News and blog

Welcome to the blog.
Posted 3/14/2014 3:17pm by Cheryl Ferguson.

 

It's Friday, Farm Friends!
Happy almost St. Patrick's Day -- and almost Spring!  What a happy thought both of these are!  When I think of St. Patrick's Day, I always think of the lucky 4-leaf clover.  Here's a farm take on something that looks pretty lucky to us:  a tray full of tiny four-lobed bok choy plants!

Tiny plants in tray

Even though the low was 25 degrees last night, there is definitely a feel of Spring in the air.  Our yard is full of dozens of robins, cardinals and red-wing blackbirds, and the goldfinches are starting to put on their summer color.  The peepers in the pond are singing their hearts out every night (even more when it's warmer) and the bees are starting to be more evident when we are outside.  And the farmers are out a bit more too!  Here's Jen covering the first planting of sugar-snap peas -- we got 400 feet each of peas and radishes in the ground the other day!  Tomorrow we will be planting the first of the onions.

Jen covering peas Woodworking projects have also been on the schedule.  We are making new cross-ties for the raspberry trellis and are building several raised beds.  The first one will be for rhubarb!  This should make everyone happy that has been asking us to make strawberry-rhubarb jam!

Ray & Emma cutting trellis cross-barsSpeaking of jam, we just took a load to the new Good Food Growers Market in Kernersville yesterday!  Check them out during their Grand Opening tomorrow (3/15).  It's a great store that will feature local produce, jams, baked goods, plants and garden supplies.  Stop by and say "Hi!" to Angie & Kari!

The calendar is starting to fill up!  We'll be at Cobblestone Farmer's Market Pop-ups on April 12 and 26 in the parking lot of Mary's Gourmet Diner.  And we have our Plum Granny Farm Spring Open Greenhouse on April 26 and 27.  We are also planning our farmers market participation -- we'll be at the Old Salem Cobblestone Farmers Market (starts 5/3) as well as the King Farmers Market (starts 4/30).  More information to come but get these dates on your calendars now!

Talk to you next week.  Happy Pi Day and Full Moon Sunday!! And don't forget to smell the flowers!Ajo and the daffodils
Cheryl & Ray (and Ajo too!)

Posted 3/7/2014 6:11pm by Cheryl Ferguson.

 

Happy Friday, Farm Friends!
 
Another day, another...snow??  Sheesh!  I guess March really did roar in like a lion with 2 winter storms this week.  I love winter as much as the next person (probably more than most, actually!) but this is starting to really get old!  I am taking comfort in the fact that tomorrow and most of next week that the temperatures are supposed to be in the 60s Time to get those peas, radishes and onions in the ground!!

We did take advantage of the 2 semi-decent days this week to get the rest of the blackberries pruned.  Here's Chris and Elliot showing off their handiwork!

Chris & Elliot display their handiworkWhile we were in the blackberries, we gathered LOTS of volunteer Triple Crown blackberry and black raspberry volunteers.  These will be potted up and available for sale this spring!

Black raspberry transplants in waitingSpeaking of spring sales, mark your calendars for April 26 and 27!  We'll have our first Plum Granny Farm Spring Open Greenhouse event those days!  You'll be able to get certified organic transplants of tomatoes, peppers, herbs as well as a variety of fresh spring greens (Kale, lettuce and more!)  We'll be sending out more information but we wanted you to get those dates on your calendar!

And even though spring feels light years away right now, our friends, the bees, let us know that it is just around the corner.  Check out this great picture that Ray caught -- notice the yellow balls on the bees' legs?  That's pollen!  Bees gather pollen from flowers for their protein.  Flowers this time of year? They must be gathering pollen from some early maple trees!  There is hope for Spring and some strong hives!

Bees entering hive with pollen

Talk to you next week.  Think warm and dry weather!!

Cheryl & Ray

 

Posted 2/28/2014 2:46pm by Cheryl Ferguson.

 

Happy Friday, Farm Friends!
 
Know what the most common word in the farmer's vocabulary is -- well, at least the polite words?  Weeds!  Weeds are something that we have to deal with year-round on the farm.  Even in the winter, we must spend time getting them out of the fields.  This week, we spent many hours on hands and knees getting weeds out of the raspberries, blackberries and asparagus.  Weeds are more than just annoying plants that you don't want in a particular planting.  Weeds can dramatically impact the production of a crop.  Ray found a NC State study on the impact of weeded versus non-weeded raspberries and it showed that weedy raspberries can actually cut production to zero in a season!  And that study didn't include common weeds that we have like grasses and morning glories!  Sigh...no shortcuts in this business -- next up is the garlic! 

Emma and Chris in asparagus bedEmma and Chris walking out the asparagus beds that they just weeded.

Speaking of garlic, the garlic is doing very well.  The cold temperatures have done some damage, but the spring and the bulb garlic is popping up nicely!  A field walk last weekend gave us some reassurance!  There is a green fuzz on Ruth's field -- and we were so happy to find out that it wasn't weeds!

Spring garlic in late winterThe seed ordering and seeding continue.  Another flight of onions went in and we are starting to seed peppers, eggplant and tomatoes.  It is always so gratifying and amazing to see the first little push of green coming up in a tray.  Here is an Italian Heirloom artichoke.

Artichoke seedling in tray

We got some great news this week for the Allium Adventure Club!  There will be a couple of products that we will now be able to provide the Club members -- such as scape pesto and shallot vinegar! These are exclusive products for Club members that we won't be bringing to market.  If you haven't been able to check out the website, take a moment now!  We are offering a huge array of allium products that will allow you to take a virtual tour through the whole spectrum of onion, shallots, and garlic -- I'll bet we'll surprise you with the variety and breadth of selection -- and sheer fun and value of the experience!  Sign up now before your chance for the adventure slips away!

Allie the Allium Adventure Club Mascot

Talk to you next week.  Updates to come on spring markets.

Let's see if March roars in like a lion!

Cheryl & Ray

 

Posted 2/21/2014 10:32am by Cheryl Ferguson.

 

Happy Friday, Farm Friends!
 
What a difference a week makes!  The snow is gone and the rain and thunder are here!  Sounds like Spring, huh?  Even the crocus  are beginning to wake up and smile.

Early Crocus bloom

We are moving into full-tilt seeding mode around the farm.  The seed orders are starting to come in (can't believe we ordered 25 pounds of sugar snap pea seed - but that's what the plan calls for!!).  Packets upon packets await our busy hands and seed trays!

Some of the seeds for this year's planting

The ginger, turmeric, and galangal (Thai ginger) have also arrived and we will start the 4 week presprout with them today.  We put the pieces of ginger and turmeric in a shallow tray filled with coconut coir and put them into our heated milkhouse which is a terrific germination chamber.  The seed looks much better this year than it did last year -- so keep your fingers crossed for a great season.

Ginger and turmeric seed

Another crop we are planning is potatoes.  As many of you know, we had a complete crop failure last year.  We are optimistic for this year and decided to make the harvest a bit less drudgery.  We rarely buy new equipment but learned from many other farmers that there is a great Italian potato harvester could make things better and more cost-effective.  We research things pretty thoroughly and based on that, we bit the bullet and got this little number.  Here's Ray with the Checchi-Magli SP-50 Potato Lifter!  We are excited!!  Think POTATOES!

Ray and the SP-50 Potato Harvester

 Thanks for the great response to our Allium Adventure Club!  We've gotten some GREAT questions and comments from folks.  Registrations for the Adventure are now being taken -- please spread the word!  Check out the information on our website!

Allie the Allium Adventure Club Mascot

Talk to you next week.  Hope you have a wonderful Card Reading Day (who knew?  but you have this card from us to read, right?)!

Cheryl & Ray

 

Posted 2/14/2014 3:02pm by Cheryl Ferguson.

 

Just a reminder that you're receiving this email because you have expressed an interest in Plum Granny Farm -- you either signed up at a market or on our website.  We are glad to have this brief opportunity to share some news of the farm with you!  If you no longer wish to receive these weekly newsletters, please see the "unsubscribe" information at the bottom of this email.

Happy Snowy Valentine's Day, Farm Friends!
 
It's been an interesting couple of days around the farm!  The snow was been more intense and longer lasting than we really expected.  We had snow for more than 24 hours and had over 11 inches -- haven't seen one like that in a long time!

Plum Granny Farm sign in snow

With the snow and sleet, one of our major concerns was keeping the load off of the greenhouses.  The heated greenhouse had us most concerned because rounded roofs tend to have more snow build up which can cause collapse.  We started the heater to raise the internal temperature to encourage melting.  Happy to report that it worked!  Unfortunately several farmer friends were not as lucky as we were....a crushed greenhouse is a very sad sight.

Greenhouse with lots of snow

Even with the snow, we have things growing in the greenhouse.  Here are some onion seedlings that we are getting ready for the Allium Adventure Club! 

Watering Onion seedlings

There's also a lot of kale, lettuce and endive in the field.  We did a count on Monday and it looked pretty good for a mid-March harvest.  Kinda hard to believe that now, though!

Field of dreams - and kale!

If you need a burst of spring, we have our wonderful potted paperwhite narcissus at Buffalo Creek Farm and Creamery in Germanton and Let It Grow Produce in Winston-Salem.  The heavenly fragrance will be a great boost on these cold and sometimes dreary days.

Thanks for the great response to our Allium Adventure Club!  Check out the information on our website!

Allie the Allium Adventure Club Mascot

Talk to you next week.  Hope you have a wonderful Valentine's Day!

Bee Mine Valentine

Cheryl & Ray

 

Posted 2/4/2014 12:21pm by Cheryl Ferguson.

 

Happy Tuesday, Farm Friends! Welcome to February!
 
Last week was a busy one!  We got all of the raspberries and blackberries pruned and cleared the canes. That is a record for us!  Now only the black raspberries, grapes and apples are left to prune.  Hopefully those will be done soon (if it ever stops raining!)

The greenhouse is almost ready to fire up.  Thank goodness we shut everything down before it got really cold -- the cost of filling the propane tank is over $1,100 and when the weather's really cold it can take less than a month to run through it (Yike$).  To conserve heat (and propane), we have made a cozy little room within the greenhouse for starting seedlings.  It's about 1/4 of the greenhouse and we even lowered the ceiling to trap as much warm air as possible.  Here's what it looks like as Elliot and Cheryl try to figure out how to hang the side curtains:

Building Greenhouse germination room
Speaking of warming...thinking about warming your sweetie's heart for Valentine's Day?  On Saturday, February 8, come see us at Buffalo Creek Farm and Creamery in Germanton from 10-2 for a very special Valentine's event.  We'll have our heart's delight and lovingly made raspberry, blackberry and strawberry jams for sale.  In addition to the jam, we'll have some lovely and fragrant potted paperwhite narcissus.  And Buffalo Creek's goat cheese is out of this world and pairs great with jam!  Quite nice gifts for your sweetie!  Stop by and take care of your Valentine’s Day shopping - locally!

And finally, last week we left you with a teaser of some good news to share -- well here it is!  We just launched a new program called the Allium Adventure Club! The club is for those of you who absolutely LOVE garlic, onions, shallots and all things allium!  It's our version of your neighborhood book club -- you'll get a weekly (or biweekly) bag of organic delights and we'll guide you through a tasty adventure in the world of allium!  No other farm in the country has anything like this -- so join us on a very exclusive (and yummy!) trip through the land of our favorite genus -- Allium!!  More information and applications are available on the website!

Allie the Allium Adventure Club Mascot

Talk to you next week.  Here's to enjoying six more weeks of winter!

Cheryl & Ray

Posted 1/27/2014 1:19pm by Cheryl Ferguson.

 

Just a reminder that you're receiving this email because you have expressed an interest in Plum Granny Farm -- you either signed up at a market or on our website.  We are glad to have this brief opportunity to share some news of the farm with you!  If you no longer wish to receive these weekly newsletters, please see the "unsubscribe" information at the bottom of this email.

Happy Monday, Farm Friends! 
 
It's time for our break from e-newsletters to end!  Even though we have been off-line for a while, we have been quite busy getting ready for this new season.  Winter gives us the opportunity to reflect on last year's crops and to plan for the new year.  Maybe because of our backgrounds, we are BIG believers in whiteboards, flip charts, and Excel spreadsheets.  It was a very happy day last fall when Cheryl found a 5' whiteboard at ReStore at a great price!  Our living room looks like a scene out of a project planning meeting for the space shuttle - that is if they had a dog curled up on her bed!

Planning the season

The results of all of this planning will be more crops, more on-farm events and better outcomes in the field.  We know that weather and pests and weeds will trip us up -- but with a strong plan, we will be more ready to respond.  But the great thing about farming is that at the beginning of every year it is sort of like being a baseball fan (especially the Cubs!) -- on opening day, we are gonna win the pennant!

The cold weather has been a challenge but welcome.  We have seen the lowest temperatures that we can remember (or many other folks around here too) -- it was 2°F on January 6th! The good thing about it is that many of the pests that have been able to overwinter will not be able to survive - very good news!  Also our raspberries and garlic enjoy a good cold winter.  So see, there is a bright side to these frigid temps!

The polar vortex hasn't kept us out of the field though.  We have kale, endive, lettuce and chard under low tunnels.  This week we are mowing the raspberries and last week we put straw on the shallots and the spring garlic to insulate them a bit more.  Here's Elliot blowing out the straw and Chris wrestling with raspberry canes:

Blowing straw on Spring Garlic in Ruth's fieldChris with raspberry canes

We'll be back in touch next week.  We have some really exciting news to share!

Looking forward to another great partnership in 2014!

Cheryl & Ray

Posted 12/19/2013 11:11am by Cheryl Ferguson.

 

OOPS!  Forgot to put the time of our event at Let It Grow Produce on 12/21 -- we'll be there from 10-1!

Happy Thursday, Farm Friends! 
 
Hard to believe but this is our last farm newsletter of the 2013!  We have enjoyed keeping you in touch with the farm -- the good news and the sad -- during the year.  We really appreciate you letting us pay a virtual visit.  It really does feel like a conversation because so many of you tell us so!  We also are very grateful for your support at markets, restaurants and here on the farm.

Trimming the Plum Granny Farm sign

As the calendar moves closer to the Winter Solstice, Christmas, Kwanzaa and New Year's Eve, the pace for Holiday shopping quickens!  Here we have been busy boxing and shipping jams to send far and wide for Holiday giving!  Our office looks somewhat like a gift wrapping/shipping store gone haywire (think Martha Stewart without a maid!)  We really do enjoy putting gifts together for you -- we are honored when you want to share a bit of Plum Granny Farm with your friends and family.

Market Updates:
This Saturday will be our last off-farm opportunity of the season.  We'll be at Let It Grow Produce (4825 Country Club Rd in Winston-Salem) on Saturday, December 21 for a jam tasting and sales.  Three Sisters Artisan Bakery will also be there with their yummy breads and other baked goods.  What can be better together than jam and bread?!  Stop on by and take care of your last minute Holiday needs!

Here's what we'll have on Saturday: 
  
      -- Powdered and Granulated Organic Garlic (new varietials available!)

      -- Garlic braids  (only 2 remaining!)

  
      -- Jam Gift Boxes  --three of our gift-sized jams all packaged up and ready for giving! 

       -- Lots of jam (Old Fashioned Raspberry, Old Fashioned Blackberry, Raspberry-Baby Ginger. Raspberry-Chipotle, Raspberry-Cranberry, & Baby Ginger-Strawberry-Mint)
      
      -- 
Raspberry-Chipotle Molè Sauce! 

Hope to see you on Saturday!  You can always contact us if you'd like to have an item saved.  We also welcome folks to come by the farm - but please call us to set up a time so we'll know to expect you (336-994-2517).
 

Make the most of this beautiful Holiday Season!  We'll see you in 2014!

Cheryl & Ray

Posted 12/12/2013 1:51pm by Cheryl Ferguson.

 

Just a reminder that you're receiving this email because you have expressed an interest in Plum Granny Farm -- you either signed up at a market or on our website.  We are glad to have this brief opportunity to share some news of the farm with you!  If you no longer wish to receive these weekly newsletters, please see the "unsubscribe" information at the bottom of this email.

Happy Thursday, Farm Friends! 
 
We got a very exciting package last week -- one that had been anxiously awaited for over a year!
PGF new jam labels
Our new jam labels!!!  We are so excited to have these now - makes labeling the jam so much easier (not to mention giving us waterproof labels!). We worked with a terrific designer, Betty Faulk Hastings, who was VERY patient and super creative. Yay!!!  Come take a peek at market!

As we move into winter, we are starting our annual planning process.  We'll keep you informed about some of the changes that we have planned for the next season as well as some new opportunities.  Lots of great things in store for 2014!  We think you'll like them!

Market Updates:
This Saturday will be the last Cobblestone Farmers Market Pop-Up of the year.  It will be behind the Millennium Center (5th and Trade) from 10-noon. Don't let the predicted rain discourage you from coming out to shop for Holiday goods and produce from some fine local farms and producers.  We'll be on the covered back deck so we'll be nice & dry!

And just to put a bug in your ear for next weekend, we'll be at Let It Grow Produce on Saturday, December 21 for a jam tasting and sales.  More info next week!

Here's what we'll have at market on Saturday: 
  
      -- Powdered and Granulated Organic Garlic 

      -- Garlic braids   

  
      -- Mistletoe

Our new jam gift boxes were a big hit last week -- three of our gift-sized jams all packaged up and ready for giving!  They are specially priced at just $14.  And we'll even ship them to friends and loved ones for you!  How's that for service?   (Shipping charges will apply)

Gift boxes of jam

In addition we'll have lots of our 7 fruit-forward varieties of jam as well as our yummy 
Raspberry-Chipotle Molè Sauce! 

Hope to see you at market!  You can always contact us if you'd like to have an item saved.
 
Enjoy the sun and stay warm!

Cheryl & Ray

Posted 12/5/2013 12:45pm by Cheryl Ferguson.

 

Happy Thursday, Farm Friends! 
 
We hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving with friends and family last week.  It was nice for us to get a little break.  As Ray and I counted our blessings, you were definitely among them.  Your encouragement, kind words at market and purchases of our products helps make this life we have chosen worthwhile.  We are most grateful for your friendship!

This week we celebrated another gratitude -- the garlic is in the ground!!!!  Tuesday we finished up planting ALL of the garlic.  And the number is...70,192 cloves!  Whew!!  We'll be tucking a few more into Daddy's Garden for special care but we are so thankful to have this major milestone past us.  It's the most garlic we've ever planted!  Here is Ray taking the PVC plugs off of the dibbler -- won't need this piece of equipment until next fall!

Ray removing metal pirces off a tractor accessory

Market Updates:
On Saturday, we will be at the Cobblestone Farmers Market Pop-Up Market behind the Millennium Center (5th and Trade) from 10-noon. We will also be there on 12/14.  Unfortunately we have had to cancel our planned Holiday Open (Green)House on Sunday due to the yucky weather that is predicted.  We'll try again next year!

Here's what we'll have at market on Saturday: 
  
      -- Powdered and Granulated Organic Garlic 

      -- Garlic braids   

  
      -- Mistletoe

      -- Fresh Holiday Greens for decorating

 
In addition, we will have our new jam gift boxes -- three of our gift-sized jams all packaged up and ready for giving!

Box of gift-sized jams

W
e'll have lots of stock of those as well as our other yummy jams and Raspberry-Chipotle Molè Sauce! 

Hope to see you at market!  You can always contact us if you'd like to have an item saved.
 
Here's to dreaming of next year's garlic & shallot crop!

Cheryl & Ray

Wanna Grow Garlic?

Want to know how to grow great garlic in your backyard?  Join Farmers Cheryl & Ray as they share their garlic growing tips based on their 9 years of experience.  This popular, hands-on workshop will give you the essentials of home production, as well as an opportunity to plant garlic in a raised bed.  Great garlic is easy to grow—if you know the basics, such as choosing the right seed; when to plant; and how to harvest and cure your crop!  The cost of the workshop is $32 which includes ½ pound of Certified Organic seed garlic.  Space is limited to the first 15 paid registrants.  Click here for a registration form.

Save

Save

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"!




USDA Organic logo

Certfied Organic by QCS since 2010

Save

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

 

We're on Instagram!

Follow us on Instagram @plumgrannyfarm