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Posted 5/28/2017 1:02pm by Cheryl.

Hello Farm Friends!  Happy Thursday!

Okay -- if I start talking about how dry it is again, please stop me.  I think I may have wished a flood upon us.  Since we last spoke, we have gotten over 4 inches of rain.  Yesterday we were spared as tornadoes moved through our area.  We were very lucky -- far luckier than many of our friends and neighbors.  Our friends at Felsbeck Farm (Connee and J French) did get hit by the tornado -- they are about 3 miles away.  There were lots of downed trees and power lines with some damage to buildings and crops -- but it could have been a lot worse.  Just down the road from them, the tornado destroyed the home of Chris Overby's mom and her husband (Chris is our employee) -- thank goodness they weren't home at the time.  We count ourselves very fortunate and are trying to help our friends where we can.  Please keep these folks in your thoughts and prayers.

Crop Update

Despite all of the rain, we have been harvesting a lot this week.  We actually began the garlic harvest with the early Asian varieties -- Shandong and Pyong Yang.  They are huge.  And never say that garlic farmers are put off by some rain and mud.  Our credo is "Neither rain nor gloom of day shall keep these farmers from their appointed harvest.  Garlic waits for no man."  Sorry, U.S. Postal Service....

 

Market Updates

We'll be at Cobblestone Farmers Market Saturday from 9-noon.  You will find lots of other Certified Organic produce including lots of GARLIC SCAPES, Snow Peas, Sugar Snap Peas, Florence Fennel, Escarole, Fancy Pants Salad Mix with edible flowers, Kale (Dino/Lacinato and Vates Curly) and Swiss Chard.  In smaller quantities: Strawberries, Artichokes, sweet and crunchy Cucumbers as well as garlic powder. Our beautiful hanging Strawberry Baskets would make a nice hostess gift for your Memorial Day gatherings.  These everbearing Seascape strawberries will produce until frost -- they would love to hang out in a sunny spot at your house.  Several of them already have ripe berries! 

We will also have a nice selection of Certified Organic transplants (peppers, herbs, edible flowers, eggplant, tomatillos, kale and more). 

Wishing you the best on this Memorial Day weekend.  The weekend always holds special meaning for us since both of our fathers served in World War II.  Ray's dad, Bill, was a career Army man and also served in Korea. Cheryl's dad, Holt, enlisted in the Army at the beginning of World War II and was stationed in the Philippines. The photo below was taken at the World War II Memorial in 2004.

Our deepest appreciation goes out to all those who have served our country -- in wartime and peace.  Take a moment this weekend to say "Thank You" to a veteran -- and if you are one, our special thanks to you.

Until next week,

Cheryl and Ray

 

Posted 4/24/2017 4:07pm by Cheryl.

Hello Farm Friends!  Happy Friday!

Seeing that wonderful orb of sun on Wednesday was such a balm for the soul!  I'm not sure I've ever been so happy to see sunshine!  After 5.5 inches of rain since Saturday night, we (and the crops, and the animals) were quite delighted for a dry day!  I know that our totals don't touch the larger rainfall amounts that others got.  We heard reports of 8 inches and more. Our hearts and prayers go out to the farmers that are having to deal with that aftermath.

Despite all of the rain, we had a FANTASTIC turnout for the first day of our Open Greenhouse and Plant Sale!  It was raining all afternoon and people just kept on coming!  Thank you so much for your show of support (and fortitude!)  We especially thank our wonderful volunteer, Annette Helsabeck for donning her rain jacket and boots to help us!

And we are doing it again THIS Sunday (4/30) from 1-5 p.m.!  We have restocked our inventory and have LOTS of Certified Organic plants including many heirloom and hard-to-find plants!  We've got tons of tomatoes (39 varieties), piles of peppers (sweet & hot -- 13 varieties), eggplant, herbs (21 varieties) as well as veggie transplants and dwarf sunflowers.  You'll also find strawberry hanging baskets (everbearing - fruit all summer!) along with ginger and turmeric plants and some seed potatoes.  To keep your plants healthy, we'll have a selection of our favorite organic soil amendments.  We'll even have some fresh produce!  The weather forecast looks pretty good for Sunday, so take a drive up to beautiful Stokes County!

Once things dried out some, we were chomping at the bit to plant!  We got the first of the tomatoes in along with some kale in South and seeded the first succession of beans (bush and pole).  We are updating our Demo Garden beds and planted the Salsa Garden yesterday.

     

Once the sun came out, evidence of future crops are emerging -- apples, snap peas, and peaches...morning glory, dock, sedge, bermuda grass, poison ivy,...

    

In last week's newsletter, I forgot to include a really cool photo of the queen cell from one of our top-bar hives.  Ray recently split the hive and went back to check the status of the new queen in one of them.  He found it!  See the enlarged cell in the circle?  That's the cell for the baby queen bee.  Cool, huh?

Market Updates

The rain has done a number on our asparagus and strawberry production this week, so we will have less available.  Despite that, we will still have lots of Certified Organic spring goodness including Spring Garlic, purple and green Asparagus, Salad Mix with Frissé and edible flowers, Swiss Chard (baby and full-size), Curly Vates Kale, our sweet and crunchy Cucumbers, Shallot Flowers, some strawberries, beautiful head lettuce (red and green), Pac Choi, Tat Soi and some Microgreens Mix along with garlic powder and granules and ginger powder!  And don't forget the jam!

That's it for now!  Today is Arbor Day which has been celebrated since 1872. It began in Nebraska, a largely treeless plain back in the 1800's. It is a day to plant and dedicate a tree to help nature and the environment. Millions of trees are planted on this day. Take a moment to appreciate your favorite tree or make plans to plant one.

The best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago. The next best time is today.                                                                                                   ~African proverb

Until next week,

Cheryl and Ray

Posted 4/14/2017 9:32am by Cheryl.

Hello Farm Friends!  Happy Friday!

Busy, busy, busy!  That's the buzzzzz that's going on in our heads this week!   

Trying to keep the balance of planting, seeding, weeding, setting up irrigation takes some doing, for sure!  There are definitely days where we come to the end and see as many unchecked items on our to-do list as we do the ones with check marks.  We LOVE check marks -- and wish we could see a full page of them at the end of the day.

But there are always good reasons -- irrigation glitches, ornery tractors, rescuing lost dogs, splitting up a hive of bees that are ready to swarm... Interruptions seem to be the norm -- or as we call it, Always Something Farm (ASF)!

Weeding has been high on the priority list for the week.  Despite having been weeded three times already, the garlic looked like it had never been touched.  We all jumped in to tackle that project -- with Chris and Jonny doing most of the heroic efforts.

But at the end of all this hard work came a rainbow at the end of the day -- Klondike Bars!!

Another major task for the week was getting the potatoes planted .  There are now 16 rows of potato-y goodness tucked into Ruth's Field!  Look for them to start showing up at market in late June and early July!

     

Our snacking cucumbers were a big hit at market last week!  There will be more this week and hopefully for weeks to come.  We have 30 more plants to set out!

Our ginger and turmeric are very near being ready for planting.  The seed pieces are still in the milkhouse in the pre-sprout stage -- there are lots of roots and active growing tips.  And there are even some that are saying "Plant Me!" now!  Don't forget that we will have Ginger and Turmeric plants available at our Open Greenhouse and Plant Sale NEXT Sunday, April 23 and April 30.

Chris and Ray got the sites for the next two caterpillar tunnels, Mama Meow and Ajo, set.  Perhaps it was the fact that we decided to use our cat names for these tunnels or it was just the excitement of the measuring string, RingBob decided that this was a fun task to get involved in!  Kittens can make it tough to make precise measurements!

Market Updates

We had a GREAT opening weekend at Cobblestone Farmers Market last week!  Thank you!  It was wonderful to see our friends (you!) back at market!!

It will be busy in Old Salem this weekend.  On Saturday they will be hosting their Easter Festival from 9:30-4:30 complete with an Easter Egg Hunt at 11:00 a.m.  Take this into consideration as you travel to market tomorrow.

We will have lots of Certified Organic spring goodness including Spring Garlic, purple and green Asparagus, Salad Mix with Frissé, Swiss Chard (baby and full-size), Kale, Snacking Cucumbers, Beets, Shallot Flowers (try these with your eggs for Sunday Brunch!), Collards (a few), garlic powder and granules, along with our new ginger powder and some bunches of tulips!  And we will also have our delectable jams -- check out the Raspberry-Cranberry to go with your Easter Ham!  We hope to see you on Saturday -- should be a nice day for market.

That's it for now!   We wish you and your family a wonderful Easter and Passover season.  Take a moment to look around you at all of the amazing signs of Spring and the rebirth that the Season brings.

Until next week,

Cheryl and Ray

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Posted 3/31/2017 3:17pm by Cheryl.

Hello Farm Friends!  Happy Friday!

If March came in like a lion, it's going out like a trout! Wow!  We had a LOT of rain overnight and this morning.  Nearly 1.5 inches so far with more predicted this afternoon.  After a fairly dry winter, we have been making up our precipitation levels over the past couple of weeks.  Right now the fields are saturated -- the garlic almost looks like it is growing hydroponically!

But the fields dried out enough from the earlier rain so we were able to shape beds.  Thanks to Ray, Chris and the NC A&T bedshaper, we got 45 beds shaped (and some covered in plastic) before the latest deluge began. We've got a whole lot of planting to do now!

 

And speaking of planting, we've been doing that too!  Lots of lettuce, pac choi, bok choi, tatsoi and some kale have moved from their trays and into the field.  The new caterpillar has one bed of lettuce -- looking good!

 

We have continued to work on the caterpillar -- shaping beds and adding irrigation -- along with tweaking the plastic cover.  Now it doesn't flap so much in the wind.

 

Thanks for the suggestions for names for the new caterpillar hoophouse!  We decided that since we were calling it "Cat #1," we would go with the cat theme.  So we are naming the tunnels after some of our cats:  the first one is "Wally" and "Mama Meow" and "Ajo" will be the next two.  Maybe butterflies after that.

Market Season is Almost Here!

This is NOT an April Fools joke!  The Cobblestone Farmers Market at Old Salem will start next Saturday (April 8) from 9-noon.  With market on the horizon, "vacation time" is over!!  It's time to step up our game even more to get everything ready for show-time!  Markets really are a lot like a theatre or musical performance!  We'll have some great early season crops for you -- more details next week!

We will also be doing a market at the farm this year starting in late May-early June.  It will be on Wednesday afternoons in conjunction with our PlumFresh pick-up time.  This market will take the place of our participation in the King Farmers Market (which will start on April 19).

Only 3 memberships left for PlumFresh!!

The opportunity to participate in PlumFresh is quickly disappearing!  If you've been thinking about it but just haven't gotten your application in, NOW is time!  For more information and an application, please click here.

That's it for now!   We'll leave you with some of the signs of spring that we've spotted this week.

     

Until next week,

Cheryl & Ray

P.S.  Just as I was ready to hit "send" on the newsletter, the trucking company came with a load of 4 pallets of soil amendments from Seven Springs Farm Organic Farm Supplies.  Yikes!  This is our big annual bulk order that we coordinate to help fellow farmers in the area get better prices on soil amendments.  With no helpers scheduled today, no pallet jack, and rain starting, it was a scramble!!  Thank goodness that Jonny lives close by so he could give us a hand!  It's all done!  Whew!

   

Posted 3/24/2017 7:49pm by Cheryl.

Hello Farm Friends!  Happy Friday!

The calendar announced the beginning of Spring on Monday and we are ready to see it!  Now if it will only stay with us a while.  We are getting a bit weary of taking the field blanket on and off the strawberries (just took it off again this morning!).

Our transplants are saying they want to get in the ground but our heads kept saying that we needed to wait a bit.  Based on the forecasts for the next week, we are out of the woods in terms of low temps for a while(?)  Let the planting begin!!!

But before plants go in, fields must be prepped.  Ray has been working on tilling the fields and getting the fertilizer incorporated.  We were able to borrow a bedshaper from NC A&T which lets us form the bed, lay the irrigation tape and cover the bed in plastic (or not) in one step.  This will help us speed up the process of getting the fields ready for planting.

We are still spending a lot of time in the greenhouse.  Cheryl has been a tomato transplant tornado this week -- over 1,200 seedlings are now in larger containers where they can stretch out their roots and g-r-o-w!

And the really exciting greenhouse news is that the hose trolley is now complete!  No more kinked hose on the floor and wrestling with winding up the hose!  Hooray!

 

Part of this project has included plumbing so that we could add a water treatment method for our irrigation water.  We have known for a while that our well water had a pH that was too high for our plants.  It has taken a lot of research to figure out how to correct this problem and then it was a matter of finding the time to make it happen.  Ray's plumbing skills (and about 25 trips to Lowes Depot) have really been put to the test -- but the results are terrific!  Now we just have to work on getting the pH corrected -- we are using food grade citric acid to lower the pH.  In an organic system, we don't have as many options as conventional growers.  And of course, citric acid is more expensive than their chemical choices!  We are always amazed at how much it costs to be Certified Organic.

The most exciting news of the week is that the first of our caterpillar tunnels is up!  We've been working on getting the site prepared (measuring, putting down landscape fabric on the edges and adding leaf compost to the soil).  Today the bows went up and, despite the wind, we were able to get it covered.  It's going to be a fine spot for crops -- first in will be lettuce and other greens.  Hip, hip hooray!  Now we have to find a proper name for the tunnel -- we are thinking caterpillar or butterfly types...any suggestions?  Check out the pictures!

     

Ginger Workshop is Full!

Thanks so much to those of you who have registered for our class next Saturday.  The workshop is now full!  Stay tuned for more workshop opportunities soon -- we'll be doing a small fruit growing class in May.

Only 5 memberships left for PlumFresh!!

And we are filling things up left and right around here!  Just a few more slots left for PlumFresh!  If you've been thinking about it but just haven't gotten your application in, NOW is time!  For more information and an application, please click here.

That's it for now!   Gotta go plant some stuff!  And rescue Ray's coat from Detroit.

Until next week,

Cheryl & Ray

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Posted 2/18/2017 5:33pm by Cheryl.

 

Hello Farm Friends!  Happy Friday!

Ah, March Madness!  The highs and the lows!  The pounding heartbeat.  The excitement and the despair.  The ups and the downs -- always running.  Oh yeah, there's that basketball thing going on too!

The March Madness that we are dealing with is the crazy weather teamed with an insanely long list of things to do.  Our to-do list is complicated by the swings in the weather.  We go from planting transplants to covering strawberries in a matter of days.  From a high of 74 yesterday to predicted lows of 21 for Wednesday and Thursday, we are scrambling to once again winterize everything.  Oh well, Spring is less than 2 weeks away!

Despite the weather, there's a long list of things on our to-do list and we are getting some things done!  Seeding continues in the greenhouse.  We are getting ready for our own planting as well as for our Open Greenhouse Plant Sales on April 23 and April 30.  We'll have more than 30 varieties of tomatoes (lots of heirloom and hard to find varieties) plus peppers, herbs and lots more.

We've been pruning grapes and the apple trees and the onions will getting a haircut as well.

 

The asparagus is nicely weeded (no more spears yet) and the shallots are clear of weeds too!

 

Yesterday we unloaded the parts for 2 new high tunnels that we'll be building soon.  These high tunnels are not as structured as Raz House but they will be great for a wide variety of crops including tomatoes and possibly strawberries next year.  Stay tuned to see the construction!

Cheryl got to spend part of this week at the Women in Agritourism conference.  This conference was sponsored by NC State University.  It was great to connect with about 50 other women from across the state who are inviting people to their farms -- there are so many great venues out there!

Our last shipment of ginger and turmeric came in from Hawaii yesterday!  The rhizomes are beautiful!  We'll now be cutting them into seed pieces for pre-sprout. If you'd like to grow some for yourself, don't forget about our workshop on Saturday, April 1 from 1-4 to give you the basics of how to grow ginger and turmeric.  This hands-on class will give you the opportunity to plant your own ginger and turmeric seed to take home and learn how to care for it.  The class size is limited to 15 people.  The registration fee is $35.  Click here for a registration form.

Cucumber Update!  These plants are amazing!  They seem to grow about 3 inches every day.  Jack might have met his match with these -- faster than a bean stalk!  We may have cukes in a few weeks.

 

And if you'd like to get in on some of these cucumbers (and our other crops), check out PlumFresh, our Harvest Subscription program. PlumFresh is different than traditional CSAs -- no big up-front payments and it is completely flexible.  There's no requirement to get a box every week and we'll even deliver.  Each week there are 7-9 items in the box.  We have filled 2/3 of our available slots -- so if you are thinking about signing up, better do it soon!  Click here for more information.

This weekend will be a Full Moon.  On Sunday, at 10:54 a.m., the Full Worm Moon will rise.  This name was given by the Native Americans because at this time of year, the ground begins to soften and earthworm casts reappear, inviting the return of robins. This is also known as the Sap Moon, as it marks the time when maple sap begins to flow and the annual tapping of maple trees begins.

That's it for now!   Don't forget to Spring Forward on Sunday (before the Full Moon!) as Daylight Savings Time begins.

Until next week,

Cheryl & Ray

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Posted 2/3/2017 7:32am by Cheryl.

 

Hello Farm Friends!  Happy Friday!

The calendar has flipped its first page of the year and we find ourselves in February!  Yikes!  How did this happen?  And not only that, Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow, so we have six more weeks of winter (I think I hear a cheer from the raspberries!)

Oh well, we best get over our disbelief regarding the passage of time and get to work!. And that's what we have been doing. We've been taking advantage of these nice days to get a lot of work done at the greenhouse.  There are several projects on the Greenhouse To-Do list but one of the most important is to replace the rotten baseboards along its length.  As a structure, greenhouses are difficult to manage.  They bear the brunt of everything the elements can throw at them -- snow, sleet, wind, hail, rain, intense sun.  And by nature, they are warm, moist places -- the kind of place that plants want to live!  This continuous moisture creates trouble for things like baseboards -- wood doesn't like to be perpetually wet.  In most situations like that, there is a solution:  pressure treated wood.  However, on an Organic farm, we cannot use pressure treated wood where it touches the soil or plants or it could contaminate our veggie beds.  Think about the chemicals in pressure treated wood....not exactly chemicals that you would want to find at an organic farm -- or any farm for that matter -- although many do use it!

When our greenhouse was constructed in 2011, we used baseboards that had been sealed with linseed oil.  Nice idea in some applications but unfortunately, the baseboards started rotting several years ago. So this time, Ray came up with a solution that allowed us to use as little pressure-treated wood as possible while maintaining a strong base for the structure.  Using metal conduit and recycled billboard fabric, Ray and Chris were able to fashion an elegant solution that keeps the the treated wood well off the ground and still does the job!

Chris & Ray working on baseboards

The greenhouse has also been a very busy place for seeding!  Nearly 6,200 onions, 1,400 leeks, artichokes, cucumbers, herbs, blackberry and black raspberry plants and more now fill a large portion of the benches in the cozy "Inner Sanctum."  We told you there would be a lot more seed trays when you saw this space again!

Nearly full benches in greenhouse

We've also been out of the greenhouse too!  Chris and Ray worked on the initial grape pruning last week and Ray got a chance to visit the bees.  We are happy to report that all of the hives are looking good and that the girls are already harvesting nectar (maybe from the early bloom of dandelions).

Ray visiting the bees

Coming Attractions!

One of my joys of the new year is to take the brand-spanking new calendar and put all of our plans and special days on it.  Now we have several special days for you to add to your calendar!  We've planned at least NINE on-farm activities for 2017 -- in addition to our Pick-Your-Own events!  We hear from so many of you how special it is to come to the farm.  Experiences such as these create lasting memories for you and your family!  We are offering more classes, an additional day for our HUGE plant sale as well as our popular Farm Tour.  Make 2017 the year to visit Plum Granny Farm!

  • April 1        Growing Turmeric & Ginger Workshop
  • April 23      Open Greenhouse Plant Sale
  • April 30      Open Greenhouse Plant Sale
  • May 21      Growing Brambles at Home (Part 1)
  • June 25      Northern Triad Farm Tour
  • Sept. 17     Growing Brambles at Home (Part 2)
  • October 8   Growing Garlic Workshop
  • October 22  Pumpkin PYO Plus!
  • Nov. 25       Small Business Saturday Holiday Market
Lisa at the Farm Tour showing off the plants

So we are very excited about all of the opportunities to host you here at the farm!  We love having you come out to see where and how your food is grown.

Next week we'll tell you about some other plans that we have in store for you -- so stay tuned!

If you enjoy football, hope you have a great Superbowl Sunday -- and if you are not football fan, it's a great day to curl up with a book!

Until next week,

Cheryl & Ray

P.S. Rejoice!  Spring is less than 6 weeks away!
Early crocus
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Posted 1/14/2017 11:02am by Cheryl.

Hello Farm Friends!  Happy Saturday!

Brix saying Happy New Year!

Happy New Year from Brix -- and from us too!  We hope your Holiday Season was delightful and that 2017 is off to a great start!

Here at Plum Granny Farm, we are looking ahead at the season, making our plans and dreaming our dreams.  Unfortunately one of the humans here had a rocky start to the year with a flu that morphed into pneumonia but antibiotics are working their magic and hopefully we'll be full-steam ahead soon!

And how about that weather? Dealing with last weekend's deep freeze kept Ray running all over the farm to make sure that everything was tucked in, protected and warm.  From the lambs to the cats to the donkey to the wells to the greenhouse to the strawberries, everything had to be battened down, insulated and heated.  The cats weren't quite sure what to make of the space heater when it went into the house!  And the lambs got to have their first snow-splattered meal of the year (they LIKE this weather!)

BB eating dinner in the snow

But yes, in true North Carolina winter fashion, we went from 4 degrees on Monday to 65 degrees on Thursday. Here's sunrise on Tuesday:

Snowy porch sunrise

Compared with sunrise on Friday:

No snow sunrise

The beautiful icicles on the porch kept growing and growing (almost touching the porch floor) and tried to hold on as long as possible but they finally gave up on Wednesday afternoon.

But while the snow was short-lived, Ray decided to take advantage of it with a quick ski.  The conditions were perfect powder -- much like the great snow we'd get when we lived in New Mexico.  Although no turns were earned on the outing, it was a great chance to see the farm under the beautiful 8" blanket of fluff.

Making tracks at Plum Granny Farm  Seasonal porch scene

Since the snow was fluffy, we hoped that it would provide insulation and protection to the greens in the field that weren't covered.  A thick layer of light snow is so much better than an icy, sleety slush for plants (and all else!)  The strawberries had their winter blanket but we weren't able to cover the greens. 

Flat Shoals strawberries & greens under the snow

The snow did its magic.  We just checked the kale, collards and other greens and we are happy to report that they look (and taste!) great!

Rosie Pac Choy in the field  Collards after the freeze

Only one thing on the farm didn't make it --the water hydrant at Raz House blew (we had opened up the sides to let the frigid air in to help with our process of cleaning out the high tunnel).  But Ray had an excellent helper as he replaced the hydrant.

Detroit the Plumber's Helper

That pretty much wraps things up here at the farm. We've missed being in touch and hearing from you -- but we are back on track for our weekly communiques!  And it's time to get back the seed catalogs and spreadsheets for planning!

2017 seed catalogs

There are lots of special days to celebrate over the next several days starting with  "Dress Up Your Pet Day" today to "Ditch New Year's Resolutions Day" on Tuesday.  More importantly, let's celebrate the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on Monday and honor his memory by doing something to make a difference in the lives of our neighbors.

Until next week,

Cheryl & Ray 

Posted 12/20/2016 8:03am by Cheryl.

Hello Farm Friends!  Happy Tuesday!

Don't worry -- you didn't sleep through an entire week of Holiday preparations (even though you might want to!)  Our days are a bit turned around.  But isn't that what the Holidays do to one's schedule?  Or maybe we just got distracted by some rather incredible sunsets!

Amazing winter sunset

So what's been happening on the farm, you might ask?  Lots!  As we move into the true beginning of winter, there is still a bunch on our to-do list.  

The biggest news to share is that we finished planting the garlic and shallots!!!  Yay!!  Here's Chris and Ray celebrating the last of the planting in Bee Field last Wednesday (that ham, Ray!):

Ray and Chris after garlic planting

On Thursday, we got the rest of the fresh garlic, spring garlic and shallots planted in the old raspberry beds (don't worry -- we will be planting berries in these beds after we harvest the garlic in the spring!)  We ran out of space in the Bee field and these beds were just too tempting to pass up.  All it took was a quick pass with the Grillo to make them nice and fluffy.

Chris tilling the last garlic beds

And since we always count things around here, our garlic grand total is 18,566 - more or less.  And here's Chris the Planting Machine tucking in those last cloves of spring garlic - Chris, thank you SO much for all of your planting skill and hard work!

Chris planting the last garlic of 2016

Whew!  With that major milestone behind us, it was time to move on to a few other projects.  Since we were in the swing of planting bulbs, it seemed to be a natural extension for Cheryl to plant two beds of tulips and daffodils in the Demo Garden -- expect a riot of color this spring!

Bed full of tulips and daffies

As our hoophouse will be out of commission and rejuvenating itself with cover crops over the next few months, we needed to create a mini-hoophouse for the frissé that had already been planted.  No problem -- we've got this one covered (literally and figuratively!)

Working on the mini-tunnel  Rhubarb Bed cover

Spotted:  Santa's Helpers in Purple Hats!

Boxes ready for shipment

We've been busy shipping gifts A-L-L over the country this week and would love to help you with your last-minute gifts!  Share your love of local food with friends and family near and far...without leaving your house!  Our jams, garlic braids and gift boxes are ready for giving and are perfect as a hostess gift, a teacher, or even for yourself!  Check out our online store and see what we have to offer -- we've just restocked our Raspberry-Baby Ginger Jam!  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 be happy to take care of shipping (along with our friends at USPS) -- but better hurry!  

And to all a Good Night....

As we move towards the shortest day of the year, it is time to slow down a bit and take some rest.  Maybe we need to take a few lessons from Gesti who always finds that perfect ray of sunshine for her nap spot.

Gesti in the sunshine sweet spot

Or Detroit, who can make even a pile of garlic stems seem like the perfect pillow (just like his brother, Ajo).

Detroit napping by the garlic

This is our last Weekly Update for the year -- we're taking a few days off to relax over the Holidays (our animals model such good behavior and try to teach us some lessons!)  We appreciate you reading this newsletter and passing it along to your friends.  We are so thankful of your support of our farm and your interest in what we are doing.  Your comments about these newsletters and our products really help us do what we do.  We cherish your words of support and encouragement as well as your business!  And most of all, we are most grateful for your friendship and trust.

Here's wishing you the most wonderful Holiday Season ever!  Joyous Solstice, Happy Hanukkah, Merry Christmas and all good wishes for a Happy & Healthy New Year!! 

Ray decorating the sign    Plum Granny Farm sign all decked out

Until 2017,

Cheryl & Ray along with Gesti, Detroit, Brix, BB, Tony and RingBob

Okra Angel

 

 

Posted 12/9/2016 12:58pm by Cheryl Ferguson.

Hello Farm Friends!  Happy Friday!

Even though Winter's official arrival is 12 days away, the temperatures didn't seem to get the email -- it's cold out there!  The morning temperature was 28 degrees -- and it will be colder tomorrow.  And I'll remember to turn the faucet off.

Frozen water hydrant  Icicle at sink

Ray and Chris worked on getting things winter-ready on Wednesday (covering wells and draining water lines) and yesterday morning, the strawberries put on their winter coat.  They seemed to appreciate it this morning!

Covered well  Well #2 covered  Strawberries with field blanket

Before the cold came in, we were able to get more bulb garlic planted -- there's only Nootka Rose left to go!  The field is really starting to sprout tags (each step-in post marks a change in variety)...

Step in posts in Bee Field

... and garlic!  Some of the earlier planted varieties already have gotten quite tall -- the Shandong (planted November 11) has a 3" top and the Lahontan, which was planted on November 29, has a 1" stem and 1" roots but it hasn't emerged yet.  Here's some of the Shandong this morning:

Shandong garlic emerging

Much of the week was spent in pulling together files and records for our organic inspection.  Because of Tuesday's rain, we rescheduled it for yesterday -- a much better day to walk all over the farm.  From the inspector's comments, it seems that everything was fine and that we passed.  We'll be getting their final determination in a month or so.

The on-site inspection is very thorough and involves a complete farm walk as well as reviewing our documentation -- half a day at least.  One of the parts that we have to be prepared for is to show our all crops from seed to sale -- a complete audit of when we seeded, when and how much was planted, what was harvested and how much we sold.  

For the newer readers of our newsletter, you may ask, "why do you do this?"  Great question.  We believe it provides an important assurance to our customers regarding how we grow our crops.  Unlike vague terms like "naturally grown" or "no spray", what we produce is regulated through an extensive Federal certification process. From the seed we plant to our tent at market, we have specific requirements that we must meet to ensure that the food you enjoy from us is grown in a way that nourishes the land (and you!).  We deeply appreciate your trust in us and thank you for supporting a Certified Organic farm!  

Files of materials for the organic inspection

With the inspection behind us, we can now breathe a little bit.  We are trying to get in the Holiday Spirit by doing some special things.  We took a break last Sunday afternoon to go to Mitchell's Greenhouse and Nursery in King for their annual Poinsettia Open House.  They are the largest grower of poinsettias in the Triad (over 9,000!) and grow 81 varieties.  Because of their prolific poinsettia passion, they are one of 33 greenhouses in the U.S and Canada to participate in the North American Poinsettia Trials.  Go check them out -- they still have beautiful flowers for your home or office!

Poinsettias at Mitchell's

This week, we hope to move our Christmas tree from the greenhouse (where it has been since the Holiday Market) to the living room and deck the farm sign with our traditional purple lights!  It's so much fun getting in the spirit!

Christmas tree in the greenhouse

And, yes, it's time to take a nap or two.  Brix recommends it highly.Brix lying down on the job

Need a few more gifts?

Don't head out to the Big Boxes! We make it easy to shop local without leaving your house!  Our jams, garlic braids and gift boxes are ready for giving and 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. 

Jam gift boxes

And we'll leave you with a mystery... sort of.  Our dear little black lamb, BB, has a secret.  She's not really black... she's GREY!  It really is a weird thing!  She started getting lighter and lighter after she was sheared but now she is getting really grey!  We've heard that some black sheep turn grey or even white as they age because of genetic factors.  We suspect it might be Big Brother Tony that is causing those darn grey hairs!  What do you think?  Should we change her name to GB (Grey Beauty)?

Grey BB

Until next week,

Cheryl & Ray

Mark Your Calendar! Holiday Market on November 25!

It won't be long until our 4th Annual Small Business Saturday Holiday Market!  Mark your calendar for Saturday, November 25 from 10-3.  This event, now in its 4th year, has become the destination for many visitors to kick off the Holiday Season.  We'll be teaming up again with our friends from Buffalo Creek Farm and Creamery in Germanton.  There will be lots of vendors at both locations who will offer locally grown and produced items for the perfect gift for Holiday giving.  Feel good about supporting your local small business owners!


 

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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Certfied Organic by QCS since 2010

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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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