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Posted 11/4/2016 10:38am by Cheryl Ferguson.

Hello Farm Friends! Happy Friday!  And Happy November (wow!)

Before we get too far into the newsletter, there's just something that we have to say (don't worry, it's not political!):

Wrigley Field sign with "Cubs Win"GO CUBS!  Ray is a life-long Chicago Cubs fan, so he was very excited about the Cubs winning the World Series.  But he is a bit concerned that they will lose some of their adorable(?) goofy bad luck tendencies.  Sounds like a Cubbies fan, don't ya think?!  Or maybe he just sounds like a farmer, since we stick with it, good times and bad, and always hope for next year.

Now back to our regularly scheduled newsletter!

The weather has been amazing!  We hit 90 again this week and it feels more like early September than November.  And rain -- what's that?  We have had less than 2 inches in the past 75 days.  Despite our concerns, the weather has been great though for getting fields prepped.  We are making great progress on getting the Bee Field ready for garlic -- hopefully we can start planting next week!

Ray working on Bee Field with Sauratown Mountain in background  Garlic beds in Bee Field

On Monday we got beds ready in Daddy's Garden.  This field is our main over-wintering field since the soil is very good, has easy access to water, and is fenced.  We were in a rush to get this done because a photographer from the Winston-Salem Journal was coming to get some shots of how we use low tunnels for season extension.  Amy Dixon wrote an article (which was published today) about using hoops for protecting plants from winter's cold.  Thanks to both Amy and to Andrew Dye for coming out to visit and for sharing some of our farming techniques!

It's been a busy week for the lambs, too!  On Sunday they moved to their new pasture (they would say thanks but their mouths are too full).

Toney and BB in their new pasture  Brix is checking out the lambs' old pasture

And then on Wednesday, Laura Frazier (FarmGirl Arts) came out to shear them.  They always look SO little after losing all of that fleece!  After their haircuts, they got to take a walk for ...sweet potato leaves! (Sorry BB, no ice cream!)

Tony getting shorn  BB's long locks  Post-shear walk in sweet potatoes

Just 3 weeks Away!  Holiday Market!

Don't forget to mark your calendar for Saturday, November 26 (10-3) for our 3rd Annual Small Business Saturday Holiday Market here at the farm!  This year we have a new addition:  a food truck!  La Vie en Rose of Winston-Salem will be joining us along with 7 other vendors to help you jump start your Holiday Season!  Now you will be able to shop without an empty, grumbling stomach!  Our partners at Buffalo Creek Farm and Creamery have put together a great line-up of vendors as well!  Stay tuned for more details!

Market Update

Just THREE more weeks of Cobblestone Farmers Market in Old Salem!  We'll be there tomorrow with lots of Certified Organic tastiness!  Here's what you'll find on our tables:  Bubba Blue Baby Ginger, Garlic Powder and Granules (new batch:  Purple Italian), Garlic Sampler Bags, bulb Garlic (this week's feature is German Red and we'll have 5 other varieties), Garlic Braids, Swiss Chard, young Kale (Dino and curly Vates), some Tomatoes, a few Pie Pumpkins (plus a recipe for savory stuffed pumpkin), a few bags of Snow Peas, Ancho Chile Peppers (maybe even roasted ones!), Basil, some Green Beans and Microgreens

We will also have bags of Seed Garlic -- this is our biggest garlic that we save for planting (bigger cloves yield bigger garlic).  If you've ever wanted to grow garlic at home, let us help!  We even have home-sized bags of soil amendments available.

If you'd like us to save something for you, please send us an email by 10 p.m. prior to market.

And if you haven't voted early, don't forget to exercise your most important duty as a Citizen in our democratic process:  VOTE!I voted sticker

Until next week,

Cheryl & Ray

Posted 10/28/2016 9:06am by Cheryl Ferguson.

Hello Farm Friends! Happy Friday!

Halloween is in the air -- decorations seem to be everywhere!  Around here, we are a little less into celebrating Halloween and a lot more into celebrating Fall.  Although last year, we did dress up as bees for Cobblestone Farmers Market!

Bee Ray with Golden Retreivers at Cobblestone in 2015

This year, to celebrate the season, we had a Fall Festival of Thanks Party for our wonderful volunteers and PlumFresh Harvest Subscription Program members!  It was a beautiful Sunday afternoon filled with cornhole, hay rides, playing with BB, food and pumpkins!

Pumpkins for Fall Festival   Picking the biggest pumpkin

A project we have been trying to get to for a while is to create a new space for the lambs.  Our plan is to have the pasture divided into 3 sections so we can rotate them every few weeks.  In addition to getting the fencing erected, we also have to build shelters.  We are almost ready to move the lambs -- their shelter is almost done -- and they are very interested in seeing what this new building is!

Building the new lamb hutch  Lambs anxiously awaiting their new home

We are also getting ready for garlic planting! The seed garlic we have ordered is coming in (trying a couple of new varieties this year) and Ray is working on getting the field prepared.  We'll be using the field that grew this year's potatoes and okra for our 2017 garlic crop.  By the way, the garlic that we planted with our workshop group 3 weeks ago is rocketing out of the soil!  Check this out!

Demo garden garlic plot

We've also been planting some other fall crops (kale, broccoli, collards, pac choi, scallions) so we will have greens into the winter.  RingBob has decided that he likes to help plant too.

RingBob and the plants

Plans are coming along for our Holiday Market for Small Business Saturday.  The paperwhite narcissus are now planted and should be nicely formed for the Holidays!

Paperwhite narcissus in bowls

Market Update

 We'll be at Cobblestone Farmers Market in Old Salem (Saturday from 9-noon) with lots of Certified Organic tastiness!  Here's what you'll find on our tables:  Baby Ginger, Garlic Powder and Granules, Garlic Sampler Bags, bulb garlic (this week's feature is K's Backyard and we'll have 5 other varieties), garlic braids, Swiss Chard, "teen" and baby kale (Dino and curly Vates), some tomatoes, a few pie pumpkins (plus a recipe for savory stuffed pumpkin), rosemary bunches, a few bags of snow peas and the first of our kale and arugula microgreens

We will also have bags of Seed Garlic -- this is our biggest garlic that we save for planting (bigger cloves yield bigger garlic).  If you've ever wanted to grow garlic at home, let us help!  We even have home-sized bags of soil amendments available.

If you'd like us to save something for you, please send us an email by 10 p.m. prior to market.

Happy Halloween!  Be safe out there!

Cat in the tree  Porch spider

Until next week,

Cheryl & Ray

Posted 10/21/2016 10:13am by Cheryl Ferguson.

Hello Farm Friends! Happy Friday!

As we settle into late October, it is really starting to feel more like autumn (if you ignore the 90+ degree temps of the past couple of days!).  The leaves are starting to show more color and a whiff of woodsmoke can be detected some evenings.  This is a great time of year to head up to Stokes County and Hanging Rock to see the leaves!  We really have a spectacularly beautiful County -- come visit!

Tree in Autumn

The change in seasons also signals a change in crops.  We are swapping out our okra, squash and cucumbers for garlic.  This week our okra beds went from a lush green forest to looking like a chainsaw massacre had ensued.  Okra has a really large and tough stalk (trunk?) and it takes some serious effort to get them out -- but we didn't actually have to use chainsaws! 

Okra after  Okra field getting ready for garlic

We'll all miss the beautiful okra flowers (Cheryl will really miss the actual okra!) and the bees were taking advantage of them until the very end.

The okra flower and the bee

We have an exciting use for the leftover large okra.  One of our customers, Maggie Monteith, is a kindergarten teacher at Mount Olive Elementary in King.  Her students (along with other students at the school) will be making adorable Santa ornaments with the okra!  The okra is drying now in the barn and will soon be transformed into these cute santas! Maggie and her helpers will be selling these cute ornaments at our Small Business Saturday Holiday Market on November 26.

Okra drying in barn  Okra ornament

Baby Ginger and Strawberries -- what a delightful combination!  We've had a lot of both of these going on this week!  Michael Hastings did a great story in the Winston-Salem Journal on local baby ginger on Wednesday.  He featured us along with Shore Farms in Yadkinville.  We were the first farm to grow baby ginger in the area starting in 2010 and the only Certified Organic one!  We love growing ginger -- and hope you will love eating it!  Check out our recipes sheet at market!

Baby ginger

The strawberries are finally planted!  They are now tucked into their new home in the Flat Shoals field.  We got the deer fence up on Monday (first things first) and planted Tuesday.  They were then treated to a nice drink of fish emulsion water!  Yum!  Grow, little plants, grow!

Strawberry security crew  Chris the planting machine  Yay!  All done!

And coming soon will be our Baby Ginger-Strawberry-Mint Jam!  Look for it on Small Business Saturday!

Market Update

We'll be at Cobblestone Farmers Market in Old Salem (Saturday) and at the King Farmers Market at the Stokes Family YMCA (Wednesday) with lots of Certified Organic tastiness!  Here's what you'll find on our tables:  Baby Ginger, Garlic Powder and Granules, Garlic Sampler Bags, boxes of Teeny Tiny Taters and Creamer Potatoes, garlic (5 varieties), garlic braids, sunflower shoots and Swiss Chard.  We will also have bags of our Seed Garlic -- now is the time to plant!  And don't forget our tasty, garlickly Scape Pesto -- perfect for Pizza Night!

We hope to see you at Old Salem from 9-noon and at King from 11-1.  This Wednesday (10/26) is the LAST market of the King Farmers Market season.  If you'd like us to save something for you, please send us an email by 10 p.m. prior to market.

Even though the days are getting shorter and the Autumn reds and golds are moving in, make sure you look around to catch these last bursts of summer glory.

Pink zinnia flowers

Until next week,

Cheryl & Ray

Posted 10/14/2016 9:28am by Cheryl Ferguson.

Hello Farm Friends! Happy Friday!

Flat Shoals field during Hurricane Matthew

This is a picture of our Flat Shoals field on Saturday afternoon -- a good bit of rain had fallen but nowhere near what we could have experienced with Hurricane Matthew.  Here's what the field looked like on Tuesday as we got the landscape fabric on the field for strawberries -- the conditions were perfect for getting the sod staples through the fabric!

Flat Shoals field after Hurrican MatthewAll in all, we only got about 1.8 inches in the storm and, although we had some strong wind gusts, the winds were pretty mild compared to what we were fearing.  Unfortunately our friends down east did not fare as well, especially with the post-hurricane flooding.  Our hearts and prayers go out to our friends affected by Hurricane Matthew.  The NC Department of Agriculture yesterday issued a statement that many crops such as sweet potatoes, soybeans, peanuts and cotton, were in the early stages of harvest so it is likely that a large portion of those crops are destroyed.  Additionally, it is estimated that at least 1 million chickens died as a result of the storm.  Even though the weather has been beautiful, let's remember that rescue and recovery operations are still underway and that they need our support.

flooded fields from CFSA

Photo:  Carolina Farm Stewardship Association

So what's been going on around the farm?  Monday is the day!  The strawberries will be planted!  We've got their beds all made for our new residents -- nice landscape fabric sheets along with a fluffy comforter of hay!

Landscape fabric on strawberries

Andrew and Chris getting more of the fabric on the field 

Rolling out the hay

Chris and Ray clowning around while rolling out the hay

Picking up the extra hay clumps

Picking up the extra clumps of hay -- looks like a Grant Wood painting!

Some of the extra hay made its way to Brix.  Sorry, she can't say "thank you" -- her mouth is full.

Brix and the hayDon't worry - we are equal opportunity -- the lambs got something better than hay -- BEANS!  Since our beans have stopped producing, Tony and BB get to eat the plants -- yum!

Ray with the lambs and beansBut they did deserve a little special treat since they had their hooves trimmed this week.  Never a fun experience -- for either of us!

Ray trimming BB's hooves

Several folks have asked about RingBob -- he is doing great!  He seems to be enjoying his time roaming free outdoors but he never wanders too far away from his home base -- and that's good!  And Detroit seems to keep a watchful eye.

RingBob and Detroit in the beans

 RingBob playing with toy

Garlic Growing Workshop - What a Great Time!

We had a terrific time Sunday at our sold-out Garlic Workshop -- what a beautiful day to plant some garlic!  Fifteen folks got to learn about the fun and challenges of growing garlic and then got to crack and plant some themselves!

Garlic growing class  Participant planting garlic

Market Update

We'll be at Cobblestone Farmers Market in Old Salem (Saturday) and at the King Farmers Market at the Stokes Family YMCA (Wednesday) with lots of Certified Organic tastiness!

After last week's market washout, this Saturday is supposed to be gorgeous.  You'll find several NEW Certified Organic items this week including BABY GINGER, GARLIC POWDER, GARLIC GRANULES and GARLIC SAMPLER BAGS!  Believe it our not, but we are starting to run out of potatoes!  Better get your tasty Bintje potatoes and LaRatte fingerlings while you can and we'll have boxes of Teeny Tiny Taters and Creamers as well!  We'll also have garlic (5 varieties), garlic braids, escarole plus a few other items.  Don't forget the Garlic Scape Pesto -- oh so good on a steaming bowl of Minestrone!

We hope to see you at Old Salem from 9-noon and at King from 11-1.  Please note that we may not always have every item at all markets.  If you'd like us to save something for you, please send us an email by 10 p.m. prior to market.

Enjoy Sunday's Hunter's Moon -- the name for the October Full Moon.  It rises at 12:25 a.m.

Until next week,

Cheryl & Ray

Posted 10/7/2016 10:23am by Cheryl Ferguson.

Hello Farm Friends!  Happy Friday!

As farmers, we are pretty attuned to the weather.  So as you might imagine, we are watching the path of Hurricane Matthew closely.  The most recent predictions show that we will most likely be spared the brunt of the storm but we are watchful.  And we are especially keeping those who are in the storm's path in our thoughts and prayers -- we have family in Florida and Charleston.  And our hearts go out to those in Haiti who have endured so much --

As we watch the weather reports, farm life continues on.  So what's been happening this week?  We began on Sunday evening with quite a start.  Getting a knock on the door with someone saying, "Your donkey is out of the pasture!" is never what you want to hear -- especially after dark. It seemed that Brix had gotten her hoof tangled in some fence wire which spooked her, causing her to get out of the fence.  She really didn't want to be out, but she really didn't think she could get back in (donkeys have a strong sense of boundaries).  So after 5 (FIVE!!) hours, we finally got her in the pasture.  We are incredibly grateful to our dear friends, Jenny and Bob Bates.  They answered the call (despite it being a weird 505 area code!) and came out at 10 p.m. to help us.  And they didn't leave until she was safe in the pasture (eating the carrots that Jenny brought her) at 1:30 a.m.  Those two are destined for Donkey Owner sainthood!  They are definitely on the Plum Granny Farm saint line-up!

So after all of that craziness on Sunday night/Monday morning, we spent most of Monday getting the pasture back in shape.  We repaired the fences, mowed the pasture, readied some of the unused pasture for the new grazing area, and even picked up Brix' "gold."  The fence is now very secure (and quite hot electrically!) so she should be safe.  Whew!

Mowing pasture

[Sorry for the lack of pictures this week -- we are having difficulty with our email program!]

The strawberries are getting closer to being planted -- the beds have been shaped and have drip-tape so all we need to do now is to get the fabric on them. That will be a quick task after the rain -- and then we plant!

Garlic Growing Workshop - only 2 more slots!

We've had a great response to our Garlic Workshop which will be held here at the farm this Sunday (October 9) from 2-5.  The 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 seed garlic and the cost is $30.  Please email us at farm@plumgrannyfarm.com for a registration form or pick up one at market.

Garlic in the field

Market Update

We'll be at Cobblestone Farmers Market in Old Salem (Saturday) and at the King Farmers Market at the Stokes Family YMCA (Wednesday) with lots of Certified Organic tastiness!

On Saturday, pull on your galoshes and join us under the dry and cheerful Plum Granny Farm Purple Tent!  You'll find several NEW Certified Organic items this week including BABY GINGER, GARLIC POWDER, GARLIC GRANULES and GARLIC SAMPLER BAGS!  We'll also have our tasty Bintje potatoes, LaRatte fingerlings, garlic (5 varieties), Swiss Chard, tomatoes, escarole plus a few other items.  Don't forget the Garlic Scape Pesto to remind you of an early May dinner as the nights start to cool!

We hope to see you at Old Salem from 9-noon and at King from 11-1.  Please note that we may not always have every item at all markets.  If you'd like us to save something for you, please send us an email by 10 p.m. prior to market.

Save the Date!

It's hard to believe, but it won't be long until our annual Small Business Saturday Holiday Open Greenhouse and Market will be here!  Mark your calendar for Saturday, November 26 from 10-3 -- that's the Saturday after Thanksgiving.  We'll have several vendors and lots of great NEW things to share this year!  We will be partnering once again with our friends at Buffalo Creek Farm and Creamery in Germanton -- stay tuned!

Welcome mat

Today is World Smile Day!  It celebrates the ever popular yellow smiley face. It also offers us an opportunity to do an act of kindness. According to the World Smile Day website, a proclamation of this day was made by the U.S. Congress. The intent of World Smile Day is to do an act of kindness or help one person to smile. Why not do both!?

 

 Keep on smiling, our friends!  Talk with you soon,

Cheryl & Ray

Posted 9/30/2016 12:32pm 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.

Hello Farm Friends!  Happy Friday!

Boots in a mud puddle

Yep!  We got rain!  And hail, and lightning, and LOTS of rain.  Not the gentle shower that we were hoping for, but as always, we'll make do with the hand we are dealt....

Detroit looking at the world from a new angle

Sometimes you need to just look at the world from a slightly different perspective and shake things up a bit!  This week we have definitely shaken up our normal routines with LOTS of driving!  I think we have logged more than 600 miles since Monday!  Not our typical week.

We now have the strawberries!  Cheryl picked up the 2,100 plants from the Cottle Nursery driver on Monday and now they are tucked into the greenhouse awaiting their new permanent home when the field dries out!

Ray with boxes of strawberries

The landscape fabric is now all clean and sanitized and is ready to go out on the new field.

Strawberry landscape fabric

Don't you think this would make a great Slip-and-Slide?

On Tuesday, we headed down to Newton for a workshop on growing ginger and turmeric in high tunnels.  It was great to see the hoophouse where some of the Hmong farmers in Catawba County are growing ginger - very impressive!
 
Ray with ginger from hoophouse

Der in the high tunnel with ginger

And sometimes fate just hands you a gift... when we were heading back from Newton, we passed a caravan of trucks carrying what we thought were the Budweiser Clydesdales -- which was confirmed by a VERY large horse nose popping out the side window!  Cheryl had always wanted to see the Clydesdales so when we found out that they were going to be in Rocky Mount, NC for a special appearance (the only one in the area!), we decided to hit the road!  We got to see the horses in their Mobile Stables by the local distributor's warehouse (even got to see the inside of one of the transport horse trailers!) and then headed over to their "Full Hitch" event at a local Harris Teeter store.  A wild hair that we didn't have time for?  Yes -- but it was a lot of fun!  Enjoy a few of the hundreds of pictures that we took!

Cldesdales in Roucky Mount  Clyde in the horse trailer  In full hitch  Okay, we are getting antsy  Clyde on his perch  Cracking up at the pump

Garlic Growing Workshop Filling UP!

We've had a great response to our Garlic Workshop which will be held here at the farm on Sunday, October 9 from 2-5.  The 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 seed garlic.  Class size is limited to 15 participants and registration and prepayment is required.  Cost of the course is $30.  Please email us at farm@plumgrannyfarm.com for a registration form or pick up one at market.

Garlic in the field

Market Update

We'll be at Cobblestone Farmers Market in Old Salem (Saturday) and at the King Farmers Market at the Stokes Family YMCA (Wednesday) with lots of Certified Organic tastiness!  It's a BEAN-ANZA!  We'll have those great BEANS (French Filet, Italian Flat pod, Jade, and Dragon Tongue), LaRatte Fingerling Potatoes, Bintje Potatoes, Teensy Weensy Taters Boxes, boxes of Creamer Potatoes, Garlic (Red Toch, Chesnok, Georgian Crystal, German Red, Lahontan and Lorz Italian), heirloom Okra (Burgundy and Cajun Jewel), Tomatoes (Fruit Boxes plus a few slicers), Sunflower Shoots, Garlic Braids and more.  We'll also have our Garlic Scape Pesto which adds garlicky goodness to your early fall soups!

We hope to see you at Old Salem from 9-noon and at King from 11-1.  Please note that we may not always have every item at all markets.  If you'd like us to save something for you, please send us an email by 10 p.m. prior to market.

Detroit has really gotten into the beans this week!

Detroit in the green beans

Talk with you soon,

Cheryl & Ray

Posted 9/23/2016 9:11am by Cheryl Ferguson.

Hello Farm Friends!  Happy Friday!

Colorful leaf
 
Happy Fall, ya'll!  The cooler, cloudy days definitely announce a season change but probably nothing makes so clear a statement as the shorter days!  It's a bit hard to get used to not having daylight until 8:45 p.m.!  But the lambs and Brix are glad to be getting their dinner sooner.
 
Probably the biggest news on the farm this week has been the arrival of BEANS!  We finally get a crop of one of our favorite veggies!  These poor plants probably have a bit of a complex because we have been watching them so closely -- but they didn't get stage fright and have started producing bunches of beautiful, tasty goodness.  We are growing some really wonderful varieties this year including a couple of new ones.  There's round pod (Jade), French filet (green Tavera and gorgeous dark purple Velour), Italian flat pod (Pension, sweet Northeaster and the purple-flecked Dragon Tongue).  Look for them at market this week!
 
Chris picking beans  Hands full of beans
 
The next big thing is planting strawberries.  We are moving them to another field this year so we have to get the beds prepped and covered in landscape fabric.  We are reusing the fabric from the strawberry field -- this will be its 3rd year of use!  Before we move it, we have to remove all of the plant materials and sod staples and then sanitize it to make sure we aren't carrying any disease to another field.  This is a very important step especially since we don't use fungicides like conventional growers do!
 
Empty field where the strawberries were
Where did the strawberries and pumpkins go?!
 
We are also continuing work on the shed we are building on the greenhouse. Slowly but surely, it is getting done.  And it is going to be SO useful!  Right now it is at an awkward stage -- looking somewhat like a cross between a school bus shelter and a confessional booth....
Ray working on the shed  Chris working on the shed  Current state of the shed

Our little RingBob is doing great!  He is gaining weight and is becoming very socialized.  We hope to be releasing him from his crate next week.  Then he and Detroit will be able to roam the farm freely as co-Chief Rodent Control Officers!

RingBob

Garlic Growing Workshop -- Register Soon!

We've had a great response to our Garlic Workshop which will be held here at the farm on Sunday, October 9 from 2-5.  The 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 seed garlic.  Class size is limited to 15 participants and registration and prepayment is required.  Cost of the course is $30.  Please email us at farm@plumgrannyfarm.com for a registration form or pick up one at market.

Garlic

Market Update

We'll be at Cobblestone Farmers Market in Old Salem (Saturday) and at the King Farmers Market at the Stokes Family YMCA (Wednesday) with lots of Certified Organic tastiness!  We'll have those great BEANS, LaRatte Fingerling Potatoes, Bintje Potatoes, Teensy Weensy Taters Boxes, boxes of Creamer Potatoes, Garlic (6 varieties -- we are starting to run out of some of our most popular varieties including Music and Lahontan!), heirloom Okra (Burgundy and Cajun Jewel), a few squash, Garlic Braids and more.  We'll also have our Garlic Scape Pesto which adds garlicky goodness to your early fall soups!

We hope to see you at Old Salem from 9-noon and at King from 11-1.  Please note that we may not always have every item at all markets.  If you'd like us to save something for you, please send us an email by 10 p.m. prior to market.

Enjoy the break in weather -- and delight in rainbows wherever you find them.  This one popped up yesterday evening over Cook's Wall - such great light!

Rainbow over Cook's Wall

Talk with you soon,

Cheryl & Ray

Posted 9/16/2016 9:03am by Cheryl Ferguson.

Hello Farm Friends!  Happy Friday!

Tonight is the Harvest Full Moon, so we are trying to do our part by harvesting as much as possible -- at least the hay!  The recent dry weather has created terrific conditions for making hay, so it was time to get some out of the field this week.

Typically we devote at least a week to the process of mowing, tedding (fluffing the hay so it dries better), raking, baling and getting it in the barn.  We really don't have that much time to devote to hay now (a VERY long to-do list -- strawberry plants are on the way!), so we decided to approach the task in smaller chunks.

After spending most of Monday trying to fix the sicklebar attachment for the tractor (unsuccessfully), we went to Plan B on Tuesday.  Chris mowed about 2 acres using the walk-behind tractor with its sicklebar attachment. He powered through that in about 2 hours -- Way to go, Chris!  With the warm, dry conditions essential for getting quality hay, we were able to get it all raked, baled and in storage by yesterday afternoon!  And our little livestock family is 53 bales better for their winter feed!

Raking hay

Raking hay

Picking up hay behind the baler

Chris and Andrew picking up hay behind the baler

Detroit on the baler

Everybody has to get in on the act

Ray with a sample of some of the grasses

We even have some purple grasses in our hay mix -- how appropriate!

 

We are still getting more fall crops seeded and transplanted to keep the pipeline full as we move into the fall.  And we are excited to report that the green beans are almost ready!

Green beans in hand

Garlic Growing Workshop

It's time to think about planting garlic!  Mid-October is the traditional start date for garlic planting in this area.  We are holding our 2nd Annual hands-on garlic growing workshop here at the farm on Sunday, October 9 from 2-5.  The 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 seed garlic.  Class size is limited to 20 participants and registration and prepayment is required.  Cost of the course is $30.  Please email us at farm@plumgrannyfarm.com for a registration form or pick up one at market.

Planting garlic

Market Update

We'll be at Cobblestone Farmers Market in Old Salem (Saturday) and at the King Farmers Market at the Stokes Family YMCA (Wednesday) with lots of Certified Organic tastiness!  It's Okra-Palooza under our purple tent at Cobblestone tomorrow!  We'll have special LOWER pricing on lots of heirloom okra (Burgundy and Cajun Jewel) along with samples of some the tasty pickles you can make with the okra!  If you are thinking about canning pickles, NOW is the time!

We'll also have other Certified Organic goodness including LaRatte Fingerling Potatoes, Bintje Potatoes, Teensy Weensy Taters Boxes, boxes of Creamer Potatoes, Garlic (6 varieties including the amazing Lahontan), Tomato Fruit Boxes, Sunflower Shoots, a little bit of summer squash, Garlic Chives and Garlic Braids.  We'll also have our Garlic Scape Pesto which adds garlicky goodness to your early fall soups!

We hope to see you at Old Salem from 9-noon and at King from 11-1.  Please note that we may not always have every item at all markets.  If you'd like us to save something for you, please send us an email by 10 p.m. prior to market.

And don't forget -- today is the Harvest Full Moon and it is even a Lunar Eclipse! And I dare you to keep a certain song out of your head...

Almost full moon over the farm

"Shine on, shine on Harvest Moon, up in the sky. I ain't had no loving since January, February, June or July...."

Talk with you soon,

Cheryl & Ray

Posted 9/9/2016 8:23am by Cheryl Ferguson.

Hello Farm Friends!  Happy Friday!

Hints of Fall tease us with delicious tastes of cooler weather -- ah!  And then we get blasted with 96+ degree temps!  What?  I guess we just have to be patient, huh?

As the temperatures swing, we are at an in-between time in terms of crops.  Most of the pumpkins came out of the field on Monday and are curing in the barn -- we couldn't leave them in the field since the place was crawling with squash bugs! All in all it was a respectable harvest for a first year's effort. 

Harvesting pumpkins

Here are some of the pumpkins putting on their final color in the sun -- the rest are tucked away in the barn loft.

Pumpkins curing in the sun

While some things are coming out of the field, others still wait for their harvest moment like this Delicata Winter squash...

Delicata winter squash

And green beans -- LOTS of flowers hopefully mean LOTS of beans!

Green bean flowers

We've even got Snow Peas planted in the hoophouse -- tucked alongside of the Ancho peppers and some Rosie basil.  It's an experiment for a fall crop.

Snow peas in the hoophouse

Waiting in the wings are lots of transplants of kale, chard, beets, frisse and lettuce to be planted out soon.

Transplants in the greenhouse

In addition to seeding, planting, weeding, mowing and harvesting, there are lots of building and repair projects underway here at the farm.  It seems that we have had the circular saw and other tools out a lot over the past couple of weeks -- and that is good!  One of our projects is to build a storage shed on the greenhouse for storing seed trays and supplies.  It's amazing how much space is taken up by these things inside the greenhouse!  We hope to knock this one off the to-do list early next week!

Ray working on the greenhouse shed

And we can't forget out Kitten Rehab project!  We were able to get Ringbob Grey Pants (we keep adding to his name!) in a crate and have been working to acclimating him to people (he's eating out of my hand now).  He's doing very well and Detroit has been a great help to this process (especially since it means that he gets canned cat food as a reward!)

Ringbob and toy

Market Update

We'll be at Cobblestone Farmers Market in Old Salem (Saturday) and at the King Farmers Market at the Stokes Family YMCA (Wednesday) with lots of Certified Organic tastiness!  It's a great time for POTATOES!  Try roasting our fingerlings (LaRatte) or standard POTATOES (German Butterball and Bintje) on the grill.  You'll also find Teensy Weensy Taters Boxes, boxes of Creamer Potatoes, Garlic (Red Toch, Music, Georgia Crystal, Purple Italian, the amazing Lahontan and Lorz Italian), Summer Squash, Baby Heirloom Okra (Burgundy and Cajun Jewel), Tomato Fruit Boxes, Sunflower Shoots, a little bit of chard and several herbs:  Rosie Basil, Garlic Chives and Papalo.  For those who are thinking ahead for the Holidays, we’ll be taking orders for Garlic Braids and will have several options to choose from.  Snag a taste of our yummy Garlic Scape Pesto – mangia bene!

We hope to see you at Old Salem from 9-noon and at King from 11-1.  Please note that we may not always have every item at all markets.  If you'd like us to save something for you, please send us an email by 10 p.m. prior to market.

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!

Talk with you soon,

Cheryl & Ray

Posted 9/2/2016 10:50am by Cheryl Ferguson.

Hello Farm Friends!  Happy Friday!

Welcome to September!  It sounds like we are going to be spared Hermine's impact here in the Triad.  But it sure is nice to be looking at a day with high temps in the 70's!  Been a while!

Local food.  We hear and see those words a lot these days.  And what the term means varies wildly.  In the definition used by some grocery stores, it can mean up to 300 miles (or more!) away. Some even consider Florida to be "local."  I can't accept that.

We had the opportunity to attend a celebration of Local Food in its true sense on Sunday evening.  Michael Hastings invited us to attend the Winston-Salem Journal's "Farm to Fourth Harvest Dinner."  This event was an amazing celebration of local farms, local chefs, local flowers, local music, local wine and beer and local supporters of all of these things. Michael's vision to pull this event together highlighted the fantastic food community that we have right here in Winston-Salem.  We were honored to be included in the guest list AND to have some of our products included on the menu (thanks Chef Harrison and Chef Jared!)

Farm to Fourth Harvest Dinner

And "on the menu" is at the crux of the local food discussion.  Since "local food" is a buzzword these days, there are many restaurants that talk about serving it.  Some chefs buy a local item here and there, and then substitute a non-local item.  As farmers, we are fortunate to have relationships with a number of local chefs who truly support local farms and highlight local food on their menus.

Our first restaurant client was Meridian back in 2009. Chef and Owner, Mark Grohman bought garlic scapes from us and we've been selling him produce consistently ever since.  He even suggests things for us to grow.  And he just doesn't buy from us.  He supports several other farmers in our area -- everything from meat to mushrooms.  Mark is a true believer in local.  Can he get this stuff cheaper from other places?  Absolutely.  Is it easier just to place a big order with a distributor?  Totally.  But Mark values the quality, freshness and variety that he can only get from us and our fellow farmers.

Chef Mark Grohman and Cheryl at Meridian Restaurant

Other Winston-Salem area chefs and restaurants with a strong commitment to local farms include Chef Travis Myers of Willow's Bistro, Chef Harrison Littell of The Honey Pot, Chef Jared Keiper of The Tavern in Old Salem, Chef Curtis Hackaday of 1703 Restaurant, Chef Mary Haglund of Mary's Gourmet Diner, and Chef John Bobby of Rooster's: A Noble Grille.  We are honored and grateful to have the opportunity to work with each of them.

But there's a third side to this triangle:  You!  For these chefs to take the risk to work with local farms, they need the support of local customers.  Dine out at one of these great restaurants and let them know how much you appreciate their commitment to local food.  Let them hear it from their most important voice -- their customers.  Without local support, our terrific local restaurants cannot last.  And that will have a big impact on the local farming community.  Let's all work together to keep our local food economy humming!

W-S chefs and Cheryl & Ray after the Farm to Fourth dinner

Market Update

We'll be at Cobblestone Farmers Market in Old Salem (Saturday) and at the King Farmers Market at the Stokes Family YMCA (Wednesday) with lots of Certified Organic tastiness including boatloads of fingerling (LaRatte) and standard POTATOES (German Butterball, Bintje and the last of the Nicola and Russet), boxes of Creamer Potatoes, CURED GARLIC (Red Toch, Music, Georgian Crystal, Purple Italian, Metechi and Lorz Italian), Okra (Heirloom Burgundy and Cajun Jewel), Concord Grapes, Papalo (a Mexican herb similar to cilantro), Basil (Genovese), and a few Beets.  We'll also have Garlic Braids plus we are now taking orders for your Holiday gifts!  Don't forget the Garlic Scape Pesto -- brush some on what you are grilling for the Holiday Weekend! 

We hope to see you at Old Salem from 9-noon and at King from 11-1.  Please note that we may not always have every item at all markets.  If you'd like us to save something for you, please send us an email by 10 p.m. prior to market.

In the spirit of Labor Day, we can't think of anything that works harder than bees.  Wishing you a wonderful Holiday Weekend -- get out there and enjoy (and smell) the flowers!

Honeybee on a sunflower

Talk with you soon,

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.

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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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