera haricot verts, you'll find lots of bean-y goodness on our tables.

You'll also find fresh peppers of all types: Shishitos, Poblano Peppers, New Mexico-type Green Chile, Ashe County Sweet Pimentos, Purple Beauty Peppers, Jupiter Sweet Red Peppers, the sweet habenero Aji Dulce and candy-sweet Picnic Peppers. And even though the roaster has exited for the season, we'll have freshly roasted green chile (Joe Parker, Big Jim and Poblano) in our freezer. 

We'll also have more of our Heritage Muscadine and Scuppernong Grapes along with Frissé, a little bit of Okra, Daikon Radishes, Heirloom Eggplant, Snow Peas, freshly cut Herbs (Dill, Italian Parsley, Rosemary) and maybe some Tomatoes.   In the Garlic Department, you'll find Inchelium Red, Music, Georgian Crystal, Chesnok, Lorz Italian and Elephant plus the Cream of the Crop Seed Garlic (Chesnok, Lahontan and Elephant). 

Don't forget -- if you want to grow some strawberries at home, we will have 4-packs of Sweet Charlie Strawberry Plants available at market tomorrow.  These are from tips that we collected in August and have been growing in the greenhouse.

All of our products are Certified Organic and are grown by us!  If you would like us to hold an item for you, please let us know by 10:00 p.m. tonight.

Enjoy these gorgeous October days.  And keep your eyes open for little moments of beauty and wonder.  They can help us get through these challenging times.

Until next week,

Cheryl & Ray

Posted 10/2/2017 8:32am by Cheryl.

Hay Daze are upon us!  We've been blessed with a stretch of good weather for making our fall crop of hay.  Hot and dry conditions have helped us cut, rake and bale in record time -- and without the stress of wondering if we would be hit with rains.  Since we lost a lot of our spring hay due to rain, it's been nice to have these conditions.

     

Field Report

We are almost finished with the strawberry planting!  Since we had quite a few extra plants left over, we decided to add an additional row to the field -- so now we have a total of 1,500 Chandler strawberry plants (plus the 900 Sweet Charlies) in our field for 2018.  The additional 2 1/2 rows will give us quite a bit more fruit next year (fingers crossed!!)  

Don't forget -- if you want to grow some strawberries at home, we will have 4-packs of Sweet Charlie strawberry plants available at market tomorrow.  These are from tips that we collected in August and have been growing in the greenhouse.

Hooray!  Our snap beans have started producing in full force!  We harvested over 35 pounds on Monday -- our first day of picking!

And check out this beautiful Radicchio!

Last Chance to Register for Garlic Workshop!

It's your last chance to register for our Growing Great Garlic at Home workshop!  If you have always wanted to grow garlic but need some advice to get going or want to improve your skills, this is just the ticket!  It will be held here at the farm next Sunday (October 8) from 2-5!  Get your registration in TODAY!  The class fee is $32 and includes a 1/2 pound bag of seed garlic. For more information and a registration form, check out our website.

What's Under the Purple and White Tents?

Tomorrow at Cobblestone Farmers Market we'll have the first of our GREEN BEANS (Romano, Pole, Round and a few haricot verts).  Plus we'll have the first offering of FRESH BABY GINGER!   

Even though the roaster has exited for the season, we'll have freshly roasted green chile (Joe Parker, Big Jim and Poblano).  You'll also find fresh peppers of all types: Shishitos, Poblano Peppers, New Mexico-type Green Chile, Ashe County Sweet Pimentos, Purple Beauty Peppers, Jupiter Sweet Red Peppers, the sweet habenero Aji Dulce and candy-sweet Picnic Peppers.

We'll have more of our Heritage Muscadine and Scuppernong Grapes on the table.  You'll also find Frissé, Sunflower Shoots, a little bit of Okra, Daikon Radishes, Tomato Fruit Boxes, a few Slicing Heirloom Tomatoes, Heirloom Eggplant, freshly cut Herbs (Dill, Italian Parsley, Rosemary) and Sweet Charlie Strawberry Plants!  In the Garlic Department, you'll find Inchelium Red, Music, Georgian Crystal, Chesnok, Lorz Italian and Elephant plus the Cream of the Crop Seed Garlic (Chesnok, Lahontan and Elephant).

All of our products are Certified Organic and are grown by us!  If you would like us to hold an item for you, please let us know by 10:00 p.m. tonight.

In closing -- and in keeping with the "Hay" theme, we wanted to share a poem from our dear friend and neighbor, Jenny Bates.  Jenny, and her husband Bob, are great friends of the farm and are frequent visitors - especially to see Brix.  Jenny is a published author -- her most recent work is found in Flying South, a publication of Winston-Salem Writers.  Thanks so much for sharing this, Jenny!

Roll Up the Hay  

Sunset on this ribbon of road,

the giant rolls of harvest hay

lay between perfectly groomed

spaces in the field.

Smoldering like tips of

enormous genteel cigars,

curled by cultivated hands.

Baroque punctuations on

a landscape proud of

its hayseed manners.

Pasture, folded and sectioned

into nautilus shells by summer’s

craftsmen and shaped in the

slanting, fading light.

 

Until next week,

Cheryl & Ray

Posted 9/17/2017 11:49am by Cheryl.

Hello Farm Friends!  Happy Friday!

Yep.  It's always something around here.  We even have our own code for it:  ASF - Always Something Farm.  This morning was one of those days.  Before 8, Gesti started barking and we noticed that my cousin's cows were out of the pasture and darting across Highway 66.  Not a good place for a cow to be. So off we go trying to keep the cows off the road and get them back in the pasture.  It seemed like they were in the mooood for a stroll -- and even a run -- as they wandered all around the area.  They were crossing creeks and nibbling on the smörgåsbord of tasty treats along their path:  corn, soybeans, grass (they weren't interested in the tobacco though).  Finally after about 1 1/2 hours, we were able to get them back in the pasture. All in a days work (Was this on the to-do list this morning?!).  ASF!


Whew!  We feel like we dodged a bullet.  Hurricane Irma kindly bypassed us -- just leaving about an inch of rain and some downed branches and tossed chairs.  Heavy winds but thankfully no damage.  We are grateful.  And we also grateful to all of you who offered generators or ideas about who had them in stock.  Our friends Deb and Don Fox at Greenberries Farm loaned us their generator on Friday so we were prepared -- just in case.  And it was great that we didn't have to use it.  Our hearts go out to farmers and others who were in Irma's path.  Achieving some level of normalcy will be a slow and painful process for them.

Field Report

We are starting to see some results of the planting and seeding we have been doing!  The beans are looking great -- both the pole and the bush!  More trellising was needed as they keep growing.  And there are lots of tiny beans on the vines!

 

And the heirloom Seminole Squash are starting to produce!  Good thing -- because the vines are about to take over the Demo Garden!

Seed Garlic and Garlic Workshop Update

We are about a month away from the beginning of garlic planting time.  Seed garlic will be available from us next week. The great thing about buying seed garlic locally is that it is acclimated to our environment -- you aren't taking garlic from the Pacific Northwest or upstate New York and trying to get it to perform well here in the Piedmont.  Plus it is Certified Organic!  And don't forget our garlic growing workshop here at the farm on Sunday, October 8 from 2-5!  Make sure you get your registration in soon since the class always sells out!  For more information, check out our website.

What's Under the Purple and White Tents?

Tomorrow is the day that many of you have been waiting for!  The return of the Chile Roaster!

We will have our trusty roaster at market tomorrow  -- follow your nose!  Samples of freshly roasted chile and sweet peppers will be available and we'll have frozen fresh-roasted chile available for sale.  We'll also have lots of other peppers: Shishitos, Poblano Peppers, New Mexico-type Green Chile, Ashe County Sweet Pimentos, Purple Beauty Peppers and some candy-sweet Picnic Peppers.

Our Potato Bar is getting a bit thin but we'll have LaRatte Fingerlings and the last of the Bintje along with Creamer Potatoes and Teeny Tiny Taters.  This week's featured GARLIC is Redneck Wild!  and we'll also have Inchelium Red, Music, Chesnok, Lorz Italian and Elephant. You'll also find Garlic Powder, Microgreens, Pea Shoots, a little bit of Okra, Daikon Radishes (NEW!). Tomato Fruit Boxes (featuring our award-winning Chocolate Drops), a few Slicing Heirloom Tomatoes, the last of the Grimes Golden Apples, Heirloom Eggplant, the first of the Muscadine Grapes, Dill, Italian Parsley, Rosemary and more!  If you would like us to hold an item for you, please let us know by 10:00 p.m. tonight.

That's it for this week!  Let's say goodbye to the Cassini Spacecraft which ended its odyssey at 6:30 a.m. today.  I have been intrigued this week by all of the interviews and articles about this mission and the team that has worked so hard for so many years.  After launching in 1997, traveling nearly a million miles and reaching the Saturn system in 2004, Cassini spent 13 years exploring the planet and its moons. The data and images led to numerous discoveries that changed how scientists think about our solar system.

Here's a photo of the folks that developed and guided Cassini over the years.  What amazing teamwork!

Enjoy these last glorious days of Summer here on Earth!

Until next week,

Cheryl & Ray

Posted 9/10/2017 12:06pm by Cheryl.

Hello Farm Friends!  Happy Friday!

We're all a bit nervous around here today as we look at Hurricane Irma's path.  Our thoughts and prayers go to those already impacted by the storm and we hope that those in her path have made their way to safety.

Even though Irma's path is still unknown, forecasters are calling for us to get some impact.  We are trying to make plans for the worst -- especially power outages.  Which brings us to a request:  we are looking to borrow a generator for a week as a back-up for our freezers.  All of our jam berries are in the freezers and we really don't want to lose them.  We have tried to purchase or rent one this week but they are all out.  Anyone out there have a generator that we could borrow?  [UPDATE:  A kind friend loaned us a generator!) Thank you Greenberries Farm!!]

We did get quite a bit of rain this week -- nearly 2 inches since Saturday -- but the new plantings were very happy for the moisture.  And Brix?  Maybe not so much.

But after the rain and fog cleared on Wednesday, the air was super clear and crisp and everything looked amazing!

More planting this week!  Beets, salad turnips, lettuce, collards and chard are all snuggled into their beds.  Grow, little plants -- grow!

We have been in the path of Duke Energy's tree trimming program.  That's good (less chance of a power outage this winter) and sometimes not so good if you have to lose 1/2 of a beloved tree.  But for us, we have been able to benefit from the chipped wood from the trimmings!  Their contractor, Asplundh, asked if we wanted some of the chipped wood and we jumped on the chance to get it!  This is a great way for us to help the arborist and for them to help us!  Asplundh frequently has to drive all over looking for places to dump the chips.  This is what 5 loads of wood chips looks like:

This will be great for use as mulch in pathways, along the farm road and more organic matter for our soil.  Yippee!

We were getting impatient for our ginger crop and decided to go ahead and harvest a little bit for our PlumFresh members this week.  It's looking good -- but will do better with a bit more fertilizer and another hilling. You'll start seeing it at market in early October.  Patience!

Seed Garlic and Garlic Workshop Update

Several of you have been asking about buying seed garlic from us.  We will definitely have some and will start selling it in about 2 weeks.  The "official" start to garlic planting season begins around Columbus Day (October 9) so you have plenty of time!  And don't forget our garlic growing workshop here at the farm on Sunday, October 8 from 2-5!  For more information, check out our website.

What's Under the Purple and White Tents?

We are still waiting for the newly planted crops to come in but there's still a lot on our tables tomorrow at Cobblestone Farmers Market!   In the pepper world, we'll have Shishitos, Poblano Peppers, New Mexico-type Green Chile, Ashe County Sweet Pimentos, Purple Beauty Peppers and a few candy-sweet Picnic Peppers. Here's Jonny harvesting shishito peppers for tomorrow's market:

The Potato Bar will have LaRatte Fingerlings and Bintje along with Creamer Potatoes.  You'll find lots of GARLIC!  (this week's feature:  Pyongyang along with Inchelium Red, Music, Chesnok, Lorz Italian and Elephant), GARLIC POWDER, Microgreens, Pea Shoots, some Okra, Tomato Fruit Boxes (featuring our award-winning Chocolate Drops), a few Slicing Heirloom Tomatoes, Grimes Golden Apples, Heirloom Eggplant, Muscadine Grapes, Dill, Italian Parsley, Rosemary, Garlic Chives, Mexican Mint Marigold (a substitute for tarragon with edible flowers) and more!  If you would like us to hold an item for you, please let us know by 10:00 p.m. tonight.

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

Wishing you and yours safety as Irma heads our way.

Until next week,

Cheryl & Ray

Posted 9/3/2017 12:46pm by Cheryl.

Hello Farm Friends!  Happy Friday!  Happy September!

Hard to believe that the calendar has turned again and that we are in September!  But at least the month will somewhat match the cooler weather we have had the past week.  Jackets and second layers have come out of the closet these chilly mornings.  The trees are starting to subtly change colors and the air is heavy with morning dew.

And the yellows of fall are popping up all over!

As we move into fall, we start planning our strawberry crop for the next year.  We decided to carry over this year's field and add some new plants -- both from tips that we have grown out as well as some from a great organic grower, Banner Greenhouse.  On Tuesday, Cheryl drove to Durham to meet up with their truck and brought home about 700 really beautiful plants!  We'll be planting around September 15.

And speaking of planting, lots is still going on.  Our new raised bed is now full of a couple thousand carrot seeds!  Keep your fingers crossed!!

Our plantings of other crops so far are doing well.  Let's take a look:

  Frisse is doing great in the Wally Caterpillar.

  Beans are really taking off!  Shouldn't be long before we have blooms.

  Starting to get the first flowers on the sweet potatoes.

  The muscadine and scuppernong grapes are almost ready -- we hope we will have them at market next week!

Garlic Workshop Reminder

We are getting great response to our 3rd Annual hands-on garlic growing workshop here at the farm on Sunday, October 8 from 2-5!  This very popular 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 Certified Organic seed garlic.  Class size is limited to 15 participants and registration and prepayment is required.  Cost of the course is $32.  Please email us at farm@plumgrannyfarm.com for a registration form or pick up one at market.

What Will Be On Our Table?

We are still in-between on lots of crops but we will have a nice array of items tomorrow at Cobblestone Farmers Market!  A new item this week is super sweet Picnic Peppers!  These little peppers have almost no seeds and are candy-sweet and oh-so-pretty!

We'll also have lots of other great Certified Organic produce on our tables.  In the pepper world, we'll have Shishitos (and back by popular demand samples of the Creamy Chilled Shishito Pepper Soup!), Poblano Peppers, New Mexico-type Green Chile, Ashe County Sweet Pimentos, and Purple Beauty Peppers.  The Potato Bar is stocked with LaRatte Fingerlings and Bintje along with Creamer Potatoes and Teeny Tiny Taters.  You'll find GARLIC!  (this week's feature:  Spanish Roja along with Inchelium Red, Music, Chesnok, Lahontan, Lorz Italian and Elephant), GARLIC POWDER, Microgreens, Okra (we have more this week!), Tomato Fruit Boxes (featuring our award-winning Chocolate Drops), Slicing Heirloom Tomatoes, Grimes Golden Apples, Heirloom Eggplant, Dill, Italian Parsley, Rosemary, Garlic Chives and more!  If you would like us to hold an item for you, please let us know by 10:00 p.m. tonight.

That's it for this week! 

We are keeping the folks in Texas and the Gulf in our hearts and prayers this week.  Cheryl's nephew and his family live in Houston and were seriously impacted by Hurricane Harvey.  Their house was flooded and they have been staying with friends -- at least they are safe. In addition to those in the urban areas, many farmers and ranchers have been devastated by the flooding and torrential rains.  Let's all try to do something to help the folks in this area.  Only by pulling together can we help our fellow citizens pick up the pieces of their lives.

Until next week,

Cheryl & Ray

Our Online Store is OPEN and Ready for Your Holiday Shopping Needs!

Our online store has been restocked and is ready for your Holiday Orders! Click here to go right to the shelves.  You'll find our popular fruit-forward Jams (regular and gift-size jars), Garlic Powder and Granules as well as our new Ginger Powder!  Make your gift-giving easy!  We even take care of the shipping!

Do you want the latest news from the farm? How about the opportunity to reserve items for pick-up at market? Join our mailing list for our "Plum Granny Farm Weekly Update"!




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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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