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Posted 11/21/2011 8:14am by Cheryl Ferguson.

 

Raspberry jam in a jar

Good news!  Just in time for the Holidays, our jam is here!  The long-awaited Plum Granny Farm raspberry jam will make its debut at the Cobblestone Farmer’s Market tomorrow, Tuesday, November 22!  The fresh and intensely raspberry flavor of our jam will remind you of a sunny summer day and a just-picked box of our organically grown berries.   Our jam is lovingly made in small batches by hand.  It’s all natural and is very focused on the fruit – of course!

There are four flavors to choose from:

  • Old Fashioned Raspberry: A bright and rich jam that focuses on the delicious flavor of Plum Granny Farm’s Heritage and Caroline raspberries.  Perfect for toast, biscuits, yogurt,…or  a spoon!
  • Raspberry-Baby Ginger:  The sweetness of the raspberries is highlighted by the subtle kick of Plum Granny Farm’s baby ginger which makes for an amazing combination.  It’s great as a topper for the usual breads but also try it as a base for barbeque sauces and marinades.  Delish!
  • Raspberry-Chipotle Chile:  Accent your jam with the sultry, smoky flavor of chipotle chile for an amazing taste experience!  The berry sweetness pairs beautifully with the south of the border punch of chile – it’s not hot but you know it is there!  This jam pairs nicely with cheese and is also a great base for sauces and marinades – let your imagination go olé!
  • Raspberry-Cranberry:  Sweetness and tartness in one beautiful package!  The main players are highlighted with oranges and baby ginger for a delightful treat.  Of course it’s great with bread but think about how it will highlight your Holiday turkey or ham – better get two!

Our jams have been inspected and approved by the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.  Our special introductory price for a 9.5 ounce jar is $7.00 (which includes 44 cents NC sales tax).  Shipping is also available.

Stop by our tent tomorrow at market or better yet, call or email to reserve your jar(s) today!  Our phone number is 336-994-2517 and email is farm@plumgrannyfarm.com.

Posted 11/14/2011 10:17am by Cheryl Ferguson.

 

Sorry to come bringing more sad news again…but we thought that those of you who had visited the farm would want to know.

The past seven days have been a surreal nightmare.  We put down Mocha Saturday night.  She was hit by a car on Monday evening.  It shattered her hip.  Surgery repaired that on Wednesday, but several serious – and ultimately life-ending -- complications set in.  She was young and fit and strong and we were sure she could fight this – but it just wasn’t to be.  We’ve had a really hard time dealing with this loss – we aren’t the kissy-kissy, high-pitched voice, doting dog parents that we have seen over the years.  We don’t treat our dogs like spoiled children.  But this one was incredibly special…

We only had her for 4½ years.  A volunteer at the Los Alamos animal shelter found her running beside the road between Santa Fe and Pojoaque when we lived in New Mexico.  She was young and had been on her own for a long time.  They said she had very recently whelped but certainly had lost the litter because she was so thin and wasn’t lactating.  We got her because they advertised her in the Albuquerque Journal – complete with a photo.  They don’t normally do that, but I guess they knew how special she was.

When we moved back to the farm during Thanksgiving 2009, we weren’t sure how she’d take to this new life.  But she was where she was meant to be -- she absolutely loved being a farm dog.   We took her into the fields with us, whether it was to build a greenhouse or plant or harvest.  Most of the time we tied her under a tree, but many times we’d let her off lead.  She rarely wandered, preferring to be with the family.  And she was always with one of us.

We never knew what kind of dog she was.  After we’d been here awhile, we knew what she was.  We made up a special breed just for her - - Italian Raspberry Hound.  She loved raspberries.  When we were in the field last January, she would go over to canes and pull dried raspberries off and munch away.  She could probably eat a gallon of fresh berries if you gave them to her.  And Thursday, when the vet told us that Mocha had vomited and they found a raspberry in it, we smiled and said, “Yep.”  She had been in the fields with us late Monday.  We had no idea that in less than an hour, the week would take such a horrible turn and that we would be saying goodbye to her in five days.

But we did.  Mocha now is in the field that she loved so much and able to guard those precious raspberries from her post, near an apple tree where she spent many a day.  

This year has been a very tough one.  Losing Yam, crop disappointments and insect infestation…we are most anxious for the page to turn on 2011.  But this life requires resiliency and we must trust that next year will be better.  We frequently say that farming is a lot like being a Cubbies fan – there’s always next year.  And one of the things that helps us get through times like these is the friendship and support that we get from you, the friends of Plum Granny Farm.  We are most grateful for this.

Keep us in your thoughts and prayers and don’t forget to let those near you – human and animal alike – know how much you care about them. 

Cheryl & Ray

Posted 11/3/2011 10:11am by Cheryl Ferguson.

Our Organic Baby Ginger was a Smashing Success!

These pink beauties were all the rage at farmers markets and with chefs this fall.  The tender and addictive baby ginger gained many fans across the Piedmont Triad and even extended down to the Triangle with orders from The Produce Box in Raleigh! 

The second year of growing ginger was F-A-R more successful than the first!  We harvested over 200 pounds from our greenhouse-grown plants this year.  Look for a gallery of photos to be posted soon of our year of growing organic baby ginger in greenhouse.  You'll be able to virtually visit our ginger forest!

For some great recipes and care instructions for baby ginger, click here.

We'll keep you posted on our ginger plans for 2012 -- but look for some great ginger products (raspberry ginger jam and candied ginger) to be available soon!

Tags: Ginger
Posted 9/12/2011 10:07am by Cheryl Ferguson.

Yam peeking around the garage


Yesterday we said goodbye to a good friend.  On a beautiful clear morning, with the sun just coming up and warming her back, we let Yam go in search of new pastures where she could graze pain-free and roam in search of the perfect patch of clover.  Yam, our 14-year old cow, had been getting weaker and was obviously in much discomfort.  It’s always hard but we knew it was time.

We liked to call Yam “Badge 1” at Plum Granny Farm.  She had been an employee here long before we moved back.  She served as official greeter and as our entry into agritourism.  She is an icon around here – because of her, everyone knows where the farm is:  “Oh yeah, I know – it’s the one with that big black cow, right?”  She graces hundreds of photographs taken by tourists and locals alike.  People would stop and talk to her; children would wave and come and visit the pretty cow.  She was called Bessie, Elsie, and more names than we know. 

She was an orphan and so was a “bottle baby” which gave her a special bond with humans.  Sometimes she did seem a bit more like a dog than a cow.  And she put up with a lot – like the Santa hat for Christmas one year.  Her personality was wonderfully unique.

We will miss seeing her peacefully gazing into the distance, chewing her cud. That’s when she was practicing the Zen of Yam. 

So now our pasture is empty and our hearts are sore – we miss our Yam but know that she is here, as a friend told us, just beyond our ability to see her and she is waiting to train the next bottle baby heifer in the ways of Plum Granny Farm.

Posted 8/29/2011 2:02pm by Cheryl Ferguson.

To those who came to pick raspberries Saturday, thank you.  It was a good day for picking and we enjoyed meeting and talking with you.

Unfortunately, we also must send our deepest apologies to those of you who found little white critters in your raspberries when you got home.  They are immature fruit flies.  They’re not harmful, even if eaten, but most folks don’t like little white things in their food.  We have been invaded by fruit flies – those tiny bugs that hang around very ripe fruit and tomatoes.  They can be a real problem in late summer, especially on an organic farm.  We usually can manage them, but this year they got the jump on us.

If you have any concerns at all, please call us or send e-mail.  We will gladly refund your money or give you new, bug-free berries, your choice.

Meanwhile, we will not sell any raspberries and we will not host pick-your-own until we get those little critters back under control.  We will redouble our organic controls like sanitation and traps and bait and perhaps a natural and organic pesticide.  We hope that will only take a couple of weeks but we will spend as long as necessary.

Again, thank you for coming to our farm and for visiting our booth at the farmers markets.  We truly appreciate your support and we know that when you buy our produce you are trusting us to provide your family with healthy and tasty food.  We are honored to do so. 

 

Cheryl and Ray


Posted 8/25/2011 9:36am by Cheryl Ferguson.

 

Box of raspberries

Wouldn't you like to take one of these boxes home?

We are having another pick-your-own raspberries day on SATURDAY (8/27).  Picking hours are 8:00 a.m. until 1 p.m.  The latest forecast says that there's just a small chance of rain (20%) -- even though Hurricane Irene is out there brewing in the Atlantic!  The weather is supposed to be in the mid 80s -- sounds like a good day to me!  But of course if you aren't sure about the weather here, please check the website or call the farm (336-994-2517) and we'll give you the latest information.

In addition to raspberries, we will have garlic, okra, potatoes, and tomatoes.

Here's to happy, healthy, organic eating and enjoying these last great days of August!

Cheryl & Ray

 

Posted 8/11/2011 9:41pm by Cheryl Ferguson.

Busy times here at Plum Granny Farm!

Come on out for another great day for pick-your-own raspberries on SATURDAY (8/13).  Picking hours are 8:00 a.m. until 1 p.m.  The weather is supposed to be in the low 80s and cloudy with a chance of rain (it was GREAT last weekend here!!). Cloudy days are the best for picking!

We will be picking in the big field directly across the road from the house.  Parking will be in the pasture at the house -- look for the signs and tent.  There are lots of beautiful red Caroline and Heritage berries there -- plus a few more varieties such as the yellow Anne and rich Josephine.

In addition to raspberries, we will have garlic, okra, potatoes, and tomatoes.

And speaking of tomatoes...thanks to so many of you for coming out to the Winston-Salem Journal's "Slice of Summer" Tomato Tasting last Friday. It was a really great evening -- our "Matt's Wild Cherry" tomatoes came in 3rd place in the voting!!  The teeny-weeny Spoon tomatoes were also vote-getters.

Here's a link to Michael Hastings' article on the event from Wednesday:  http://www2.journalnow.com/lifestyles/2011/aug/10/tasting-ar-1283838/

Here's to happy, healthy, organic eating and enjoying that hint of autumn in the air,

Cheryl & Ray

 

Posted 8/4/2011 5:16pm by Cheryl Ferguson.

Come on out for another great day at Plum Granny Farm's Pick-Your-Own raspberry field on SATURDAY (8/6).  Picking hours are 8:00 a.m. until noon.  The weather is supposed to be cooler and there is a chance of rain later in the day -- sounds like good picking.

There are lots of beautiful red berries out there -- Caroline and Heritage varieties.  

In addition to pick your own, we will have garlic, potatoes, and tomatoes.

If you can't come out to the farm on Saturday, come see us on Friday (8/5) night from 7-9 at the Winston-Salem Journal's "Slice of Summer" Tomato Tasting at Sixth and Trade streets downtown, during the Gallery Hop.  At this free event, sample tomatoes from a variety of growers.  Tasters will be asked to choose their favorite tomato varieties  -- we are submitting 9 of our faves for sampling (you like Plum Granny tomatoes, right?!). The event also will include a farmers market and sampling of tomato dishes from local restaurants.  We'll be there selling tomatoes!

Here's to happy eating and staying cool,

Cheryl & Ray

 

Posted 7/22/2011 8:24am by Cheryl Ferguson.

The raspberries heard your pleas to hurry up and get back in production -- so they returned from their July vacation early!  Red, rested and ready to go home with you!

Last weekend's cooler weather helped to push the berries into gear so we will be opening the Plum Granny Farm Pick-Your-Own raspberry field on SATURDAY ONLY (7/23).  Picking hours are 8:00 a.m. until 11:00 a.m.  We will be closing early because of the extreme heat that is expected for the day.  The hot weather isn't good for you or the berries.

Raspberries are $5 per pound.  We provide picking containers but please feel free to bring your own container to take your treasures home. 

There are lots of beautiful red berries out there -- Caroline and Heritage varieties.  

In addition to pick your own, we will have garlic, potatoes and tomatoes (the "fruit" varieties).  Thanks for your interest and we hope to see you on Saturday!

Cheryl & Ray

 

Posted 7/9/2011 2:42pm by Cheryl Ferguson.

Well, two days earlier than last year and we got the 2011 garlic crop out of the field!  Hurray! This year our secret weapon was the undercutter that Ray had fabricated to cut the roots off of the garlic so that it is easier to lift out of the ground by hand.  Ray estimates that this nifty tool saved about 200 hours in harvest time since we didn't have to use a digging fork to loosen the soil around each bulb.


Tractor with undercutter bar for garlic

We harvested nearly twice of what we planted last year (almost 40,000 bulbs) and are now scurring around trying to get it ready for curing.  We'll be storing our seed garlic in the barn while the market garlic will be cut and placed in the "garlic hammocks" in the old tobacco barn and the old log barn.  We are very pleased with how the garlic sized up this year -- the largest bulbs we have ever grown.  Of course that can be attributed to the extra time spent in soil preparation -- all that leaf mulch does really make a differnce!

Thanks to our great Plum Granny Farm team for working together to make the harvest happen:  Nick, Austin, Chad, Jen, Derrick, and Zach. 

After we finished the harvest, we brought in the terrific volunteers from the Society of St. Andrew to glean the remaining bulbs.  A great team of seven volunteers and the Triad SOS Coordinator, Jen Garrison, spent several hours this morning getting out the garlic we had left in the field.  This garlic will be put to good use at food banks and soup kitchens.  And we had quite a load to share!  

 

SOS Volunteer Gleaners

Tags: Garlic
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.

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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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